Skincare has taken the centre stage of the beauty industry–glowy, youthful, and flawless skin is what it’s all about. With thousands of products on the market that promise to give you perfect looking skin, it can get overwhelming, and when you’re looking at a cluttered bathroom counter (much like myself) it can get confusing… What comes first? Should serums be used in the morning or at night? And what the heck do I do with retinol?
It is important to layer your skincare in the correct order. If applied correctly, a great skincare routine could transform your complexion and boost your confidence. if layered randomly, you risk some products (many of which are pretty pricey!) being entirely ineffective or worse–irritating to the skin.
Here is FBI STYLE’s foolproof guide to layering your skincare correctly!
STEP 1: Cleanser
Do not, I repeat, do NOT forget to take off your makeup! You need a clean, fresh face to allow your skincare to be effective. So skip the makeup wipes (I know, it’s easier, but trust us), and opt for a cleansing oil. This will remove allllllll the makeup and dirt that has been built up throughout the day, and leave you with a clean face Follow up your oil cleanse, with a gentle cleanser… Yes, this is a two-step process (aka a double cleanse), but results don’t come easy!
STEP 2: Toner
Toner isn’t technically essential to a skincare regimen, BUT they can be helpful in adding moisture back into the skin. You could opt for a toner filled with BHA which can help to unclog your pores, and prevent breakouts OR you can stick to a more hydrating toner that’ll bring your face back to life after being washed. Using a cotton pad, tap the toner over your freshly cleansed, but dry skin. Do this every other night, or every other morning. According to Cosmopolitan, if you plan to use a retinol at night, then wait a full five minutes before applying anything else or you’ll accidentally neutralize the acids before they work their magic,”
STEP 3: Serum
Using serums will bring you down a rabbit hole of skincare that is often hard to escape. While they are super effective, there’s just SO many!
“Serums are essentially just shots of extremely concentrated nutrients, hydrators, and antioxidants that really amp up your skin health as soon as you apply them”-Dr. Gohara
In the morning, the holy grail of serum is vitamin C. It acts as an antioxidant, and will brighten your complexion while preventing signs of ageing. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, you may only want to use this every other day.
At night, you can use multiple serums for different concerns you may have. The golden rule is to apply your skincare from lightest to heaviest, but regardless of which serums you choose, you want to ensure that they are filled with hyaluronic acid. This will draw in moisture to your skin, and prep it for any spot treatments that might dry you out. A personal favourite of mine is The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 $6.80 CAD.
Step 4: Eye Cream
Pat! Don’t rub!A gentle eye cream is a must, your eyes are sensitive so treat them with care. In the morning, use an eye cream that has a steel rollerball or filled with caffeine. This will help reduce the appearance of puffy eyes, and will feel extra nice if you leave the applicator in the fridge before applying! At night, opt for a simple hydrating formula.
Step 5: Spot Treatment
Apply your spot treatment, prior to moisturizer to ensure it really penetrates the skin and targets your blemishes or dark spots. Used mainly at night, you might apply a spot treatment in the AM if you were using a retinol the night before, and have sensitive skin.
Pro Tip: To prevent the treatment from getting wiped around your face, apply your moisturizer around the spots first – Chloe Metzger
Step 6: Moisturizer
You NEED to moisturize. It might be tough at first to find the perfect formula for your skin, but moisturizer is definitely an essential part of good skincare. A great moisturizer will not only lock in hydration, but will help all of the great ingredients that you’ve already layered on really work their magic. In the morning, reach for a light moisturizer filled with hyaluronic acid, and if you can, SPF 30. Wait about 5 minutes before applying your makeup after this step. At night, you’ll want to use a moisturizer “filled with all of the things your body naturally produces and can use more of, like hyaluronic acid, lipids, and proteins,” says Dr. Gohara.
Step 7: Retinol
“Retinoids trigger collagen production and cellular exfoliation, which means they’ll also fade dark spots, smooth scars, clear pores, prevent breakouts, and brighten skin,” says Dr. Gohara. While it takes four to six months to start seeing the benefits of retinol treatments, the results are absolutely worth it!
Retinoids are STRONG, so you need to be careful, and ease yourself into using them. Allow your skin to adjust to the dryness, and strength of retinol. If you have sensitive skin, really be cautious when using any treatments. Dr. Gohara says to “apply a pea-size drop to your entire face one night a week for one week, then two nights a week for two weeks, then three nights a week for three weeks, and then every other night indefinitely.”
Do NOT use retinol if your nighttime moisturizer already contains retinoids, this will cause inflammation. Use a moisturizer 10 minutes prior to and 10 minutes post retinol application if you have super sensitive skin–moisture is KEY!
Step 8: Oils
Oils are also not technically essential, and you can have a great skincare routine without the use of oils, but they are a great way to finish off your skincare routine. Nothing can penetrate through oils, so make sure to apply these last. They are usually not very hydrating on their own but layered as a final step, oils can really soothe the skin, add moisture and promote soft, smooth, clear skin.
Step 9: Sunscreen
WEAR SUNSCREEN! Sunscreen is the secret to flawless skin, especially as you age. Apply sunscreen before you begin your makeup, and reapply periodically throughout the day (every 2 hours). And no, the SPF in your foundation, or moisturizer is NOT enough. Even if there is SPF 30 in your other products, it’s not enough SPF to protect the skin from the sun. Check out FBI STYLE’s Sunscreen 101 HERE.
Step 10: ENJOY!
Finding good skincare products is HARD and maintaining a routine isn’t easy. It can be frustrating trying to find products that work with your skin, and don’t end in irritation or wasted money–but don’t give up. Once you find what works for you, and get into a routine, you’ll see your hard work pay off. You got this!