How to Layer Your Beauty Products

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring” – Marilyn Monroe

Hi friends!

I’m loving the weather recently in Delhi! It’s gorgeously sunny, yet there’s this lovely breeze in the air which gets quite nippy towards the evenings. It even rained here too the other day… crazy! By the way, I just wanted to share with you guys that I was in the mall last week for some retail therapy and who did I bump into? Rati and Sanjeev 🙂 . I cannot even begin to tell you how ecstatic I was and just had to go over and give Rati a hug! Rati, Sanjeev, if you’re reading this, well you truly made my day and our accidental rendezvous left a huge grin on my face throughout the rest of the day… I just couldn’t wipe it off. I probably would have been less excited to see film stars etc…, as in my world these two are nothing less than celebrities and have proved that hard work and dedication pays off. Kudos to you guys for being so successful and yet so warm, humble and beautiful human beings. Love you to bits and hope I get to see a lot more of you!


Today’s post is going to walk you through layering your beauty products. We all know how to layer our clothing effectively and stylishly, so let’s explore the same, only with regards to our products. To begin with why do we even need to layer our products? Well, there are innumerable products out there and with so many things to apply; it can be quite daunting in terms of which to apply first. Each product comes with its own set of active ingredients and applying too many can possibly dilute the effect of each, which isn’t what we want right?

How to layer your beauty products

Layering beauty products helps in increasing the efficiency of each product and increases the overall benefits to your skin. It’s like layering a jacket with a dress, which looks and feels better or like having your brownies with the addition of ice cream to obtain a much better amalgamated taste. I know our once-upon-a-time skin care regime used to be so simple, which entailed merely cleansing, toning and moisturizing. But now we have so many creams (targeting different areas), serums, sunscreens, BB and CC creams et al. that it can leave us rather bewildered. If skincare becomes a challenge, well that’s defying the whole point isn’t it? So, let’s bring back the joy in skin care and other beauty products, so that we are getting our products worth and maximize their value to the fullest.

Layering skincare products effectively:

1. To achieve a beautiful flawless painting, our first prerequisite is a squeaky clean canvas. So the first step to layering any face product will be to clean our canvas absolutely clean, so that it is ready to take on other products for their ample absorption. So take out the scrubs girls as a scrub will gently exfoliate your outer skin layer and help remove any grime and dead flaky skin.

2. Next comes your cleansing products. Always remember to scrub first and then cleanse as most scrubs don’t contain the agents that actually cleanse the face and we often find our faces still oily or slippery post scrubbing. Many scrubs contain glycerin, which leaves a trail behind that of a thin film or barrier on the skin. Everything must come off before you go slapping on the rest of the products. So a good face wash cleanser or any form that you currently use will do. If you don’t already, then gently massage your cleanser all over your face in circular motions targeting all nooks and crannies, especially around the nose, forehead and don’t forget your neck. How many of you ignore washing your neck? Any excess sebum will be removed and your skin should feel soft, squeaky or velvet-like. That’s when you know you’re ready for your next product.

How to layer your beauty products

3. If you use toners, then now’s the time. What a cleanser may fail to clean, a toner will shoo it away effectively. I always feel as though something’s missing if I don’t tone on days, as I know that the acidic alpha hydroxyl will help banish any traces of oil and zit-creating bacteria that you thought your cleanser had removed. It’s amazing how each product goes hand in hand and is actually incomplete without each other! I’ve used many toners in the past and some can be super drying, so do use ones that don’t drain your skin. I like to tone my skin with good old Rose water and my skin feels tingling fresh and alive to take more on.

4. If you have blemishes, zits or problem areas like dark circles or under eye bags etc. this is when you should consider applying your next round of products – the blemish correctors or any topical treatments like under eye cream. Some would say apply these correctors post the serum, but that depends on the areas you’re targeting and how bad it is. I would probably apply a corrector first, if my problem area (let’s say a spot) is in its worse stage, and then the serum, so that the product hits the skin directly.

