Here’s How You Should Actually Be Layering Your Skincare Products


Sometimes caring for your skin can feel like a guessing game. With so many products on the market, you might feel overwhelmed trying to figure out exactly how to use them. You’ve bought toners and creams and acne treatments, but knowing when to use them is essential in achieving the results you want. 

The order that you apply your products can be just as important as the ingredients in them. If you don’t layer your skincare properly, you risk losing the benefits of certain products, making your time and effort pointless. For example, cleansing your face after applying moisturizer will wipe it all away, leaving your skin dry and your product down the drain. 

Even worse, applying products haphazardly can irritate your skin, clog your pores and cause breakouts. Certain products only work when applied to clean skin, while others work to lock everything in at the end. Going out of order can lead to buildup in your pores and overstimulated skin. 

Finding the right way to layer skin care products takes a practiced hand. The right routine can help you feel your best and accomplish your skin care goals. Ahead, take a closer look at how you should be layering your skincare products in the morning and evening.

In the Morning 

When it comes to your morning skincare routine, the focus should be primarily on preparing your skin for the elements or applying makeup.. Here’s the best product order to follow in order to avoid uncomfortable breakouts. 

  1. Cleanser 

The first step in any skincare routine should be to wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Overnight, you might sweat or pick up bacteria from your pillowcase that can seep into your skin. Cleansing your face before all else will ensure that other products you apply won’t mix with that bacteria and lock it further into your skin. 

  1. Toner

Toners come with a wide variety of benefits, so think about what your skin needs when choosing one. If you find your skin drying or flaking through the day, look for a hydrating toner. The right toner can make your skin glowy all day long. 

  1. Serums

Serums, like toners, can vary in ingredients and purposes. No matter which you choose, applying serums after cleansers and toners will ensure your skin drinks up as much as possible. 

  1. Apply Spot Treatments

Apply spot treatments for acne to dry, clean skin before adding anything else. This allows the product to tackle problem areas head-on without fighting through other materials. 

Salicylic acid is commonly used in over-the-counter acne treatments and has a good success record. Speak to your dermatologist about the right product for you. 

  1. Moisturizer 

After you apply any treatments, you’ll want to give your face moisture. A clean, breathable moisturizer can counteract the drying effects of sunscreen and can prevent wrinkles associated with dehydration. 

Moisturizer makes your skin softer and more supple and serves as a barrier to protect against air particles and other irritants. Choose a moisturizer that doesn’t have any dirty dozen ingredients, as they can cause damage.

  1. Eye Cream 

If you struggle with under-eye circles, don’t skip this step. Find a cream or serum designed to brighten and tighten your skin. The eye area is more sensitive than other spots on your face, so be sure to choose something gentle. 

  1. Sunscreen

Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30 to block harmful UV radiation from the sun. This should always be the final step in your skincare routine, as other products can wash away sunscreen and leave your face unprotected. 

There’s a common misconception that people don’t need sunscreen in cold weather, but the sun’s rays can break through clouds. Apply your sunscreen evenly after your moisturizer so your skin doesn’t dry.

After completing the following steps, you should still reapply sunscreen every two hours if you spend a lot of time outside to prevent damage. 

  1. Makeup

Now’s the time to put on makeup if you wear it. You can choose whichever products work best with your skin type. If you notice breakouts or irritation even after you’ve gone through the proper skincare steps, try changing up what makeup you use, or use less of it.  

Once you complete your desired look, you can go out knowing you did your best for your skin.

At Night 

Applying products in the right order lets you start your day off right. However, you must remove them and treat your skin at night or debris could build up and reverse your hard work. 

  1. Makeup Remover or a Cleanser

Makeup remover is the most important step to start your nighttime routine. You can find a product that works for you, whether it be makeup wipes, microfiber cloths or micellar water.  

A creamy cleanser can help break up and remove makeup and debris from your face, providing you with clean, refreshed, bare skin. 

  1. Toner

Using toner after cleansing can help clear any remaining makeup or dirt from your skin. Toners serve multiple purposes, from rebalancing your skin’s pH to exfoliating dead skin cells. This will ensure your skin is clear and ready to fully absorb your next products. 

  1. Retinol

Retinol is a powerful form of vitamin A that works to fight acne and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Using a retinol cream or serum after cleansing and toning can help treat your problem spots and prevent new breakouts from forming. If you have sensitive skin, you can swap retinol out for a gentler treatment, like a hyaluronic acid or niacinamide serum. 

  1. Nighttime Moisturizer

Applying a moisturizer at night improves your skin while you sleep. Your body performs necessary repairs overnight, but bedroom air can dry out your pores. Use a long-lasting nighttime moisturizer to keep your face fresh for the day to come. 

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