How to layer your skincare products to make them as effective as possible

4 months ago 29
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Look in your beauty cabinet, and chances are you have multiple pillars in your skincare repertoire. Hyaluronic acid is the ultimate hydrator. Retinol is a must for anti-ageing. Vitamin C is an essential brightener. SPF is non-negotiable. But is there a right or wrong way to apply them? How do we best layer them up to maximise their benefits? Marcia Kilgore, who sits at the helm of the direct-to-consumer and membership-based product line, Beauty Pie, knows. As the founder of no less than three brands that cater to all your skincare needs (Bliss, Soaper Duper, and now Beauty Pie), any advice that she imparts can be pretty much taken as gospel. So, how do you go about it? And what are the key ingredients we shouldn’t skip in our step-by-step routine? Here’s Kilgore’s definitive guide.

Choose wisely and adapt products as your skin changes

“Curating an effective skincare routine is all about choosing the right products at the right time and applying them in the right order. You might already know your general skin type, but for serums and treatments, choose products that are going to target your particular concerns. Maybe you experience more breakouts as the weather gets more humid? Is your skin oilier than usual? Perhaps you have a persistent dry patch that seemed to appear out of nowhere? Or pigmented patches? Identifying exactly what your skin needs first is key when choosing the right products to layer.”

Layer from lightest to heaviest formulas

“Once armed with the products that make up your routine, you should work from the lightest to the heaviest. Start by putting the thinnest, fastest-absorbing product on your face first and layer the next heaviest over it, then the next, so that the thickest formula ends up on top (followed by sunscreen and/or a tinted SPF). As a general rule of thumb, apply your products in this order: cleanser, toner/essence, treatment/mask, serum, eye cream, moisturiser, oil, SPF. Sunscreen always goes last, and the only thing that you should layer over sunscreen is powder, concealer or foundation.”

Make sure to use an essence

“An essence is a key post-cleanse step that not only nourishes, smoothes and pH balances your skin, but also turbo-charges every other product you put on top of it, by softening the epidermal layers to allow faster penetration of actives. Our Japanfusion Hydra Prep Essence Lotion is a high-tech, micro-molecular tonic that you apply immediately after cleansing to soothe, balance, plump and hydrate skin. It’s the perfect power-magnet prep to heighten the performance of whatever you apply next,” says Kilgore.

Double up on Vitamin C

“Topical vitamin C has multiple benefits for your skin: it’s radiance-boosting; equalises uneven skin tone; improves your skin’s texture; helps to fight fine lines and fade acne scars; brightens skin and helps repair damage from UV rays; improves the appearance of pigmentation; and over the longer-term, it helps to kick natural collagen production up a notch.

If you’re using a vitamin C serum, apply morning and night to your face, neck and décolletage after cleansing and before moisturiser. If you have opted for a vitamin C moisturiser, use morning and night to your face, neck and chest as the final step in your skincare routine before SPF and/or foundation.

I double my vitamin C (and resveratrol) use during the summer, using a capsule of either morning and/or evening under moisturiser or sunscreen and after retinol, respectively. I think when it’s sunny, you can never have too many antioxidants.”

Hyaluronic acid should be a staple

“Hyaluronic acid can be found in everything from serums to creams to capsules to sheet masks (and in injectables like Restylane or Juvederm). And it’s powerful – so you probably don’t need it in more than one layer of your morning or evening routine. The benefits? It delivers an instant hydration hit; helps with barrier-repair function; protects your skin against inflammation (which BTW, experts now say is responsible for ageing); is compatible with all skin types; is non-comedogenic; and makes your face look plumper, dewier and younger.

If using hyaluronic acid serums, apply onto cleansed skin under your day or night moisturiser. If opting for hyaluronic acid-infused creams, use before SPF and/or foundation. And apply hyaluronic acid sheet masks after deep cleansing your skin and before applying essence or a serum. Hyaluronic acid is also absolutely genius if you find that you’ve overexposed yourself to the sun (feeling a little crispy, maybe?”)

Retinol is the gold-standard in anti-ageing

Apply retinol twice a day, morning and evening, for optimal effects – always using an SPF in the morning. And yes, retinol is fine to use in the summertime, as long as you always use high sun protection. Consistent use will yield the best results! Combining retinols with acids is okay, so long as the retinol you’re using is gentle enough. Our Super Retinol system uses micro-encapsulated slow-release retinol, so it’s generally fine to combine with alpha hydroxy acids.”

Never skin sunscreen

“Photoaging is responsible for more than 90 per cent of your skin’s degeneration, which means no matter how much good skincare you’re applying every day, none of it will have optimum effect without daily use of a good SPF. I’d recommend our Super Healthy Skin Ultralight UVA/UVB SPF25 (from Japan), or a deluxe Italian Tinted Oil-Free SPF 20 Moisturizer for daily protection (with added healthy glow for Zoom calls!”)

This article was originally featured on Vogue.co.uk

Also read:

How to transition your skincare routine for summer, according to K-beauty

What makes K-beauty a global skincare phenomenon?

5 skincare rules for women who don't have time for an elaborate skincare routine

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