The Art of Layering Skincare Products

If you’re a Korean skin care enthusiast, you know by now that the main core in K Beauty routine is layering. We learn to layer according to the 10 steps in Korean skin care routine. For beginners to understand better, let’s recap a bit.

This is the normal sequence to follow when layering:

  1. Oil Cleaner
  2. Water Based Cleanser
  3. Toner
  • Clarifying toner
  • First Essence/Skin/Toner
  1. Sheetmask
  2. Essences
  3. Serum
  • Oil
  1. Eye Cream
  2. Emulsion/Cream
  3. Sleeping Pack
  4. Sunscreen

The Proper Order

Applying your skincare in the proper order is very important because you want to ensure that your skin is absorbing the full benefits of each of your skincare product. You don’t want to apply a cream over a serum for example, because you will be trapping the absorbing ability of the skin by creating a barrier, so that your serum can no longer reach your skin. Or a moisturizing cream over your sunscreen because you’re diluting the sunscreen, decreasing its potency against the sun.

The Rule of Thumb

Yes, there is a rule of thumb which product comes first! Just imagine you own so many skincare products in just one routine. It can confuse anyone! If this happens, always go back to the rule of thumb: apply products with the thinnest consistency to the thickest, or from the wateriest to the oiliest product.

The Timing

Timing is also very important and a little challenging than the proper ordering of the skin products because this needs a lot of patience! The good thing about Korean skincare is, you find so many bloggers on the web who share their experiences and knowledge on certain product, which you will not learn from the product brand! Let’s take a look of the acids like AHA and BHA’s. COSRX being the most popular brand with the AHA and BHA does not mention much about the proper usage, but many great bloggers do!

So, we learn that BHA and AHA need sometime to work on the skin, that is why you need to wait around 20 minutes after application to proceed to the next skincare product!

Patting or massaging?

If you watch YouTubers Vlogging about Korean skin care routine, you see them patting in the products. The rhythmic patting of the skin is believed to increase the blood circulation and helps in the better absorption. It is relaxing too, and mind you, its addicting. Massaging the skin is not bad, but if you forcefully do, this can lead to tugging and pulling of the skin, which is a big NO! This creates more wrinkles and sagging of the skin! I remember what my mom says, when you spread your face product to your face, always do upwards or sideward strokes but never downwards.

Patting a product until absorbed, before proceeding to the next layer prevents them from piling all to your skin. Try without patting or not waiting until a skincare is absorbed and just go ahead and apply them in a marathon and you’ll look oilier (specially those with oily skin already).

The Proper Matching

Matching the right products for your skin and at the same time matching the products that combines great when layered is quite a challenge as well. You must be ready to experiment and re arrange the combinations. In my journey to K Beauty, I learned that no product is bad, there is just bad combinations, improper usage and improper amount used.

You noticed that K Beauty products are mostly light because of the layering concept. A stand-alone product is too boring for your skin. Your skin is too greedy grabbing all benefits it can get from many different products.

The Proper Amount

Depending on your skin needs, and the consistency of the product, you can always adjust the amount of product you use or the amount of layering you make. You learned the 7 Skin Method which makes you layer your toner, essence or even serum up to 7 times to get a dewy and plump complexion.

Seal it!

Last but not the least, moisturizers in the form of emulsion or creams are there to seal all the layering you made. So always end your layers applying a cream. This will sandwich all the good stuff you put on your skin and preventing them from evaporating.


Layering is fun and relaxing, though it takes much of your time, but you’ll reap a better skin condition at the end. When you listen to your skin needs, you’ll know which combines best. Don’t be afraid in experimenting the right combinations. Just make sure though that you test a product first, specially if you have very sensitive skin. If something is not working right, re-arrange the combination, adjust the amount, the frequency of use or push the product to your day or night time routine. Then evaluate again. Repeat process until you get it right. But remember too that the need/needs of your skin is always changing, so be very vigilant to react accordingly.




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