Layering of skincare products

How to layer the skincare products for maximum benefits

Does it really matter how you apply your skin care products? Of course the answer is ‘Yes’. You may own the most amazing and the best skincare products in the world, but if you apply them in the wrong order, you will not get the desired results and definitely will be wasting your precious time and money.

Let us look at why correct layering of skincare products matter.

If you don’t layer your skincare products in proper order, you may run into several problems.

  1. Problems with penetration – If you put a thick, creamy or oily product at the base and then put a thin water based product on top, the top product cannot get through to your skin. This thick cream will form a barrier on your skin which will prevent other products from penetrating.
  2. Problems with effectiveness – If products are unable to penetrate your skin well, how can you get their full benefits? Certain active ingredients are not meant to be applied together. Ex: Vitamin C and Protein rich products

Using such products together can deactivate the ingredients or create unwanted chemical reactions. This makes your skincare routine ineffective.

  1. Can be harmful to your skin – Incorrect layering of skincare products can in fact harm your skin. If you apply serum on top of oily products, this can dehydrate your skin making it dry. You surely don’t want to end up with damaged skin after spending so much money on your skincare products. Do you?

So, here are some general rules to determine how layering of skincare products should be done.

  • Water based before oil based products – From our high school chemistry, we know that oil and water don’t mix. Oil blocks water from penetrating as it forms a barrier. So water based products must be applied first. Once it is absorbed, you can apply oil based products on top.
  • Thin textures first – Thin and light formulas like water or fluid based serum and toners should be applied first. Then heavier and moisturizing products like creams and lotions should be applied followed by a sun screen.
  • PH of the products matter too. It is best to know the PH levels of active ingredients you use and apply the lowest to highest. Acidic products that have a low PH (PH 3-4) should be applied before products of neutral PH (PH 5-7). Products with similar PH levels can be applied at the same time. If there is a big gap in their PH levels you have to use them at different times of the day.

How do you layer your skincare products?

There are a lot of so called ‘Skin experts’ on internet saying different things about skincare. What’s the point of your skincare routine if you cannot get the desired results? But, here is a sure, tried and tested way on how to layer your skincare products. Below is the proper order of layers.

  1. Cleanser

If your skin is already dirty, how can you make it look better? I’m not saying that it is visibly dirty. Even if your skin looks and feels wonderful, it doesn’t mean that it is free of sweat, germs and surplus oils. As a result of pollution, our skin may have tons of microscopic dirt collected on it throughout the day. Cleansing in the morning will help to remove the grime and residue that build up overnight. So, let us cleanse our skins preferably twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Massage your cleanser into wet skin and rinse with water before drying.

  1. Physical exfoliant or scrub

You can use a non-abrasive scrub to exfoliate dead skin cells. However, this step can be done few times a week only and not as a daily routine.

  1. Toner

Toner will ensure that all traces of your cleanser (especially if you use a creamy cleanser) are removed from your skin. A toner replenishes your skin through hydration and remove dead cells and dirt which is left behind after cleansing. Use a mild toner which is alcohol free. But you can use an astringent (alcohol based toner) to combat excess oil. Avoid astringent if your skin is dry.

Some of you may like to spray some distilled water on your skin before applying any other product. You can try spraying an anti-aging hydrating mist formula or a refreshing antioxidant toner for better hydration and to fight aging. A hydrating mist will contain hyaluronic acid, lactic acid and glycerin which gives your skin a moisture boost.

  1. Water based serums

You can try a water based anti-aging collagen serum or an antioxidant serum. This will protect your skin from free radical damage.

  1. Oil based serums

You can fight dryness and seal in your water based serum with a layer of oil. Your skin needs moisture, so don’t be afraid to use them. If you live in a dry climate or in a place with a lot of temperature controlled air, oil based serums will be especially beneficial and it can do wonders on aging skin.

  1. Moisturizer

A moisturizer must be selected according to your skin type. It will hydrate your skin, lock in the moisture and smooth and soften it. Moisturizers come as gels, lotions, creams and balms. Gels and lotions are recommended for oily skin. Thick creams will work best on normal and combination skin types. Using upward strokes apply a pea-sized amount into your entire face and neck. If you are having oily skin you may skip this layer if your serum gives enough moisture.

For your night time routine you can replace your day time moisturizer with a suitable night cream. A good night cream will moisturize and help skin cell renewal.

  1. Sun screen

It is essential to protect your skin from harmful rays of the sun. Apply sun screen even on a gloomy day. A sun screen will not only reduce your risk of skin cancer but also fight against signs of aging. Use a good sun screen with a SPF of 30 or more. You should apply the sun screen liberally over your face and massage in. Do not use any other products on top of it.

Now that you have completed applying your skincare layers, if you want you may apply your foundation and other make up products on top before you go out.

The most important thing is to find the skincare routine which works best for you. Whether you are following the entire layers of skincare products or a simplified routine, have fun experimenting and continue this regimen.

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