How to Layer Skincare: The Correct Order to Do Skincare

As our bathroom cabinets become progressively more crowded, it’s easy to lose track of our skincare regimens. The combination of new products and ingredients that are constantly emerging can be overwhelming. Is a serum the same thing as a facial oil? Is an SPF moisturizing? We’ve been blessed with all of these components for a radiant looking complexion but left with an uncertainty of what order to do skincare. What we do know, however, is that they don’t all go on at once. Each product has it’s own, equally important step. Here’s how to layer skincare.

What order to do skincare

The best skincare routine differs from morning to evening. This is because some products are designed to work their magic as you sleep, such as ESPA’s Tri-Active Regenerating Bio-Retinol Sleeping Serum. Upon waking, the complexion appears visibly brighter.

What’s more, in the evening you may prefer to cleanse more thoroughly to not only remove any make-up, SPF, debris or pollution on the top layer on the skin but to also work deeper to treat and cleanse the skin. That’s why at the end of a long day, it’s recommended to double cleanse.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at the best skincare routine to awaken the appearance of skin and prep it for the day ahead. Plus, we’ll discuss how to layer these morning skincare products.

skincare order

Step One- Cleanser

The first step and the base of a good skincare routine is a natural cleanse. This sweeps away impurities and excess sebum that has accumulated overnight for a radiant looking base. It also allows face creams, serums and oils to be fully absorbed. In the morning, a skincare routine should include a gentle, non-stripping cleanser that will deeply nourish and care for your skin’s natural microbiome such as ESPA’s Balancing Foam Cleanser. Simply apply one or two pumps to damp skin morning and evening. Work up a lather then rinse away with warm water.

Step Two- Toner

The next step of the skincare order is a toner to gently refresh and clarify the skin without stripping any natural oils from the face. Follow your cleanse by applying a toner to a dry cotton wool pad and sweep over the face, neck and décolleté. One which is enriched with essential oils and flower waters is a great way to awaken the skin and mind with a light, aromatic scent.

Step Three- Serum

Now that the cleanse and tone is complete, it’s time to apply the first layer of skincare- serum. Not to be confused with a facial oil, a serum has the thinnest formula and should therefore be smoothed onto the skin before any other product. Whether you’re looking to even tone, reduce the appearance of fine lines or revitalize and brighten the complexion, a highly potent serum will work to enhance your regime.

woman applying serum

For example, in ESPA’s Optimal Skin Pro-Serum the Sunflower Concentrate focuses on supporting the skin’s precious lipid barrier and nourishing the skin, while a blend of Balloon Vine, Blackcurrant Seed Oil and Sea Fennel collectively work to soothe, nourish and help support the skins barrier function for a vibrant, healthy-looking complexion. Antioxidant-rich Turmeric is the final complexion-loving ingredient which helps improve the appearance of your skin tone.

Warm a few drops of the serum in your palms, cupping your hands over your face to inhale the aroma. Gently smooth over your face, neck and décolleté until fully absorbed by your skin.

Step Four- Eye cream

Whether you want to soothe tiredness, reduce dark circles or smooth fine lines, an eye-cream is the next layer of skincare to apply. It’s common for the eyes to appear slightly puffier upon wakening. Delicately massaging a cooling and refreshing eye gel under the eyes can soothe the water retention and reduce the appearance of that puffiness.

espa eye cream

ESPA’s Depuff and Soothe Eye Gel is a lightweight, easily absorbed and non-sticky texture that intensely hydrates the eye area, revitalizing the appearance of tired eyes and dull circles.

Step Five- Moisturizer

As mentioned, the order to apply skincare is from thinnest to thickest, so the next step is to moisturize with a richly hydrating face cream to leave skin feeling replenished and soft. Apply it to the fingertips and tap into face and neck until it has been fully absorbed by the skin.

ESPA’s 24-Hour Replenishing Moisturizer can be used morning and evening to keep the skin hydrated around the clock.

Step Six- Facial Oil

As a final layer of hydration, apply a facial oil. This may seem to contradict how it was previously mentioned to layer skincare from thinnest to thickest. However, despite the fact that oils often appear thinner than a moisturizer, they’re actually more dense and can therefore penetrate the layer beneath it. Luxurious in texture and rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, exceptionally pure facial oils work to balance, restore and revitalize the complexion.

espa facial oil


Step Seven- SPF

Lastly, the final layer of skincare to never leave the house without: SPF.

Whether it’s a tinted SPF to add some radiance and warmth to the complexion or a regular SPF, this step is something every skincare routine should include. The easiest and most effective way to protect your skin’s appearance, a daily layer of SPF will shield against those harmful rays of the sun that can cause premature aging.

What is the best skincare routine for my skin type

Although the order of applying skincare will generally remain the same, what ingredients your skin requires is unique to you.

To evaluate what the best skincare routine is for you, Find Your Perfect Skincare Routine with our skincare test.

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Josie Wilkins

Josie Wilkins

Writer and expert

Josie is an Online Beauty Editor with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. Her passions involve all things skincare and beauty and in her free time she likes to travel, read and get her beauty sleep.