Layer Your Skincare Products Like A Pro

Layer Your Skincare Products Like A Pro

Does it really matter what order you layer on your skincare?


Absolutely, YES!

No matter how good your products, applying them the wrong way could mean that they might not penetrate your skin, so ultimately they’re just not going to be effective.

In which case you’ll miss out on all the fab benefits and ultimately waste your products, time and money.


So where do you start?

Generally speaking you’ll apply the lightest products first, and water based products before oil-based products.


Okay, not really…

There are so many new products now, lots of them with names suggesting you’d need a science degree to understand what they actually are.  And if you’re anything like me, you’ll come across so many articles and posts giving recommendations that for a long time, I gave up even trying to get my head around it.

But deep down I knew there were so many brilliant skincare products available that I’d be missing out if I didn’t try.

So purely in my own selfish interests and a desire to preserve my own (aging) skin, I was determined to break it all down. And the research blew my mind even more.

First of all, what I would say is that YOU DO NOT NEED ALL OF THESE STEPS! EVER.

Consider your own skin requirements, what products you already use, which you want to keep using, what products you want to try.

And if you have sensitive skin or you’re treating any skin conditions please seek expert advice before introducing new products into your skincare regime.

Then whatever you do use, should that only be 2 or 3 products, use them in this order, allowing time for each product to absorb before applying the next.

A Good Morning Skincare Routine

1. Cleanse

Yes, even if you’ve done it the night before! Use a cleansing milk/balm/gel and give it a nice quick wipe with a warm flannel and this helps gently exfoliate.

2. Toner

If you use it. It can help remove any traces of cleanser.

3. Exfoliate

If you want to use product this could be a gentle liquid exfoliating acid. Although you don’t necessarily need to do this as the warm flannel in Step 1 helps gently exfoliate while cleansing.
And if you’re using a stronger exfoliant at night-time, such as Glycolic Acid, then you can skip this step altogether.

4. Hydrate

With a facial mist to help maximise hydration

5. Eye cream

Apply this before other face products so that it can be absorbed

6. Treatment serum

To treat your own skin concerns. These might include Peptides, Niacinimide, Antioxidants or Vitamin C derivatives.

7. Hydrating Serum

Light serums with humectants, such as a Hyaluronic Acid serum help lock in moisture.

8. Moisturiser

You may not need both a moisturiser and a hydrating serum, if not use which works best for you. If not using an oil, moisturiser should always be your last layer before sunscreen.

9. Face Oil

Oil locks in the hydrating benefits of every other layer. But while it locks the moisture in, no other products can get through this so use it last.

10. SPF

Always use an SPF30 or higher and make sure you’re using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA rays and UVB rays. La Roche-Posay Anthelios.


What My Morning Routine Looks Like

Believe me, I DO NOT DO ALL OF THAT every morning! I use a handful of these products so don’t ever need all these steps, otherwise I’d never have time to leave the house!

I’m all about simple and efficient and if I could find one product that would do everything, to me that would be the dream. But until that time, here’s what I do…

  1. Cleanse with a mild cream cleanser and a warm flannel
    Right now I switch between The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser and CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. Both are very simple, gentle cleansers that don’t make my skin feel tight or dry after washing.
  2. Eye cream
    The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG – My morning caffeine shot for my eyes, they feel instantly refreshed.

* Occasional use of niacinimide or salicylic acid
I used to alternate these each morning but now that I’m using Glycolic Acid at night-time I  find I don’t need them every morning
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

  1. Hyaluronic Acid
    The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

Spotting my obsession with The Ordinary yet?!

  1. Peptide Serum
    ALDI Lacura Q10 Multi-Intensive Serum
    Yes, Aldi! It’s amazing, so light it’s absorbed in seconds but this serum works! 
  2. SPF 
    La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF50+, Invisible Fluid

BOOM! 5 steps. Job done!

I use a lot of the same products both morning and night, just introducing AM or PM specific products where needed.

A good evening skincare regime

Night time when you sleep is when your skin does all its repair, recovery and renewal. Your evening routine is prepping the skin for effective treatment.

1. Double cleanse
First step is removing make-up and the grease and dirt of the day. An oil based product is good to cut through all this.
Even if you’re not wearing make-up, you’ll need a double cleanse to wash your SPF off properly to avoid breakouts.

After that, you can use a mild balm, milk or gel cleanser to actually clean your skin. Again, you can use a warm flannel to help gently exfoliate.

2. Toner

3. Exfoliate
With a mild liquid chemical exfoliator. You can use a stronger product such as AHAs or BHAs at night time. Glycolic, salicylic and azelaic acids all remove dead skin cells without harming the skin barrier.

4. Eye care

5. Treatment serum

6. Retinoid
‘Best used at night time when you’re not exposed to light.

7. Hydrating serum

8. Moisturiser
You can use a rich cream at night unless these are too heavy for your skin

9. Face Oil
Again this helps lock in all those layers of goodness

10 Lip Balm
A slick of lip balm helps soothe those lips with some overnight repair

* Always include your neck and décolletage in your skincare. Or as I recently heard skincare guru Caroline Hirons describe it TITTT…Take It To The Tits. Fab advice!
* Where possible opt for paraben free, fragrance free, alcohol free products.
* Avoid using too many active ingredients. These powerful ingredients can counteract with each other and irritate the skin.

And that’s it.

What my Evening Skincare Routine Looks Like

1. Double Cleanse
– Remove make-up with Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
– Cleanse with a mild cream cleanser and a warm flannel, I like The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser and CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser.

2. Glycolic acid to exfoliate
My current glycolic acid favourites, actually, my long-term absolute favourites are: 
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid described as an ‘overnight facial’. It really is. 

