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How To Layer Skincare in 4 Steps

November 15, 2022

How To Layer Skincare in 4 Steps

Applying Your Products Like A Pro

It happens all of the time. Life gets busy. The mind becomes overloaded! And some days, remembering to layer your bra underneath your teeshirt or grind your coffee beans before you brew them seems nearly impossible. So when it comes to complex skincare application: how on earth are you supposed to recall or decipher which products go when

Self-care through skincare is not meant to be daunting or dreaded; it is supposed to be a sweet moment of love and connection with your body.

To help make it easy, below is a no-frills layering formula that will squash the *skincare-step struggle* once and for all. We cover the importance of an ordered routine and suggest products to get you started with confidently layering your products.

Why Does Product Order Matter?

Just as you would not put a decedent moisturizer on before you cleanse, there are other steps in skincare that require a definite order. Each product has a distinct function (i.e., hydrate, brighten, calm, seal, shield, etc.). And like any functioning assembly line, specific steps have to occur before others to optimize the final result (in this case, a healthy radiant complexion). 

This means product formulas that need to penetrate and absorb to fulfill their intention go first. Product formulas that act as sealants to lock in nutrients and hydration (of earlier steps) and protection barriers go last.

It is worth noting that the name of a skincare product will not always let you know "what it is." When in doubt, layer thinnest to thickest. So thicker, protective skincare will not block the penetration of thinner, deep-diving products.

There are endless product combinations available to craft your ideal skincare stacking regimen. However, we chose Wildcraft staff favorites to get you started. It addresses some of the most common skin issues, like brightening, and is friendly for all skin types.

The Big Breakdown.

After a thorough cleanse,the flow goes:
1. Hydration Mist/Toner
2. Hydrating Serum(s)
3. Facial Oil or Cream Moisturizer
4. Mineral Sunscreen (AM)

Step 1: Apply Hydration Mist/Toner

In our most recent blog, Hydration Vs. Moisture we delve into just how important hydration is — we will reiterate this here: 

A hydration mist (or toner) "opens up skin barriers wide like a gate allowing water, vitamins, nutrients and other actives from your products to easily pass through to not only hydrate and plump, but restore your skin's natural PH, and work on a deeper level to brighten, calm, balance, etc. — depending on the product's intention." Thus, must go first.

Our Pick: Leahlani Citrus and Citrine Toner — Regenerating Toning Mist. This selection is brightening and hydrating, illuminating both skin and spirit. 

Step 2: Apply Hydrating Serum(s)

While skin is damp from Step 1, your pores are open and available to drink up products; this is when you apply this serum. Water or Aloe-based serums are highly targeted in their corrective focuses and must plummet into the layers of the face to properly carry out their function.

Hydrating serums are not oils and will completely absorb into the skin. They are also the step that makes layering fun and customizable providing the ability to add in multiple treatments to target your unique goals. We've listed two of our obsessions that can either be used layered together or alone:

Our Hydrating Pick: Josh Rosebrook Hydration Boost Concentrate. This magical potion is plumping, hydrating, phytonutrient-dense, and an oil-free serum. Perfect for dehydrated skin, whether dry or oily.

Our Brightening Pick: Maya Chia The Super Lift Vitamin C-More Treatment. This triple Vitamin C formula diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, creating a radiant, even-toned surface that also functions as a makeup primer!

(Psst. These are both great examples of how product names alone won't always tell you the step — although "serum" isn't in the title, these products are indeed a hydrating serum!)

Step 3: Apply Moisturizer — Eye Treatment First!

Locking in the goodness, baby. “Moisturizers contain oils that hold in water, nutrients, vitamins (and whatever goodness you applied to your skin) that you want to retain. Moisturizer selection is usually based on specific skin needs and concerns. Some skin may require a rich balm to provide a protective barrier, while others require nothing more than a lighter-weight oil to hold in hydration.” It also may depend on the season which weight moisturizer you choose.

You may see moisturizers labeled as a facial oil serum, or simply a facial oil. They’re still your moisturizing step.

For dry or compromised skin, you can also layer a balm over a face oil or cream for maximum barrier protection.

Our Pick: LINNÉ Botanicals Repair Face Oil. This weightless yet decadent oil blend reduces skin discoloration and signs of aging while protecting against environmental stressors, encouraging collagen production and healing sun-damaged skin.

Step 4: Apply Mineral Sunscreen

The one folx most often forget. Cloudy day, cold day, sitting in front of a window — doesn't matter. Apply your SPF when you’re spending 20+ minutes either next to a window (car or office) or outdoors all year round.

SPFs can range in thickness (some can even be sprays), altering the original rule of thumb a bit (thin to thick). But know, minerals like zinc and titanium dioxide are too large in molecule size to penetrate the skin, therefore create a physical barrier to damaging UVA/B rays.

Our Pick: kari gran ESSENTIAL SPF&kari gran ESSENTIAL TINTED SPF. Doesn't look or apply like your typical sunscreen. It‘s boasting in nourishing botanical oils that offer additional sun protection and lock in the previous 3 steps of your routine. The icing on a perfectly layered cake.

Okay, Let’s Stack All These Layers Up.

Whether you perform an extensive 12-step care routine or simply cover the basics, just make sure you apply the products in the proper order. Correct layering will maximize your dollar, product efficacy, and skin results.


Majoros, K. (2022, February 23). Hydration vs. moisture - wildcraft: A self-care boutique for skin + soul. Wildcraft. Retrieved March 4, 2022, from 

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