I’m constantly refining the products I include in my daily skincare routine, and I’m still trying to discover the best way to apply them onto my skin. The learning never ends!
One thing I’m striving to understand is which products are always essential, and which ones I need for specific skin concerns and different issues that I would like to target.
Trying to get all the benefits from a product and its ingredients, and expecting all of them to work straight away, has occasionally ended up with me not knowing how to layer them and, quite possibly, using too many products in the same routine. There’s just so many to choose from!
One Golden Rule
By following my favourite vloggers and dermatologist, I’ve concluded there is not one magic rule that works for everyone, because everyone’s skin is different. We all need to test, change, apply, and start again to find something that works for us.
Despite the lack of one golden rule, I have found some consistently useful advice that works for me:
- Apply products from the thinnest “watery” to the thickest “creamy” product;
- Apply products to damp skin because it is going to have better penetration/absorption
- Serums should go before moisturisers,
- Sunscreen is always the last step in the skincare routine before the make-up, and of course, an essential step for any dermatologist or skincare vloggers - never skip sunscreen in your morning routine!
Following these basic, but important rules, I start with a plan, and try to organise my products for my morning and evening routines, but I realise I have a lot of products, because I love Korean skincare and their many skincare steps routines, so I try and organise them in the best way to build my personal optimised skincare routine.
The first important organisational idea is that I don’t need to use all the products in the same routine. Actually, I need to split them between different days/routines, because of their similar ingredients and effect, and I don’t want to layer products that cannot be mixed or will irritate my skin.
The second thing I’ve discovered is that I don’t always need all the steps in my routine. If I have been constant and have worked to get a hydrated skin, I will need just a few to have healthy and clear good looking skin. Neither do I have the time every morning for all of my precious and loved products. Sometimes life gets in the way!
So, personally, I don’t clean my face with cleansing products in the mornings, I just wash my face with some water because my skin type is dry. People with oily skin type will have the need to use cleansing products in the morning because of the effects of sebum production, just make sure you don’t overdo this step especially if you are exfoliating that day.
I do not dry my skin with a towel or any kind of cloth or material, I just rub off the excess water from my face, and straight after I start my layering method.
Refresh With A Toner
I almost always start with a toner because it is like having a splash of freshness after the shower every morning, you know those gentle refreshing, scented products that add to the feeling of awakening the skin. I apply it before my skin gets completely dry.
If I use a toner in the morning that is really hydrating and rich I only apply a couple of layer, because they build up and create a thick layer which affects my next step. Too thick and the following, thicker product is not absorbed and it ends up peeling off the layers of the toner.
If I want to apply more layers of toner in the morning routine, I skip some steps and too many thicker products between this step and the sunscreen.
On my damp skin, immediately after I have applied the toner, I apply any of my Serums with active ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, and peptides. The dampness and slight hydration from these toners help these thicker products to get absorbed quickly and avoid the sticky sensation on my skin.
After these serums are completely absorbed, my skin texture is completely smooth and has no tackiness. I continue my routine with a light creamy serum. I love how it spreads so easily and smoothly and with a slightly glowy look.
Moisturise & Protect
Depending on the which sunscreen I’m using. or the season of the year, or how my skin feels, I apply a moisturiser in the morning. But sometimes - depending on if the SPF is physical or chemical, if it is summer or winter, if my skin is already hydrated enough - I just jump from the serum step straight to the sunscreen.
If I decide to use VItamin C in the morning this is my first step. Did you know that one of the ways to enhance the penetration of the Vitamin C is to make the PH of the skin a little bit closer to the PH of the Vitamin C? I do this using an AHA or BHA product, usually in the form of a toner containing alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydro.
I do not use AHA or BHA serums before Vitamin C because they usually are stronger and they will sit on the skin, differently to a toner or face wash. And overlaying actives and acids will irritate the skin and compromise the skin barrier. So I leave them to absorb and dry before going to the next layer.
Finally, when applying sunscreen I make sure I leave some time before applying it, and my skin is completely dry.
My currents products in my morning routines are:
Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner 200ml - Unscented and with a bit of texture
Purito Pure Vitamin C Serum 60ml - Light serum without the oily feeling, and contains 2% niacinamide, it does have a not too pleasant smell if you don’t like strong senses;
Etude House Moistfull Collagen Essence 80ml - Light milky and fragrance-free.
For my creamy serum steps the It´s Skin Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Serum 40ml, quite scented but not overwhelming.
This is what is working for me at this moment, and I will continue changing to try to find more and possibly better combinations that might improve my routine.
There is not going to be the same for everyone; let me know if you have found a nice, or practical way to lay on your products, and which of them do not react properly with your previous step.
IMPORTANT - I am not a dermatologist or skincare professional. Everyone’s skin is different and what works for me may not - and probably will not - work in the same way for you. For any skincare problem or complaint always consult a healthcare professional. This information is intended for information only and not as clinical skincare advice.