How to layer your beauty products

5. Now that your skin is prepped, the party hasn’t begun just yet! But hold that thought! Do give a breather in between products and I’m saying a couple of minutes so that they penetrate the skin. If you just pile them on top of each other immediately after the other, you are bound to dilute their consistency and efficacy. Having established that, take out your serums and literally slap them on. That’s right you heard me. Slap (gently that is) the serum, which is the most concentrated face product. The gentle slapping on the skin in a way wakes your skin up if it still has any signs of fatigue left. It also helps in blood circulation, thus helping the serum to work its way efficiently into your skin.

The concentrated active ingredients will prep and prime your skin and cause the following products to work more effectively. You may use serums that target overall aging signs like dark spots, fine lines, patchiness etc. or ones for a specific area. I will leave that to you. Most serums are very thin in texture and always remember that the thinner textured products go on first so that they achieve paramount absorption into the skin and then follow with the heavier/thicker textured products.

6. Now, a lot of serums are multifunctional and hence contain powerful ingredients such as antioxidants etc. However, if you have a stash of vitamin C or any facial oil that you like to apply for that extra collagen boost and to brighten up your complexion, then by all means dab some on after your serum for that added dose of goodness. As mentioned above, do let the previous product (serum) settle in first and then proceed for optimum results. However, do apply if you feel it’s needed and not out of compulsion just because you have it. Too many oily products will end up making you look like a grease ball, so use accordingly.

How to layer your beauty products

7. Moisturizing as we know is vital to any skincare regime irrespective of whatever your skin type. By applying the moisturizer that is best suitable for your skin (be it oily, sensitive, dry or combination) you are actually sealing in your serum and previous products. Moisturizing, which is abundant in hydrating ingredients will keep your skin protected throughout the day and allow the beneath layers to stay intact. You can compare this to a top coat when applying nail polish. It protects the underlying layers and adds that final touch of sheen and nourishment.

8. Sunscreens which are your vital SPF lotions/creams should be your last layer of skincare products. Why I hear you ask? Well the SPF forms a skin-protecting coat on the skin; hence it’s able to prevent harsh U/UV rays from permeating through. If you were to smother this on first or before some products, then you would actually end up blocking the products to penetrate the skin. Do opt for ones that have a good to high SPF, but are lightweight as heavy sunscreens will make your skin feel weighed down, since you’ve already applied other products. If your serums and moisturizers have a generous SPF in them, you can skip additional sunscreen, but ensure you don’t avoid it altogether. It should be your HG of skincare before stepping out no matter what.

How to layer your beauty products

9. Now there are times when we can’t afford time consuming skincare routines, which involves numerous layering, especially when time isn’t on our side. This is when the multifaceted BB and CC creams come in handy. They normally contain active skin rectifying ingredients and SPF and are great to use as multi taskers on certain days. If you like you can apply the tinted ones post your moisturizer if need be. However, it’s not necessary to overload your products just because you’ve bought them. I would say a BB/CC cream should be your on-the-go skincare product when time is less.

10. You can follow the exact same layering for the nighttime routine, but instead of your day time moisturizer you can use your heavier night creams and skip the sunscreens obviously.

Layering makeup effectively:

Since we did a run down on how to layer your beauty products (i.e. face care), let’s also quickly go through an account of makeup too, as sometimes we skip certain products or get confused as to which makeup goes on first and so on. The ideology of layering makeup is pretty much the same as the above-mentioned beauty products in the sense that although each makeup item has its own function, but when put on top of another, they enhance the overall look and ensure longevity. Having said that, can you not just apply foundation and lipstick etc. and be done? Of course you can, but if you can look even better with layering with the right products then why not!

How to layer your beauty products

1. Once you’ve cleansed, toned and moisturized etc. and your face and neck are fresh and makeup-ready, first apply your open pore minimizer if you have open pores. These come in all sorts of consistencies like gel based or cream based and will close up the pores and refine the texture of your skin. If you don’t have open pores then you can skip this.

2. After allowing the pore minimizer to settle in for a couple of minutes, now apply your primer all over the face, which forms a mattefying layer on the skin. The silicone primers especially are the best to give the face a velvety and smooth base and also fill in fine lines and an uneven surface. So before foundation, primers are a must to allow the foundation to look flawless. A perfect base always brings out the optimum appeal of a foundation. If you use a separate eye primer then apply that now as a base for your eye shadow and prep your lips with a moisturizing balm, so it prepares the lips for the lipstick that will go on later.

