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Layering skin care products

These days there are so many amazing new serums, masks, treatments and oils that it can be overwhelming to know how to incorporate them into your daily skincare regime. Knowing how and when to use products is the difference between getting the most out of your precious new purchase versus leaving it sitting in the bathroom cupboard for the next twelve months.

The general rule of layering is thinnest to thickest - but there are some exceptions. Read on.

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Do this before anything else

To get the most out of your skincare you need to start with a cleansed face first. After all, you don't want your skincare to stick to oils and pollutants on your skin - you want them to absorb deep into the layers. If that means double cleansing or using a sonic cleansing brush then I would highly recommend doing that first. Following this I like to use a gentle exfoliator to help get rid of dead skin cells and any pollutants or dirt particles on the skin.

First layer

Hydrating toners or essence are generally the lightest formula with the smallest molecules so it's best to start with these. Toners can also help balance the PH levels of your skin and this is very important to protect your delicate skin (see my previous post here for more information). Having a hydrated and slightly moist face also helps the serums to absorb deeper into the skin.

Second layer

Now go in with your serums to nourish and treat your skin. Serums penetrate deep into the skin to deliver active ingredients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, retinol or hyaluronic acid. If you have acne prone skin you might use a serum which has salicylic acid to help dry up and clear your breakouts.

Final layer

The last layer should be the most thickest product and normally will be something that can lock your products into your skin. This can help your serums to be more effective. Use a nourishing moisturiser to lock everything in and provide the needed moisture your skin needs. If you like face oils then I recommend using this last after the moisturiser. Leave a few minutes in between layers to give them time to soak in and prevent pilling.


If you have sensitive skin that tends to react with serums or treatments feel free to break the rules and put a light moisturiser on first. This will form a barrier so the serums won't be as potent on the skin. It will be less effective but for those with sensitive skin it can be less irritating.

What is your skincare routine like? Do you have any favourite serums or treatments that you can't live without? Share your thoughts below in the box!

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