If you’ve ever felt lost and confused when facing a whole row of skincare products, this one is for you.
With so many types of face cleansers, eye creams, serums and more, it can be enough of a challenge to get the right product in each category for your skin type – let alone know how to layer your skincare products.
But, the reality is, if you’re not applying your skincare products in the right order, you could actually be wasting all your hard-earned money.
If that skin serum can’t sink in and do it’s job, because you layered it over moisturizer – well, girl, no other way to say it but… you just wasted your money and your skincare product.
Yeah, I feel you.
So, What’s the Right Order to Layer Your Skincare Products?
Here’s the good news! There’s a simple system for how to layer your skincare products so they can get to work and transform your skin.
The system won’t really change, regardless of season or what product you use.
That means once you get the order down like a pro, you’ll be ready to for good.
I love it when that happens don’t you?
To make it as easy as possible, I created this lovely little graphic for you to break down the steps.
Then, after you take a look, we will go into a little more detail on the steps and how you can figure out the products that are right for you:
Pretty easy, right?
Let’s dive in to each one and talk product. Most products below are affiliate links; I am only recommending products I use and love here.
1. Start By Cleansing:
Cleansing is the name of the game. Something gentle, so you don’t dry out your skin, but also something that will take off the day and all your makeup.
I haven’t written a full post on my favorite face washes yet, but here are a few to get you started:
I’ve written about this one a few times and still love it. I use this most nights as it is super refreshing, gentle, gets all the makeup off, but leaves my skin super soft.
An oldie, but goodie. I always have some of this on hand. It isn’t the cleanest product, as it does have some ingredients I usually avoid, but it just works so dang good it’s hard to care.
It’s all about balance, amiright?
Plus, for the super affordable price, you just can’t beat it.
Then, after cleansing, you can either use a face brush, such as the Foreo, which I just picked up and absolutely love, a kojac sponge, which is the most affordable route, or even a fancy brush, like a Clarisonic.
If you’re going to do a face mask, now is the time to do that. I typically do 1-2 face masks a week.
2. Time to Tone:
Toner is more beneficial than I used to realize! When I was younger, I only used toner when I was breaking out and picked super loaded toners designed to kill bacteria.
Problem was, they killed all the good stuff in my skin, too, which increased dryness and encouraged breakouts.
Now, I know better.
I use toners that will improve the quality of my skin by sinking deep down into pores to clean them out and moisturize my skin with powerful ingredients like rose water.
My absolute go-to, most favorite toner of all time, is this super affordable, drugstore beauty pick:
Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner with Rose Petal Water:
This toner will help prevent breakouts, too, but won’t dry your skin and the rose petal water will moisturizer and leave your skin super soft. Plus, it smells much better than most toners, although it doesn’t have any synthetic fragrances.
Use reusable cotton pads or disposable to apply – whichever works for you.
3. Dot the Spot Treatment:
If you’ve got any blemishes you’d like to treat or use, now is the time.
Personally, I use a light veil of Clinique Anti-Aging, Anti-Acne Serum almost every night. It really effectively stops breakouts for me.
I wrote a whole post about how much I love it here. I also share some other spot treatments in that post that I really like.
Here’s a super affordable version by Neutrogena:
The only spot treatments you wouldn’t use at this point are the ones that are super thick, such as Mario Bedascu’s Drying Treatment. Save those for nighttime, when you won’t be layering more skin care and makeup on top.
4. Sweep On the Serum:
You may be on the fence about trying a serum, but once you see the incredible changes in your skin, you’ll be hooked!
Serums are one of the most concentrated skin care products you can buy – which means a lot more bang for your buck! They last a long time and are chock full of active ingredients that sink straight into your skin!
If you’re using one, this is the time for your serum. Usually, just a few drops will be enough for your face and neck. I really love skin serums and have seen such a tremendous difference in my skin.
I actually wrote an entire post on what serums are for, what kind of serum you would want for your skin, various highly-rated skin serums in different price points and more.
Check out the Ultimate Guide to Skin Serums here.
5. I Scream for Eye Cream!
Pat, pat, pat, your eye cream around your undereye area and around and up under the eyebrow.Consider using a different eye cream for day and night, based on what your skin needs.
I am obsessed with eye creams, to put it mildly! I have so many and rotate through them based on what I’m feeling like using that day.
I recently wrote a post on my favorite 9 eye creams for sensitive skin and eyes! Also, I talk about some of the other amazing eye creams I use in my post on the Best Eye Creams for Dark, Undereye Circles!
6. Mama Needs to Moisturize:
Get ready to moisturize! This is one of my favorite steps, because moisturizer just feels so good!It may not come as a surprise to you that I also have quite a few moisturizers that I rotate between!
For daytime, I am 100% in love with this La Roche-Posay Toleriane UV Day Moisturizer.
Usually under $20, lasts awhile and has this soothing, cooling quality.
It’s my top pick in my post on sunscreens for your face.
Face Moisturizers for Nighttime:
At night, you want to go for something richer and more moisturizing, since you won’t have to layer makeup on top. I wrote a post on my favorite drugstore night moisturizers that you might love.
One of them is this Neutrogena Hydro-Boost Moisturizer. Affordable, comes with a very generous amount of product and feels so good on your skin:
I have been really impressed with this one!
Plus, check out my post on the incredible, affordable beauty products at Trader Joe’s, because they have a gel cream that has been compared to a much more expensive face cream!
7. Face Full of Face Oil:
Now, this step may feel counterintuitive, but I promise this is what came up over and over in my research and talking to dermatologists. If your moisturizer doesn’t have SPF and if you need an additional skin oil for increased moisture, pat your skin oil all over on top of your moisturizer. This will create a seal over all of the skin care products you just applied so that they can really sink in.
Personally, I skip this step because #BREAKOUTS and #ACNEPRONE.
But, I’ll occasionally add oil at night when I am feeling dry.
When I use this at night, I wake up with much more even, bright skin that almost looks airbrushed.
8. Sun’s Up; SPF On:
If you’re outside – you’re wearing SPF!
While I get mine in my day lotion, you will need to layer it on top if you are using a day oil or your lotion doesn’t have it.
The easiest way to do this is by brushing it on in a mineral foundation such as this one:
Or, if you’ll be wearing makeup, you can wear a BB Cream or foundation that has SPF in it (and most do now).
Here’s a great article on the best sunscreens for your face. Sun damage is real, yo!
There you go! The 8-step skincare routine that’ll get you the best skin of your life!
Remember that everyone’s skin is different and will respond to different products. You may also find that you don’t need one or two of these steps and it’s best for you to skip them.
For example, I don’t tone every night and I don’t use a face oil during the day – ever, and only at night a couple times a week.
Try new things, keep what works, and stop what doesn’t serve you.
Skincare is not one-size fits all; so find what you love.
Have a fabulous day,