A Guide to Skincare Layering

If you were to read beauty magazines, you’d be forgiven for thinking that layering skincare is a skill beyond the ken of mere mortals. One is expected to have a working  knowledge of organic chemistry, active ingredients and the latest in Asian skincare discoveries. Failing that, one should simply follow the magazines’ recommendations and splurge for the editor’s favorites.

In reality, layering skincare is fairly simple. All of us do it to an extent when we start with a toner and finish with a moisturizer. It always helps to know what Vitamin C does to one’s skin or how to use AHA as part of a routine, but layering doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Nor does it have to take up a big chunk of your morning.

The other day I timed how long it took me to finish my skincare in the morning, and I discovered that it was around 5 minutes. So, I thought that it might be a good idea to describe what I do in more detail, demystifying the layering process. Whatever skincare products you use, you can tailor your routine to your skin type and your goals.

From Light to Heavy

The main principle of skincare layering is to start from products with the lightest texture and build up to the heaviest. The idea is to ensure that all layers absorb properly without diluting each other. Toner goes on first, if you’re using it. Wait for it to be absorbed, which should take a minute and then move onto the serum, moisturizing lotion or moisturizing cream. It’s a good idea to wait a little before moving onto another product, 30 seconds to a couple of minutes.

Moisture in Layers

Layering moisturizing products makes sense for better, deeper hydration. A couple of thin layers of hydrating skincare (toner and lotion) will penetrate better and keep your skin moisturized longer than a heavy blanket of cream. If you have combination-oily skin, layering is going to be a boon.

Serums and Essences

The choice of different serums, essences, ampules and oils is large enough to confuse an expert. My rule of thumb is to figure out what each product does and pick accordingly. Do I need brightening? I love products containing Vitamin C, licorice and green tea extracts. For clear, matte complexion, I turn to serums with Alpha Arbutin and Niacinamide*.  My skin is combination, so I like serums with a gel-like texture. Generally, it makes no sense to use too many serums at the same time. For one thing, some active ingredients may interact with each other (Vitamin C and Niacinamide shouldn’t be used at the same time). They may not absorb properly. They may cake, especially once you apply sunscreen and makeup.

Flexible and Adjustible

You can’t see the effect of a new product if you use it for only a couple of days. Provided you have no immediate reaction, it takes at least a month to understand how a product acts on your skin–does it make it more radiant, does it clog pores? Find a simple routine and stick to it for at least a month. If you’re new to using AHA/BHA and retinoids, you may experience a period of breakouts, which is called purging. It’s normal. Your skin will clear very quickly.

That being said, skincare layering allows you to fine-tune your routine according to weather, skin reactions or other conditions. For instance, if your skin feels drier, you can add a thin layer of oils in the evening or use a richer cream during the day. You may use a chemical exfoliation (AHA or BHA lotions) a couple of times a week in the evening. Or you can use skin toner on days when you don’t have time. The beauty of skincare layering is its flexibility.

Sunscreen Last

Whatever you use, apply sunscreen last. Sunscreens can be chemical or physical. Chemical sunscreen ingredients act by absorbing UV rays. Physical sunscreen ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide reflect or scatter UV rays. Sunscreen is most effective when it’s applied as the last step, after the moisturizing layer has been absorbed.

If you wear foundation, however, this sequence of layering won’t work, unless you use finely textured Asian sunscreen formulas. Instead, you can try layering foundation over sunscreen, but keep in mind that it will reduce the latter’s effectiveness. Consider applying it only in zones where you need coverage, rather than the whole face. To top up the sunscreen during the day, you can opt for a powder with SPF. Peter Thomas Roth, Ishizawa and many Asian brands offer great products. Another option is to use a BB or CC cream that includes sunscreen.

P.S. I recently spotted a new product via Boxwalla, a super subscription service for beauty, books, and food, called Farizad’s Veil by Earthwise Beauty. It’s a physical sunscreen made of aloe and non-nano uncoated zinc powder. I haven’t tested this specific product, but I wore similar formulas. Not effective enough to be used alone, but an excellent way to top up a sunscreen layer during the day, especially if you use physical sunscreens.

Exfoliation in the Evening

Acids (lactic acids, BHA, AHA) are excellent ingredients for achieving clear, radiant skin and smooth, even texture. Retinoids and retinols have also been proven to smooth fine lines and improve skin texture. They work on skin differently, but in all cases, they have drying, sensitizing side effects. AHA, retinoids, and retinols also make skin more sensitive to the sun. For this reason, I prefer to use all chemical exfoliators in the evening. My skin is not sensitive, but even so, I use them only a couple of times a week. I use retinoids periodically, usually in the fall/winter season.

Keep It Simple

Everyone’s skin is different, and it’s impossible to give a set of rules that will apply to all. Nevertheless, a good and effective skincare routine need not be complicated. Too many products at the same time can result in irritation, clogged pores and heightened skin sensitivity (especially when it comes to using too many exfoliants). Moreover, there is no evidence that many active ingredients used at the same time are more effective than if used separately.

My Current Skincare Routine

To illustrate my layering, here is my current skincare routine adjusted for the spring/summer. In the morning I wash my face with the gentle gel cleanser (La Roche-Posay Toleriane). Then I apply NIOD CAIS, a 1% mix of peptides, my serum of choice. I wait for it to absorb and follow it with a hydrating hyaluronic acid serums (Mizon 100). I finish with a moisturizing lotion (Ishizawa Lotion, unfortunately discontinued). Once it’s absorbed completely, I apply sunscreen.

In the evening, I double cleanse with Paula’s Choice Creamy Cleanser, followed by the gentle gel cleanser (La Roche-Posay Toleriane). I  apply a Vitamin C serum (The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%). My skin is combination, so it doesn’t need an extra moisturizer. A couple of times I week, I use a chemical exfoliator instead of Vitamin C (Paula’s Choice BHA lotion or Biologique Recherche Lotion P50W). In the morning and evening  I use a separate eye cream (Sisley’s Sisleya Eye Contour).

Spring and early summer are the easiest seasons in which to care for skin, since the central heating is off and the weather is mild, at least in our slice of Europe. As a result, my skincare reflects seasonal changes and its focus shifts to hydrating, brightening and protecting.

*If you found this post helpful, complement it with The Ordinary Skincare Review with Sample Routines, A Guide to Vitamin C and My Skincare Routine. My review of the Ordinary discusses active ingredients like Niacinamide, Alpha Arbutin and Retinoid.

Please share your own skincare tips in the comments. 

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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75 Comments

  • kat: I’ve only recently started to use serum because I had to change my well established skin routine for a variety of reasons. Since I have to be very careful what I put on my skin I chose a serum with a very Spartan formula (rule of thumb if you deal with eczema etc. stick to short INCI listings): Evolve’s Hyaluronic Serum. I wasn’t too impressed after the first tests – it actually felt drying. Then l I remembered reading somewhere that you can also mix serum and moisturizer if you’ve got problems with a serum’s texture. I gave it a try and mixed it with my moisturizer (Avene Tolerance) and I absolutely love it. (I also mix a few drops in my concealer and get much better results). I top it off with a few drops of camelia oil and find my skin has really improved. For sun-screen on my face I use mineral make-up (and a hat). I know that there a different opinions about mineral make-up’s SPF. But since I never get burned nor tanned it seems to work. Of course a Vampire-like relationship with the sun also helps. May 22, 2017 at 8:11am Reply

    • Victoria: A hat always helps! I also wear a hat + sunscreen whatever sunscreen I use.

      I read about adding a bit of serum to concealer, and I noticed that some of my favorite concealers are fairly light textured. May 22, 2017 at 11:29am Reply

  • sandra: Thank you Victoria!
    I have sensitive skin but I manage it well and I often get lots of compliments so I know I must be doing something right!!
    I also layer!

