Thin to Thick: How to Layer Your Products

By now you probably have some awesome products, but you may not know what to use when.  This is a common question we get asked: ‘How on earth do I use all of these products?  What goes first?  What do I use in the morning?’  This list of questions could go on forever.  Thankfully, we are here to tell you exactly when and how to apply your products.


The best rule of thumb we have is to layer from ‘thin to thick.’  This means that, after washing your face, the first product you should apply is the one with the thinnest viscosity (another word for texture/thickness when talking about a liquid.)  Then continue layering your products until you get to the thickest one, usually a moisturizing cream, which will be applied last.  Thankfully, most products don’t require a set waiting time before the next is applied; very few products need to be completely absorbed before another ingredient is applied.  Phew!  This process doesn’t need to take much time!

Check out our skincare regimen:


In the morning, we cleanse with a gentle cleanser (we’re loving Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser this summer!  Keep it classic!) and then after patting dry, apply SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF serum.  Serums are usually very thin, and therefore make a great first layer.  Immediately after our serum, we apply Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Protection.  This moisturizing sunscreen adds both moisture and sun protection (SPF 30) in one easy step.


In the evening, we cleanse with our gentle cleanser, and then apply a retinoid.  We will teach you all about retinoids (basically, they are magical unicorns that solve all of your problems…) but for now, just know that they tend to be thin and therefore applied first!  Immediately after the retinoid, we apply our evening moisturizer – lately we’ve been trying Elta MD PM Therapy, a light moisturizer for summer evenings.

You can take this general idea of ‘thin to thick’ and apply it to any products you are using.  It helps to keep things cosmetically elegant – because no one is looking for sticky, greasy skin, right?

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