Layering Skincare Products: The Correct Skincare Order, Simplified

With so many products out there, layering skincare can seem tricky.

Here is a basic breakdown of steps to ensure you’re applying your skincare in the correct order, both morning and evening:

Layering skincare products in the morning

[Disclaimer: I’m not a dermatologist or skincare professional. The information provided in this post is what I have interpreted from numerous sources over the years, and what works for me may not work for you.]

1. Cleanser

Your skin does a lot of work overnight and you’ll be shedding some skin cells. It’s good practice to cleanse your face in the morning to remove all the dirt from the night.

cleanser selection

2. Toner

This step is non-essential, but can be particularly good for dry skin or those with pore concerns.
It’s a simple way to squeeze in some more active ingredients and generally prepare your skin for the rest of your routine.

Toner selection as second step in a skincare routine

3. Serums

Your main skin treatments. It’s recommended that you don’t mix too many actives, but if you choose to mix your serums you should start with the thinnest. Thin to thick.

Selection of serums for morning skincare routine

4. Eye treatments

Whether you use an eye cream, serum, gel or any other type of eye treatment, it should be applied before your moisturiser so it can penetrate to your skin. Apply before your serums if you prefer.

Various eye treatments to use before moisturiser

5. Moisturiser

Another step to improve your skin’s hydration, protect your skin barrier and lock in all the goodness of your serums.

morning and evening moisturiser selection

6. SPF

The most important step in your morning skincare routine.
Always make sure to apply SPF – generously – whether the sun is shining or not and ESPECIALLY if you use acids in your routine.

UV rays are strong enough to penetrate clouds and it’s just not worth the risk. SPF will help protect you against ageing, pigmentation and a whole lot of skin damage.

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You should also ensure that you top up your SPF approximately every 2 hours if you’re spending a lot of time outside.

It’s good practice to apply SPF when you’re indoors too, but you don’t necessarily need to top it up unless you’re sitting directly in front of a window for several hours.

sunscreen selection to always apply last when layering skincare
Layering skincare infographic for the morning
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Layering skincare products in the evening

1. Cleanser (2x)

If you have spot-prone skin, have applied more than one layer of SPF, or have worn makeup through the day, you should double cleanse.

Use an oil or balm cleanser as your first cleanse, to melt and break down your makeup and SPF. Follow with your regular morning cleanser (cream/gel/foam/other) to make sure you’ve removed everything.

If your skin is not too sensitive, remove your cleansers with a face cloth for maximum efficacy and mild physical exfoliation.

2. Toner

Same as the morning, this is a non-essential step.

3. Serums

Always the bulk of your skin treatments.
Still applying from thin to thick, you can use stronger treatments that will benefit from the night hours to properly work their magic on your skin.

4 different serums to use in an evening skincare routine

4. Eye treatment

Same rule – apply before moisturiser.
Depending on what your eye concerns are, you don’t necessarily need to apply an eye treatment twice a day.

5. Moisturiser

The chance to use a richer moisturiser if your skin is dry.
A night cream with restorative properties is ideal to help your skin recover from the stress of the day.

6. Facial oil

Another optional step for maximum hydration boost.
Facial oils are the perfect way to ensure all the goodness from prior products are locked and sealed.

You only need 2-3 drops and facial oils generally aren’t even greasy.
If this is too intense for you, you can mix 1-2 drops in with your moisturiser instead.

A facial oil has the power to penetrate all other product types, so when layering skincare, it should go last.

A few facial oils to use as a last step when layering evening skincare
Layering skincare infographic for the evening

Have you been applying your skincare in the right order? Or will you be making some adjustments?

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12 Responses

  1. This was so helpful! Sometimes it can be so confusing to know what order to apply things. I used to always apply moisturiser then eye cream & I only recently realised this was wrong! x

    • Thank you for reading! Glad it helped x I used to do the same, and when I swapped them round the results were so noticeable!

    • Thank you so much for reading! I definitely agree.. there are so many products out there now, it can be really overwhelming trying to figure out when and how to use them all. Glad this helps x

    • Thanks for reading! That’s great – My skin tends to break out if I don’t use a separate SPF, but this way I find it easier to remember to top up aswell.

    • Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment 🙂 I do believe there’s no reason to try and fix something if it isn’t broken, but I hope this helps someone out there! x

  2. I definitely need to make some adjustments as I don’t always do things in the right order. I think it’s one of those things I just assumed I was doing the right way and never really looking into it so thank you for sharing this!

    • It’s really confusing sometimes! If what you’re doing works for you, then take this with a pinch of salt.. But if you’re not getting the results you’d have hoped for, I hope this helps 🙂

    • Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Sometimes I get so lost in the world of acids, chemicals and ingredients that it’s nice to strip back to basics xx

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