If there’s a rule “Gin before beer, never fear” when it comes to combining your alcohol intake, I wish there was something as catchy as that for skincare routines. Between multi-step Korean rituals to marathon facials, plus your DIY routines refined through trial and error, it can get confusing. Whatever happened to the trinity that was “cleanse, tone, and moisturize”? How did life get so complicated? Since when did my bathroom vanity turn into a shrine? Why am I asking too many questions?
What I’m here for is to give some reminders when it comes to layering your skincare products. It’s not just about their quality but also in what order you put them on to achieve maximum efficacy. So let’s find out how to do it, shall we?
“Cleanse” used to be such as easy step but when there is makeup involved, it’s another deal. Start always with cleansing off your makeup with any remover you prefer: oil, balm, or micellar water. Whatever you’ve got, do that first before going with your facial wash, foaming or otherwise.
I make the mistake of reaching for my toner after I dry my skin after a wash. Toners are for calming down redness and adding instant hydration, so they are best used after you exfoliate. Otherwise, your toner will just be stuck in the layer of dead skin instead of getting to your freshly-rejuvenated pores.
After cleanser and toner, serum should go first. This is because they are the lightest in consistency and are easily absorbed into the skin. Plus, adding a barrier between you serum and your skin through another product will reduce their potency. You may use two to three serums in your routine, depending on what skin concerns you want to address.
Unless you’re really pressed for time, it’s good to wait a minute or two between putting on your products. This allows for your skin to absorb each layer and avoid it from piling. Dermatologist Fredric Brandt shares to Allure, “I flow my skin care in with the rest of my morning routine. For example, I put on a product, have coffee, then put on a second product, then brush my teeth.”
After all your water based products, seal them into your skin with moisturizer. Since it tends to be thickest in consistency, it will keep the serums from going anywhere. Elle testifies to its power, “Creams really lock in hydration.”
If you place your eye cream before your moisturizer, you’re just going to spread around the cream to the rest of your face. Hence, make sure you tap in your eye cream after moisturizer to avoid dispersing their potency.
If your moisturizer safeguards your serums, what will keep your moisturizer safe? That’s when you get your oil. This is also why it’s important to add a very thin layer of your chosen facial oil so you’re not just making yourself into a greasy mess. Oils also catch the dry spots and problem areas your moisturizer can’t handle.
In the morning, don’t forget your SPF. This is the stronghold of them all as it locks in your hard work while keeping everything else out. Also, it serves as a good barrier between your makeup and your facial oil if you tend to put on one in the morning. To save time, you may opt for a primer with SPF in it but make sure that the SPF is adequate for total UVA and UVB protection. You can also reach for an SPF spray so you don’t feel like you’re putting on too many products on your face.
Art by Lara Intong
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