How to Layer Skincare Serums

It’s common practice to use one face serum in the morning and one at night, but have you ever wondered: ‘can I layer serums in the same skincare routine?’ The short answer is yes – but it’s not quite that straightforward. Understanding how different skincare ingredients work can be tricky, but it’s important if you want to get the most out of your skincare products . Serums use ingredients to address specific skin concerns in different ways, so you need to know which serums will work for you and how to layer them. This includes which ingredients work well together, which ones don’t, how many serums to use, and when to apply them. Read on to discover how to layer serums and acids and maximise the benefits of your serum routine.

How to combine face serums

Some face serum ingredients pair together especially well, while others may be too much for the skin when used in tandem. When building your serum routine, it’s important to know which ingredients will support your skin’s unique needs, and how to combine them to magnify the benefits without overwhelming the skin. In terms of how to layer face serums, which combinations are a match made in heaven and which ones should stay separate?

Serums to mix and match

For how to layer serums like the experts, you need to know the powerhouse pairings. Here are our favourite pairings:

Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid: These ingredients are one of our favourite skincare duos. Each ingredient uplifts the other to deliver potent skincare benefits like hydration and antioxidants.

Hyaluronic acid and retinol: Separately, each of these ingredients are great for anti-ageing and hydration respectively. Pair them together and you have a dreamy combination, with HA combatting any potential drying effects of retinol.

Glycolic acid and vitamin C: This is a powerful pairing to help create a brightened and smoothed complexion. 

Serum combos to avoid 

Not all skincare ingredients complement each other, so when it comes to serums, tread carefully with these combos:

Vitamin C and retinol: These ingredients tend to be too much for the skin when used together, so it’s preferable to use them at opposite ends of the day.

Retinol and AHAs: Retinol is fantastic for promoting skin cell turnover but can make skin sensitive to AHAs and vice versa - so space out this pairing and avoid using in the same serum routine.

The ultimate serum layering guide

Serums are some of the best products to address your individual skin concerns because they’re packed with beneficial ingredients for your skin. Now you know which serums pairs to reach for and which to avoid, you might have questions about how to layer serums to customise your skincare routine.

How many serums can you layer?

While layering face serums can help you get the most out of each of your skincare products, it’s important not to overdo it. There’s no set limit to how many serums you can use in your skincare routine but using too many can result in diminishing returns. We suggest layering up to a maximum of three serums that work in conjunction with each other.

If you’re looking for just one skin supporting serum, we can’t go past hyaluronic acid.  Try the Filler 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum or the fragrance free option if you experience sensitivity.

What’s the ideal serum layering order?

The order in which to layer serums depends on the key ingredient in each product, and a good general rule is to start with the thinnest consistency serums and build your way to thicker formulas. Apply serums with more potent ingredients (like vitamin C or retinol) at different times of day and pair them with gentler serums to support and comfort the skin. For example:

AM: Apply Revitalift Vitamin C Serum  to clean, dry skin to brighten and smooth texture, then follow up with a hyaluronic acid serum for hydration.

PM: After cleansing, apply the Laser X3 Pure Retinol Face Serum to dry skin and allow to sink in. Next, follow up with a gentle, nourishing serum like the Age Perfect Cell Renewal Midnight Serum.

Finally, lock in your skincare products with moisturiser

When should you apply serums?

Understanding how to layer serums is important, but so is knowing when to use them. Some serums can be used at any time of day, but others will give optimal benefits when applied either AM or PM. Here are our suggestions for when to apply each product:

Hyaluronic acid pairs well with most other skincare ingredients, so it’s perfect for all-day hydration.

Vitamin C can help protect against free radicals caused by external aggressors like sun exposure and pollution when used in the AM.

Retinol can help promote skin cell turnover, but increases sensitivity to sun exposure, so apply in the PM.

Glycolic acid can cause photosensitivity, so it’s best used in the PM to avoid UV rays directly after application.

If you loved this article and want more ways to level up your skincare, learn our evening skincare routine to boost skin cell turnover.

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