    I think many other factors determine how your skin looks and feels other than what you are putting on it. Diet, hormones, alcohol consumption, climate, stress..water consumption. They all play a vital role!

    In addition to your amazing tips,
    I think everyone should visit a dermatologist just once to get some advice. I have visited, and a useful tip she gave me was don’t spend a lot of money on face wash because it doesn’t stay on your skin long enough to really make a difference. She recommended for my skin type Purpose face wash. It is inexpensive and works very well.
    No affiliation May 22, 2017 at 8:33am Reply

    • Gabriela: Hi Sandra! I was checking Purpose on Amazon ant there are two, do you use the Johnson&Johnson one or the other one? Do you know where I can get it in Europe? Thanks! May 22, 2017 at 9:38am Reply

      • sandra: I use the one not by J&J
        I use this one: https://www.amazon.com/Purpose-Gentle-Cleansing-6-Ounce-Bottle/dp/B0009RFAPY?th=1

        I am not sure where to buy this in Europe , maybe Victoria can chime in. In the USA this is found at almost all pharmacies. May 22, 2017 at 10:09am Reply

        • sandra: my bottle doesn’t say J&J but its the same look..so its probably the same thing. May 22, 2017 at 10:11am Reply

          • Victoria: Yes, that’s the one! I used it for years when I lived in the US. May 22, 2017 at 11:32am Reply

        • Victoria: By the way, Paula Begoun says that the formula of Purpose is identical to that of Clean & Clear’s Foaming Facial Cleanser, Sensitive Skin. Clean & Clear is slightly less expensive. May 23, 2017 at 2:12am Reply

          • Sandra: Interesting!
            The new bottle of purpose that I have is not a J&J company anymore but another pharmaceutical company. I will check C&C the next time I am out of Purpose. Must less expensive for sure May 23, 2017 at 8:09am Reply

          • Gabriela: Wonderful tip, as usual! Amazon Uk sells them both! May 23, 2017 at 9:13am Reply

            • Victoria: Great! I haven’t checked the Amazon Uk site. May 23, 2017 at 10:18am Reply

      • Victoria: I don’t think that it’s available in Europe. In fact, I don’t find it right for our water here. Instead, I love La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Gel Cleanser. It cleans well without leaving skin dry and tight. May 22, 2017 at 11:31am Reply

    • Victoria: I can’t agree with you more. Skincare makes only so much difference, if everything else is not right, but I’m assuming we all know this.

      My philosophy on cleansers is also simple. I like something gentle and mild. May 22, 2017 at 11:35am Reply

      • Sandra: myself personally, I couldn’t do my regular regime after having two kids, but I think in the moment depending on what is going on, you don’t realize why your skin is acting out.. May 23, 2017 at 8:11am Reply

    • sandra: Also to add something about skincare that doesn’t have to do with the face, I suffer from KP on my arms and tops of my thighs. I few products that I recommend (just in case there are any other people with chicken skin like me) is Paula’s Choice AHA body exfoliant.
      And another product that is meant for the face but I use on my KP and works wonders is the Eggwhite little Belgium soaps. It comes in a little cute blue box. This is so effective at keeping my KP at bay without using any other treatment and its cheap to boot! May 22, 2017 at 1:37pm Reply

      • Victoria: Those egg white soaps are excellent! They also make for a great gift. May 22, 2017 at 3:31pm Reply

        • Sandra: As a PSA to those who use the Ordinary skin care line they now sell it in the pharmacy I go to in NYC called New London, its in Chelsea. May 23, 2017 at 7:43pm Reply

  • Austenfan: So I gather that you use the DHC oil-cleanser in winter? Is the PC cleaner the SKIN RECOVERY Softening Cream Cleanser?
    Interesting how different your routine is from winter to summer.
    One thing I have changed for myself is that I use my Japanese sunscreens more not than I did in summer.
    Great post again! May 22, 2017 at 9:59am Reply

