The Art of Layering: Understanding the Correct Order of Applying Skincare Products

You aren’t alone if you aren’t sure what order to apply your skincare products. Layering skincare products in the proper order nourishes, hydrates, and protects your skin. It also ensures ultimate anti-aging benefits. Layering your skincare in the proper order delivers the coverage you desire and ensures all-day wear.


#1 Cleanse First

Always apply your skincare products to freshly cleansed skin. This washes away sweat, oil, makeup, daily toxins, and the last layer of skincare products you applied. You may prefer a foaming cleanser in the morning and summer months, or a creamy cleanser or double cleansing in the evening and winter months.


#2 Tone

Toner is a step many skip, but it’s essential for helping you maintain or restore your skin’s pH balance. Proper pH balance is essential for soft, smooth, and hydrated skin. Toners are available as a liquid or a lotion. Lotion toners provide extra antioxidants, but they don’t moisturize your skin. Just be sure that your toner doesn’t contain alcohol.


Apply your toner directly after patting your skin dry.


#3 Face and Eye Serum

Serums are ultra-thin antioxidant-rich formulas designed to easily penetrate your pores. It’s never too soon to begin using serum, but no later than your 30s or when the signs of aging begin to show.


Apply serum a minute or two after your toner once your skin has dried.


#4 Face and Eye Moisturizer

Moisturizers also contain antioxidants, but their primary role is to restore and lock in moisture. Daytime creams are lightweight enough to easily layer makeup on top. Nighttime creams are thicker to help your skin repair while you sleep.


Apply a minute or two after your serum.


#5 Facial Oil

Facial oil is primarily used to provide a secondary moisture layer. So, some only use facial oil in the winter months or when in harsh weather. Some only use facial oil when they want a dewy glow. It’s also popular for those who don’t wear makeup as the glow reflects light to minimize skin imperfections without having to apply makeup.


Mix a drop or two into your moisturizer or layer it over your moisturizer.


#6 Facial Sunscreen

While the products above are designed to nourish and moisturize, sunscreen (like makeup) is designed to sit on top of your skin. Your AM moisturizer and makeup may provide UV protection. If so, you don’t need to apply facial sunscreen unless you are outside for an extended period of time. Most sunscreens are white, which can leave streaks or interfere with your makeup color saturation. So, consider tinted sunscreen.


Apply 2 or 3 minutes after your moisturizer or facial oil.


#7 Makeup

If you don’t wear makeup, you’re all set! If you wear makeup, here’s how to layer your products.


  • Primer—a primer evens out discoloration, provides a smooth base for your makeup, and helps your makeup stay put.
  • Foundation—foundation provides your choice of barely-there coverage, medium coverage, or HD-ready flawless finish.
  • Powder—powder can be applied solo or on top of your foundation. It provides light coverage and minimizes oil.
  • Setting spray—setting sprays can be applied over foundation and powder to help makeup stay put.
  • Lip care—apply lip balm first to nourish and prime your lips, then layer lip color on top. Ensure at least one of your lip products provides UV protection.


Last but not least, personalize your skincare products and makeup to your individual needs!

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