skincare routine product layering

Skincare routines / Product layering

It’s been a year since I have started my (never-ending) quest for the best practices in skincare. At 23, I had my first light signs of aging. Slight puffiness under one eye, and a few fine lines starting to appear. It was time to take action. That’s when I discovered K-Beauty, aka South Korean skincare. I got instantly hooked. I wanted to know everything. I wanted to make the best choices possible, nothing less. But there was so much information out there, so much new concepts, it was truly overwhelming. Skincare became a complex scientific discipline, requiring serious research.

I used to think that quickly cleansing your face and then rubbing-in a “non-irritating” moisturizer was all one could do, basically, to take good care of his skin. So when I discovered the 10 steps Korean skincare routines I was puzzled. It was intriguing, but it definitely seemed too much for me at first. Like, who has time for that? So many layers, so many products to buy. It seemed ridiculous, and stressful with all those steps.

Still, I wanted to try it out – thinking I would probably lack perseverance, and forget about most of my newly acquired products after a little while. Turns out I was disciplined like never before. Very quickly my multi-step routines became essential rituals of well-being. Relaxing moments of self-caring that I looked forward to. Today, this is my new normal. Funny to think applying a single moisturizer without any other care would probably make me anxious now (or would at least leave me unsatisfied).

So what are the main steps of my skincare routine?

  • The general idea is that you start by applying the most watery/light product to end with the thickest/oiliest product.
  • Be sure to wait 15 min after applying vitamin C serum before applying other products. The higher ph level of other products would render vit C ineffective. Also, not waiting long enough for the serum to absorb might result in a sticky face. 2-3 drops are usually quite enough. You should wait 15 mins before exposing yourself to direct sunlight, otherwise you might end up with an orang-ish face. Finally, it is usually not advised to apply vit C or vit A right after chemical exfoliation, as it’s a bit too harsh.
  • PS: It’s just a general a sequence of steps, so you understand in what order you should be applying different type of products. You definitely do not need to do every single steps of this guide everyday (or any day). But if you do layer multiple skincare products, here’s how to sequence them.



1. Cleansing with a low ph cleanser and cold water

2. Apply water mist and/or low ph toner

3. Apply chemical exfoliant (AHA/BHA)  or  Vitamin C serum

(5-10 min wait for chemical exfoliant  or  15 min wait for vit C)

4. Apply Essence 

5. Apply Serum

6. Apply moisturizer

7. Apply UVA/UVB protection sunscreen (minimum 30 spf)

(8. Apply makeup)



1. Oil cleansing to remove sunscreen and/or makeup

2. Cleansing with a low ph cleanser and cold water

3. Apply water mist and/or low ph toner

4. Apply chemical exfoliant (AHA/BHA) or Retinol (vit. A) and/or vitamin C

(5-10 min wait for chemical exfoliant or 15 min wait for vitamin C)

5. Apply Essence

6. Apply serum

7. Apply moisturizer

8. Apply sleeping mask (night time moisturizer) or facial oil before bed for extra skin repair

Anti aging skin care guide link



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