Whose on First?

Whose on First?

Posted by Sonia Bellini on

Layer by Layer: Your How-to Guide for Skincare Layering

Whether you have a 3-step skincare routine or an 8-step, k-beauty routine, it is important to apply your products in the correct order for optimal product penetration and results. We all have different skin types, and one product certainly does not fit all, however, one order of application does fit all. In this post I'll be going over the ideal order of skincare application, for both the maximalist and skincare minimalist. 

The Universal Order of Application (+ For the Maximalist)

The first rule of applying skincare is to apply in order of thickness of the product - after cleansing and toning, of course. Doing this ensures that all the nutrients can be absorbed into the skin. Remember that a thicker textured product can penetrate through a thinner one, not vice versa.

The ideal morning skincare regime:

  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone
  3. Vitamin c
  4. Serum(s)
  5. Eye Cream
  6. Moisturizer
  7. SPF

A flawless night routine is:

  1. Cleanse (with an oil cleanser, cleansing balm or micellar water)
  2. Second Cleanse (your normal cleanser)
  3. Tone
  4. Serum(s)
  5. Eye cream
  6. Moisturizer

It is essential to double cleanse at night in order to make sure that you remove all makeup and sunscreen, and dirt and debris that has built up throughout the day. This will help to unclog your pores as well as make a cleaner surface for the products you apply afterward.

Water is alkaline, which can cause your skin to become unbalanced. To counteract this, everyone should tone their skin after cleansing to bring the skin back to its natural pH level. When your skin is not close to its natural pH level, the skin is not able to absorb nutrients as efficiently as it should. 

Using Exfoliants

It is essential to do some form of rapid, overnight exfoliation (aka chemical exfoliant) one to three nights a week. Ingredient(s) used to exfoliate will vary depending on skin type and concern. For example, some of SkinCeuticals chemical exfoliators include LHA or retinol, whereas Yonka's exfoliators include fruit acids or brown algae derivatives. Chemical exfoliation removes surface dead skin cells and stimulates healthy cell turnover, which leads to less clogging and brighter and smoother complexion. You can read more about acne in our blog post here. Below is an example from YonKa on how chemical exfoliants work in your skin.

Any spot treatments should be applied after everything else, so that it does not spread when other products are rubbed in. I love to use Yonka's SOS Spot several times a day on new blemishes I get. The Ichtyol brings all the impurities to one place so that it can be removed easier. When paired with chemical exfoliation, you can see dramatic results in your skin. I have two SOS just in case I misplace one!

For The Minimalist

Although a multistep routine is ideal for proper distribution of your skincare products, you can definitely decrease the number of steps overall; however, your goal may be slowed down if you are looking for specific results, such as evening out skin tone or redefining skin texture. For example, a two-in-one product will be faster to apply, but won't be as potent as if you were to apply two separate specialized products. One of my favorite 2-in-1 products to recommend is SkinCeuticals C+AHA, which is a combination of vitamin c and AHAs (rapid exfoliants). This is great for people who need to address blemishes, wrinkles, texture, and radiance at the same time, but will also yield a different result than if you were to use a pure vitamin c (such as C E Ferulic) with an age- and skin-condition appropriate exfoliant and acne treatment. With that being said, getting anything done at all is something to be celebrated! If you can only get to a few steps each day, here is what I recommend:

Day Night
  1. Cleanse
  2. Vitamin c
  3. SPF with moisturizer
  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone
  3. Moisturize  

That's it!

Cleansing is incredible important, and is not a step to miss. Cleaning your skin every day will give you a good foundation to apply your skincare products to. You will be able to see positive changes to your skin faster if you can also incorporate a toner into your nighttime routine.

One of the most game-changing steps you can do your skin is to start applying a vitamin c serum in the morning.

I recommend grabbing an SPF that can double as a moisturizer, such as Coola's Classic Face Sunscreen (for oily skin) or SkinCeuticals Daily Brightening (for normal and dry skin). Using a moisturizer at night is recommended to keep your skin hydrated and free of fine lines.

My Routine

As someone with combination skin (oily in my t-zone, but normal to dry on my cheeks) my routines with my favorite products from Bellini’s are as follows.


  1. Cleanse with SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Gel 5 mornings a week, and with SkinCeuticals Clarifying Exfoliating Cleanser 2 mornings a week. 
  2. Tone with YonKa Lotion PG
  3. SkinCeutials Silymarin CF
  4. Phytomer Soufflé Marin Serum
  5. SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex 
  6. Moisturize with SkinCeuticals Phyto A+ Brightening Treatment
  7. Apply SkinCeuticals Daily Bright UV Defense SPF 30


  1. Pre-Cleanse with YonKa Eau Micellaire
  2. Cleanse with SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Gel
  3. Tone with YonKa Lotion PG
  4. YonKa Juvenil (if my skin is clogged or breaking out)
  5. SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex
  6. SkinCeuticals Phyto A+ Brightening Treatment

On exfoliating nights (2-3 a week) my routine is much simpler

  1. Pre-Cleanse with YonKa Eau Micellaire
  2. Cleanse with SkinCeuticals Simply Clean Gel
  3. Tone with YonKa Lotion PG
  4. Overnight exfoliate with YonKa Alpha Peel
  5. SkinCeuticals Phyto A+ Brightening Treatment
Written by Abby Durey, Aesthetician at Bellini's Skin and Parfumerie

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