Have you ever found yourself applying products and wondering which product goes before which? Or how much to use? Or when to use it? These are super common questions that come up often when building a skincare routine, so let's break it down.
Here's what you need to know about properly applying and layering your skincare.
THE THINNEST TO THICKEST RULE
When in doubt, an easy and important skincare routine rule to remember is: following cleansing (and exfoliation, if applicable), apply your products in order of consistency - thinnest to thickest. The reason for this is straightforward. Water-based products which are thinner in consistency are more easily absorbed by the epidermis. We want these products to be absorbed first, followed by products that are gel, cream or oil-based.
Here is how it should look, step-by-step and with an approximate amount, if we were to follow a full multi-step skincare routine with every product. If you don't use all the products listed, you would simply skip those steps and follow this order:
Cleanser | quarter-size amount
Exfoliation | walnut-size amount
Toner | quarter-size splash on a cotton round
Water-based serums | dime-size amount
Gel or cream-based serums | dime-size amount
Eye Cream | pea-size amount
Moisturizer | nickel-size amount
Facial Oil or Oil-Based serums | dime-size amount
SPF | quarter-size amount
Makeup if desired
APPLY LAYERS ABOUT THIRTY SECONDS APART
When layering your products, it's important to start with clean, dry skin for best results. Give each layer approximately thirty seconds to be absorbed by the skin before applying your next product. This will prevent product from layering up too quickly and pilling on the surface of the skin. It will also help your skin to lock in hydration and moisture, which is ideal before applying makeup.
Conversely, it is not ideal to wait too long between layers, either. Some ingredients, like hyaluronic acid work best when bonded with the water-based ingredients of your moisturizer, so it is optimal to apply products in succession.
USE A LIGHT TOUCH
A common application mistake that many of us make is using a heavy hand when treating the skin. Generally speaking, the skin on our faces is very delicate so we want to handle it with care. Never pull or tug on the skin and avoid aggressively massaging products into the skin.
While we love facial massage at The Glowtocol, we recommend it as its own intentional step in your routine, rather than a method for applying products. You can incorporate some light massage into your cleansing routine and when applying facial oil but otherwise, try to apply serums and creams with the pads of your fingertips and gently press product into the skin to spread.
WHAT ABOUT MIXING PRODUCTS?
We love a good skin care hack and mixing or "cocktailing" your products can be a very time-effective strategy. That said, there are some pros and cons to blending multiple products.
Mixing two serums can be a great way to address multiple concerns without having to layer as many products but it can also mean getting less of the targeted active ingredients from each. When using a new active serum or retinol, it can be beneficial at first, to blend some in with your moisturizer to introduce your skin slowly. However, over time, you will want to work up to layering pure products in order to reap the full benefits.
The same is true of facial oils. A few drops of oil added to your favorite moisturizer will always provide a nourishing boost. That said, most skin types will benefit from using more oil. Don't be afraid to give your skin a full layer of the good stuff.
Image by @gagewoodphoto courtesy of Sorella Apothecary