Layering Skincare: What the evidence says

The ESK blog

Layering Skincare: What the evidence says

09 December 2021

I’ve been fascinated by beauty experts blogging and vlogging about the science of layering skincare. I wasn’t familiar with any such science. So, naturally I headed to my beloved National Library of Medicine to unearth the data. I found NOTHING. Hmmm. No trials whatsoever. So, let’s accept that we’re going to go into layering our skincare in a science-free zone. That doesn’t mean we don’t layer.

Here are some general rules;

  1. Cleansing always comes first. Makes sense. Skin will absorb skin care better when it’s not covered in a layer of grime and dirt. Unless you’ve been troweling on makeup, cleansing just once is plenty.

  2. Use morning products in the morning and evening products in the evening. Others can be mixed and matched. For example, Vitamin C works best in the morning because it prevents UV damage. Vitamin A is destroyed by UV rays so should only be applied at night. While Hydroxy acids make you more prone to UV damage so should only be used at night.

Got that. How do I layer then?

Option 1. Layering based on consistency; this involves layering from thinnest to gooiest. This kind of innately makes sense because the thinner stuff sinks in and leaves no residue. Thinner products can’t penetrate through the barrier of thicker products. I can get on board with that.

Option 2. Layering based on sunscreen last. Whatever first then finish with sunscreen in the morning. Sunscreen can be the last step before makeup.

Zinc Shade

Zinc Shade

Zinc Shade – UV Protection Skincare Product

Zinc Shade based daily moisturiser providing you with the protection you need from both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays.

  • Protects from UVA and UVB protection
  • Can be used under make-up
  • Rated SPF15

Option 3. Layering based on ancient wisdom. I have indeed seen blogs claiming some very complicated ancient rituals. For example; one blogger suggested starting with an oil based cleanser followed by a water based cleanser, then an exfoliator, followed by a toner, then an essence followed by a sheet mask, then an eye serum then a moisturizer then an SPF. So, I’m guessing that’s for the morning because I can’t understand the point of an SPF before going to sleep. But then again none of this makes sense to me. Apart from requiring a huge amount of money for all of these different products, you would need to wake at 4 am to start the process. Plus, a reminder that an exfoliator is a night product so layering it with an SPF is a bit odd. And nobody needs two different cleansers. Or a toner or for that matter a sheet mask of any description.

How much time between layers?

I have seen 30 minutes bandied around. No need. Thank goodness because here in the real world we don’t have time to spend half your morning putting on skincare! As soon as one has been more or less rubbed in, put on the next product! 

Here at ESK, we number our products so that your regime is easy to follow!

Have a stress free day!!

Normal Skin Anti-Aging Kit

Normal Skin Anti-Aging Kit

A kit jam-packed with evidence-based ingredients to address all your anti-ageing skin concerns. 

  • Brighten dull, tired skin
  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles 

We've swapped the Reverse C Serum with the new C Forte. If you prefer the Reverse C Serum, you can build your own kit here.