Skincare can be considerably complex, especially if you are applying a large number of products each day. Not only do you have to learn what each of them does and what it contains, but how to use them all, when to apply them, when not to apply them, what time of day is best, and how they might react if mixed with other products. This guide will help to provide a better understanding of each of these steps, and some professional tips to help you get the very best from your home skincare routine.
How do I layer my products?
If you’re using a number of different products, it’s easy to forget which order to apply them in. This will generally vary depending on the skincare brand and the specific product ingredients, but there are some rules of thumb you can use to simplify things. Consider how your products will be absorbed into the skin. When using a serum that is quite thin or watery-textured, it’s likely this should be applied early in the routine as it should absorb quickly. You want to apply from thinnest to thickest-textured. Another good rule of thumb is that if you are using products containing peptides, these should generally be applied first (or early on) so they have the best chance of absorption, allowing them to go about their work without hindrance from other ingredients. Another tip is if you are using both a Vitamin B and an active ingredient that your skin responds slightly to, such as a tingle from a Vitamin A or C, apply your B first to help calm the skin ahead of the active.
And finally, use your thicker products towards the end, and if using an oil, apply this last.
Which actives can I mix?
When it comes to academic research in this field, evidence is still relatively inconclusive. There have been several small studies to suggest certain actives don’t mix well with others, such as A and C, or C and B, but results are mixed. It can also depend on a lot of variables, such as the specific vitamin derivative used, or whether it has been encapsulated in a delivery system. A good tip to improve safety and reduce chances of adverse reactions is to wait several minutes between product applications. This may help to ensure sufficient product absorption and limit them mixing together.
How can I improve product absorption?
Certain methods have shown to improve how well topical products absorb into the skin. It does of course depend on the molecular size of the substances used in the products, because if they are too large, they simply can’t penetrate beyond a certain depth no matter which application methods you use. Massage has shown to assist slightly, so you may opt to incorporate your favourite massage method whether it be gua sha, crystal roller, or traditional fingertip application.
Applying products to slightly damp skin has shown to increase absorption rates as well, as the skin is more permeable when wet. While skin is of course waterproof, diffusion allows for product absorption through intercellular channels to be improved when wet. Lastly, dermal rolling can also facilitate better product absorption. Ultra-fine needles create channels through the epidermis to allow products to better seep in - along with the many other benefits provided by this treatment including cell proliferation and collagen induction.
While these are generalised tips and tricks for improving your routine, we recommend further consultation with your skin physician to allow for more in-depth advice that is tailored to your specific skin needs, products, and lifestyle.