Before we jump in- let’s discuss why layering skincare in the correct order is important. Firstly, we want our skincare to work right? In order for skincare’s wonderful actives to apply their magic, the ingredients need to be able to effectively penetrate the skin. Applying products out of order may not only render them ineffective, it could lead to redness or agitation. You want your products complement each other, not work against each other.
As a standard rule of skincare you should follow the basic rule of Cleanse, Treat, Protect. Regardless of the number of products this involves. This path involves cleansing first, to remove any makeup and impurities from the skins surface, treating skin with a toner/essence or specified serum, and finally protecting and shielding with a nourishing moisturiser and most importantly an SPF (for the day)
You want your products complement each other, not work against each other.
While the Cleanse, Treat, Protect rule is the cornerstone of a routine, it might not feel so straight forward when you have a number of products to consider. So remember this- always layer your products in order of their viscosity or texture, starting light and ending heavy.
One caveat here, be mindful of your products active ingredients. For example- products that contain retinol need to be able to penetrate into the skin, so you’ll want to ensure it doesn’t have too many other lighter viscosity layers acting as a barrier to work through. Conversely, humectants and emollients (found in moisturisers) need to be able to sit on top of the skin to lock in hydration and protect your barrier.
While a similar sequence applies for AM and PM routines, the fundamental differences are in the ingredients used. Your morning routine should be centered around keeping your skin protected and hydrated, while evening skincare should be corrective and restorative
The first step in any skincare routine is to clean and purify your canvas. No skincare will penetrate and work its magic if the skin is not clean. A simple morning cleanse will rinse away your PM products, while also removing any dead skin cells or bacteria accumulated over night. In the PM, opt for a double cleanse- this ensures the day’s accumulation of makeup, SPF and grime is effectively removed. A pre-oil cleanse is a good option to dissolve make up and offer slip for a stimulating facial massage. Following this use an active cleanser to finish the job.
After you cleanse move onto a toner, essence or treatment mist. These are going to be the thinnest consistency of all your skincare products. Toners range from those that are balancing and hydrating, those that offer resurfacing properies or those highly concentrated with certain ingredients to support specific skin concerns.
Toners can be used both AM and PM, however go for gentle hydrating formulas in the day and exfoliating solutions in the evening. Exfoliating toners using either poly, alpha or beta hydroxy acids will support cell turnover while you sleep.
Serums- the main event! These need to be kept as close to the skin as possible to ensure potent ingredients can penetrate the skin efficiently. For the day opt for a vitamin C or antioxidant serum. This is a key ingredient when it comes to brightening and protecting skin. You can layer more than one serum- e.g., a Vitamin C serum followed by a hydrating hyaluronic acid serum or a soothing Vit B, however we do recommend 2 serums max.
Your PM ritual is the time to use targeted serums that work while you sleep. Retinol (Vit A) should be used away from sun exposure, and away from your vitamin C (these ingredients don’t pair). Vit A is a powerful skincare ingredient that supports cell turnover offering many corrective benefits to the skin. You can also layer a hyaluronic acid serum or peptide serum such as Medik8’s Liquid Peptides over top of your retinol for additional benefits. But always remember- simple is best.
Tip: Don’t overdo the use of acids. If you are using a strong AHA to resurface your skin, skip your retinol for that evening and use every other night.
Eye care is an important step for both morning and night to help nourish the eye area, helping to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. We do recommend opting for a formula specially formulated for this delicate area.
If your eye solution is water weight- apply this during the same step you would your serums. If a cream consistency, step 4 is right. It should be noted if you are using a formula with brightening properties such as Medik8’s Illuminating Eye Balm you’ll want to apply post moisturiser so the light reflecting particles stay put.
An often overlooked but important step in layering, moisturisers offer more than just hydration. They act as a protective barrier to your skin, while simultaneously locking in all the skincare you’ve just applied. Smart moisturisers offer ingredients to target certain concerns such as dullness, pigmentation, acne or redness.
During the day reach for a lighter weight formula, one with added SPF is a bonus. Medik8’s Daily Radiance C is a unique trifecta of Vitamin C, hydration and SPF in one creamy formula. In the evening we like to go a little heavier with formulas such as Medik8's Advanced Night Restore- designed specifically for night use, or Dr Rogers iconic Face Cream.
Tip: When it comes to oils, we recommend using these as a finishing touch (after moisturiser before SPF). Either on their own, or add a few drops to your moisturiser. Oils are occlusive meaning they create an impenetrable layer over the skin, so rather than offering hydration they are a lovely way to deliver additional vitamins and nutrients into the skin, locking in the active ingredients from products you’ve just applied.
Always the last and final step in your morning line up. SPF plays the all-important role of protecting and preserving the integrity of your skin. To apply SPF before any other skincare step would be futile. During the day Vit C and SPF layer well, complementing each other just perfectly.
When you can- morning or night, don't rush through your skincare. Aim for a minute or so between steps to allow products to properly absorb before moving onto your next step.
Skincare offers a beautiful moment to be mindful and aware. Take your time and enjoy the ritual!