How to Layer Skincare

There’s so much talk about the nine-step routine that it seems rather frugal to just use moisturiser and sunscreen. I’ve tried both ends of the spectrum and I have to say that even when I was majorly into layering my routine never consisted of nine-steps. But that’s just me. How much you layer also depends on your lifestyle. Earlier I used to go out to work, and then in the evening to yoga class, and then for dinner with friends. So that meant I was out all day in the pollution. Layering during those days made me feel better because it was just shield after shield of anti-agers and antioxidants on my face. Today I work and also self practice yoga at home. So I find that a powerful serum is good enough. My skin is definitely much better these days, but that may also be because I’m not in a stressful environment and I’m eating fresh, home-cooked meals. But anyway I digress, here’s the most effective way to layer products (if you want to):

Toner/ Essence
After you’ve washed your face spritz on a face mist or use a cotton pad to apply toner. A lot of people apply both toner and essence, in which case toner comes first and essence second. Wait for each product to dry completely for a minute before applying the other. I personally have never used an essence because I feel that it could come in the way of my potent serum.
This step is optional. 

Step 2
Treatment serum
I have a few serums that I use in rotation, but my most important anti-agers are vitamin C (in the day) and copper peptides (at night). You need to observe your skin to understand what it needs most. Is it red and raw? Then apply a calming serum first. Is the oily and acne prone? Then apply an oil-absorbing anti-acne serum first. Do you want to decrease pigmentation? Then you apply a de-pigmenting product. I like radiance and tight pore-less skin. So I apply vitamin C in the morning for radiance and copper peptides at night before anything else. However if I’m feeling dry, red and sensitive then I’ll apply my calming vitamin D serum first…you get the idea right? Your first serum should treat your main skin concern. You can also pat on your eye cream as part of this step. After the treatment serum, wait for 5 minutes before applying the next layer. Make yourself a cup of tea in the meanwhile, or send an email, just don't stand around waiting.
This step is essential.

Step 3
Once I’m done with applying a serum that treats my main skin concern, you want to apply antioxidants. Now this is especially relevant when I’m going out. Antioxidants help neutralise damaging free radicals in the environment that are present because of pollution and sunlight. So this is like sort of a shield for you. Vitamins C and E are very powerful antioxidants, so a serum that contains C or E is very powerful. If you already have a layer of vitamin C then please don’t apply another vitamin C serum because it will dry your skin out. Look for a generic antioxidant serum, like Estée Lauder’s Perfectionist, or The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Moisture Serum.
This step is optional. 


Step 4
Now comes the moisturiser, which helps seal in the serums. If your skin is super oily then you can skip this step altogether. And yes invest your money in a potent serum, not a moisturiser. You can get away with a simple drugstore moisturiser as long as it doesn't have a ton of alcohol and fragrance in it. 
This step is optional.


Step 5
Face Oil
Oil always goes on as the last step because it can penetrate through moisturiser. This is usually the last step for your ritual at night because many find it too shiny for the day. But if your skin is super dry, then feel free to add a few drops as a last step. Of course on some days you can skip all these multiple steps and just spritz your face with a mist and then massage in a few drops of oil when it’s still damp. The point with layering is that you can choose to do just one or two steps or all of them. There’s no right or wrong.
This step is optional.

Step 6
Well, d-uh…this has to be the last step right?
This step is essential.

If you have extremely sensitive skin then it is better to apply moisturiser first and then your serum. This is especially relevant if you’re using retinol. Sometimes potent anti-ageing serums can dry or sensitise your skin. In that case it’s better to apply a layer of moisturiser and then your serum because the former will act as a protective barrier for your skin.