How to Layer Skincare: The Ultimate Guide to Skincare Layering

How to Layer Skincare: The Ultimate Guide to Skincare Layering

Ah, your beloved skincare routine. It may be simple, lingering around three or four steps—or going up to ten. No matter how many products you use, there are plenty of skincare tips and tricks available to incorporate into your routine, such as layering skincare products. 

Layering your serums, creams, and moisturizers properly will help you make the most of each one. But how do you know what product goes first, or which ones to avoid putting on right after each other?

Read this comprehensive guide to learn the proper skincare layering technique that will help you achieve your goals and build an effective skincare routine.

First Thing’s First: Why Does Layering Matter?

Before diving into the basics of skincare layering, it’s crucial to understand the why behind it all. Does it matter if you know how to layer skincare correctly?

Put simply: Yes, it does.

Learning to layer skincare products is essential for every skin type, from acne-prone skin to combination and dry skin.

Applying your products in the right order allows active ingredients to absorb into your skin better. It also assists with maintaining the skin’s pH balance—which makes your serums and creams more likely to work.

Basics of Skincare Layering

Whether you use a few products or have a countertop full of items, you can achieve skincare layering by following these basic principles:

  1. Clean your skin.
  2. Moisturize the skin.
  3. Apply sunscreen.

These three steps are the basis of all skincare routines (yes, in that order). If you noticed, the basics of layering follow a light-to-heavy order: apply your lightest products first, like cleansers and serums, and your heavier products later, like moisturizers. 

If you want to start a layering routine, these are just the basic tenets to follow. You can always add more products as, depending on your skin type, like a spot treatment, facial oil, or retinol. 

Step-by-Step Layering Guide

Now that you’ve got the basics out of the way, you can work up to a more complex skincare layering routine. In general, you can follow this outline:

Step 1 

Cleanse your face. Start with clean hands, then use a quality cleanser and lukewarm water from the sink. It’s often best to use alcohol-free and non-abrasive face washes.

Step 2 

Apply your lightest serum (like the THIRSTY Hydrating Serum).

Step 3 

Use corrective serums and creams next, applying thoroughly.

Step 4 

Moisturize your skin, leaving it tacky to air dry. Even if you have oily skin, this is still an important step!

Step 5 

Finish the process with sunscreen. (This is an important step for preventing skin cancer caused by damaging UV rays.)

Many people find this five-step regimen works well for their needs—but extra steps are always welcome, and can be incorporated with the same basic principles. 

Extra Products and Advice for Nighttime Routines

Learning to layer skincare products can be as simple or complex as you'd like. Some people add toners to their layering routine to help remove oils and dirt between steps one and two. Other skincare enthusiasts add spot treatments or a sheet mask after cleansers and toners to help target issues like acne, dark spots, or fine lines.

Or, they choose to add an eye cream before moisturizing. You can also use makeup after the last step, starting with foundation.

You’ll still want to follow the basics at night starting with clean skin and then moisturizing. If you wear makeup, ensure you remove it before washing your face (or do a double cleanse). Additionally, skip the SPF in step 5 and opt for night cream, face oil, or retinol instead.

Tips for Effective Layering

Whether you’re first starting your journey into skincare or adding a new skincare product to the mix, it can get confusing about what goes where and when. One of the easiest tips to remember? Start with the thinnest products first.

Using thinner serums first will help you receive the most absorption of active ingredients, since thicker materials can block thinner ones from absorbing. Other tips to keep in mind include:

Prevent over-exfoliation 

Some parts of your skincare routine—like exfoliating products that remove dead skin cells—are not always necessary for everyday use. Limit them to one or two times per week.

Cleanse gently 

In most cases, you don’t need to scrub your face roughly, but especially not when using products with glycolic acid, vitamin C serums, or retinoids. Harshly cleansing can lead to dry skin and damage your skin barrier. 

Avoid dropper-to-skin contact 

Skip using the dropper directly on your skin and instead put the desired amount of serum onto your fingertips and massage it. This method reduces product waste and helps improve absorption of the active ingredient.

Following these guidelines helps ensure you receive the best results from your skincare products, whether targeting acne, wrinkles, rosacea, or other specific skin concerns. 

What Else Should You Remember?

When it comes to skincare, everything is personal. What works best for someone else may not work for you—and that’s okay! You might have to do a bit of trial and error before finding the regimen (no matter the complexity) that meets your desires and goals.

A note for those with sensitive skin: applying moisturizer before serums might work better for your needs. Although this often makes serums less effective, reversing the order can curb redness or irritation while still giving you some extra benefits of the serum’s active ingredient.

Build Your Customized Layering Routine With Seven:Thirty

If you’re ready to start layering high-quality, skin-loving products, Seven:Thirty can help you build a customized routine. We offer skincare products for each step in your regimen, starting with cleansing and going through to sunscreen.

Whether you want to expand your routine or start from scratch, trust Seven:Thirty’s paraben- and SLS-free products to help with your every skin concern. Shop our full selection, or start your journey with a consultation today.



Health. How to Layer Your Skincare Products in the Right Order.

Healthline. What Order Should I Follow for My Skin Care Routine?

American Academy of Dermatology Association. Should I Apply My Skin Care Products in a Certain Order?

Allure. How to Layer Your Skin-Care Products in the Correct Order.

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