    • Austenfan: that should be now not not May 22, 2017 at 10:02am Reply

    • Victoria: I use DHC Oil Cleanser all year round, but I’m traveling a lot in the summer, and one of its drawbacks is an unsealable bottle. Yes, you’re right, it’s Paula’s Choice cleanser is SKIN RECOVERY Softening Cream Cleanser. A very good product that removes sunscreen, makeup, etc. I’m using it right now, because it’s more convenient, but it also works well. May 22, 2017 at 11:27am Reply

      • Austenfan: I’m so inquisitive. I always thought that it would get less obvious with age, but I still seem to want to understand even rather irrelevant things. So thank you for answering that question.
        PC has a new eye cream that I think I may buy at some point. I use her 1% BHA exfoliant for my visage, and both the AHA and BHA body lotions. I’m very pleased with their effects! And those lotions seem much more effective and less irritating than mechanical exfoliation. May 22, 2017 at 11:33am Reply

        • Victoria: Paula’s Choice is a fabulous line. It doesn’t have fancy packaging, fancy claims or fancy stories behind it, but it works. I’m also thinking of trying that eye cream. I only don’t like her serums, because they contain silicones, and I try to avoid them in my skincare (apart from sunscreen).

          Anytime! It’s a reasonable question. 🙂 May 22, 2017 at 11:38am Reply

          • Austenfan: I like her Earth Line toner. I think it’s the only one in her toner line that doesn’t contain silicones ( I keep reading it as silly cones). I use her ingredients list a lot as I keep getting confused with all the different ethanols used in skin care. I’ve so far only used a few of her things, but so far I’ve been very pleased.

            By the way, I got my first Isdin sun care last weak. It’s wonderful, easy to apply, nice matte effect, no drying. May 22, 2017 at 12:02pm Reply

            • Victoria: 🙂 I also keep reading them as silly cones. I can’t help it! May 22, 2017 at 1:13pm Reply

              • Austenfan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ6cELkHHgU

                About a fear of pine scented cones! May 24, 2017 at 3:54am Reply

                • Victoria: “We are out of the crab salad… I’m afraid.” This one was hysterical. May 24, 2017 at 10:01am Reply

                  • Austenfan: Yeah, that and a phobia of axe-wielding psychopaths. May 24, 2017 at 10:45am Reply

                    • kayliz: I met one once. He was between life sentences (although, of course, no one knew that at the time).

                      Brian. Not exactly normal-seeming — or maybe I knew too much about him — but he led an absolutely normal life, had a family. His wife, very sadly, later took her own life, and I lost sight of his son. I hope he’s OK, the son; he had more than one sub-optimal role model. May 24, 2017 at 4:48pm

                    • kayliz: That was supposed to read: more than one sub-optimal male role model (I most definitely wasn’t referring to his mother). May 24, 2017 at 4:50pm

                    • Austenfan: Poor chap, I hope he turned out all right.

                      The remark I made above is very tongue in cheek and a direct quote from Jo Brand in one of those funny QI exchanges. May 24, 2017 at 5:26pm

                    • kayliz: Jo Brand is brilliant! I bet she’s met one or two real-life axe wielders herself. Am going to check out the iplayer for QI:) May 24, 2017 at 8:25pm

                    • Victoria: Her dry delivery is great. May 25, 2017 at 3:01am

    • Victoria: Which Isdin sunscreen are you trying? May 22, 2017 at 1:14pm Reply

      • Austenfan: The Fusion Water. I ended up getting mine from a Dutch/Belgian e-tailer. Oddly enough they have increased their prices since. May 22, 2017 at 1:33pm Reply

        • Victoria: How odd. But yes, that’s the same sunscreen I use and like very much. May 22, 2017 at 3:30pm Reply

  • Debby: I’ve been using The Ordinary Vitamin C suspension at night for a couple of weeks, and I’m already seeing and feeling good results. I also use their salicylic acid as I’m acne prone, just a couple of dots in my problem zone.

