layer skincare

How to Layer Skincare – The Correct Order to Apply Your Skincare Products

Over the past few years, there’s been a discussion about the importance of the right skincare routine in addition to doing the right makeup.

Sure, makeup is important, and you probably have tons of them in your beauty cabinet. But the question is, do you have enough skincare products? And if you do, are you sure those are the right ones for you?

With the rise in popularity of K-beauty, the interest in applying several skincare routine steps has caught the attention of people of all genders and races more than ever.

Knowing how to put your skincare products is just as important as choosing them. See it this way, you can’t put a thin sweater over a trench coat, right? Property layering is important, in clothes, food, and skincare.

Learning how to layer properly allows you to maximize the effects of each product for the best possible results– believe me, it makes all the difference in your skin.

You must have been using a product that claims to give you glassy, shiny skin but alas, no difference is seen. This could be the result of applying products at the wrong time, day, or order.

Why Do We Need to Layer Skincare? Can’t We Just Put One or Two and Call It A Day?

Of course, you can. But remember that our skin is a complex tissue that has various needs and is exposed to so many particles during the day, and no single product can address all the needs of our skin, if we deep (cleanse) it.

Not to mention that skin types and concerns vary from person to person and that it is best to experiment until you find the right products and combination that best fits you.

So Really, What Are the Golden Rules In Applying Our Skincare Routine?

So here goes, skincare layering is a ten-step process:

  1. oil-based cleanser
  2. foaming cleanser
  3. exfoliant
  4. toner
  5. essence
  6. ampoule or serum
  7. sheet mask
  8. eye cream
  9. moisturizer
  10. thick night cream

I know that sounds a lot because it is. But doing this as a nightly routine would make all the wondrous difference you’d been looking for in your skin.

You might notice that this ten-step skincare routine is greatly patterned with K-beauty standards, but these are just steps you can follow.

You don’t have to do all of them. You can do away with the ampoule or serum, or the essence and sheet mask, as long as you do them in the same order.

The general idea here is that you apply the thinnest up to the thickest consistency.

Consider this as your skin being cleaned up by the oil-based and foaming cleansers to remove the deep-seated dirt after a long day’s walk, exfoliating and toner to remove dead skin cells and prep and refresh your skin, and then apply the nourishing products like ampoules, essences and moisturizes to freshen and clean skin.

Imagine applying an essence before cleaning your skin, or applying a thick night cream only for it to be removed when you decided to put on a sheet mask later on.

It just sounds…wrong, right? Technically, this means that lighter products have time to be absorbed by the skin before the heavier products are applied.

What You Need To Remember About Skincare

There are so many products with so many ingredients out there that it’s a headache trying to figure out which is which, and which is not. So here, we will summarize a few salient points you need to remember in layering your skincare routine.

Apply water-based products before oil-based products. Just like how you can’t mix water with oil, letting the easier to absorb water-products go first before the oil-based ones is a must.

Never miss out on sunscreen. Yes, we need Vitamin D, but our skin is so sensitive that it needs protection from damaging and harmful ultraviolet radiation.

The sunscreen protects us from these harmful UV rays from Mister Sun and prevents photoaging so your skin looks clearer and younger for longer. Grab a good SPF before you go out!

Avoid these product combinations. Like how some food should never go together, the same is true with skincare. Avoid using Retinol and Vitamin C, or Vitamin C and AHAs, Vitamin C and Benzoyl Peroxide, or Benzoyl Peroxide and Retinol together. These pairs either cancel each other’s effects out, cause breakouts and irritation. So just, no.

Give it time. Don’t be in such a hurry. Doing your skincare routine means that you’re having the sweetest time pampering your skin, so give it a break of 30 seconds to one minute in between product applications. Give your skin time to settle and breathe before getting into the next one.

Daytime Skincare Routine

Day and night time have different exposure and preparatory requirements for our skin. During the day, you can follow the following steps:


As you are starting the day, go for a gentle cleanser. This helps prep and clean your skin for what dirt has accumulated during the night.


Toner prepares your skin for whatever products you’re applying next to your routine. Toners also exfoliate your skin and help remove excess dirt that didn’t get removed with cleanser, and it also helps hydrate depending on what kind of toners you use.


You can skip the essences and ampoules as long as you have a good moisturizer with you. Moisturizing helps hydrate dry skin, helps in a variety of skin troubles, and fights wrinkles. Even with oily skin, a moisturizer is still a must.


Like we’ve been saying, sunscreen should always be on your routine, most especially during the day, and should always go last–even when the sun is not out.

Nighttime Skincare Routine

Before getting that beauty rest, do these beauty quests first:


After a long day and a lot of dirt, it is suggested to do double cleansing at night. Pick up an oil-based cleanser to dig into deep-seated makeup and dirt, rinse, and pop another water-based cleanser for more thorough cleansing.


Exfoliating at night helps remove the bacteria and the dirt that have built up over your pores. It gets rids of dead skin to brighten the skin, but remember to exfoliate only twice or thrice a week.


Put the goodness back into your skin through night toners to balance all the pH levels of your skin and do what a toner does, prep your skin for more goodness.

Essences and Serums

Putting in essences and serums are not required, but they sure do provide a lot of good things to the skin. Essences and serums help brighten the skin, moisture, hydrate, and evens out the skin.

Face Mask

I’m sorry to burst your bubble but you don’t sleep with a face mask on. You don’t have to do this every day, but a sheet mask helps especially on days where your face feels especially troubled and dry.


Yes, moisturize at day, and still moisturize at night.

Sleeping Mask or Night Cream

Finish your nighttime routine with the heaviest products like night creams or sleeping masks. These products help your skin overnight but locking the moisture while you’re sleeping.