Does it really matter what order you layer on your skincare?
No matter how good your products, applying them the wrong way could mean that they might not penetrate your skin, so ultimately they’re just not going to be effective.
In which case you’ll miss out on all the fab benefits and ultimately waste your products, time and money.
So where do you start?
Generally speaking you’ll apply the lightest products first, and water based products before oil-based products.
Okay, not really…
There are so many new products now, lots of them with names suggesting you’d need a science degree to understand what they actually are. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll come across so many articles and posts giving recommendations that for a long time, I gave up even trying to get my head around it.
But deep down I knew there were so many brilliant skincare products available that I’d be missing out if I didn’t try.
So purely in my own selfish interests and a desire to preserve my own (aging) skin, I was determined to break it all down. And the research blew my mind even more.
First of all, what I would say is that YOU DO NOT NEED ALL OF THESE STEPS! EVER.
Consider your own skin requirements, what products you already use, which you want to keep using, what products you want to try.
And if you have sensitive skin or you’re treating any skin conditions please seek expert advice before introducing new products into your skincare regime.
Then whatever you do use, should that only be 2 or 3 products, use them in this order, allowing time for each product to absorb before applying the next.
Morning skincare routine
Yes, even if you’ve done it the night before! Use a cleansing milk/balm/gel and give it a nice quick wipe with a warm flannel and this helps gently exfoliate.
If you use it. It can help remove any traces of cleanser.
If you want to use product this could be a gentle liquid exfoliating acid. Although you don’t necessarily need to do this as the warm flannel in Step 1 helps gently exfoliate while cleansing.
And if you’re using a stronger exfoliant at night-time, such as Glycolic Acid, then you can skip this step altogether.
With a facial mist to help maximise hydration
5. Eye cream
Apply this before other face products so that it can be absorbed
6. Treatment serum
To treat your own skin concerns. These might include Peptides, Niacinimide, Antioxidants or Vitamin C derivatives.
7. Hydrating Serum
Light serums with humectants, such as a Hyaluronic Acid serum help lock in moisture.
You may not need both a moisturiser and a hydrating serum, if not use which works best for you. If not using an oil, moisturiser should always be your last layer before sunscreen.
9. Face Oil
Oil locks in the hydrating benefits of every other layer. But while it locks the moisture in, no other products can get through this so use it last.
Always use an SPF30 or higher and make sure you’re using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA rays and UVB rays. La Roche-Posay Anthelios.
My Morning Routine
Believe me, I DO NOT DO ALL OF THAT every morning! I use a handful of these products so don’t ever need all these steps, otherwise I’d never have time to leave the house!
I’m all about simple and efficient and if I could find one product that would do everything, to me that would be the dream. But until that time, here’s what I do…
1. Cleanse with a mild cream cleanser and a warm flannel
Right now I switch between The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser and CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. Both are very simple, gentle cleansers that don’t make my skin feel tight or dry after washing.
2. Eye cream
The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG – My morning caffeine shot for my eyes, they feel instantly refreshed.
* Occasional use of niacinimide or salicylic acid
I used to alternate these each morning but now that I’m using Glycolic Acid at night-time I find I don’t need them every morning
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
3. Hyaluronic Acid
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Spotting my obsession with The Ordinary yet?!
BOOM! 5 steps. Job done!
I use a lot of the same products both morning and night, just introducing AM or PM specific products where needed.
Evening skincare regime
Night time when you sleep is when your skin does all its repair, recovery and renewal. Your evening routine is prepping the skin for effective treatment.
1. Double cleanse
First step is removing make-up and the grease and dirt of the day. An oil based product is good to cut through all this.
Even if you’re not wearing make-up, you’ll need a double cleanse to wash your SPF off properly to avoid breakouts.
After that, you can use a mild balm, milk or gel cleanser to actually clean your skin. Again, you can use a warm flannel to help gently exfoliate.
With a mild liquid chemical exfoliator. You can use a stronger product such as AHAs or BHAs at night time. Glycolic, salicylic and azelaic acids all remove dead skin cells without harming the skin barrier.
4. Eye care
5. Treatment serum
‘Best used at night time when you’re not exposed to light.
7. Hydrating serum
You can use a rich cream at night unless these are too heavy for your skin
9. Face Oil
Again this helps lock in all those layers of goodness
10 Lip Balm
A slick of lip balm helps soothe those lips with some overnight repair
* Always include your neck and décolletage in your skincare. Or as I recently heard skincare guru Caroline Hirons describe it TITTT…Take It To The Tits. Fab advice!
* Where possible opt for paraben free, fragrance free, alcohol free products.
* Avoid using too many active ingredients. These powerful ingredients can counteract with each other and irritate the skin.
And that’s it.
My Evening Routine
1. Double Cleanse
– Remove make-up with Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
– Cleanse with a mild cream cleanser and a warm flannel, I like The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser and CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser.
2. Glycolic acid to exfoliate
My current favourites, actually my long-term absolute favourites are:
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid described as an ‘overnight facial’. It really is.
3. Eye care
No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Eye Cream
4. Face oil
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil 100% natural, highly antioxidant, and a little goes a long way.
You can read about some of my favourites in My Must-Have Budget Skincare Products, which also shows that looking after you skin can also be done while looking after your pennies.
If you have the right products working at their optimum when used correctly, then a handful of products should be all you need.
And I’ve broken down some of the science of these active ingredients in Skincare: AHAs, BHAs…WTF?!
Enjoy all those luscious layers of skin pampering!