When we spend so much money on our skincare regime, there’s nothing more heartbreaking than feeling like our skin isn’t bringing the A-game. But the reason why your skin isn’t slaying could simply be because you’re applying your creams in the wrong order. We know it seems crazy militant, but if you don’t apply your lotions and potions in a specific order, you’re seriously disenabling them from doing their job.
The most important thing is to ensure your skin is completely clean before you apply any hydrating lotions or oils. The general rule is to apply the most lightweight formulas first so they can be easily absorbed without the barrier of heavier creams. After each layer, give your skin time to absorb the product (at least a few minutes), this will also mean when you’re layering your products they won’t pill – those tiny little balls you get when you’ve used too much product.
Here’s how to layer products like a pro:
1) Cleanser: Cleansing should remove any makeup or dirt from your skin while also adding a burst of hydration, and if you wear makeup, you should definitely be double cleansing. To double cleanse, start with a cleansing oil (the most nourishing way to remove any makeup as they’re free from harsh chemicals, soaps, and parabens), then use a foam or gel cleanser (or whichever best suits your skin type). It sounds extra, but it will make sure there’s absolutely no makeup or dirt on your skin before you continue the rest of your regime.
Mask or Exfoliate: Once your skin is completely clean, now is the time to do any extra steps in your routine, like a clay or peel-off mask or exfoliating your skin. If you want to use a sheet mask, you can do this after you’ve toned.
2) Toner: Toning is super important as it removes any grime that your cleanser wouldn’t budge, and any minerals or chlorines from your water. It will also instantly tighten your pores and help restore your skin’s pH levels for a more even skin tone. For more guidance on choosing the right toner for your skin type, check out our toner guide here.
3) Spot Treatment: If you’re prone to pimples, apply your cream now so it can absorb properly and start working its magic.
4) Serum: Serums are lightweight and contain a high concentration of active ingredient. The formula is made up of smaller molecules that are absorbed into the skin at a much deeper level. This makes serums ideal if you’re trying to target a specific skincare issue, like wrinkles or dry skin, as many are packed with hydrating ingredients as well. Like essences, which are basically a more watery version of serums, you only need a small amount – about the size of 2 pomegranate seeds!
5) Eye cream: Eye creams can brighten under eyes, reduce any inflammation, and add an extra hit of moisture. Depending on the formula it may look like a serum or a thick moisturizer, but now is the time to apply it. This way it has fewer barriers to get through and can be absorbed more easily! Always apply your eye cream with your fourth finger in a tapping motion, as this is the weakest finger so you won’t tug or pull the delicate skin. We also love to keep our eye cream in the fridge; it’s the ultimate eye wake-up call in the mornings!
6) Moisturizer: Hydrated skin is glowing skin, so NEVER skip your moisturizer. The right moisturizer will hydrate, replenish, restore your skin’s pH levels, and nourish and repair any issues like dry, flaky skin. But it’s also essential that you choose one with the right formula and ingredient list for your skin type. Like if you have dry skin, you need a really rich formula, but if you have acne-prone or oily skin, a gel formula will be your best friend. For our top tips on how to choose the right one, read our moisturizer guide.
How much product you should actually be using:
7) Face Oil: Without a doubt one of the most powerful potions on your shelf, the small molecular structure of face oils allows them to penetrate deeper into your skin and hydrate at a much deeper level. They also repair and plump your skin, and feed it with amazing natural vitamins. Oil needs to go last because it will create a protective barrier on your skin and lock in water, if not applied last, it could block your other skincare products from penetrating. If you’re on the oily skin list, we recommend only using your face oil at night. For our guide on how to pick the right oil, check out our guide here. We like The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane – it combines an amazing natural oil (squalane) and a form of retinol, which is the ultimate anti-aging ingredient. You can also make your own face oils for a fraction of the price, check out our DIY tutorial here. You can also skip this step for daytime if you’re using a moisturizer, and go straight to the SPF.
8) SPF: For daytime, this is THE most important step, even during the winter months. Applying a good sunscreen every morning will protect your skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays. An SPF will sit on the surface of your skin acting as a protective barrier against the sun, so you should always apply it last; otherwise, it could stop your other products from penetrating.
From this point on you’re officially ready to start applying your makeup, although if you stick to this routine, your skin probably becomes so flawless, you’ll be brave enough to go au-naturel in no time!