We talked to an expert to get the scoop on what it really means to layer your skin care

In this day and age, there is ~no~ shortage of amazing skin care products on the market. But between all the serums, moisturizers, masks, peels, lotions, creams, emulsions, mists, etc., it can be hella confusing to know how to layer said products. So instead of concocting your own skin care regimen blindly, we’re breaking down exactly how to layer your skin care to get the most gorgeous, glowing skin possible.

But before we start, what exactly does it mean to layer our skin care? Allow us to explain.

"Layering skin care is using a variety of products in succession to gain multiple benefits," Julie Fahrbach, esthetician at SKIN MATRx, told HelloGiggles. "Where people typically go wrong is that they either layer too many, or they layer in the wrong order."

As a general rule of thumb, Fahrbach explains, keep this order in mind: Layer products from thickest to thinnest. 

"The key to layering products is going thinnest to thickest with product consistency. For example, you always want to layer a serum under a cream," Fahrbach said. "The molecular sizes of serums will be smaller, therefore they won't be blocked by larger molecular sizes of creams."

Layer no more than two to three skin care products at a time for best results, she explains. Because while it may seem like piling on more amazing skin goodies would expose your skin to even more nourishing benefits, too much of a good thing is, in fact, a bad thing. By consistently caking on too many products, you’re actually creating an artificial barrier that will ultimately decrease your skin’s natural protective barrier. Eeek.

Essentially when layering skincare, less is most ~definitely~ more. 

With that in mind, layering is still the best way to customize your skin care regimen to your exact needs. It allows you to specifically target your skin type (AKA dry, oily or combination) and your skin condition (as in dehydration, acne, redness, etc.) at the same time.

The rule of thumb here is simple.

“Always choose a moisturizer that fits your prescribed skin type, and use serums to directly treat the current condition of your skin,” Fahbrach explains.

What’s more, you can even further personalize your layering skin care experience by crafting day and nighttime routines.

“During the daytime, it is ideal to use an antioxidant serum under a moisturizer with sunscreen. The antioxidants will prevent collagen and elastin from breaking down due to free radicals, as the sunscreen will prevent UV damage,” Fahbrach says.

Before bed, you can skip the SPF and opt for even more rejuvenating serums.


“In the evening, you have more options for layering,” she says. “Evening serums can include hyaluronic acid for hydrating, an exfoliating serum with alpha hydroxy acids or retinol, or even a simple botanical serum to combat redness and irritation.”

And while your skin type doesn’t really change, remember your skin conditions do. Says  Fahbrach:

"Keep in mind that your skin condition changes regularly, so don't be afraid of switching up your serum!"

Now excuse us while we start writing out our own layering regimens… Glowing skin, here we come!

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