As far as beauty routines go, one little thing can make a HUGE difference. Sometimes, our skin care regimen may not be giving us the desired results, not because of the skincare products we use but how we use them. This is where proper product layering comes into play.
Layer To Protect Your Barrier
How we apply our skin care products and how much we use plays a considerable role in the health and texture of our complexion, but did you know that the order we put our products on does too? Knowing the correct steps of layering our multi-layer beauty ritual means our products can do what they do best without interference because the preceding layers have paved the way to success. We put $$ into our skin care therefore we should be using them in the most optimal way. This way we don’t lose any of those desired results due to layering mishaps.
In this post, we'll clarify the most effective product application process to ensure we are getting the most of our skin care products. A good rule of thumb is applying from the thinnest products to the thickest to ensure easier penetration. With that in mind, let’s dive into these layers.
here's our layering guide
LAYER 1: CLEANSER
function: removes dirt, debris, pollution & excess oils from skin allowing following products to penetrate better
link: view facial cleansers
Cleansing our face is a vital layer in every skin care routine and should always come first. This essential first step prepares the skin to best absorb and benefit from the products introduced in the following layers. A cleanser is a must for our A.M. and P.M routine because cleansers remove dirt, debris, pollution and excess oil from the surface of our skin, prepping it as a perfect canvas for the remaining skin care layers. This layer works to remove any obstructions for our skin care products allowing them to penetrate better and deeper so they can do what they do best. For this reason, layer 1 should not be skipped. Though the best cleansers offer more than just this benefit.
When choosing a cleanser, we want a gentle natural cleanser that removes unwanted materials without the use of any harsh, irritating ingredients known to dry out our skin and leave our skin barrier compromised. They should also contain active ingredients that not only purify but offer benefits for our skin concerns like balancing (oil-to-water levels), soothing (redness & irritation) or astringent (removing excess oil from pores). The type of cleanser we choose will depend on our skin type and concerns.
Maintain purified and balanced skin with one of our 100% Plant-Based Organic Cleansers that deliver vitamins, oils, and humectants needed for healthy glowing skin. Effective natural cleansers are calming and gentle on the skin. They do not strip the skin of essential hydration and leave skin well prepped for the next step.
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Introduce a double cleanse to ensure your skin is clear of makeup, SPF and other build up. This will allow your next layers to be able to penetrate deeper and evenly.
LAYER 2: TONER
dosage: 2 – 3 sprays
function: purifies skin of excess dirt, debris & oil, tightens pores, hydrates & preps skin for serum and moisturizer
link: view facial toners
After cleansing and gently patting our fresh face dry it is best to follow up with a natural facial toner to help prevent moisture loss, purify the skin of any excess oil, dirt or makeup and refine our pores. This important second layer provides a burst of hydration that will be sealed in by following layers. Toners balance skin pH and sebum production while tightening pores and soothing irritation from dry skin.
When choosing a facial toner, we want one that contains mild, soothing and nourishing natural ingredients. We should avoid alcohol-based toners that strip skin of oils leaving it feeling tight and dry rather than plump and hydrated. Drying out the skin may cause the skin to respond by producing excess oil rather than balancing oil levels out. This is especially bad for oily and acne-prone skin.
But why use alcohol when we can use delightfully aromatic botanical hydrosols? Use 2 to 3 sprays of our 100% Organic Alcohol-Free Toners that are ideal for daily use because they deliver botanical hydration with powerful antioxidants and astringents to tighten up pores and prepare skin for daily moisturizing. As the temperature is getting up this season, our toners can serve as a cooling mist that provides a refreshing burst of hydration to help hot and thirsty skin get some relief.
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Allow the toner to fully absorb and continue layering once the skin is dry
LAYER 3: SERUM
dosage: pea-sized amount
function: penetrates deep into the basil layer of skin in order to deliver powerful targeted active ingredients
link: view facial serums
Facial serums wear many hats in a skin care regimen because they are formulated to target a variety of skin concerns such as aging, dryness, elasticity, environmental damage, etc. Serums are lightweight, super-absorbent and highly potent formulations that deliver powerful actives in just a few drops of product. Serums have a thinner consistency than moisturizers because they are meant to penetrate deeper into the basil skin layer in order to deliver the targeted active ingredients.
When choosing a serum there is the option of water-based or oil-based. Our skin type and concerns will determine which of these options is right for us. If unsure, here is a Serum Guide to help with this decision. In our chosen serum we want the most effective actives to best target our skin concerns. Such as, antioxidants for sun damage and aging skin, fatty acids for dry, scaly and irritated skin and polysaccharides for dehydrated skin. Take a look at our selection of highly effective Organic Serums. Serums are very potent formulation so a little goes a long way.
Now comes the question, should the serum precede the moisturizer or be mixed into our moisturizer and the answer is, it depends on the serum. Our water-based serum Nordic Boost works best directly on clean, dry skin whereas our oil-based serums, such as Rosey Cheeks can be used directly or mixed in with our moisturizer. Regardless of the method, serum application should supersede the toning layer and we will get great results using a pea-sized amount. Be sure to wait until the toner has fully absorbed and if using a dropper make sure it doesn't make contact with skin to avoid cross-contamination.
