Cleanser, toner, serum, peel, emulsion, moisturizer, anti-wrinkle cream – with all the skin care products out there, it can be tricky enough to decode what certain beauty products do. But the trickier part of it all? Figuring out which comes first, and what goes under or over makeup. The whole thing is about as mysterious to us as the chicken or the egg question, really.
But while the jury is still out on that ancient debate, the order of skincare product application is completely agreed upon by Filipino beauty bloggers like Bianca Umali and Christine Liwag.
The Importance of Proper Layering
“Layering your skin care products in the right order allows all the active ingredients in them to be absorbed by the skin more,” Bianca, who is also a freelance makeup artist, said. Properly applying and layering of skin care products will also lead to better and more noticeable results.
Christine added, “Aside from keeping your skin healthy, it’s good to properly layer your products to prevent the skin from aging. Wrinkles may not be eliminated over time, but you can slow down the buildup, especially on your face. And who doesn’t want soft, acne-free skin right?”
On the other hand, slapping on five creams and then washing your face (because, seriously, that stuff is heavy), can interfere with their absorption. According to Bianca, this may also lead to congested pores and pimples – in other words, the exact opposite of the results you hope for.
Now that we’re on the same page on the beauty benefits of proper layering, let’s move on to what you’re really here for: how to do it.
Go from lightest/thinnest to heaviest/thickest
Always start with the lightest skin care product and work your way to the heaviest ones. If you use serums, apply them before oils, creams, or moisturizers, because a product as light as this one will find it hard to absorb into the skin if you put it on top of a thick night cream. Plus, serums are the most efficient in delivering ingredients onto the skin.
For a general guide, Christine provided a no-fail day and night routine:
- Day: Cleanser, Toner, Serum, Moisturizer, Eye Cream, Sunscreen
- Night: Cleanser, Toner, Pimple Spot Treatment (optional), Serum, Night Cream, Eye Cream, Moisturizer
What if everything is equal in weight, viscosity, or consistency? Be strategic. Put the product that deals with your top skin care concern first.
Allow some drying time
Shea Guinto, a self-confessed beauty junkie, mentioned that it takes more than 20 minutes to apply her skin care products. I thought that was too long, because mine only takes about 5 to 10 minutes. She said she always waited for the products to dry before applying the next.
I tried that technique, and noticed that the products are not “balling up” anymore when layering them. This may take a significant amount of your time especially during the mornings when you’re rushing for school or work, so try blending your skin care application in between the rest of your routine. For example, put toner and then drink your daily dose of caffeine, put on the moisturizer, then brush your teeth.
Know when – and which product – to interchange
The rules of layering aren’t always clear-cut. Sometimes, you need to interchange steps. For example, if your sensitive skin gets irritated with serums, try putting on moisturizer first and then the serums on top. The moisturizer will reduce the potency of the serums, and will be less likely to cause skin irritation.
Remember, everyone has unique skin care needs, and creating your own step-by-step that answers to those needs is the way to go. So, listen to your skin and find out what really works for you.
Layering is easy, really. But if you’re stumped, we suggest a chat with an aesthetician or dermatologist.
Got any other tips when layering skin care products? We’d like to hear them! Submit a comment below.
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Dyan is a 25-year-old writer with a sense of humor of a prepubescent male. On weekends, she hibernates.