Skin Layering: What is The Correct Order of Applying Skincare?

Posted by Ritu Khanna on

The right order of applying skincare products. Plus, combinations that you should avoid and ones that promise maximum results.

As important as the skincare ingredients and formulations are, skincare won’t be effective if every product isn’t layered in the right order. While every skincare product has a place in your skincare regime, the formula and consistency of each product affects when it should be applied. While the basic principle is to first cleanse and then apply from lightest to thickest, there are always exceptions.

The general correct order of skin care products:

  • Cleanser
  • Scrub or exfoliator
  • Toner
  • Serum
  • Sheet mask
  • Under-eye cream
  • Moisturiser
  • SPF (morning)
  • Oils (night)

Skin layering based on different consistencies

While skin layering is vital for healthy skin, following the consistency rule is a good place to start. The rule of thumb here is to go from the lightest formulations to the heaviest ones. Always start with water-based products and then move your way towards thicker cream or oil formulations.

Why do we follow this order of applying skincare products?

Well, starting with the heavier cream-based products won’t allow the lighter water-based or gel-based products to seep into the skin. So, if you want to achieve maximum benefits, following this skincare pattern will ensure that every product gets absorbed into the skin.

Coming to skin layering and skincare, we must remember that while some ingredients may be beneficial for your skin, they can quickly become your nightmare if applied together. Here are two combinations you should completely avoid for healthier and glowing skin.

Two combinations to avoid

Retinoids + Vitamin C

Vitamin C is meant for mornings and retinoids for the night. So, their combination wouldn’t benefit your skin but instead cause irritation if paired together. Retinoids are powerful ingredients that can increase skin irritation and make your skin sensitive to sunlight, causing further difficulties when you go outside after applying them during the day. Using vitamin C with retinoids can also over-exfoliate your skin and cause redness. It’s better to use vitamin C in the morning with sunscreen and keep retinoids for the night to enjoy the best of both ingredients.

Beta-Hydroxy Acid + Alpha-Hydroxy Acid

These two are powerhouse ingredients that can lend great benefits to your skin, but layering them on one another isn’t the wisest thing to do. Skin layering of AHA and BHA will cause excessive dryness by stripping off the natural skin oils and cause skin sensitivity and irritation. If you are eager to use these together, instead of layering them, opt for a product formulated using both ingredients in adequate quantities so you can reap their benefits.

Two combinations to try

Combining two highly potent ingredients will create fabulous results for your skin. If you want to mix two ingredients for targeting various problem areas together, here are two combinations we recommend.

 Niacinamide + Salicylic Acid

One hailing from the vitamin B3 family and the other from the beta-hydroxy-acid family, the combination of niacinamide and salicylic is nothing less than wondrous for your skin. When used together, they can offer several skin benefits such as reduced pore size, lesser acne breakouts, and reduced signs of ageing. Salicylic acid reaches deep into the pores and clears out all excess sebum that helps reduce the pore size, giving your skin a brighter and fresher look, and boosting collagen production. Niacinamide, on the other hand, reduces sebum production and prevents acne breakouts. It also reduces bacteria production on the skin and enhances skin elasticity, thus reducing early signs of ageing.

Our pick: Perenne Cosmetics' Niacinamide Serum For Scar Healing With Centella Asiatica is a scar-reducing serum that helps diminish acne scars effectively. This natural formulation minimises your pores by balancing your sebum production. The best part is that it also has salicylic acid that makes a potent serum for everyday use. It also contains ingredients like witch hazel, roman chamomile, and chinaberry that offer incredible results for the skin. With regular skin layering of this serum, you will notice reduced blemishes and a improved complexion.

Green tea + Caffeine

You need products rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to keep your skin protected from irritation and UV damage. That said, give green tea and caffeine a try and you won’t be disappointed. The combination of these ingredients will improve your skin’s tolerance for UV rays and minimise such damage. Using them for skin layering will hydrate and nourish your skin deeply. 

Our pick: Perenne Cosmetics' Broad Spectrum Sunscreen is a highly potent sunscreen that protects your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. This formulation includes powerful and soothing ingredients like green tea extract, jojoba oil, and cocoa butter that naturally reduce tanning and effectively hide early signs of ageing. It is also full of antioxidants that protect the skin barrier. Since it's SPF 50, it’s truly the perfect pick for summers.

Skin layering is essential to keep your skin hydrated, glowing, and healthy. Bookmark this guide to remember the correct order of applying skincare for beautiful and glowing skin.