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Apply oil serum after moisturizing for a dewy-look
LAYER 4: MOISTURIZER
dosage: quarter-sized amount
function: strengthens our barrier, locks in hydration from toner, seals & increases efficacy of serum
link: view facial creams
Facial moisturizers act as a line of defense to strengthen our barrier, absorb & lock in hydration, seal & increase the efficacy of the serum and provide nourishment to rejuvenate the surface of our skin. Moisturizers have a thicker consistency because their job resides on the surface of the skin therefore, they do not penetrate as deeply as a serum. This thicker, creamier consistency means the molecules are larger than that of a serum and do not absorb as deep or as quick. Moisturizer instead reside on the surface making sure everything stays where it should so we can fully absorb their benefits. Moisturizing is an essential part of a skin care routine, EVEN if we don't have dry skin. If we don't moisturize, we miss out on the anti-aging, repairing and balancing benefits. Not only that, but we may also be loosing the hydration from the toner and we might not absorb as much of the powerful actives in our serum. We would be neglecting to create a protective barrier that both softens and hydrates our skin and why wouldn't we want to do that?
To get the most out of a moisturizer, use a quarter-sized amount of a nourishing natural facial cream that harnesses ingredients from the therapeutic power of nature to soften, nourish and rejuvenate skin. To do this, we need to pay close attention to the ingredients - what they are, what they do and where they are on the ingredient list. Ingredients are listed from highest concentration to lowest. Be aware, some products claim to be natural, but the natural ingredient only show up way down the list. As overwhelming as it may seem, we need to be mindful of harmful synthetic ingredients, such as the cheaper petroleum-based oils used as emollients. These oils create a strong occlusive barrier that locks moisture in but it also stops it from being absorbed into the skin to replenish hydration. They may initially give the feeling of moisturizing but then quickly absorb, cause a suffocating barrier and do nothing else for the skin - no nourishing, no repairing, no rejuvenating - just drying. Not to mention, petroleum is derived from crude oil which is not a renewable resource and its environmental and ecological footprint is a grave concern.
Thank goodness nature has us covered once again. Plant-based ingredients are what our skin wants because it recognizes them, happily absorbs them and knows how to effectively use them. Plant-based emollients create a strong barrier that locks in what it needs to but doesn't prevent the skin from replenishing hydration from the environment. The kind of natural moisturizers we want are packed with high performance actives like fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that nourish, repair & rejuvenate for healthy radiant skin.
Check out our 100% Plant-Based Orgainc Facial Creams. Our facial creams provide continuous surface hydration through plant-based humectants, like aloe vera juice, that absorb moisture from the air and hold it in the outermost layer of the skin(epidermis). We use plant-based emollients, like coconut oil, help bind skin cells together by filling the spaces between them with lipids. This both strengthens and smooths the outer layer of skin. Not to mention they are loaded with amazing anti-aging actives like fatty acids, vitamin E, carotenoids and terpenes.
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Mix your serum with your moisturizer. Use the back of your hand as a palette.
LAYER 5: EYE CREAM
dosage: pea-sized amount
function: calms, smooths, firms and brightens area using the right concentration of actives for this sensitive area
link: view eye cream
The area around the eye needs special attention and a delicate cream because our skin is thinnest around our eyes and is different from the rest of the skin on our face. The skin around the eyes is noticeably thinner, more sensitive and more fragile. It is more susceptible to environmental damage & irritants and due to its thin nature, very revealing of lifestyle choices. This area is the dead giveaway when we are not sleeping enough, are dehydrated, have made certain food choices, are sick or have allergies. It is also one of the first areas to lose elasticity and show signs of aging. It makes sense that this area needs a little extra TLC in our skin care routine, but it should be stated that for the most part it is much easier to prevent than to correct skin concerns, so the sooner we adapt good skin care and lifestyle practices the better.
The most common skin concerns with this area are dark circles, puffiness, dryness, fine lines and wrinkles. Depending on the source of the issue, some can be easily remedied and others not as easily especially when heredity plays a role. For example, dark circles under our eyes can be caused by lifestyle choices like the amount of sleep we get, overexposure to the sun or being genetically predisposition. The first is caused by vasodilation (widened blood vessels) causing blood to pool under the eyes, the second by periorbital hyperpigmentation, an increase of pigmentation(melanin) and the last by plain old biology. Puffiness under the eyes can be caused by a build up of fluids or the development of fatty deposits. The former is generally caused by fluid retention from behaviours like eating salty foods and sleeping face down or an inflammatory response from allergies and the latter is caused by the loss of firmness in the skin and muscles around the eye allowing the fat surrounding the eye to bulge out. Puffiness caused by fluids can be easily treated but with the fatty deposits we are looking at prevention. The point being it is important to understand the underlying issues to know how to best treat them. Or we can start early and work at preventing or prolonging their appearance rather than trying to correct them.
