A Step-By-Step Guide: How to Layer Your Skincare for Maximum Results

The order in which you apply your skincare products matters. Getting the full benefit from every step in your routine from cleanser and moisturizer to specialty treatments just takes a little logic and know-how.

The first basic rule of thumb you need to know is always apply your products from lightest weight to heaviest weight to achieve maximum absorption and the best possible results. Also, whenever applicable, start with a nice, clean slate, since dirt, oil, and grime can also block helpful ingredients from doing their job. 

Daytime Ritual

Step 1: Cleanser
Choose one that’s gentle and effective, skip harsh ingredients that can strip your skin, and avoid excessive scrubbing. You’re just removing old product and dead skin cells that accumulate overnight, not removing a layer of healthy skin.

Step 2: Toner
It’s not absolutely necessary, but if you choose to use a toner, avoid the “old school” ones that contain alcohol or other harsh ingredients that can strip your skin and try one created for your personal skin concerns like dryness or excess oil.

Step 3: Serum
Serums are typically thin and highly concentrated with all the good ingredients you want to keep closest to your skin. Putting them on over moisturizer can block them from being absorbed, so layer them on first.

Step 4: Creams & Moisturizers
Everyone needs a moisturizer, even people with oily skin. Age, sun, the environment, and chemicals in the products we use can deplete hydration. Most experts agree that it’s best to apply moisturizer when your skin is still damp, so don’t wait too long to lock in that hydration!

Step 5: Sunscreen
Other than avoiding sunlight, sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher (the higher the better) is your best defense against premature aging. Choose one you love, because the truth is, the best sunscreen is one you use.

Nighttime Ritual

Your evening routine is important because your skin naturally repairs itself while you sleep. This is when those beneficial ingredients you’re using really go to work! 

Step 1: Cleanser
It’s important to wash away any makeup, dirt, and oil that accumulate on your face during the day. Use a cleanser effective enough to give you the blank slate you need to build your PM routine, but make sure it’s gentle enough to not strip your skin of vital moisture.

Step 2: Toner
Again, it’s not essential, but if you have a toner you love, now’s the time to use it!

Step 3: Serum and Treatments
Since our skin is in regeneration mode while we sleep, nighttime is the perfect time to help this process along with a targeted treatment to fight signs of aging, boost hydration levels, or fade discoloration. Your body is in its natural repair mode when you sleep, so your skin-renewing products pull double-duty at night.

Step 4: Moisturizer or Night Cream
Nighttime creams and moisturizers create a protective barrier that seals in active ingredients so they can do their work, and it helps prevent moisture loss so you wake hydrated and refreshed after quietly battling the aging process all night long.