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How to Layer Skincare

Skincare
Joanna Melville | 23.07.2020

It's important to layer your skincare correctly, understanding the different skincare routine steps and the correct order can be confusing. Hyaluronic acid before or after toner? Serum or acid first? How to layer hyaluronic acid? Our guide explains how to layer your skincare for maximum results, with tips on different ingredients for each step, depending on your skin type. Once you understand the basic steps, creating your own skincare routine steps will result in a tailored approach that's unique to your needs.

Why is layering skincare important?

Layering skincare products means you can target multiple areas of concern with as few or as many products as you desire, providing flexibility in how much time you dedicate to am and pm skincare routines.

Many people ask, ‘can I use more than one serum when layering skincare?’, and the answer is, yes! Once you know how to layer skincare products, you’ll understand how to get the most out of multiple ingredients. Many skincare routines are effective because the layered products work in harmony and don’t cancel out any of the desired effects. 

If you're just starting to layer, keep it simple and try using fewer products to begin with and gradually build up to your ideal step by step skincare routine.

How to layer 5 skin care routine steps

There are 5 core steps when layering any skincare products: cleanse, hydrate, treat, moisturize and SPF. We’ll breakdown how to incorporate products to suit your skin needs into each of these 5 steps;Steps in Your Skincare Routine

Step 1: Cleanse (AM and PM)

Salicylic Acid Cleanser

The base of any good layering skincare routine! We recommend cleansing AM and PM daily as the first step of your skincare recipe. Some people may even find that skipping a cleanser in the AM and opting for just water can help the condition of their skin - it can be worth playing around to find what works for you.
Make sure the water isn’t too warm - hot water can strip skin of it’s natural oils leaving your skin feeling dry and tight.

Oily or blemish prone? Try using our Salicylic Acid Cleanser for oil and breakout control! 

Dry or sensitive? Try using our Oat Cleansing Balm for an effective yet nourishing cleanse. 

Dull skin? Try using Fulvic Acid Cleanser for a gentle exfoliation to reveal glowing skin.

Dehydrated skin? try using Hyaluronic Acid Cleanser to deeply hydrate skin, leaving it soft, smooth and healthy

Find out which INKEY List cleanser is right for you in our blog post : Choosing the right cleanser for you

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Step 2: Hydrate (AM and PM)

Hyaluronic Acid

When considering how to layer skincare, try using our hero hydrator Hyaluronic Acid Serum as your first step after cleansing.

Working across multiple layers of the skin it can help carry your following products into the skin helping them work more effectively while helping keep skin hydrated, plump and glowing. Use AM and PM daily as part of your skin care routine steps for best results.

For all skin types: We recommend layering Hyaluronic Acid Serum for everyone! This hydrating hero should be a staple in just about every skincare recipe, from simple skincare routines to more advanced ski regimens.

How to layer Hyaluronic Acid Serum

To learn how to layer Hyaluronic Acid Serum, read more about this powerful hydrator in our We Discussed ... Hyaluronic Acid Serum blog post.

Step 3: Treat (AM and/or PM)

15% Vitamin C + EGF

We have a number of serums and treatments in our range, that can each target different skincare goals. When layering skincare, we suggest as a general rule, working from the thinnest to thickest consistency.

How to layer acids and serums?

If you’re wondering whether to use a serum or acid first, start off with any exfoliating toners or serums, they help sweep away dead and dehydrated cells from the surface of the skin helping your following products penetrate the skin better.

Dull skin? Try our 15% Vitamin C and EGF Serum for a glow.

Breakouts? Try our Beta Hydroxy Acid Serum to help clear out pores and reduce outbreaks.

Fine Lines and Wrinkles? Try our Retinol Serum to gradually reduce their appearance while smoothing and brightening.

Got more questions about Retinol? Read our INKEY Debates : Retinol blog post

Hyperpigmentation? Try our Tranexamic Acid Serum to target hyperpigmentation while smoothing and brightening skin. 

Oily skin or redness? Try using Niacinamide Serum to balance oil production and calm any redness.

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Caffeine Eye Cream

We have three eye creams in our range, all formulated to target different skincare goals! Use your eye cream around the orbital bone and under the brow - steering clear of your eye lids and gently pat in with your ring finger for the perfect amount of pressure.

Dark Circles? Try our Brighten-i Eye Cream to instantly illuminate while long term helping to restore skin to its natural tone

Puffiness? Try our Caffeine Eye Cream which can help reduce water retention under the eye

Signs of aging? Try our Retinol Eye Cream to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Step 4: Moisturize (AM and PM)

how to layer moisturizer step

Moisturizers help draw and lock moisture into the skin while oils work on the surface of the skin, helping to keep your skin barrier strong, further locking in moisture and improving texture. All of the best skincare routine steps should include a moisturizer, specific to your concerns and skin goals.

Mature skin? Try our Peptide Moisturizer to help reduce wrinkles and leave skin looking radiant.

Dull Skin? Try our Symbright Moisturizer to brighten skin and reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone.

Oily Skin? Try our Omega Water Cream to immediately hydrate skin and help control oil production.

Normal skin? Try our Vitamin B, C & E Moisturizer for healthy-looking skin.

Read out Which moisturizer is right for me? blog post to find out which INKEY List moisturizer is best suited to your skin type.

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Step 5: SPF (AM)

SPF 30 Daily Sunscreen

Unprotected sun exposure can damage skin, cause accelerated signs of aging and hyperpigmentation. We suggest protecting skin with a broad spectrum SPF 30 Daily Sunscreen as the last step of your AM layering skincare routine.

Are there any products you can't mix?

While most products can be used together safely as part of a skincare layering routine, there are few products to watch out for to be on the safe side!

Vitamin C and Retinol can cause irritation if mixed. We’d suggest using Vitamin C as part of your AM layering skincare routine to make the most of its antioxidant effects and Retinol in the evening as it can increase sun sensitivity.


We’d also suggest using any exfoliating acids on alternate nights to any Retinol products you may be using to avoid risking irritation. We also wouldn’t suggest using more than one exfoliating acid a day, you could risk over exfoliation and irritation. You could mix and match using a stronger exfoliating acid like our Glycolic Acid Toner on your t-zone and gentler product like our Lactic Acid elsewhere.

Create a skincare routine today with our Recipe Builder.

Not sure how to layer your skincare routine, unique to you? You can chat to our #askINKEY team now who’ll be happy to help build you a personalized skincare recipe!

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