While we’ve heard of lengthy 12-step skincare regimens (thanks to the influx of porcelain-skinned K-Pop stars), the question baffling everyone’s mind lies not in the why but the how. Though most are familiar with the three-step system Clinique has popularized, since the emergence of environmental concerns barring the betterment of complexions, a simple cleanse-tone-moisturize routine just isn’t strong enough to cut it.
Multiple steps mean multiple products with different formulations for each step. This includes a combination of creams, serums, and oils to consider. The most basic rule is to go from light to heavy—for example, a serum goes before a moisturizer because it has smaller particles that can’t be absorbed if laid on top of a heavier moisturizer. Same goes for water and oil-based products—always go from light (water) to heavy (oil).
Another tip is to wait a minute or two in between steps to ensure the absorption of your products. Knowing the right order of product application is just half the battle. Even if you apply your products in the right order, your efforts would be for naught if you slapped them on one after another.
For a more in-depth guide (and more tips!) on product layering, click on the gallery to reveal each step.