How do you layer your skincare products?


When it comes to skincare, it seems like almost every question has been answered these days. The one query that still keeps us up at night is the holy grail for anyone with a multi-step skincare routine.

“How do you layer your products to get the most out of them?”

This question is tricky because skincare is a unique art and every beauty editor, cosmetician, and makeup artist will give you slightly different answers, however, there is a golden rule.


*When layering multiple products aim to start with the thinnest and finish with the thickest *


Keeping this golden rule in mind, here is a little cheat sheet we’ve created for you that will take you through the order of operations from start to finish. Feel free to screenshot this and save it as your phone wallpaper, write it on post-it notes all over your house, or even write it directly on your bathroom mirror so you’ll never forget!


How to layer products:


  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone/Chemical Exfoliant
  3. Face Mist
  4. Vitamin C/Q10/retinol reface™ – Antioxidants and retinol need to contact skin directly
  5. Boosters
  6. Serums
  7. Moisturiser/Oils – Oils are always applied as your last skincare step before SPF
  8. Sunscreen


Once you’ve sufficiently repeated your new mantra of “thin to thick” in your head enough times for it to stick – congrats you’ve made it to the next level! In this fine art that is product layering, there are a few key rules that will help you harness the full benefits of your skincare products (and achieve the skin of your dreams)!


  1. Antioxidants like vitamin C, Q10, and retinol should be applied first (right after cleansing) because they need to contact your skin directly to work the best.
  2. Boosters should be applied next. These products are the thinnest (but still pack a punch) and will layer well underneath the remaining products in your skincare routine.
  3. Serums can be applied before or added to moisturisers.
  4. Moisturisers or oils should be applied last right before an SPF/sunscreen to “seal” your serums and boosters.
  5. SPF/sunscreen should always be the last step in your skincare routine. Sunscreen needs to remain at the surface of your skin to function properly – if not, it will prevent other actives from penetrating your skin if it is applied before your boosters, serums, moisturisers, oils, etc.


Now, remember: this is only a guide and you by no means need to go through an 8-step routine every single day (unless you want to: then you do you!). These steps are here as a gentle reminder to help you get the most out of your skincare products!


Our final rule of thumb is to “listen to your skin” and take your routine day-by-day depending on what your skin is telling you it needs. Don’t be scared to have fun with it and mix up your routine! Everyone’s skin is different and you are the best judge of what works best for you.


Think you’ve mastered the art of product layering? We would love for you to share your Indeed Labs™ routine with us in the comments below, and as always, we’re here to help if you have any questions!


  • Alisha Luck says:

    Is there a recommended amount of time to let the products sit/absorb before applying the next product? Or is it ok to just instantly put the next product on, one right after the other?

    • Tharmiya Peranandan says:

      Hi Alisha,

      We recommend allowing your products to absorb before putting on the next product. If you are using a toner or essence, you can go in with your serum immediately after.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  • Joanna says:

    I am using prescription retinoid which is pretty thick. Would it still go under sera and face oil?

  • Norma says:

    Is it ok to use the vitamin c serum and the retinol serum with the ?collagen booster

    • Hi Norma!

      You can definitely layer them! The best way to do so is after cleansing, apply a few drops of the collagen booster, then a few drops of the vitamin c serum, and finally, adding in the retinol reface on top. Please note we recommend using the retinol reface at night as it can make the skin sensitive to the sun.

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