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.

34 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

    Reply
    • 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. 🙂

      Reply
  • 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 ?

    Reply
    • 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. 🙂

      Reply
  • IA

    Hello,

    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

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  • Chan

    Hi
    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 ?

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

    Reply
  • 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?

    Reply
    • 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. 🙂

      Reply
  • 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!

    Reply
  • Jen

    Hi, is it okay to use Cosrx Clarifying Toner, Klairs Vitamin C Serum and Cosrx Centella Blemish Cream together for my night routine? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Diane

      Hi Jen, since the Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner does not contain a high % of AHA and BHA, theoretically it can be used with the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop, which only has 5% of vitamin C. However, it really depends from person to person, so check in with your skin to see how it feels. If it gets sensitized, we think it’s best to go on the safe side and apply the product alternately. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Cai

    Hi, can i use Some By MI Snail Truecica Cleanser, Cosrx AHA/BHA clarifying toner and Some By Mi Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Serum?

    Reply
    • Diane

      Hi, since the Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner does not contain a high % of AHA and BHA, theoretically it can be used with the Some By Mi Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Serum. However, it really depends from person to person, so check in with your skin to see how it feels. If it gets sensitized, we think it’s best to go on the safe side and apply the product alternately. Hope this helps!

      The Some By Mi Snail Truecica Cleanser should be compatible either way.

      Reply
  • May

    Hi, I have COsrx AHA/BHA clarifying toner, Dear Klairs vitamin drop, Ordinary Niacinamide, and Misha Essence. what can I use together? and in what order?

    Reply
    • Diane

      You can alternate use between Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop and The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.

      Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop – Cosrx AHA BHA Toner – Missha Essence
      Cosrx AHA BHA Toner – Missha Essence – The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Paris

    Hi! I’m just planning my skin care routine. I have a hormonal imbalance (PCOS) which made me to have an ance prone skin. So the products that I’m planning to buy are
    COSRX AHA/BHA clarifying treament toner
    Im From rice toner
    Klairs freshly juiced vit e mask
    The ordinary niacinamide 10% + zinc 1% l
    The ordinary alpha arbutin 2% + HA
    COSRX aloe soothing sun cream SPF+ PA+++
    COSRX centella blemish cream
    COSRX salicylic acid daily gentle cleanser

    I want to know it these products are good together and will not have any bad effects with each other.

    Also, i actually like the KRAVE match hemp hydrating cleanser but it is not available in your website. And i think what i need now for my skin is to be cleared from blemishes then i can go with the hydrating cleaner.

    Hoping for your prompt reply as i am planning to buy before the 12.12 sale ends. 🙂 thank you!

    Reply
    • Diane

      Hi!

      The routine looks good, although we advise using The Ordinary Niacinamide 30% and Zinc 1% every other day at first. Same as for the Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA. What you can do is to use the Niacinamide 30% + Zinc 1% this week, and then the Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA next week 🙂

      Reply
      • Paris

        Hi! The only available niacinamide from the ordinary is 10%? Is the 30% a new formulation from them? Also, after the trail week and if my skin doesnt have any reaction can i use it everyday together? Or everyday but alternating the products every week?
        I got more questions. (Sorry😅)
        For my AM routine im planning to do
        Cleanser
        -Cosrx salisilic acid cleanser
        Toner
        -Cosrx aha/bha clarifying toner
        Serums
        The ordinary niacinamide(alternating with) alpha arbutin
        Cream
        -cosrx centella blemish cream
        Sunblock
        Cosrx aloe soothing sun cream

        For the PM i still need to figure out some products with your help.

        Can I still use the im from rice toner after the cosrx aha/bha toner at AM and PM or should i just use it on my PM routine? Also can i use the cosrx centella cream as an AM moisturizer or is it ok to use the klairs freshly juiced vit e mask then cosrx blemish cream at AM and PM?

        THANK YOU SO MUCH!

        Reply
        • Diane

          The Cosrx Centella Blemish Cream is not a moisturizer, it’s a spot treatment. 🙂

          Your AM routine looks good.

          In the PM, you can add the I’m from Rice Toner as it is hydrating.

          We’re not familiar with The Ordinary 30%…sorry about that!

          Reply
  • Eunice

    Hi!
    Is it okay to use the following products in this order?:
    Cosrx salicylic acid gentle cleanser
    Cosrx aha/bha clarifying toner
    Cosrx snail 96 mucin power essence

    Then by night same routine but I’ll add the Nacific Fresh Herb serum

    I have a combination of oily acne prone skin 😫

    Reply
    • Diane

      Hi, yes 🙂 You may want to add a lightweight moisturizer as well to help balance oil-water levels in skin 🙂 Hit us up at our Facebook or Instagram if you need recommendations!

      Reply
  • Dana

    Hi! Question, I have the Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C and TO Niacinamide 10%. Can I use it together? If yes, in what order and frequency? 🙂 Thanks!

    Reply
    • Diane

      Yes, you can use them together. Apply the vitamin C serum first before the niacinamide serum. Frequency depends from person to person. Best to make “pakiramdam” with your skin to determine frequency of use 🙂

      Reply
  • G

    Hello, can i confirm if i can use cosrx AHA/BHA clarifying toner and klairs vitamin C together? Or should i separate the two, like one in the morning and the other one at night? Thank you

    Reply
    • Diane

      Hi, both products contain low percentages of AHA, BHA, and vitamin C. If you do not have sensitive skin, you can check how your skin feels after using both products together in one routine. But if your skin is sensitive, it’s best to use the products at separate times of day (one in the evening and one in the morning). Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Ange

    Hi! Can I use the ordinary niacinamide 10% + zinc 1% with by wishtrend acid- duo hibiscus 63 cream? Do I need to wait 30 minutes after applying the niacinamide before I can apply the hibiscus cream? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Diane

      Hi, yes you can use them together. No need for a 30-minute wait time. However, if your skin is sensitive, best to apply them at separate times of the day. 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Reply to Chitra Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *