Layering Skincare: The Ultimate How-To
What is “Layering” Skincare?
The layering of skincare products may seem like a relatively new thing, but Asian women have been doing it for ages. In fact, we can thank K-Beauty in general for this practice, though it isn't limited to Korean beauty. In short, the intention of layering skincare in a specific order is to maximize the benefits of each product.
Applying your skin care in layers is simplified by following a few basic principles, and you can then tailor your routine based on your skin needs at any given moment. The following guidelines are based on the properties of Nuria products as well as the collective wisdom of our founder and women around the world. Remember that there really is no right way to layer skincare and that experimentation will be your best teacher!
In addition, you don't have to use items from only one brand in order to layer successfully. It's perfectly okay to mix and match products across collections within any given brand as well as use products from different brands. Make sure you have fun!
The Ideal Layering Order
Cleanser should be the obvious first step in your skin care regimen, right? But now that “double-cleansing” is common parlance, which cleanser comes first? Oil-based makeup removers and/or micellar waters, like our Hydrate Refreshing Micellar Water. This helps to clear clogged pores from makeup, dead skin cells, or excessive facial oil, which can be especially beneficial for those with oily skin.
It should be noted that if you’re indulging and doing a mask in your skincare routine, it should generally be applied after cleansing, before anything else. At Nuria we believe it is important to listen to your skin instead of assigning it a static skin type because your skin is always changing due to dynamic factors like stress, hormones, lifestyle, and your environment. However above all, the key is to start with clean skin before applying the skincare products.
After cleansing, the rule of thumb is to go from lightest to heaviest, or least molecularly dense to most. That's because thinner and/or more watery products can penetrate more easily because of their smaller particle sizes. These products include Toners, Essences and Serums, generally in that order.
It's worth noting that toners can help boost your overall routine effectiveness in the process of layering skin care because they help your skin be more receptive to other products, such as hydrating serums. Toners are typically followed by essences, which help boost moisture and brighten skin, and then by serums, which are designed to act as targeted treatments for specific skin needs such as dryness, dullness, or wrinkles.
The ideal serum for your routine is one with an active ingredient that helps address what your skin needs. By listening to your skin, you can go beyond skin type to give it the treatment it really craves. And don’t be afraid to hydrate skin your skin even if you perceive yourself as having oily skin. Learn more here.
Heavier-hitters like oils, eyes creams and moisturizers come next-to-last or last. The occlusive nature of these products works to keep the hydration, antioxidants, and vitamins you just added in and on your skin. If your eye cream is richer and heavier than your moisturizer, it should go on top. If it's lighter, it should go under your moisturizer. Moisturizers with SPF are critical if you plan on heading outside - you want to protect your skin from the aging effects of the sun!
General Skin Care Layering Tips & Some Caveats
An overall BIG TIP is to allow some time between each step, especially the step between serums, oils, and active ingredient treatments and more occlusive products like eye creams and moisturizers. One way to do this is to keep your favorite moisturizer in your nightstand and apply it just before turning out the light.
Another pro tip is to allow your skin to adjust to any new product for at least a week, especially if you’ve experienced sensitive skin, before you start mixing and layering with abandon. Then, if your skin becomes irritated, you'll be able to isolate the culprit more easily.
Listen to Your Skin
By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to being a Layering Master, but you may find that you like to tinker with the order a bit. In time you’ll learn how to listen to your skin and adapt the products and the order in which you layer them to your skin’s changing needs.
About the author, Jasmin Figueroa
Jasmin is an accomplished formulation scientist and skin health expert who has spent her career listening to consumers and developing products that rock. A founding member of the Nuria community, she loves traveling with her family, chilling with her friends at the beach, and will totally judge you if you don’t wear SPF.