Girlfriends' Guide to Product Layering

Girlfriends' Guide to Product Layering

In a landscape full of acids, boosters, retinols and oils, it's hard to know if you are applying the right product at the right time. And when you add to that the broad spectrum of skin types that exist, you might be wondering if your sunscreen should be the first or last thing you apply.

One thing is for certain however, applying your skin care products in the proper sequence ensures that your skin receives the maximum benefits of each product.

Everyone’s skin is different, but the golden rule for product layering remains constant: when applying products day or night, apply lightest to heaviest consistency or in different terms, thinnest to thickest consistency.  

That being said, let’s break down what a typical AM and PM routine should look like and why:



Step 1: Wash face with cleansing oil or face wash to help remove excess oil buildup.

Step 2: Apply a toner- pick one that is gentle and alcohol free!

Step 3: Apply a moisturizer, cream or oil. Keep in mind that moisturizer goes on before you apply SPF- this is crucial! Adding a heavy, water-based moisturizer on top of sunscreen can water down the effectiveness of the sun protection factor.  

Step 4: Apply SPF (Try to find a moisturizer with SPF to minimize extra product from Step 3).

Step 5: Apply makeup primer (Try to find one with SPF to eliminate extra product from Step 4).

Step 6: Apply makeup and setting spray if desired.


Keep in mind that you should save your harsher, stronger serums i.e. Retinol or Hyaluronic Acid for your nighttime routine. Retinoids, as well as Vitamin C serum, can make your skin more photosensitive to UV radiation. If you decide to apply them during the day, sun protection is particularly important, so don’t skip the SPF.




Step 1: Wash face with cleansing oil to help remove makeup and excess oil buildup. Follow with a face wash to remove any excess dirt and makeup. This is called double cleansing.

Step 2: (Optional) For a more thorough cleanse, incorporate a face mask or exfoliation 1 to 2 times a week.

Step 3: Apply a toner- pick one that is gentle and alcohol-free!

Step 4: Apply spot treatment if needed and wait five minutes before next step.

Step 5: Apply serum i.e. Vitamin C, BHA, AHA, Retinol, Hyaluronic Acid, etc.

Step 6: Apply moisturizer or face oil i.e. Argan, Jojoba, Rosehip, Geranium etc.


Another common question is whether you should use serum at all, and if so, how often you should use them. Think of serums as a multivitamin for your skin. As you age, your skin slowly slows down its production of collagen and hyaluronic acid - the former affects the firmness of your skin, and the latter locks in moisture. In turn, this lack of production, as well as exposure to the sun leads to wrinkles, fine lines, and aged looking skin. Retinol is a great option for those looking to improve skin texture, fine lines, or dyspigmentation. Hyaluronic acid is ideal for restoring skin’s moisture and glow as it binds and retains moisture.

Now, onto how often you should use a serum. A good rule of thumb is to apply serums two times a week in your 20’s, three times a week in your 30’s, four times a week in your 40’s, and so on. You should also note that retinol can cause skin sensitivity and major dryness for some, so don’t use too much!    

Recommended Products: Serum Trio Set

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