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Beauty Lounge Medical Spa

Step by Step Guide to Layering Your Skincare Products

So, you’ve done your research and you’ve bought all the right skincare products – now what? Knowing which product to start with and knowing whether it should be applied in the morning or before bed can be really difficult. To have the best effect on your skin, your myriad of cleansers, creams and serums need to be applied with care. Plus, with the stress we’ve all dealt with over the last year, up close and personal Zoom meetings and pesky maskne, a proper skincare routine is more important than ever. If you’ve noticed more flare ups since the start of the pandemic and believe it may be caused by wearing masks, check out our maskne guide for tips on how to treat it. If you’re interested in layering your products to get the best results, keep reading!

A rule of thumb is to layer your products from thinnest to thickest – if you apply a watery serum after you layer on a heavy cream, your skin won’t absorb and receive the full benefits of the thinner product. Another PSA: not everyone wants or needs a complete, multi-step routine. Feel free to use more or less of the products in our guide to build the best routine for you!


  • Step One: Cleanser. After a long day of work or a long night out, it’s important to remove your makeup with micellar water or an oil-based cleanser. If you don’t remove your makeup before bed, your products won’t stand a chance! You should also start your morning with a fresh face and a water-based cleanser. Even if you washed your face the night before, bacteria can build overnight.
  • Step Two: Toner. Hydrating toners are lightweight and help pick up any dirt or oil you missed with cleansing. Toners also restore your skin’s pH balance to prep your skin for the products to follow.
  • Step Three: Serum. Sometimes your routine may include multiple serums (hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, hydrating serums and treatment serums). Be sure to apply the serums with the most potent active ingredients.
  • Step Four: Spot Treatment. For annoying zits and redness, spot treatments with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can be applied directly to the isolated area. These aren’t meant to be used over the entire face.
  • Step Five: Eye Cream. Since the skin under the eyes is sensitive, it’s prone to signs of aging, fine lines and wrinkles. Applying eye creams by lightly tapping the product onto the lower eye can help with firmness.
  • Step Six: Moisturizer. If you have dry skin, our skincare specialists recommend creams or balm moisturizers. Combination, oily and normal skin types are treated best with fluid or gel moisturizers.
  • Step Seven: Sunscreen. You should wear sunscreen any time you’re in contact with the sun. Even sunlight peeking through your window at work can cause negative effects to skin free of SPF protection. While you don’t need to worry about applying sunscreen at night, it’s very important to apply it daily before your…
  • Step Eight: Primer/Makeup. This should always be the last layer of your skincare routine. Makeup should be applied last to ensure your skincare products and their active ingredients have maximum effectiveness.

We know this may seem like a lot of steps to do every morning at night; however, your skin will love you once it’s had time to reap the benefits of your new routine! When shopping for new products, keep this in mind: many products work to achieve a specific result (reduce redness, fine lines, add brightness, smooth texture, etc.). If you’re not sure which skincare issues you may have or not sure which to treat first, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Medical Estheticians to find the right treatment plan for you.