    Biore charcoal cleanser is the best I’ve found for my problem skin.

    Budget recommendation for fellow UK folk: the Balance range available at shops like Savers is really brilliant. I use their eye cream and hyaluronic range for daytime moisturising. May 22, 2017 at 10:32am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve read good things about the Balance range. Thank you for your vote of confidence, Debby! May 22, 2017 at 11:45am Reply

    • Eudora: Hello Debby, if you don’t mind, what are those results? I am very interested in trying The Ordinary Vit C.

      I am acne prone also but I found La Roche Posay Effeclar duo and Effeclar cleanser to work great for that concern after trying for years to get rid of acne. May 23, 2017 at 9:21am Reply

      • Debby: Hi Eudora, I’ve found that it is helping to smooth the texture and reduce the slight redness I had around my jawline. My acne isn’t particularly active anymore and I feel this is also helping to reduce pore size in my particular problem area. I’m not sure how it would feel on active acne as it’s a bit stingy.
        I’ve also used Effeclar Duo and it does seem pretty good, though I felt it was overloading my skin somehow. May 23, 2017 at 1:12pm Reply

        • Eudora: Debby, that is exactly what I am looking for. My acne is like deep slept but sometimes, usually when traveling, gives me an unwelcome surprise. And the real problem comes next when I do have the redness for as long as a year. Thank for sharing! May 24, 2017 at 8:17am Reply

  • Raquel: I ordered The Ordinary Serums after reading your review. I use rose water and coconut oil to clean my face. I’ve been using natural masks during a month twice a day (morning and night) while I shower and I’ve seen good results. Egg and honey or honey and cinnamon, avocado, yogurt and turmeric, whatever it’s available, I’m addicted to this ritual and I love it.

    I’ve been reading about Aesop Fabulous Oil and I’d like to know if anyone has tried this oil, also about Avene Ystheal Eye Cream. Thank you! I enjoy this topic so much May 22, 2017 at 2:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: What’s your technique for using rose water and coconut oil for cleansing? I’ve used rose water and argan oil as a mask before, something I found in a Moroccan beauty book. May 22, 2017 at 3:29pm Reply

      • Raquel: I first apply rose water to a cotton disc and then coconut oil, it feels softer to my skin than when I only use the oil May 22, 2017 at 4:02pm Reply

        • Victoria: That’s a great technique. Going to try it tonight. Thank you for explaining. May 23, 2017 at 2:13am Reply

  • Lydia: Dear Victoria,

    This is so helpful!

    I’ve lately been paying more attention to my skin care regime because of breakouts. I’m happy to see you mentioned the La Roche-Posay line because after trying numerous products for acne, the only one that seemed to have any impact at all was La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser. (And wouldn’t you know it, it’s the only one they don’t carry at the drugstore – I have to ask them to special-order it.)

    I also use La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar spot correcting moisturizer with spf 30 (not because I was worried about spots, but because it was the only moisturizer sample I tried that didn’t make me break out). Unfortunately, I tend towards redness and it has some sort of treatment in it that may be making my skin red (ferulic acid, along with Phe-Resorcinol and LHA), so the search continues.

    I had no idea there were SPF powders – that sounds so practical if you are making up your face.

    Thanks for the tip that Vitamin C and Niacinamide shouldn’t be used at the same time. To be honest, I’ve been wary of vitamin C creams since I developed small cysts on my forehead after using the Dr. Perricone line religiously for 6 months. But perhaps I should give vitamin C in a different line a try sometime.

