As with baking or painting, throwing a bunch of ingredients or colours together without doing so strategically won’t get you the outcome you want. Skincare is the same. When you learn how to layer and mix your skincare products the right way, you’ll be sure your skin drinks up maximum benefits for glowing results.
The many options you have might seem overwhelming, but it’s actually quite simple. We’re here to break it down for you.
Rule of Thumb: The most important thing to remember is to layer your skincare from thinnest to thickest consistency.
Why? Skincare formulas with the smallest molecules, like those in toners and water-based serums, need to go first since they penetrate your skin more easily. That way, you prevent larger-molecule skincare from “blocking” other layers of skincare from penetrating your skin. With this in mind, your skincare regimen should go in this order:
We all know cleansing comes first, but it’s worth noting if you are a fan of double-cleansing popularised by K-beauty rituals (cleansing and rinsing twice), the rule is inversed: start with your thick (oil) cleanser, then finish with your thinner cleanser, which typically comes in cream, gel or foam form.
Example for Sensitive Skin: Wash away impurities without disrupting the delicate skin barrier with The Max Stem Cell Cleanser or if your skin is extra irritated or red, use Ormedic Balancing Facial Cleanser.
Exfoliator and/or Mask
Whether you choose to exfoliate weekly or a few times per week, polishing your face is the next logical step. After cleansing and/or exfoliating is the time to luxuriate in your favorite mask.
Example for sensitive skin: Exfoliate with Iluma Intense Brightening Exfoliating Powder and Mask with Ormedic Balancing Gel Masque if you’re experiencing redness, Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque for brightening or I Mask Biomolecular Hydrating Recovery Mask for a boost of hydration.
Toners and Mists
Toners, mists, pre-moistened pads, essences or other watery liquid skincare formulas are the first product you apply that doesn’t get rinsed off. Apply while your skin is still damp from rinsing so it can absorb the ingredients more efficiently.
If you keep a spot treatment on deck to zap those occasional blemishes, dab it on right after toning. Massage it in and let it sit for a moment.
Serums do the heavy lifting when it comes to correcting specific skin concerns since they contain the highest concentration of active ingredients that target anti-ageing or acne, hyperpigmentation, sensitivity or dryness issues. They also usually contain potent antioxidants to fight free radical damage, one of the most important ways to slow down the manifestation of ageing.
The beauty of serums is they’re highly customisable. You can change them out to tailor to your needs. For instance, if you’re breaking out one week, you can use a serum that targets breakouts, then switch over to a brightening serum if you’ve spent too much time in the sun or your complexion appears lackluster.
On top of that, you can boost your serum by mixing others into them—as long as they are compatible. (Generally speaking, you want to avoid mixing two active ingredients together, such as retinol, vitamin C, hydroxy acids, as the combination might cause irritation). One of the best ways to boost any serum is by adding hyaluronic acid, a substance that can hold 1,000 times its own weight in water, for a refreshing dose of hydration.
Most people think eye creams are the final step, but remember the rule of consistency: since eye creams are thinner in texture than moisturisers, they go on before. You want to minimise the risk of layering moisturiser under your eyes, allowing it to obstruct penetration from your eye cream.
Moisturiser (Night and/or Day)
An important role your moisturiser plays is to “lock in” everything beneath that you diligently just applied and prevent moisture from evaporating from your skin, keeping it balanced and supple.
Example for sensitive skin: In the evening, apply Ormedic Balancing Bio-Peptide Crème. If you’re dehydrated or dry, use also in the morning.
Oil (Night and/or Day)
For an instant glow or extra moisture for dry areas, oils go on last since they can penetrate all other formulas, but not vice versa.
Example for sensitive skin: For a daytime luminosity, dab Vital C Hydrating Facial Oil to cheekbones. In the evening, apply a bit more on dry spots, such as forehead, nose and cheeks.
Sunscreen (Day Only)
Sunscreen is always the final step during the day. Again, don’t allow an oil or moisturiser to block the active ingredients from doing their job. Remember, Image Skincare’s Prevention+ line of facial sunscreens also double as moisturisers, so unless you’re especially dry or dehydrated you may want to skip the moisturiser and oil during the day.