In an unofficial poll conducted by Glamour magazine, 31% of women reported having 6-10 products in their beauty bags. Chances are, though, that number only reflects the handful of items they feel they can’t be without. In all likelihood, there are plenty more hanging out around the bathroom sink, in drawers, and under cabinets. While experts seem to agree that 3 - 4 products should suffice for a daily skincare routine, most of us are guilty of using far more.
While you might think that the sequence of your skincare favorites doesn’t matter, you may want to think again. In fact, the order of application is pretty important. When you choose a particular product for the specific benefits it promises, the truth is that only a fraction of those ingredients will even penetrate your skin, no matter how expensive it was or how it’s applied. And if you layer your skincare products on improperly, the likelihood of that product working at all is even lower.
So, when you’re using upwards of 4 or 5 skincare products in one go, how do you know which one comes first in your routine?
A good rule of thumb is to keep the number of products you use to a reasonable minimum and apply them in the correct order. Not only does this ensure that your skincare performs the way it should, but it also ensures that you don’t waste your money. Let’s take a look at how to layer your skincare products the right way.
Step 1: Cleanser
Any good beauty routine should begin with a cleanser that’s specially formulated for your skin type.
Step 2: Toner
While some people may forgo toner due to the misconception that it will dry out their skin, the truth is that toners can be really good for your skin. Not only do they remove traces of dirt, oil, and makeup, but they also balance your skin's pH and prepare it for subsequent steps in your routine. If you're concerned about over-drying or sensitivity, remember you can opt for toners that are specifically formulated for your skin type. There are plenty of toners for oily skin, sensitive skin, and dry skin readily available.
Step 3: Serum
If you use a serum, the best time to apply these skincare powerhouses would be immediately after your toners for maximum effect. Serums are ultra-concentrated shots of nutrients, antioxidants, and hydrating ingredients that often do the heavy lifting in any skincare routine. The best time to layer these on is after your toner, so your skin can absorb them effectively.
Step 4: Eye Cream
The skin around your eyes is the thinnest on your body, and for that reason, it’s the first place that those pesky signs of aging tend to make their debut. While it may be tempting to swipe your facial moisturizer around your eyes, it may not do much good. Moisturizers are simply not formulated to work with the delicate skin around your eyes. And they certainly can’t address specific concerns like dark circles or puffiness. So, do yourself a favor, find a good eye cream and layer it on after your serum.
Step 5: Spot Treatment
If you use a spot treatment, whether it’s for acne or dark spots, the best time to add it would be after your facial serum and before your moisturizer.
Step 6: Moisturizer
Everyone needs a moisturizer - even if it’s 90 degrees outside, and even if you have oily skin. Again, it may be tempting to skip your moisturizer, but by doing so, you’re depriving your skin of some much-needed daily hydration. Remember that sun exposure and harsh weather can wreak havoc on our skin. A good moisturizer will keep these aggressors in check, so don’t skip it.
Step 7: Sunscreen
If you use a physical sunscreen (i.e., sunscreens that contain zinc and titanium dioxide), the best time to layer them for maximum effect is after your moisturizer. On the other hand, chemical sunscreens (i.e., sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate) must be absorbed into the skin to be effective, so your best bet is to look for one that has moisturizing benefits as well as sun protection, like this one from Lancome.
When it comes to using multiple skincare products, there is a right way and a wrong way. If you layer your products improperly, you run the risk of not seeing the results you hoped for and wasting your hardearned money. Layering these products the right way, however, will not only ensure glowing skin that’s protected from the elements, it may also help you keep the signs of premature aging at bay.