Yes, There is a Right Way to Layer Your Skincare

With so many lotions and potions crowding the average person’s bathroom countertop, it can be difficult to decide how, and in what order, to use them. And piling on the products can really backfire – by making them all work less effectively than they should – or worse, by leading to clogged pores or irritation.
Here, we’ve assembled a few quick tips to help you organize your routine and get the most out of your beauty essentials.
1: Organize from thinnest to thickest.
The best rule of thumb for anyone confused about which products should go on the face first is to pay attention to consistency, said NDDA physician Dr. Mary Hurley. “Generally, the lightest formulations are things like serums that deliver antioxidants or formulas with active ingredients like salicylic acid.”
The first products on your face should also be the ones that are most customized to address specific areas of concern; for example, prescription medications always go on first or active products like those for calming redness or treating oily patches.
2: Don’t apply everything at once.
The best way to avoid overdoing it is to give each product the time it needs to absorb into the skin and start working with your own natural chemistry. Layer the steps in your morning routine with your products – for example, after finishing the first application, then brush your teeth – before moving on to the next product in your lineup.
Also, to prevent irritating your skin from starting too many products at once, start with one product at a time and wait about two weeks before introducing a new product (this goes for your nighttime routine as well).
3: Think of moisturizer as a top coat (not a base).
If you’re like most people, you reach for the moisturizer first. “But it should actually function more like a final layer,” says Dr. Hurley. “Seal serums under moisturizer after you’ve given your skin a chance to absorb everything and before you start your makeup routine.
4: Never skimp on sunscreen.
It may seem counterintuitive, but sunscreen goes on last. The reason? Like moisturizer, it also provides a protective barrier for skin, so applying it first would prevent other products from working. Finishing up with sunscreen is also a great way to remember to use your most essential product. “Sunscreen is the most important step you can take to keep your skin looking young – even if you don’t use anything else” said NDDA’s Dr. Hurley.  “Think of it like the icing on a cake.”

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