    Boxwalla looks like fun. I love the elaborate themes (“The very thirsty wandering woman decided to stop in England for a drink. Not at an English pub. But at a very English spring. The water sparkled like silver, with copper undertones. Oh this must surely be the prettiest Spring she thought she’d ever known.”)
    I’ve been reading reviews of different subscription boxes and trying to figure out which ones are best. They seem like a good way to try new products one might otherwise never take a chance on. May 22, 2017 at 8:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Vitamin C shouldn’t cause breakouts, but every skin reacts so differently that it’s hard to say without seeing your skin and examining your routine in more detail. My skin is also prone to breakouts, but what really made a difference was double cleansing and using chemical exfoliation (not overly high percentage like a toner with 1-2% BHA). Have you tried using hyaluronic acid based hydrating lotions? Hyaluronic acid is a super ingredient–it has excellent hydrating properties without the weight of standard moisturizing ingredients. Very gentle too. May 23, 2017 at 2:21am Reply

      • Lydia: Thanks! Outside of your article, I’d never heard of hyaluronic acid. I’ll investigate and see if I can get some tester sizes to try.

        The cysts I got while using the Dr. Perricone were tiny raised lumps, not acne. I’m going to need to have a dermatologist remove them someday, since they’re still there years later.
        I’d never had a problem like that before, and since I stopped using the line, I’ve never developed any since then, so I’m assuming I had a bad reaction to those particular products.
        I don’t know which ingredients I was reaction to. I know you’ve written about the benefits of vitamin C before, and I’m willing to give it a try again (with a different skincare line!) May 23, 2017 at 9:32am Reply

        • Victoria: Are they just fleshy lumps? Or are they milia? Dr. Perricone’s Vitamin C products have so many other ingredients that it’s hard to even figure out what might have cause a problem. I didn’t like his line that much, mostly because the products felt heavy on my skin. May 23, 2017 at 10:24am Reply

          • Lydia: They’re about as small as milia, but more uneaven shapes. They’re not discolored, just flat but raised (if that makes sense) bits of skin. I’ve had them for many years now, so I’m not worried about skin cancer, but when my skin is clear I notice them (although I doubt anyone else does).

            I think skin care has probably advanced miles since I used the perricone products. I’m usually pretty basic in my approach, but I’ve been feeling like it’s time to step it up a bit. May 23, 2017 at 2:03pm Reply

            • Victoria: What I like about the Ordinary and Paula’s Choice is that they make an emphasis on active ingredients, while allowing one to keep one’s routine fairly straightforward. But they do require reading up a bit on the ingredients and learning how to arrange everything in a routine that makes sense. Thankfully, both lines provide plenty of information. May 24, 2017 at 3:08am Reply

              • Lydia: Thank you! I will definitely investigate these lines. May 24, 2017 at 11:57am Reply

  • Kriss: Hello Victoria from Northern Minnesota. I absolutely love your skin care posts and all the comments that follow. I recently turned 60 and have stepped up my skin care regimen. I add new products very slowly after numerous patch tests as I have many allergies and sensitive skin. I use much of the CeraVe line with good results. My Vit C serum is from Timeless. i recently added some Ordinary products and my skin is protesting. My chin is red and peeling after using the Retinoid 2% and my cheeks (pores around my nose) itch from the Niacinamide. I am taking a break from everything but the CeraVe. Any suggestions that you may have are appreciated. Sorry this is so long. Please have a wonderful day! May 23, 2017 at 10:03am Reply

    • Victoria: Kriss, how often are you using Retinoid 2%? It’s normal that your skin feels red after using retinoids/retinols, but you’re new to using these products, you should start with once a week and very gradually build up. I would suggested scaling back to once a week, in the evening only.

