Layering Skin Care Products

Layering Skin Care Products

A very simple way to layer your favourite skin care products.

As the sales have begun, demand in Skin Care products have risen beyond expectations.

I’m glad you yielded to the temptation & splurged on skin care products, I particularly don’t feel bad for you. I would actually love you to maintain that glass skin and continue to get it right.

Recommended: Fresh Canvas For Makeup

Recommended: Should Skin Care Have 10 Routines?

Recommended: Fresh Skin Challenge 

Recommended: Dry Brushing and Exfoliation 

Have you ever felt the need to use you products all at once? I’d say you should exercise a little patience and layer the products on your skin, allowing time intervals between each application.

This is particularly important if you are dealing with acids (Glycolic acid, Salicylic acid etc.), actives and if you follow a skin care regimen. Trust me, you don’t want to mix your toner, serum, sunscreen and treatment together and put on your skin. That is a big NO!

I remembered back in the day when I had the most intense burning sensation ever. I got some Vitamin C serum, took my mom’s Ret 0.1, mixed both in the hollow of my palms & slathered that combo on my face. Sigh!!!!!! 

Thank goodness my face does not look like what it went through. 

That was when I knew about layering.

skin care


If you are not already layering your products, you actually should start today and maximize the benefits of all skin care products without letting the other up (you can use like 8 products with layering but I love minimal routines because they’re more effective).

How does this work?

Think Winter or Harmattan, first off. Great, it’s not as warm anymore. You know how you might have a vest on, and a jumper. Then it gets mighty chilly at night so you take a trench coat. You’d realize you’ve layered your clothings to keep you warm, sometimes, without intending to do that.

Guess what, you can do that with skin care products.

How To Layer Skin Care Products 

As the rule of thumb, skin care products are layered from the thinnest texture/ consistency to the thickest consistency.

This means that I start with the lightest water -like product and end with the thickest, usually oils.

For me, that would start:

  •  Cleansing the skin. Cleansers are usually light weight and runny. It help exfoliate your skin, if the cleanser contains acids and allows a clean, fresh canvas to accept skin care.
  •  Toner- Toners are usually light weight as well, with a consistency of water. It helps balance the skin’s pH, minimise the appearance of large pores, if you’re using an Astringent like Thayers Witch Hazel Toner or a Hydrating Toner. Hadalabo is my beauty grail.
  • Serum/ Essence- I usually skip on the Essence but Serums are almost a daily need for treating skin concerns. They’re lightweight (almost like a gel) but lighter (not as light as a toner). They help treat the skin’s concern eg uneven skintone, dull skin, acne, fine lines and wrinkles – Niacinamide, Vitamin C Serum, Retinol, Peptides (respectively).
  • Moisturiser- Now it gets heavier or thicker. Lotions, creams and butters are all heavier and thicker than Serums. Additionally, Moisturisers are skin barriers, locking and sealing in moisture and are usually occlusive so it doesn’t get absorbed by the skin. Since it just sits on the skin, anything applied after it just sits on the moisturiser film/ residue. All the serum and treatments to waste. While skin Serums and toners are absorbed by the skin due to the size of the molecules in their composition, it makes it ideal to use before locking and sealing.
  • Sunscreen- It is so heavy, sometimes, I feel it’s weight on the skin. It is ideal to use as the last product. Ever more so, it is ok for it to sit on a Moisturiser since it’s deflecting all the UV rays from the sun. It needs to just sit there and Samurai.

Related: Chemical Peels

Related: Affordable Vitamin C Serums On The Market

Related: Views on Game Of Thrones

Related: Disturbing Characters On Game Of Thrones

It could get more complicated at time but this is only the basic and can serve as a guide.

I would imagine that you do not want to use a thicker product over a light one. Usually, the thinner the consistency, the easier it is to be absorbed/ penetrated by the skin.

Tip – That is the reason you should use a lotion and not a cream (when moisturising). Gels, even better than lotion. Except you’ve got oily skin.

What I always did, to this day, is that as soon as I’m done bathing, I try to apply my toner, Essence and mix a little healing oil to treat the spot (if any). Or use the exfoliants. While I’m buying time to let it get fully absorbed by the skin (usually, 3 minutes), I’m brushing my teeth and making coffee to distract me from the waiting game.

In between each application, there must be something to do while letting each product get absorbed properly.

This way, the products used are more potent and are at higher efficacy then mixing products.

As actives do not mix, don’t bother mixing Vitamin C serum with Vit A Rets.This will be dealt extensively in another post. Thankfully most brands are aware of the method of absorption so they’ve taken initiatives to make products tailored to a layering process.

Most products on the market are thinner/water-like; matching the steps of skincare regime. An extended routine is:

1. Cleanse using a non-foamy facial wash. This might also mean you would need to use an oil based cleanser for your skin if it is a one time step does not suffice. This is double cleansing.

From a product I have used, always stick to water-based cleaners. Check this.

2.Go in with a Toner on a cotton pad. For me, Mario Badescu, Paula’s Choice and Witch Hazel are holy grails. Witch Hazel is really special. Let me know if you want me to write on that.

3. The Eye-cream: Most eye creams seem to be thicker than I’ve known them to be.  Always apply lightest touch to tap these products at the bottom of the eyes, close to your temples. I double Essences and eye cream with my go to fav. You really do not want a flawless skin with raccoon eyes.

Related: Skin Lightening Vs Skin Brightening

Related: Plant Based Skin Care

Related: Boost Collagen With The Right Moisturiser

4. Spot treatment/or any treatment- Use your Tea Tree oil. Acne Treatment. Apply your beauty treatment at this point.

In the morning, go easy on Retinoids and Vitamin C serums.. 

5. Next step is the serum- Serums are like VERBs in English language. The action word. Serums are amazing. They are sometimes light or milky/creamy. They actually do work wonders in rejuvenating, firming, tightening, lightening and renewing the skin.

6. Slather that moisturizer all over your body, in reckless abandon. Use generously

7. Seal up/lock up the moisture with your rich oils. While others apply rich oils before moisturizes, I know how thick oils are.

They might penetrate the skin when used over lighter products but believe me, nothing goes into the skin after oils or moisturisers are applied. They are so protective, lubricating and can not let anything penetrate the sebum-after it is applied. Even water won’t. Try it.

Note- Not all layering is tailored to follow sans suit, sometimes, spot treatments might make you apply serums before treating the spot.

You might also find yourself using thicker serums or multiple serums, altering the flow. In all of these, nothing is cast in stone. Use the thinnest water like product, end with the thickest product.

8. Sunscreen- Tell me how much you love your skin without sunscreen and Vitamin c serum, I’ll be worried.

It is scientifically said and I’ll tell you that properties of Zinc oxide do not successfully penetrate the skin.

It sits on the skin surface acting like the last character of the Avengers– deflecting the sun rays, absorbing UVA/UVB rays that your skin might have been burnt from or exposed to directly.

What sunscreen is the best on the market right now? How do you apply your Skin Care products?

Your Aurora

SHE is a Lawyer and Procurement advisor. With an avid interest in skincare and beauty, lifestyle, health and general well-being, I am the author and content creator of YourAurora.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook