How to Layer Your Skincare Products for Maximum Effectiveness

How to Layer Your Skincare Products for Maximum Effectiveness

While there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the basics of cleansing, toning, and moisturising, skincare has also continually evolved beyond that. Now, you can add serums, masks and other products to your go-to skincare routine order. But with a lot of products available, like retinol, vitamin C serums, and acids, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or confused about how to layer skincare products correctly. 

So today, we’ll give you a quick guide on the correct order of layering skincare products to maximise their effectiveness and achieve the best results for your skin.

The Right Skincare Routine Order: From Lightest to Heaviest Formulas

The golden rule of skincare layering is to apply products from lightest to heaviest. So, lightweight liquids come first, while heavier and thicker creams end the routine. The basic daily skincare routine order is as follows: cleanser, toner, serum, moisturiser, and sunscreen. 

  • Cleanser
  • Use a gentle cleanser that won’t disrupt your skin’s natural pH or strip it of its natural oils. A cleanser with ultra-hydrating amino acids, vitamin E, and other soothing & natural ingredients can be a great choice for virtually all skin types. 

  • Toner
  • After cleansing your face, apply a water-based toner to help rebalance your skin’s pH levels and prepare it for your go-to serum and moisturiser.

  • Serum 
  • A serum is designed to penetrate your skin’s deeper dermal layers and nourish these layers with multiple skin-protective ingredients. It’s best to use it after cleansing & toning.

  • Moisturiser
  • The most suitable moisturiser helps hydrate your skin throughout the day and creates a smooth base for makeup. When shopping for moisturisers, pick non-comedogenic ingredients, like safflower and squalene, to avoid clogging pores.

  • Sunscreen
  • With the heaviest formula to deliver optimum UV protection, sunscreens should be the last skincare product you apply to your face. So, no matter what you do, always finish your skincare routine with sunscreen to protect your skin against UV damage.

    Evening Skincare Routine Order: Focus on Repair & Regeneration

    At night, your skincare routine should focus on repair and regeneration. Here’s the correct order and some tips on how to layer skincare products at night:

  • Makeup Remover: Remove any makeup or sunscreen from the day using your favourite makeup remover product.
  • Cleanser: Use a gentle cleanser to remove any remaining residue on your face.
  • Toner: Apply a water-based toner to balance your skin’s pH levels and prep it for the rest of your night time skincare products.
  • Serum: If you’re using a hyaluronic acid serum for extra hydration or a niacinamide serum to help even skin tone, apply it after using your toner.
  • Retinol: Want to address specific concerns like acne, discolouration, or fine lines? Apply a retinol product after using toner and serum. Retinoids promote skin renewal, enhance skin texture, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Moisturiser: Finish your night time skincare routine order with a moisturiser to ensure your skin receives the hydration it needs to repair overnight.


    When to Apply Specific Skincare Products

    When layering specific skincare products like Vitamin C serum, retinol, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide serum, the order of application is crucial for optimal effectiveness. Here are some quick tips for you:

    • Vitamin C Serum

    Vitamin C Serum should typically be applied first in your skincare routine, especially in the morning. Vitamin C is notoriously unstable and should be protected from degradation by applying it on your face before other skincare products. Some experts recommend layering Vitamin C Serum after cleansing and before moisturising and applying your favourite sunscreen for maximum benefits.

    • Retinol

    Retinol is often used in the evening skincare routine because it’s an ingredient that breaks down easily in sunlight and can make your skin photosensitive. How to layer skin care products with retinol? Try the sandwich method to create a gentle barrier between your skin and this potent ingredient. So, apply your moisturiser, then retinol, and follow it with moisturiser again. With this method, you will likely avoid irritation often experienced by first-time retinol users while allowing retinol to work overnight effectively. 

    • Hyaluronic Acid

    Hyaluronic acid is a hydrating powerhouse you can apply after cleansing and toning, typically before heavier products like moisturisers. It can be part of your skincare routine order in the morning and at night. After all, it helps lock in moisture and keep your skin plump and hydrated. 

    • Niacinamide Serum

    Niacinamide Serum is versatile and can be used both in the morning and evening. Like hyaluronic acid, it’s generally recommended to apply after cleansing and toning before using heavier products like moisturisers and oils. Niacinamide can be applied before sunscreen in the morning routine for added benefits.

    Don’t Forget About Ingredient Compatibility and Timing

    It’s not just about answering the question: ‘What is the correct skincare routine order?’ It is also vital to understand the compatibility of certain ingredients and the best times to use them. As discussed above, vitamin C serum should be applied in the morning to protect it from degradation as it shields your skin against pollution and UV damage. On the other hand, retinol is best used at night to promote cell repair and regeneration.

    Additionally, some skincare ingredients can counteract each other when used together, like exfoliating treatments and vitamin C. Be sure to consult the instructions of each product and layer them accordingly to avoid any adverse reactions.

    Layering Skincare Products Based on Your Specific Needs

    Your skin has unique anatomical and physiological needs that may change throughout the day. During the day, your skin needs protection from external factors like sunlight and pollution, while, in the evening, it’s repairing itself. Adjusting your skincare routine to address these needs can significantly impact the effectiveness of your products. Additionally, you have to be wary of specific skin concerns. If you have acne-prone skin or combination skin, don’t hesitate to reach out to experts to learn how to layer products properly to address your specific skin type or issue. 

    Learn More About Skincare 

    Want to learn more skincare tips? Check out our blog. We have posted articles about various topics, from sustainable skincare practices to skincare tips in your 30s

    And if you need new skincare products to layer or try, explore our full skincare collection. We offer cleansers, toners, moisturisers, masks, serums and other premium organic products from some of the best skincare brands in Australia and beyond.  

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