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Woman applying skincare product to her face

Does order matter when layering skincare products? Are there specific products you shouldn’t mix? Will you get different results depending on how and when you apply active ingredients?

We address each of these questions in depth and explain how to layer your skincare products in the morning and evening to achieve your desired results.

Key Takeaways

  • Applying skincare products in a specific order will help you benefit more from every ingredient.
  • As a rule of thumb, apply skincare products from thinnest to thickest.
  • Choosing a simple skincare routine can save you money and keep your skin safer and healthier over time.

Why Sequence Matters for Layering Skincare Products

Applying your skincare products in the proper order will allow you to experience the full benefits of each one. Even if you have the best skincare products in the world, they could be going to waste if you are misapplying them or using them in the wrong order. For example, if you apply a thick, creamy product first, it can form a barrier that your water-based products will not penetrate. Only certain ingredients can penetrate the skin – and only when applied correctly.

Another reason you should apply products in a specific order is because they may not be as effective (or effective at all) if they are mixed with others. Active ingredients may deactivate each other or create a chemical reaction that can harm your skin.

Basic Skincare Rules to Learn and Follow

As a rule of thumb, you should apply your skincare products starting with the thinnest/lightest and ending with the thickest/heaviest. The product with the thinnest texture may be water-based (e.g., serum or toner). Heavier products include creams and lotions (including sunscreen).

Here are a few more tips to keep in mind when determining which products to use and when to apply them in your skincare routine.

Pay Attention to pH Level

It is essential to know the approximate pH level in your active ingredients to apply them effectively. Use products that contain ingredients with a lower pH level first. These are more acidic. Products with higher pH levels are more neutral. If pH levels differ by more than 1.0 or 2.0, do not apply them at the same time of the day. If you do, they may not work as intended.

If you haven’t already, check with a dermatologist before pairing active ingredients in your skincare routine to ensure they are safe. You can also speak with a skincare expert to learn which actives are safe for your skin.

Skin pH scale from acidic to alkaline

Water-Based Versus Oil-Based Products

Water and oil do not mix, and oil can prevent water from penetrating the skin. Always apply your water-based products before oil-based products so the water can absorb into your skin.

Try a Vitamin C Alternative

Vitamin C can help brighten the skin, improve skin texture, and protect against sun damage. However, an encapsulated peptide is milder than pure vitamin C and may be a better alternative for normal and sensitive skin. An encapsulated peptide is a powerful active ingredient for reducing melanin production and can rapidly improve skin tone and safely induce lightening.

How to Layer Your Skincare Products for Maximum Efficacy

Did you know that your skincare routine does not need to be long and complex? In fact, using too many products can have negative consequences. Choosing a simple routine can save you money and keep your skin safer and healthier. Follow these basic steps to build a simple skincare routine to stick to and benefit from long term.

Morning and night skincare routine

1. Cleanser

The first product to use is your cleanser. In the morning, wipe away any oil and sweat that has accumulated overnight. In the evening, wash off the dirt, makeup, and dead skin cells from your face. You can use water or try a gentle cleanser that is non-soap-based and pH-balanced. Cleaning your skin is essential to decreasing your risk of experiencing breakouts and bacterial infections.

2. Exfoliant

Gently scrub your face to remove any remaining dead skin cells and replenish your skin, brightening and smoothing its surface. You may wish to use a gentle chemical exfoliant like hydroxyl acid or citric acid. Exfoliate once or twice per day, depending on how sensitive your skin is.

3. Toner

Quality toners should prepare your skin to receive moisture and contribute extra nutrients effectively. Make sure your toner is alcohol-free (to avoid drying out your skin). Hydrating ingredients include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and rosewater.

4. Serum

A serum can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and make your skin firmer. Serums are lightweight moisturizers that contain high levels of active ingredients that absorb quickly, fight signs of aging, and soothe irritated skin.

5. Moisturizer

Next, it is time to apply your moisturizer to rehydrate your cells and enhance the protective oils in your skin. If your skin becomes too dry, it may crack, peel, break out, or become irritated. Search for hydrating products that contain humectant and occlusive ingredients. Ingredients like sugar beetroot extract, Canadian willowherb extract, saccharide isomerate, and hyaluronic acid can help deeply hydrate the skin.

Remember to take care of your lips and eyes. Try an eye cream or hydrating booster (serum) to add extra moisturizer to the delicate eye area, reducing dark circles and dryness. For the lips, use a heavy hydrating lip balm to prevent chapping and cracking. You can apply these products before or after your regular face moisturizer.

6. Sunscreen

Sunscreen should be a staple in your skincare routine. Many skincare products include sunscreen, making it an easy step to add. Ensure your sunscreen has a minimum of SPF 30. Sunscreen will help protect your skin from premature aging, wrinkles, and skin imperfections like age spots and enlarged pores.

Choosing Quality Products for Your Unique Skin Type

Your skin is unique, which means you may not benefit from the same products as a friend or family member. To choose the best products for your skin type, you need to know your skin ID. We can help you build a customized skincare routine based on your skin type and condition. Our skin analysis tool will tell you which ingredients will give you the best results.

Check your skin ID today with our free quiz!

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