      As for Niacinamide, be sure you’re not using it at the same time as your Vit C serum. It’s also a good idea to start using it once a week and increase gradually, especially if your skin is sensitive. May 23, 2017 at 10:16am Reply

      • Kriss: Wow thanks for the quick response. I was using the retinoid 2% every other day alternating with the CeraVe retinol product. So using one or the other daily. I see now that was too much. I used the niacinamide at night as something was pilling my foundation. I use my Vit C in the morning followed by Hydropeptide or Skinceuticals sunscreen. I was thinking of adding the niacinamide to my moisturizer. It may not be as effective, but at least I won’t have to give it up all together. I will definitely start out more slowly once my skin calms down. Thank you. May 23, 2017 at 10:26am Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, that sounds too much. My skin is not particularly sensitive, but it would also protest at me using a retinoid + a retinol product every night. You might want to use less of the Niacinamide serum, if it makes your foundation pile. But mixing in into your moisturizer should be fine, too. Good luck! May 23, 2017 at 10:38am Reply

  • Sarah: Hi Victoria! Thank you for sharing your layering technique and for your past skincare articles. I’ve found them so helpful. Thanks to you, I discovered The Ordinary and my skin is looking better than ever. I would love to read about which skin care items you take during your travels, as we have some travel on the horizon this summer. I tend to travel very light (think 30 litres or less!) and reducing my skin care essentials down to the minimum has always been an issue for me. Thanks again and hope you are having a lovely week. May 23, 2017 at 1:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: I will do! I also travel light, and I try to reduce what cosmetics I take to the essentials. May 24, 2017 at 3:06am Reply

  • Aurora: Thank you Victoria for the detailed description on layering.
    My routine is the following
    Morning: cleanser (I change quite often favorites are Lierac, Avene and at the moment the new Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gelee Milk so mild and effective) then Iranian rosewater with e. o. mixed in (right now I mix lavender, geranium and niaouli) then The Ordinary MAP (entirely thanks to your recommendation) then my BB cream, the brand is Simple available in drugstores here in the UK it has an SFP15 but now influenced by your example I add on top a sunscreen (Piz Buin for allergic skin works well for me at the moment).

    Evening: After cleansing T. O. Vitamin C HA Spheres which you recommended, then on top several drops of Retinoid 2%. This last one I’ve just started to use and I hope I’m doing it rightn(there is a warning on the box not to use in conjunction with other retinoid products). I have noticed that my skin has become very soft since I started to use The Ordinary products and I am so grateful for your enlightening posts on the subject. May 23, 2017 at 3:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for sharing your routine and your favorites. The idea of rosewater mixed with a cocktail of essential oils sounds very good. Your melange must smell wonderful. May 24, 2017 at 3:10am Reply

      • kayliz: The rosewater plus essential oils idea sounds wonderful, thank you! May 24, 2017 at 4:57pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’m now considering rosewater + jasmine essence. Can you imagine how good it would smell? May 25, 2017 at 3:18am Reply

          • kayliz: Mmmmmm! May 25, 2017 at 3:37am Reply

  • Ruggles: My mother was a model and her favorite masks were (1) adding rise water to Fuller’s earth to make a paste or (2) applying a thin layer of castor oil to her face after gently steaming it. I’m still playing with various skin care products. Some Perricone ones work for me but others caused tiny deposits of cholesterol, diagnosed by my derm., that had to cauterized.

    I live in Florida and we joke that we risk skin cancer in the day, so wear sunscreens, and mosquitos at night, so wear DEET and none of it is easy on the skin. And has to diligently cleaned off. I am a huge fan of the Magic Mitt for making the cleanup a little easier. We have hard water so, after cleaning my face, I give is a final swipe with the mitt dampened with distilled water.

    I love the Mudd masks that friends send from the U.K. And Isomers eye serum with vitamin K is the only product that really did lighten under eye circles. But I think castor oil would be the one skin care item that I would never be without having had sebaceous cyst infections that, twice, years ago, led to emergency medical treatment. It’s an interesting oil, both antibacterial and antiinflammatory. I’ve not had one cyst develop, in decades now, since I started applying it to any spot that feels as if one might be developing. And, in a pinch, it’s a good overnight moisturizer, soothes bug bites, excess sun or windburn exposure and is very healing. May 23, 2017 at 7:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for sharing your tips. I wouldn’t have guessed that castor oil has such properties. Good to know. May 24, 2017 at 3:22am Reply

      • kayliz: Oh, this strikes a distant chord… Boots Zinc and Castor Oil Cream was /the/ baby’s bottom treatment in the UK way back when. May 24, 2017 at 3:47pm Reply

  • kayliz: Victoria, it’s down to you that I discovered layering (along with Asian products and The Ordinary) a couple of months ago, and it’s made such a difference to my menopausal, dry-combination skin.

