How To Properly Layer Your Skincare

Naaila Khan

It’s funny how sometimes you find yourself knowing inane facts like for example, on an average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year (I know right?), but when it comes to basic things like going about your daily skincare routine, you’re suddenly a little lost. Like what goes on your skin first – moisturizer or sunscreen? Serum or eye cream? Does it matter?

Good news is, these are no chicken-or-egg questions; they actually have an answer, and it’s got to do with the right way to layer your skincare. Granted, this is no Korean 12-step routine – it’s just the basics of what goes on your skin when, but basics are what matter most, right?

Layering your skincare involves combining a variety of essential skin ingredients, and doing it in the correct order improves their efficacy for major benefits. Here we broke it down for you:


Step 1: Cleanser

First bit of cleansing:  makeup removal. It’s a good idea to take it all off before you start layering. Of course, this step is crucial before going to bed.

Next, no matter what you’re skimping on, let it not be your cleanser. Twice a day, use a generous amount on wet skin and make sure you get in every crevice to get squeaky clean. Take two minutes massaging the product in with small, circular motions, and then rinse well to remove every trace of it. Pat your face damp, not dry.

You can exfoliate right after this, or combine both steps into a good cleansing scrub to save time, but exfoliating once a day should do.


Step 2: Toner

Most people skip this one because there’s a lingering doubt that toners are irritable, but they are actually wonderful to add hydration to your skin, prep it for makeup, and it also improves skin texture in the long run, especially for those of us with acne-prone or oily skin. Just pick one that’s suited to your skin type and you’ll be just fine.


Step 3: Spot Treatment

This may not apply to everyone all the time, but if you are battling a zit or a few, here’s when you need to administer your prescribed medication, because spot treatment needs to be applied as close to the skin as possible for maximum effect. Plus, if it’s an acne treatment, the point is to dry up excess oil which is why this comes before any other cream. For best results, keep this on for at least five minutes before layering on your next product so it has enough time to do its job.


Step 4: Serum

If you’ve been anywhere near a person with great skin, they’ll tell you what a boon serums are. Whichever one you pick according to your need, your serum is basically like a multivitamin – packed with a whole bunch of good-for-you active ingredients. The ingredients decide whether this step is for the A.M. or P.M., but make sure you’re doing it right – gently press the serum into your skin rather than slathering it like a cream, and let it be for about 5 minutes – you want to ensure the good stuff is completely soaked in. If you’re using more than one, apply the ones with the thinnest consistency first. Also, serum before moisturiser, always.


Step 5: Moisturizer

Whatever time of day, giving your skin this dose of hydration is vital for all skin types (you heard that right, oily skinned friend). Remember when Zoolander said, "Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty"? That’s probably one advice we all should take from him, whether it comes in the form of a cream or facial oil.

And while you’re at it, why don’t you give yourself a mini massage? Apply your moisturiser in an upward motion, from neck to forehead. This promotes circulation and lymphatic drainage, and will deter your skin from sagging over time.


Step 6: Eye Cream

Ask any dermat and they’ll say eye creams become super important at least once a day as soon as you hit your 20s. You’ve probably heard the eye area is the most delicate skin of your body, so maintaining it from the very beginning will make sure it doesn’t lose its laxity. No one wants to end up with wrinkles, right? Apply a dot on your ring finger and lightly tap it around the eye in small circles.


Step 7: Sunscreen

Among your entire anti-aging arsenal, there’s no doubt this one’s the most important when you’re facing the sun – especially if you’re also using a serum with active ingredients. Just hold on until the rest of your products have dried – 10 minutes should do – and then slather this on with a vengeance. Consistency is key, so keep reapplying every two hours, and don’t forget your neck and décolletage. 




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