Winter Skincare Reboot: Product Layering | bluemercury
Four Steps

Product Layering

Your step-by-step guide

Maximize the benefits of your skincare routine by following an order that allows each product to be most effective. Our beauty experts have given their recommendations to fine-tune your routine!

Order of Application

  1. Cleanser

    GlamGlow Gentlebubble Daily Conditioning Cleanser


    GlamGlow Gentlebubble Daily Conditioning Cleanser

    Starting with clean skin is essential for helping ingredients seep into pores more effectively. Begin with an oil-based cleanser to dissolve any makeup residue, then follow with your regular cleanser to rid your skin of remaining oils and impurities.

    Shop All Cleansers Expert Tip

    Add an exfoliator into your routine after your cleanser at least once a week to remove the buildup of dead skin cells for a more thorough clean.
    Shop Cleansers & Exfoliators >

  2. Mask

    Chantecaille Gold Recovery Mask

    Best Seller!

    Chantecaille Gold Recovery Mask

    Masks are perfect for targeting specific skincare concerns. Choose a mask for your unique needs, like hydrating, soothing, detoxing or nourishing. Apply to clean skin, after cleansing (and exfoliating, if you are including in your routine).

    Shop All Cleansers Expert Tip

    Make sure to follow directions on the packaging. Some masks can be used up to three times per week while others are recommended to use only once.

  3. Toner or Essence

    SKII Facial Treatment Essence

    Best Seller!

    SKII Facial Treatment Essence

    These products help to balance and hydrate the skin's moisture level and are great for prepping the skin for spot treatments and serums.

    Shop All Toner Shop All Essence Expert Tip

    Choosing a toner or essence with active ingredients can limit what you use later in your routine since they are more potent and can irritate skin if too many are added at once.

  4. Serum

    M-61 Vitablast C Serum Pads

    Exclusive! Best Seller!

    M-61 Vitablast C Serum Pads

    Serums are among the thinnest products and penetrate the skin deeply, especially without the barrier of a moisturizer or thicker product. To layer your serums, apply your lightest first and finish with your thickest.

    Shop All Serums Expert Tip

    Use serums with antioxidants like vitamin C in the morning to ward off the effects of pollution. Use serums with retinol in the evening to stimulate collagen production so you can wake up with a glowing complexion.

  5. Eye Serum / Gel / Cream

    Skinceuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex

    Best Seller!

    Skinceuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex

    The skin around the eyes is very thin and delicate, making it the first area to show signs of aging. Eye treatments can help promote elasticity and thickness, fending away fine line and wrinkles.

    Shop All Eye Treatments Expert Tip

    Some products are only for under the eyes while others can go on the eyelids.
    Apply with a gentle tapping motion with ring fingers and don't pull skin.

  6. Moisturizer

    Creme De La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream

    Best Seller!

    La Mer Creme De La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream

    Moisturizers hydrate your skin and have the added benefit of sealing in all the ingredients you've applied prior.

    Shop all Moisturizers Expert Tip

    During the day opt for a lightweight lotion for normal to oily skin and a heavier formula for drier skin.

  7. Oil

    Darphin Oil 8 Flowers Nectar

    Best Seller!

    Darphin Oil 8 Flowers Nectar

    Oils are highly effective at increasing radiance and moisturizing.

    Shop All Oils Expert Tip

    Should be applied after your moisturizer because they can penetrate through, but not vice versa.

  8. SPF

    Supergoop! Smooth Matte Sunscreen

    Best Seller!

    Supergoop! Smooth Matte Sunscreen

    SPF is designed to sit on top of your skin to block UV rays, so this is an important last step before applying makeup.

    Shop All SPF Expert Tip

    You can touch up during the day with an SPF translucent powder if you need to extend your protection.

Mixing Active Ingredients

Everyone's skin reacts differently to products, so use your best judgment when layering products with these particular ingredients.

Ingredients that do not mix Ingredients that mix well
  • Retinol & Hydroxy Acids (AHAs & BHAs)

    Why: Both are powerful anti-aging ingredients that accelerate cell turnover. Combined they are extremely potent and can irritate the skin.

  • Retinol & Benzoyl Peroxide

    Why: Benzoyl Peroxide is a common acne treatment and retinol is a potent anti-wrinkle ingredient. Used together, they can cause peeling, dryness and redness.

  • Vitamin C & Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

    Why: AHA's change the pH of vitamin C, destabilizing it and making its antioxidant properties ineffective. If you are using a serum with salicylic acid or glycolic acid, pair it with an antioxidant serum with green tea or resveratrol instead of vitamin C.

  • Retinol & Hyaluronic Acid

    Why: Retinol is a highly effective anti-aging ingredient but can be intensely drying and cause irritation. Pair with hydrating hyaluronic acid to balance moisture levels. For best results, apply the retinol nightly and the hyaluronic acid every morning and evening. Always follow with an SPF.

  • Vitamin C & Peptides

    Why: When paired together, vitamin C works to brighten and peptides work to firm skin making this a dynamic anti-aging duo.

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) & Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)

    Why: Acids like Alpha Hydroxy and Beta Hydroxy work well together to treat uneven pigment, dullness and acne.

General Rules

  • Layer by weight, starting with the thinnest formula working your way to the thickest. Thinner products tend to have smaller particles that penetrate more deeply into your skin when applied directly to the surface with no existing products to block their entry. Types of thin formulas include toners, essences and serums.

  • Give your skin time to absorb each layer of product. Our experts recommend one minute between serums and two to three minutes for moisturizers to soak in before applying makeup.

  • If you have sensitive skin that reacts to powerful ingredients like retinol, apply at the last step in your routine over your moisturizer. The effects are muted as less of the product will penetrate the skin. You can also test on another part of your body before you apply to your face.

  • Introduce new products slowly to see how your skin reacts before adding a new product or ingredient into your routine.

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