How To Layer Your Skincare Products

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the Korean skincare routine, you might be left with a few questions. One of the most common concerns for beginners is the order in which to apply skincare products.

“Should vitamin C come after my toner?”

“I have two ampoules in my routine, which one should I apply first?”

Don’t get overwhelmed, we’re here to end the confusion once and for all. Here, we present a nifty guide in how to order your products to make the most out of ‘em.

When it comes to cleansing (including actives)…

Double cleansing is straightforward — use an oil-based cleanser before a water-based one. Most of the confusion has to do with layering your actives/exfoliators. The rule of thumb here is to apply in order of lowest to highest pH, which means applying vitamin C first, then BHA, and then AHA. Doing so allows the ingredients to work their best magic on your skin. HOWEVER, we generally do not recommend using all three in a single routine because over-exfoliation is a pain to deal with. If you really want to use both vitamin C and AHA, for example, what you can do is to apply one in the morning and the other in the evening. Fairly simple, huh?

(Note: There are some products that you can use together, such as the By Wishtrend Acid-Duo 2% Mild Gel Cleanser and By Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water. Both of them contain actives, but very gentle ones and at relatively low concentrations. The Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop and the Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner is a popular combination too. We know, we know — it gets a little complicated at this point, but the most important thing to remember is that mixing actives depends on two things — the concentrations of the actives and your skin’s sensitivity. If you’re a beginner, best to stick to one first, and then gradually add more actives to your routine.)

When it comes to toners, essences, serums, ampoules…

Now comes the fun part! The pampering category is where we say you go crazy — in a good way, of course! Depending on what your skin needs, you can have multiple essences, serums, or ampoules in your skincare shelf, each for a specific skin concern. The guideline here is to apply in order of thinnest to thickest consistency — no matter what the product is called! ‘Cause frankly, you can have a “serum” that’s thicker than an “ampoule”. Applying from thinnest to thickest allows the skin to fully absorb each and every product. Really, it doesn’t make sense to apply a thick cream first, because doing so makes it difficult for toners and essences to absorb into skin.

And that’s it! If you have more questions, leave ‘em down below so we can answer them in a blog post.

14 replies on “How To Layer Your Skincare Products

  • Quennie

    Hi Good Evening.
    I just want to know hot to apply my product in my face. I have cleanser using everyday. After that I used calamine toner then V10 tone up cream.
    And now I have Galactomyce vitamin C toner and snail truecica hot to use this product. Can I use same time?. Like 1st i will use the toner Vitamin C glow then after that I will use the snail truecica. Can be?
    Thank you

    • Diane

      Hi, you can use them together. Cleanser, then the Some By Mi Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Toner, then the Some By Mi Snail Truecica. 🙂

  • Chitra

    I am using snail truecica some by mi brand after I cleaned my fave .now I want to use vitamin c serum by some by mi .Should I apply serum after applying snail truecica or before ? Or should i use snail truecica in morning and vitamin c serum at night ?

    • Diane

      Hi, apply the serum before the Snail Truecica. You can use Snail Truecica day and night. As for the serum, you can use it during the evenings. 🙂

  • IA


    I would like to ask if it would be alright to use in one routine the Cosrx BHA Blackhead and the Dear klairs freshly juiced vitamin drop? Thank you

    • Diane

      Hi IA, we don’t recommend layering these two products as it may sensitize the skin. If you do feel the need to use both products, best to alternate use between the two products (i.e., one in the morning and the other at night). Hope this helps!

  • Chan

    Can we layer klairs toner and Klairs vitamin drop and on top of that Cosrx centella blemish cream?
    Will that help for acne prone skin, PM skin care routine ?

    Cosrx gentle cleanser, Klairs toner, rice ceramide Moisturiser and UV sunscreen for AM skincare routine!!
    Is that good combo for acne prone skin?

  • Lawrence

    Hello, can i use the Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner then afterwards By Wishtrend’s Vitamin C Serum for my daily nighttime routine?

    • Diane

      Hi, we don’t recommend that you do. If you really wish to incorporate both products into your routine, it’s best to alternate the use of the two products. For example, Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner today and then the By Wishtrend Pure Vitamin C21.5 Advanced Serum tomorrow. 🙂

  • Jronda

    I would like to know what come first to apply between yuja niacin brightening toner or the klairs midnight blue youth activating drops on my routine. Thanks!


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