When it comes to how to layer skin care, there are some hard and fast “rules.” But here are some tips to up the anté.
Have you ever heard the saying, “You need to learn the rules before you can break them?” The same goes for your skin care. The “rules” are more of a guideline that are there for a reason, but you don’t have to stick to them in every situation. Layering your products is definitely one of those situations.
Ask any skin care guru, and oftentimes their one piece of advice to their followers is to loosen up on “rules.” Now, some things are just common sense, like vitamin C makes you more sun sensitive so you should always wear SPF on top. Or just the fact that sunscreen doesn’t work effectively if it’s underneath your entire 10 step routine. But did you know you can put your vitamin C serum on before your toner? Yup, and it’s a great hack that helps the serum really get in there.
Here, we are going to show you some creative ways you can change up your skin care layering game:
Layering Before Toner
Toner is the first step where you can start to get creative with your layering. Gothamista, AKA the skin care queen, claims she likes to use vitamin C right after she cleanses and before she tones. That way the serum can really sink in and take effect.
I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical at first. However, I started doing this with the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum right before using toner and I kept getting compliments on how bright and glowy my skin was. As a person with sensitive skin that can be really prone to dry uneven texture in the winter, my skin desperately needs all the benefits vitamin C has to offer, and this hack amplifies its benefits.
A great essence to put on before your toner is the Cosrx BHA Returning A-sol. BHAs, or beta hydroxyl acids, are amazing for clearing blackheads. And since they are on the more gentle side, they are a perfect acid to apply before your toner. Sometimes acids that treat acne and blackheads can be a bit drying, so by having this go on before toner allows it to get right into your skin and dryness it can create can be rectified by the subsequent layers of toner, essence, and moisturizer.
Two of my favorite toners for performing these layering hacks are the Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner and Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner. Both of these toners are rich in plant ingredients, and can feel almost like an essence, making them super hydrating. Yet the consistencies are not overly thick. If you plan on using multiple serums or layers of essence, these toners are the perfect foundation. And if the serum you use before them is rather thick, they can be a great balance by being effective yet not too heavy.
I wouldn’t go so far to tone after all of your essences and serums, but I think if there’s one serum or ampoule you really want to maximize the benefits of, try putting it directly on your freshly cleansed skin.
The best part about essences is how easy it is the layer them. For most people, one layer will suffice, but if you are dealing with dryness, or uneven texture, or even a breakout, layering certain essences can be a huge help without having to incorporate a new product into your routine (which can sometimes make a skin concern worse).
If your skin is in need of some brightening hydration, you can even try mixing and matching different essences to get the right balance. Two great layering essences for moisture and hydration are the Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence and the Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence. The Neogen essence was recently featured as one of the two products to help you get glowing, honey skin. This fermented essence has great anti-aging benefits as well as hydrating benefits. The texture is rich but not too thick, making it versatile in almost any routine.
With the Hanskin essence, I like to put anywhere from two to three layers of this stuff on every morning. It has the same texture as the Klairs toner but glides on. It also is full of my go-to hydrating ingredient, hyaluronic acid.
If I’m having issues with texture I even go back in after my routine is done with the Neogen H2 Dermadeca Serum Spray. This spray is the perfect way to cool down during the summer, but also adds an amazing extra layer of hydration in the fall and winter. Since it comes as a mist, it feels more like the consistency of an essence and you can put on a couple of coats. I personally love to use this in the evening before apply BB cream or foundation. Adding a little mist can help your skin look smooth and dewy!
When it comes to serum, I like to put single ingredient or skin concern targeting ones on right before my toner. But I like to put more all-around serums, like Missha Night Repair, on right after my eye cream. This amazing anti-aging serum is super thick and tacky, which makes it perfect for the second half of your routine. This also allows the ingredient-rich formula to work with the previous essences I’ve applied.
Layering Eye Treatment
Then there’s eye cream, which is hands down my favorite skin care item. Along with SPF, it really is the key to reducing the signs of aging. The formulas are always so rich and downright soothing. My latest eye cream obsession, the Missha Misa Geum Sul Vitalizing Eye Cream, follows through. This eye cream uses reishi mushroom extract and wild ginseng extract to rejuvenate and plump your skin.
One way to really take it to another level with fighting wrinkles is using a face oil on those fine line-prone areas. The Neogen White Truffle Laycure Oil Stick is great for this. It comes in a stick that make its super easy to apply and doesn’t leave your face feeling super greasy. White truffle is rich in vitamin B, which helps your skin to retain moisture and have a healthier glow. At night, I apply the oil stick to the outsides of my eyes, the areas around my mouth, and on those dreaded deep forehead wrinkles. Then I apply my regular eye cream on top of those same areas. It’s a small boost but really makes a huge difference if you’re struggling with that area.
Sometimes for dry skin, simply layering essences just isn’t enough. This skin care hack for winter is the key to keeping your skin texture smooth in dry, windy cold. The Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Essential Moisturizer is an excellent daytime moisturizer year-round. However, for those prone to dry skin it can also be an amazing layering tool, for both morning and evening.
I really love pairing this with the Hanskin Bio Origin The Cream. If I want a dewy texture to my skin I will put the Missha on top of the Hanskin. But for nighttime, I put two layers of the Missha on underneath the Hanskin cream. Just be sure to let each one absorb for a bit before adding the next layer.
Layering with SPF
There are a lot of myths out there surrounding what you can and can’t do when it comes to layering sunscreen. And some rules you just can’t break—like your sunscreen really does have to go on last. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t great ways to get great sun protection and a great complexion all in one.
My favorite way to use sunscreen is by layering it with a BB cream of the same SPF. The Acwell Sun Control Daily Emulsion is a great sunscreen for this hack since it’s ultra-moisturizing and light.
Layering is key. It’s sort of like that off the menu item at Starbucks—totally valid but takes a little experimentation and personal research. Once you get a hang of it though, you’ll start to get way more out of your skin care routine!