We’ve come a long way from the usual three-step (cleanse, tone and moisturise) skincare routine. New product categories have been sprouting up over the years and your beauty shelf is likely well-stocked with an arsenal of products in the bid for clear, glowing skin. But there’s actually a right way to layer your skincare products – using them in the wrong order is not only ineffective, but also wasteful. 

our regime for morning and night is going to be a little different, but the best rule of thumb to follow is to always apply your products from the lightest consistency to the heaviest. By doing this, you’re ‘sealing’ in the goodness of lighter products like serums and helping them to be more effective. If you did the reverse and layered on a thicker, oil-based cream first, water-based lighter products won’t be able to penetrate through.

Here’s a rough guide on how to layer on your skincare products. Don’t fret if you don’t use all the steps below – just skip ahead to the next step!

1. Toner or facial mist
Think of your toner as a prep step. These are skin softeners that help to hydrate your skin so that it can better absorb the rest of your skincare products. Skin is like a sponge – a dry sponge won’t be able to suck in and retain as much moisture as a damp sponge. Likewise, skin will be more receptive to the rest of your skincare when it’s a little moist. You can also use a hydrating facial mist as your toner.

2. Essence or boosters
These are lightweight, watery formulas. They’re not as potent as serums but are still nutrient-dense. Many skincare essences contain ingredients that help to speed up skin cell turnover – a double win since the light textures mean that they’re able to quickly sink into skin and work at a deeper level.

3. Serum
Serums tend to be slightly thicker in consistency than facial essences and are also jam-packed with potent active ingredients like antioxidants or vitamins. They are formulated to target specific skin issues like pigmentation or loss of elasticity.

4. Cream
No matter your skin type, you still need a moisturiser. The thicker consistency of a cream is likely due to waxy ingredients that are perfect for locking in hydration and boosting your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

5. Oil
Facial oils are great options for rebalancing and deeply hydrating your skin. If you have oilier skin, you may opt to only add this at night as a treatment. Oils also help to soften skin and add a glow. You can also combine this step with the previous one by mixing in two to three drops of facial oil into your night cream.

6. Sunscreen (for day) or overnight mask (for night)
Don’t forget your SPF if you’re heading out. Top off your skincare with a sunscreen that offers at least SPF30 and PA+++ protection to ward off harmful UV rays.

At night, you can consider using a sleeping mask to nourish your skin and enhance its regenerative abilities while you sleep. The thicker consistency of the mask will also help to seal in moisture so your skin doesn’t dry out overnight.

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