How to layer your beauty products

3. After you’ve allowed the primer to settle in for 4-5 minutes, then you can apply your favourite foundation in liquid, or powder form.

4. Post the foundation, you then apply your concealer and highlighter wherever you deem necessary to conceal dark spots or highlight and brighten areas and then blend it all in.

5. If you like contouring, you can now apply your cream or powder contour on your cheek hollows, sides of your forehead, nose tip and sides or under the jawline etc., to achieve that chiseled look. Blend in with the rest of the base makeup.

How to layer your beauty products

6. Whether you like doing your eyes first, lips first or your blusher etc., apply your desired makeup. Do wipe off that lip balm, which was hydrating your lips all this while before the lipstick goes on as that was just to prep the lips. To achieve maximum effect of your eye makeup, you can apply a neutral/white base colour on the eyes, so that the eye shadow colours pop. Do apply the mascara after your eye shadows as lashes always tend to pick up the powders and the coat of mascara will wipe that off. Fill in the whole lip with lip pencil to make the lipstick last longer too before applying a top coat of your lipstick. I normally like to do my eyes first and then work my way around with the rest, but that’s your call. As long as you’ve perfected the base you’re good to go with the rest of your makeup and you can layer accordingly as per the look you want to achieve.

7. Once all your makeup is in place, apply your makeup fixer mist to keep the makeup intact and allow it to set. This will make your makeup last longer.

Layering fragrances effectively:

We all love to wear our favourite fragrances before we step out and for those special occasions where we want our perfume to last longer, try layering the same fragrance in different textures and forms to promise longevity. You can easily get a particular scent in a lotion and liquid spray form and sometimes even in a shower gel variety. For example, when you buy the gift sets, they usually come in a body lotion and perfume set. If you don’t have the same brand of scent in different varieties why not layer similar base/top notes to achieve the same effect! If I’m particularly fond of a fragrance too much I always go scouting for its lotion variant like I did with my Gucci Rush and Micheal Kors by Micheal Kors. So slap on the body lotion first especially on the arms, décolletage, neck etc. and then spritz on your perfume/perfumes of your choice.

How to layer your beauty products

If you want to be experimental, you can mix different scents/notes to form your own cocktail and signature scent. For instance, I like to layer my Clinique Happy with some other scents for a unique fresh appeal. Layering scents does not mean applying them all at once, but wisely on different body parts in different textures and allowing them to settle in before you layer. You can also layer perfumes by spritzing on some scents on your undergarments or clothes, so that the overall fragrance emanates from all over in layers. However, be careful not to stain your garments or go overboard with layering as you don’t want to smell like a perfume factory!

That’s all from me folks on this note and do hope this post helps. Whether it’s your skin care products, your makeup or your scents, layer away in style so you reap optimal results.

Au revoir!

Images Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

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19 thoughts on “How to Layer Your Beauty Products

  1. Lovely post, Mimosa. I tend to commit the mistake of applying lip liner on top of my lip balm smeared lips. My lips are very dry and they tend to flake very easily. But, I will keep these points in mind. Thanks 🙂

    1. Thankyou Vidya….yeah the balms good to provide nourishment n prep the lips but the products should go on a clean slate 🙂

  2. Great post Mimosa!! And rather helpful… However, I’m not sure about the scrub first and then cleansing part. It’s always advised that you cleanse your face first and then do the scrubbing followed by mask. 🙂

  3. Thanks Priyanka….I totally know where you’re coming from. That can work too in most cases. However a lot of scrubs don’t contain the cleansing agents that a face wash/cleanser does and since the scrubs do contain glycerin or granules to scrub away the dead skin..hence it does leave some residue behind which the cleanser will eradicate completely. If it’s a cleanser n scrub in one..That works. Hope this helps babes!

    1. Hmm I get what you’re saying… Now, I have to see what exactly my scrub consists of… The Clarins SA asked me to follow it up after cleansing… I use the Clarins scrub and Clinique cleanser… *methinks*

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