Intelligent Beauty

A foolproof guide to layering skin care

Layering is a skill. We know, we know – as skills go, it’s up there with coding and crochet (both mega) but, for those of you bewildered by the ‘proper’ product order (hear, hear), we’ve compiled a quick guide to creating a grrrrrreat skin care sandwich.

Work from lightest to heaviest – serums or ‘essences’ come first as they’re most readily absorbed (and usually the most targeted). Their low viscosity enables them to penetrate most deeply, where the potent actives set to work correcting your skin’s issues. The fresh {Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence} feels like water but is brimming with hyaluronic acid to maintain moisture levels, while Omorovicza’s {Radiance Renewal Serum} is rich in white lupin to energise and revitalise.

Add an antioxidant – especially if you’re a city-dweller. Either add some vitamin C to your serum (Skin Design’s {C Antioxidant Glow – Vitamin C} is ideal), or apply a second, free radical-fighting serum on top of the first. VERSO’s {Antioxidant Booster} has a featherweight formula and cocktail of strengthening lipids to bolster defences, while The Ordinary’s {EUK 134 0.1%} is a formidable, pollution-trapping asset to your age-defying arsenal.

Take your time – which isn’t always easy when you’re trying to actually leave your house, but allowing your products to sink in will minimise risk of things ‘pilling’ (you know those weird grey worms? Yeah, those). Try to integrate your skin care with your usual morning ritual – apply a serum after showering, then have your breakfast/sink a coffee/find your left shoe, before the second step.

Seal the goodness in – with a day cream, gel or lotion, depending on your skin’s hydration needs. MV Organic Skincare’s {Rose Soothing & Protective Moisturiser} is a winner for those with sensitive complexions; brimming with rose extracts, it works to strengthen fragile skin whilst calming redness and reactivity. Or opt for Pixi’s {Glowtion Day Dew} – ideal for dulled, congested complexions it stars kaolin and lavender alongside light-reflective particles, to help eliminate impurities while granting a gorgeous skin-finish.

Up the oils – as a rule, oils are able to penetrate creams but not vice versa, so warm a small amount between your fingertips and press onto dry areas. Milk Makeup’s {Hydrating Oil} is packed with balancing jojoba and elasticising avocado oil (and comes in a stick for convenient, ‘in-transit’ application). And at night-time, use a retinol-rich formula – moisturising helps the retinol to penetrate while lowering the risk of irritation. Sunday Riley’s {Luna Sleeping Night Oil} is a beautiful blue elixir which works hard to ‘undo’ the day’s damage as you slumber.

Finish with an SPF – yep, even when its depressingly grey. Susanne Kaufmann’s {Sun Cream Cell Protection} is completely non-chalky and won’t clog your pores while providing sustained, broad spectrum SPF 30 defense against the damaging effects of UV rays. Or introduce an innovative mist: Decree’s jaw-dropping {Day Shield SPF 30} is completely invisible, doesn’t disrupt any make up.


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Verity is our Content Editor and a Cult Beauty veteran. Currently on maternity leave, raising Cult Beauty’s honorary ‘word nerd’, Tabitha, she speaks fluent ‘beauty’ and loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm (and cleanser and candles… ad infinitum). Nothing can stop her from quoting Nancy Mitford, treating herself to yet another Bella Freud candle for her desk or buying that pilgrim-esque collared or heavily fringed outfit she’s been eyeing. You can trust her to debunk widespread beauty myths and dispense invaluable advice with ease…