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The Right Way To Layer Your Skincare Products

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Slathering on all your favorite skincare products is a good thing — really, we encourage it. But in case you didn’t know, haphazardly packing it onto your face is not exactly the best approach. Here, we’re showing you the correct way to layer your skincare products. Trust us, once you know the order of things, your skin will thank you.

"Layering your products ensures that they are properly absorbed into the skin, efficiently utilized, and receiving the full benefit of each product," Josie Holmes, esthetician at SKINNEY Medspa says. "The order of laying your products is actually quite crucial." So crucial in fact, that if you feel that your routine isn't working, it may be solely from your application, not the products themselves. But it's really pretty simple, just build by according to texture. "In general, the idea is to go from the lightest products that are most absorbed, progressively to heavier products — so that means cleanser, toner, essence, serum, moisturizer, makeup," Dr. Hadley King, MD, New York City dermatologist says.

However, if your routine goes further than that, Dr. King suggests using a system formulated to work together. "I would recommend using a line of products designed to be used together to minimize the risk that you are diluting or deactivating your active ingredients," she says. But if a more minimal approach is you're thing, don't worry. It's not necessary to use products from only one brand. Instead, use hybrid products. "For example a toner, moisturizer product that has a watery milky consistency that feels like a toner but contains tiny oil particles suspended in water will also moisturize, so you won't need a separate moisturizer," King says. "Or there are also cleanser, toner hybrids that contain both hydrating ingredients like glycerin and rose water as well as gentle chemical exfoliators like lactic acid and citric acid. Then there are hybrid toners, essences, serums, moisturizers that contain active ingredients and soothing and hydrating and moisturizing ingredients — taking the place of separate toners, essences, serums and moisturizers."

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So in the spirit of organization, check out eight products that make for near-perfect layering in your skincare routine.

How To Layer Skincare: Morning

Dr. King insists on layering skincare your morning skincare with the same precision that you would organize your home. "The key idea is that, in a Marie Kondo sort of way, you are identifying the skincare products that are best for you and cutting out the non-essentials," she says.

And in case you're wondering what those "essentials" are, Holmes lists them as follows: "Cleanser, toner, serums (preferably one with antioxidants such as a vitamin C serum), eye cream, spot treatment if necessary, moisturizer, and SPF," she says.

How To Layer Skincare: Evening:

"The basic evening routine will be similar to the morning," Holmes says. "Double cleanse (to ensure full makeup removal), toner, essence, serums and treatments (including acids), eye cream, night cream, and facial oil."

Before bed is also the time to amp up the emollients with richer moisturizers boasting more potent benefits. "Moisturizers that include ceramides, shea butter, bee's wax, coconut oil, petrolatum are great nighttime options," Dr. King says. "Also look for those with active ingredients, depending on what skin issues you want to address, include alpha hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C, other antioxidants, retinoids."

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