Everything You Need to Know About Serum Layering

By: Julia Roble
Serums are one of the best-loved products in any skincare routine. These little bottles are often jam-packed with super concentrated nutrients, antioxidants and hydrators that do the job of boosting your skincare regime. All things considered, this brings us to the topic of serum layering. 

Serum layering can be daunting at times to most people, especially the prospect of mixing different chemicals together. However, it isn’t always as intimidating as it seems. Some serums go hand in hand together like a few notes that turn into a well thought out symphony, while some combinations just aren’t a good match like an ill-sorted outfit. With that being said, we’ve formulated the perfect cheat-sheet as your go-to guide for layering serums. 

Why serums?

While there may be several essential steps to any skincare regimen, serums should definitely be on that list. Serums are potent and often light, depending on the amount of concentrate in the bottle. What makes it so great and beneficial for your skin is that it certainly does the heavy lifting by helping speed up the process that a lot of products take a while to do. 



The golden rules of Serum Layering:

  • Layer depending on the consistency and viscosity.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to layer your serums based on how thick the consistency is. It’s always the lightest serums first before the heaviest. Why? Because serums that are lighter have smaller particles than can penetrate the skin faster. Using heavier serums may block the entrance for these smaller particles to push through your skin’s barrier. 

For example, when layering Vitamin C and Hyaluronic, it’s best to go with Vitamin C first before applying your Hyaluronic so all of it has the chance to seep evenly into your skin and really lock in the moisture, giving your skin a youthful bounce. 


  • Three is the golden number. 

While there may be hundreds and thousands of products you may want to pile on your skin, sometimes less is just more. You definitely don’t need 10 serums to achieve good, healthy skin. Dermatologists often advise to stop the count at three. Moreover, this gives every single serum a chance to do their work. Oftentimes, piling on too many products with different targets for your skin lessens the effectiveness and individual purpose of each of those products. 


FEMMUE Balance Moments

  • You don’t need to apply a lot. 

As mentioned, serum layering often varies with the viscosity of the product, but it's good to keep in mind that although serums may come in tiny little bottles, they are very concentrated in might. Remember, less is more! That said, the common and standard practice is to apply a pea-sized amount or two pumps. If it comes in a dropper formula, three-four drops is optimal. 

  • Be gentle. 

Don’t be harsh with the way you apply your serums. The best way for application is to massage these products into your skin very gently, letting them soak and at the same time helping your blood’s circulation in the process. In korean skincare, they also love to lightly pat the product into their skin as it helps seep into their skin faster and also avoids rubbing which could lead to fine lines and wrinkles. 


Serum combos to try:

1. Hyaluronic Acid + Retinol

Although Retinol has very promising effects in anti-aging, a lot of the time it can often cause dryness and irritation. Incorporating Hyaluronic Acid into routine is a quick fix to restore moisture and hydration back into your skin. 

2. Vitamin C + Squalane

Squalane is an antioxidant that helps give your skin youthful and hydrated. On the other hand, Vitamin C helps speed up cell regeneration in your skin, making your skin bright and smooth. Together, these two are meant to give you younger-looking, bouncier skin. 


Serum combos to avoid: 
1. Retinol + Vitamin C 

Retinol is known to speed up cell turnover at a really fast rate and Vitamin C is an antioxidant geared towards reducing signs of aging and protecting your skin for the UV rays. However, these two may not go so well together when you use them at the same time of the day. Since they are both actives, it can cause irritation to the skin and also lessen the effectiveness of the other. 


2. Vitamin A + AHA/BHA’s

Vitamin A is another known retinoic acid that also helps in making your skin cells’ turnover rate perform much faster. This is why you may need to be a little wary in partnering it up with AHA/BHA’s since it may be a little much for your skin to handle coupled together. 


For the day: 

An ideal serum for day time has got to be Vitamin C. Not only does it help brighten up your skin and increase radiance, it also helps protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun as well as pollution! 


For the night: 

Serums you should gravitate towards for night use are the ones that help repair the skin and help in anti-aging. Night serums that contain retinol or retinoid when used during the day can make your skin more sensitive towards sunlight and lessen the overall efficacy of the product. 


For both: 

There are numerous choices where you can totally use both day and night. Take Hyaluronic Acid for one, since its job is to form a protective layer of hydration and retain moisture to the skin, it can be used both for day and night use especially for those who struggle with dry skin. 

1 comment

  • Janet C Kiu

    I love ur information. It helps alot

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