    I used to cleanse-tone-moisturise and use a heavy moisturiser (the last one being the womderful but /very/ rich Million Dollar Moisturiser by Lush). By the end of a working day, my skin would be taut and uncomfortable, and I would be almost literally itching to get home to do the routine again. I thought this was normal for dry skin.

    Since I started to use several thinner products, I haven’t experienced the mid-afternoon dryout once. We’ll see what happens in winter — hopefully I’ll be able to use up my reserves of Million Dollar Moisturiser, which are currently in the freezer;) If I do use it, it’ll be at a much slower / more sparing pace than before, when I used to slap it on, put up with the shininess, and still dry out later on.

    Thank you! May 24, 2017 at 3:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: My experience with layering was different, but equally positive. My skin is combination/oily, so for years I hated how shiny my skin would get within a few hours after I finished applying the products and yet feel tight. Layering solves the problem easily. May 25, 2017 at 3:17am Reply

  • kayliz: P.S. For what it’s worth, here is what I’m currently using:

    Mornings:
    – rosewater
    – Hada Labo lotion (the red bottle, for wrinklies;))
    – The Ordinary Buffet serum
    – Lush Cosmetic Lad, or Lush Imperialis plus The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vit C cream)
    – sunscreen (still experimenting here)
    or occasionally
    – foundation (Chanel Perfect Lumiere Velvet)

    Evenings:

    – oil cleanse
    – Boots No.7 hot cloth cleanser (UK only, I think, but magic for dry skin!)
    – rosewater (actually at the moment it’s rose + lavender + chamomile)

    then either

    – NIOD Non-Acid Acid Precursor

    or

    – The Ordinary Vitamin C + HA Spheres
    – wait 10mins, as you advise:)
    – The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid

    plus, usually, moisturiser or oil.

    For eyes, I now use Lush Enchanting Eye Cream in the morning and/or The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate (Vit C oil) in the evenings.

    The only things I’m not happy with so far are the NIOD exfoliant (I’m going to try AHA or BHA on the problematic areas only) and the sunscreen (the Asian ones I’ve been trying look terrific but feel filmy, I can’t be doing with that).

    I like the Lush eye lotion — and I think this would be lovely as a general moisturiser for anyone with less dry skin — but am looking out for others to try. Most seem either to contain silicones or alcohol, or be ridiculously expensive.

    I hope this isn’t Too Much Information! Hopefully there’s someone reading this who has similar skin and is also on the lookout for products to try. May 24, 2017 at 4:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: Wow! Thank you so much, Kay. This is a treasure of a comment for someone whose skin is similar. Lots of info and tips. May 25, 2017 at 3:17am Reply

  • Richard Goller: Big thanks for these great tips, Victoria. Super-sensible and easy to follow. R May 25, 2017 at 1:14am Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that you found it helpful! May 25, 2017 at 3:20am Reply

  • Kaja: Hello. I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the effects of a peptide serum (like CAIS) versus a retinol serum. Also, I am curious about your thoughts on the ordinary niacinamide serum (since you no longer use it). Kind regards, Kaja May 30, 2017 at 7:57am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve written about each serum I’ve used in this article:
      http://boisdejasmin.com/2017/03/the-ordinary-review-with-sample-routines.html

      I still use the Niacinamide serum and still like it. Just trying to experiment with the CAIS for the time being. Sometimes I use the CAIS and then the Niacinamide serum.

      The CAIS and the retinol perform two entirely different functions. Both increase the firmness of the skin and radiance, but they do so differently. You can use both in the same skincare routine. May 30, 2017 at 9:02am Reply

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