3. Eye care
No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Eye Cream

4. Face oil
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil 
100% natural, highly antioxidant, and a little goes a long way. 

You can read about some of my favourites in My Must-Have Budget Skincare Products, which also shows that looking after you skin can also be done while looking after your pennies.

If you have the right products working at their optimum when used correctly, then a handful of products should be all you need.

Enjoy all those luscious layers of skin pampering!

My Must-Have Budget Skincare Products

My Must-Have Budget Skincare Products

My Beauty Regime

*This page contains affiliate links which could earn me a small commission if you visit a link and buy something on my recommendation. Purchasing via an affiliate link doesn’t cost you any extra, and I only recommend products and services I have used and trust. All opinions are my own. For more details see my disclosure policy and privacy policy.

Over the years I have tried MANY skincare products.

I’ve also had quite a few salon treatments… IPL, CACI, microdermabrasion, light glycolic peels… to name but a few.

I’ve also had a few teeny tiny doses of botox and fillers but I eased back when I overdid it. I want to look rested, not 10 years younger. Okay, maybe sometimes I wouldn’t mind looking 10 years younger!

I worked in duty free beauty for a time and was lucky to be able to try all sorts of discounted products and samples there.

So I’ve used oils, I’ve used masks, I’ve tried rich creams and lighter than light serums and I’ve spent 12 fortunes in the process. Normally without any noticeably significant results.


I’ve never had particularly good skin, but it’s never been particularly troublesome either.

My skin used to be normal and at times quite dehydrated. I mistook the dehydration for dry skin but when I switched to richer creams for dry skin they just sat in a heavy layer on top of my skin.

But recently my skin, thanks to HRT, seems to have completely changed! I’d say it’s now normal to oily but still prone to a few drier patches. I’ve always had quite open pores but now I tend to get some oily congestion in my pores around my nose and chin. I’m trying to convince myself that this increasing oiliness will help me ward off advanced signs of aging. Here’s hoping!

So no-one is more surprised than me that after all my years of investment and ‘research’, now that I’m in my advancing years (just turned 48), I’ve shunned most of the expensive products and treatments for low-end, budget buys.



Fairly new to my skincare regime but The Ordinary products are all over the media with rave recommendations. I’ve already recommended them to friends who have enthusiastically incorporated them into their beauty regimes too.

These products are cheap as chips! The packaging is basic but simple. The products work. At first glance you might worry that you’ll need a science degree to work out which ones you need for your own particular skin type and concerns but the website gives super detailed recommendations in their Regimen Guide.



On my Not-so-Ordinary list at the moment are:

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

This works on the surface of the skin and has exfoliating properties. Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 which is a brilliant oil regulator. I use this daily each morning to help clear pores and congestion and I swear I can almost feel it tightening my pores but it does that without leaving my skin feeling taut.

Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

This miracle treatment is so good that it’s sold out across the UK at the moment. I’m already on a waiting list to stock up again as soon as it’s available. Salicylic Acid digs deep into congested pores, dissolving sebum so I apply it when I have blemishes or breakouts to target and reduce any redness and inflammation.

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

I don’t function without a coffee in the mornings. And my eyes don’t function without their own caffeine hit from this miracle shot! This is a really light liquid with a super high concentration of caffeine which helps reduce puffiness and dark circles.

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

Hyaluronic Acid is good for all skin types. It’s amazing for its hydrating properties, especially as our skin ages, because it draws in and retains moisture and plumps up your skin from the inside out. It also has antioxidant properties.

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

I bought this while the Salicylic Acid was sold out and I’ll be keeping it forever thank you very much!

Glycolic Acid is a mild chemical exfoliant which removes dead skin cells. Not only does this help your skin look radiant but it helps with skin texture too.

I only use this at night-time as it Glycolic Acid can interfere with the effectiveness of your SPF. And as it’s an AHA which can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, you must, must, must wear sunscreen when using this.


I do buy some other brands too!

MY NUMBER ONE PRODUCT: Aldi Lacura Q10 Multi-Intensive Serum

Top of the list, if I could only have one product then this would be it, ALDI Lacura Q10 Multi-Intensive Serum. It’s so good that I stock up in the UK and get friends to ship it over to me here in Spain when I’m running low. Which I rarely allow happen. 

This is absorbed into the skin in seconds. It disappears without leaving any trace on the skin and leaves skin feeling plump and moisturised. Even better, it doesn’t pill under my SPF.
I’ve lost count on how many friends I’ve converted to this. Try it, it’s gorgeous. And costs £2.99!!

La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF50+

Can I have 2 number one products??

This is a little bit more expensive than the rest on the list but it’s worth every penny.

The one product I religiously use throughout the year is La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF50+.  There’s also a Tinted Fluid but I use the Invisible formula.

I’ve tried other SPFs but I ALWAYS come back to this and now I don’t even bother trying any others.

I have bad pigmentation from sun damage acquired during a few carefree summers in Greece where SPF came WAY down the shopping list after cheap food and drinks.

So my La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF50+ helps protect against any further damage and aging. I wear it EVERY DAY. Even in winter.

It is light, it sinks in quickly, it provides an even base under makeup and it offers amazing protection.


How to apply all these luscious layers

I apply the products in the order they appear up above but I do have a post on how to Layer Your Skincare Products Like A Pro which might help you demystify all the mind-baffling recommendations for the sequence of skincare product application

After The Ordinary beauties, I use my Aldi Lacura Q10 Serum then top off with the La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF50+ and I rarely even apply moisturiser these days, only when I feel I need it.

I can hear the beauticians amongst you gasp…no moisturiser? But my skins looks and feels not too shabby for a just-turned 48 year old with insomnia going through an early menopause and many sleepless nights.

And it’s all super healthy for the bank balance too!

So if it’s not broken….

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