The first signs of ageing often become visible around the eyes as such good skin care practices in this area are very important. Fine lines and wrinkles are caused by sun damage and our skin making less collagen as we age. Our eye area is a very expressive part of our face and is subject to tons of micromovements every day. We blink, squint, smile, laugh and make various facial expression, all involving movement in the eye area. It is actually neat that the fine lines and wrinkles on our face are unique and representative of how we express ourselves. We find deeper lines in the places we are most expressive.
When we don't get enough sleep or are staring at screens all day our eyes lack proper lubrication and get dry, itchy and red. We tend to rub our eyes when they are in this state which over time will cause a loosening of the skin in that area. We need to promote resilience in this area in order to maintain its firmness & elasticity for as long as we can. A good eye cream is going to do just that.
When choosing an eye cream, we want to make sure it is gentle enough to not irritate the sensitive skin, moisturizing enough to prevent dry, tired & itchy eyes and full of the perfect concentration of active ingredients that calm, sooth, smooth, firm and brighten the area. Eyewaken is our revitalizing eye cream that moisturizes and soothes with a lightweight formula ideal for this delicate area. Made with ingredients that are rich in antioxidants to reduce signs of aging, cornflower hydrosol to sooth, reduce puffiness & brighten the skin and fatty acid rich emollients that keep the area smooth, firm and protected. Eyewaken prepares our skin for makeup, helping concealer apply more evenly and keeps it from building up in expression lines over the day.
When applying cream to this area we need only a pea-sized amount. Use caution when applying the cream to thin skin around the eyes. We need to be mindful that we are not pulling the skin as we apply. There are techniques that help with this such as using a light dabbing motion with our middle finger to ensure less pressure. Limiting exposure to the sun is very important especially around the eye because the skin there is more photosensitive and prone to hyperpigmentation. A good practice for us to keep, beyond using sun protection, is wearing sunglasses in order to protect our eyes and prevent us from squinting as much.
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Have some left-over eye cream? Use it around the mouth for those fine lines or as a lip treatment.
LAYER 6: SPF
dosage: quarter-sized amount
function: provides broad-spectrum sun protection for face using a non-toxic mineral formula
Whether sunlight or a cloudy day, we need to protect and shield our skin from the damaging rays of the sun. And that's why sunscreen application is the last layer of our well-structured A.M. skincare regimen. As we all know, too much exposure to UV rays without proper sun protection is a no-no because it damages our skin and escalates the aging process. Our skin produces a pigment called melanin that acts as a natural defense against the UV rays by surrounding our skin cells and trying to absorb all the UV radiation. But as anyone who has suffered from over-exposure knows, this defense system is flawed.
It darkens our unprotected/under-protected skin when it is exposed to the sun as its first act of defense. The amount of melanin we produce is dependent on genetics. The more melanin we produce the more protection we have. That is why some of us get sunburned while others suntan under the same circumstances. The susceptibility towards sunburns increases for people with less melanin but anyone can get a sunburn. Be it burn or tan, both are signs of cellular damage to the skin.
Sunburns are an inflammatory reaction to UV radiation damage to the skins outmost layer (epidermis). Sunburns cause short term pain, redness, inflammation, peeling or blistering in extreme cases of second-degree burns. But it does not end there even if the physical symptoms aren’t present. UV exposure causes long term cellular damage, slows down collagen production & skin cell turnover and can create uneven pigmentation. It also increases our risk of developing skin cancer. It’s important to have protection when we are outside for extended periods of time even if it is cloudy out. Read Our Blog When Skin Burns: What happens when you get too many UV rays.
It’s becoming increasingly confusing to know what to use, especially when some commercial sunscreens have chemicals that are a concern for our bodies and the environment. Some people just avoid them all together and put their bodies at risk of too much sun exposure. So that’s not the solution. There are very safe and effective sun protection products out there. We just need to know what to look for. Here is a link to our Quick Guide To Buying Sunscreen.
Using a quarter-sized amount of a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen that has the active minerals titanium dioxide or zinc oxide will protect our skin from the sun’s harmful effects. Our 100% Plant-Based Organic Facial Sun Protection is a non-whitening, non-greasy, non-toxic product that is perfect for sensitive skin. Reflector is a mineral facial sunscreen with SPF 30 that will provide broad spectrum protection for our face without irritating our skin. Zinc and titanium act like tiny mirrors that reflect sun rays off our face rather than creating a chemical reaction on our skin. This non-greasy formula goes on easily and doubles as a light moisturizer. Packed with nourishing natural ingredients that help keep skin healthy and balanced. No break outs! And mineral sunscreens offer protection immediately after application.
Having a good sunscreen is the first step to protecting our skin but it doesn’t permit us to sit in the sun all day. We must be sensible and look for ways to keep out of it while still enjoying the outdoors especially during peak sun hours. Find a tree, a gazebo, an umbrella or a porch and enjoy the beautiful day from a safe place out of the sun.