6 Beauty Rules for Layering Your Skincare

With serums, creams, facial essences and mists, your morning skincare routine tends to require a little bit (or a lot) of beauty alchemy. And, because those five creams that you cocktail together every morning are on the pricey side, it’s important you get the most use out of them. So here’s your comprehensive guide to the art of layering your skincare once you’ve washed your face. Cheers to better skin and swifter mornings!

Step One: Focus on Weight. The best rule of thumb for layering your skincare is to layer by weight, so facial mists and toners should always precede moisturizers. If you have both a facial mist and a toner, then start with the toner. Make sure that you give products a chance to dry before layering the next product. 

Step 2: Layer a gel-based acid, peptide-rich or antioxidant serum. To treat age spots and help your skin fight free radicals, always incorporate a hydrating vitamin-rich serum. Hyaluronic acid, peptides and vitamin C are great for adding moisture to the skin while also brightening and providing anti-aging benefits. We love Youth to the People Serum ($62, at youthtothepeople.com). If your serum is oil-based, skip this step and layer it on after your moisturizer.

Step 3: Moisturize. To lock in those antioxidants, nothing beats a great moisturizer. Use a cream that caters to your skin’s various needs. Got oily/combination skin? Look for a moisturizer that’s oil-free and comes in gel form like bareMinerals True Oasis Oil-Free Replenishing Gel ($32, at sephora.com) Sensitive skin? Try Avéne Eau Thermal Skin Recovery Cream ($34, at aveneusa.com) Dry skin? We suggest Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream ($65, at sephora.com) Worried about anti-aging? Try Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 ($125, at skinceuticals.com). Allow your cream to settle on the skin before layering your next product.

Step 4: Layer on an oil. Whether you’re using an brightening facial or an oil-based serum, allow some time for your cream to dry before layering it over your moisturizer. A few drops of oil should do the trick. Apply two or three drops to the palm of your hands, rub together and press into the skin. 

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Step 5: SPF. There should never be a day that you don’t wear SPF. Despite its common moniker, sunscreen isn’t just for use when the sun is out. Dermatologists recommend using an SPF of at least 30 to ensure maximum protection (without the chalky residue.) If you burn easily, you may need a higher SPF, particularly for your face.

Step 6: Makeup. For warmer months, opt for lighter coverage like a tinted moisturizer to prevent pores from clogging. Incorporating a blush or finishing powder with an SPF is also great for mattifying your skin while also protecting it from the sun.

Trust us— it sounds like a lot more work than it really is, but we promise it’s worth the fuss! One last thing: if your regimen also includes a retinoid, be sure to avoid pairing it with any other gentle peels like AHAs (alphahydroxy acids) BHAs (betahydroxy acids), and glycolic or salicylic acids; paired together, they do more harm then good and make your skin hypersensitive to the sun. 

Happy layering!