The Ultimate Guide To Layering Your Skincare Products

by beauty expert, Katey Kristabelle

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Do you want to add a serum into your routine but have no idea when to incorporate it? Do you apply facial oils before or after moisturizer? When do you exfoliate? Questions about product layering are something I'm often asked as an aesthetician, so I’m going to provide the product layering blueprint for you to use as a guide whether you are a minimalist or an advanced multi step skincare enthusiast.

To simplify things, follow this general rule: apply your skincare from thinnest to thickest. That means thinner, liquid textured products, like toners and serums come first and oil-based, creamy, or whipped products are applied towards the end.

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A.M Minimal


Hydrosol/toner (optional)

Skin Oil/moisturizer


A.M 12 Step

Oil cleanse

Second cleanser



Eye Care

Moisturizer Oil/balm/butter

Targeted Spot treatment


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P.M Minimal


Hydrosol/toner (optional)

Skin oil/moisturizer

P.M Advanced

Oil cleanse

Double cleanse



Eye care



Spot treatments

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Weekly Routine

Exfoliate with a scrub or peel
Continue with the rest of your routine



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Let's discuss what each step entails in more detail. 


Helps to remove build up, oils, makeup, pollution, dirt and grime. Cleansing is arguably the most critical step of any skincare routine.


There are astringent toners that help to degrease and kill bacteria on the surface of the skin, they might also contain acids.  And then there are floral waters, and hydrosols that work to replenish moisture levels into the skin and prepare it to absorb your other skincare product (damp skin takes in ingredients better than dry skin).


These have a smaller molecule structure, or thinner texture and contain targeted active ingredients to focus on specific skin concerns, they can also penetrate deeper into the skin.

Eye Care:

The skin around your eyes is thinner and more delicate than the rest of your face, so it requires some gentle TLC. Eye skincare products work to target the specific concerns around the eye area like texture, dark circles, fine lines, puffiness and sagging.


Work to lock in moisture, you can blend this step and replace a typical cream or lotion with an oil, butter, or balm or choose to layer the thicker products over top to seal in hydration. The minimalist might choose the all in one hydrating skin oil, where the multi step skincare enthusiast might use every texture all at once. If you’re using any silicone based moisturizers I recommend not layering them and using them on their own to avoid any piling of the products.

Spot treatments:

For acne, pigmentation or localized skin conditions. These are best used last to avoid spreading them over all areas of the face where they are not needed and avoid any irritation.


Sunscreen is your best defense against the signs of aging that the sun can draw to the surface of the skin. The minimalist opts to use their sunscreen as a moisturizer to keep the steps simple, where as the multi step will lather their sunscreen on top of the full morning routine.