skincare · skincare routine

How to layer skincare products: nightly routine

If you are using a cleanser and moisturizer at night, then the order to use them is obvious. But if you use more than these two, you’ve probably wondered about the right sequence to use your products. Read on to find out!

Allure and Dermstore have fantastic reads to guide you on the right order of using skincare products. Generally, after removing your makeup and cleansing, you’d want to start with the thinnest, lightest product, and finish with the thickest, such as a cream or moisturizer. 

Here’s my routine:

  1. Double cleanse – to remove all traces of makeup and dirt. I usually use an oil cleanser such as L’Occitane Shea Cleansing Oil to remove all makeup, then follow up with a water based cleanser like Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cleanser to gently and thoroughly clean.
  2. Tone – I like my Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Toner which mostly has oils to to take away any remaining residue, start to moisturize and prep my skin for other products.
  3. Spot treatment – I use a salicylic acid treatment to prevent/combat blackheads, as well as an eye cream like First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy for dark circles, fine lines and puffiness.
  4. All-over treatment – serums have active ingredients that penetrate deeper into the skin. They have a thinner consistency and should be used before moisturizers for better penetration. I like to use a Vitamin C serum like All Natural Advice like to brighten and nourish the skin.
  5. Moisturize – both the lips with a lip balm (I’ve been using Drunk Elephant’s Lippe and it’s awesome) and a moisturizer. I have tried many moisturizers; my current favourites are Drunk Elephant’s Lala Retro Whipped Cream and First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream.
  6. Lash builder – this is not necessary at all, but I throw it in to help strengthen my sparse lashes. I have been using Christian Breton‘s and it has been working pretty well so far.

About once or twice a week, I also exfoliate to prior to steps 2 to 6 – more about exfoliation in a future post!

Introduce new products one at a time.

Keep in mind that if you currently don’t use as many products as I do, and are looking to add a product (or two, or more), you will need to slowly introduce each product into your routine. Test each new product first with a patch test – perhaps get a small sample from Sephora before buying the full sized product – to see if your skin has any adverse reactions to it. Incorporate one new product at a time.

Rule of three

Vogue suggests observing the rule of three to avoid overwhelming the skin. Skincare products use a wide variety of active ingredients. Do some research on possible conflicts with active ingredients in different products, and be careful of using too much of the same active ingredients in your products. Too much of any acne-fighting ingredient, for example, in your products could could leave skin inflamed. My sister recently experienced increased dryness from using Clinique’s full line of acne solutions. Although I listed six steps, I consider cleansing and toning as more of prep steps, before the full routine which is essentially in three categories: spot treatment, serum, and moisturizer. I’ve tested each new product one at a time, slowly incorporating them into my routine, and made sure they work will with one another (my skin is also quite robust). Be kind to your skin and change up the routine as needed: if your skin feels too dry and tight, or sensitive, perhaps you are using too many products and need to pare it down.

Be mindful of your skin type

Different skin types require different treatments: I have oily-combination skin, while others have dry skin, oily, or normal skin. Look at the ingredients lists of products (the first six are the ones you need to pay attention to) and see if these ingredients address your skin concern. Dr. Alicia Zalka has a handy list of common product ingredients and the skin concerns they address.

What’s your current skincare routine? Do you have any type of product you are looking to incorporate?


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