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How to Layer your Skin Care

Sep 22, 2021

Skin Care

Ever wonder why that $68 serum didn’t give you the results you expected? Look no further. The order of your products plays a key role in how they penetrate your skin. If layered incorrectly, skin care products can work against each other. To maximize the benefits of each and every product you use, follow our step-by-step, dermatologist-backed guide to layering your skin care. This works for all kinds of skin care users – if you’re a three-product minimalist or a ten-step product enthusiast!

*Disclaimer: we are not affiliated with/nor do we receive any commissions from the products recommended in this guide. They are simply products that we believe make use of natural ingredients in a clean and effective way, aligning with our philosophy at AAVRANI.*

1. Cleanser

When you first wake up, we recommend using a refreshing cleanser wash to eliminate the bacteria, pollutants, and excess oil that accumulate overnight.

At night, you can go in with one round of cleanser, or if you’re wearing makeup, we’d recommend a double cleanse. To double cleanse, start with an oil cleanser, a makeup removing cleanser, or micellar water to take out the dirt, grime and makeup on the surface. After the residue is lifted, you should wash it off your skin using a foaming or gel cleanser. This provides a deeper cleanse, ensuring you’ve left no trace of makeup on your face so that your pores don’t get clogged overnight (+ with the remainder of your skin care).

Using an effective cleanser is a key step in order to start your routine with a clean, fresh face for maximum absorption and effectiveness of the following products in your skin care routine. We recommend using our Purifying Oil Cleanser, an ultra-gentle yet powerful formula that leaves your face feeling fresh and hydrated without any oily residue.

2. Clay Mask/Exfoliator

Ideally PM
The next step is to use an exfoliant: Exfoliating ingredients are the perfect cure to textured, uneven skin. Exfoliants target whiteheads and blackheads, clearing out textural impurities by removing the buildup of dead skin cells. It also improves the absorption of active ingredients, allowing them to penetrate more deeply into the skin.

Our Glow Exfoliating Activator uses natural ingredients like Turmeric (an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant golden ingredient), Neem and Raw Honey to gently brighten and even out your skin tone. If your skin is on the drier, more sensitive side, our Healing Rose Clay Mask is ideal for improving skin elasticity, soothing irritation and rosacea. Apply it evenly to clean, damp skin and wait 5 minutes for it to dry. Gently remove it with a wet washcloth and pat your skin dry.

We recommend using an exfoliant two to three times a week in the evening (because of the potency of active ingredients, it is best to avoid sun exposure). If you want to use it in the morning, make sure you follow it up with an SPF.

3. Toner

Time to tone! Toning will help prime your skin to absorb the topical products that follow. It restores the pH balance of your skin which is naturally acidic, but tends to be more alkaline after cleansing. Using a toner is a key step for oily, acne-prone skin because it removes excess oils. It also helps with tightening pores. Make sure you choose a non irritating, gentle formula that won’t dry out your skin.

A great option for this is the Caudalie Vinoclean Moisturizing Toner with Rose Water. It’s a highly natural, vegan formula free of alcohol that uses refreshing Rose Water to refresh, soften and plump the skin. In addition, our Balance Restoring Serum acts as both a toner and serum, combining two important steps to make your routine simpler! Read more below.

4. Treatment/Serum/Sheet Mask

This part of your skin care routine is set to deliver results. Make sure you apply these products on skin that is still damp, because damp skin is more permeable than dry skin. This is typically the most concentrated, potent solution in your skin care routine so you want to make sure your skin is primed and ready for it to penetrate deeper into the layers. You can use two serums a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. Typically in the day, one goes for more antioxidant-based serums containing Vitamin C. At night, you should go for restorative, repair-focused serums such as our Balance Restoring Serum.

Our Balance Restoring Serum is gentle and alcohol free, removing toxins and minimizing the appearance of pores and dark spots, while restoring your natural moisture barrier. Formulated with calming ingredients like Cucumber Extract, Tea tree, Witch-hazel and Chamomile Flowers, it calms any redness or irritation while also fighting acne and evening skin tone. Dispense 2-3 drops of the serum onto your hands and gently press it on your face and neck.

If you are feeling like your skin needs some extra love, try out a sheet mask before your serum or treatment! Some of our favorite sheet masks are the Dr. Althea Herb Therapy Velvet Mask, Farmacy Coconut Gel and the Innis Free sheet mask collection. For elevated relaxation, add in an extra step by using a facial roller like our Rollmate over your sheet mask. This self-care practice massages the ingredients deeper into your skin while boosting circulation, making you feel pampered and fresh. 

5. Moisturizer

Being one of the thickest formulations in the routine, this product is applied towards the end of your regimen. It is key to lock in all the previous ingredients that were applied on your skin. Even if you have oily skin, moisturizer is necessary to hydrate your skin and restore its moisture barrier after the stripping away of natural oils from the previous exfoliating products. If you are applying a spot treatment, you can try avoiding using moisturizer on that area so it doesn’t come in the way of the treatment's active ingredients.

Our Moisturizing Hydra-Cream includes ingredients like Lychee Fruit, Tamarind Seed, and Moringa Leaf and provides the perfect combination of lightweight, hydrating coverage while nourishing and plumping your skin. Or try our Softening Hydra-Whip, another of our favorite lightweight formulas with ingredients like Coconut Milk and Shea Nut that leave your skin feeling softened and supple.

6. Eye cream

For application, use a pea-sized amount of a creamy formula with your ring finger and gently pat the product under your eyes. It is important to be very delicate because you are dealing with a very thin layer of skin. Eye cream is best used all around the eye area, not only underneath.

7. Spot Treatment

Spot treatments are great to reduce the size of blemishes overnight. You can make a DIY natural spot treatment with Bentonite Clay (or Multani Mitti). This ingredient was popularly used in Indian rituals. Mixing equal parts of this clay with water or Apple Cider Vinegar will create a clay-like formula which can be used as a mask or spot treatment. Apply it to your blemish and leave it on overnight to significantly reduce inflammation.

Alternatively, an AAVRANI insider hack is to use our Glow Activating Exfoliator as a spot treatment! The anti-inflammatory properties of Turmeric, antioxidant properties of Neem, and anti-bacterial properties of Honey make it the perfect natural remedy to zap blemishes.

8. Face Oil

AM and/or PM

Face oil may seem like a red flag for acne prone, oily skin, but when formulated with the right ingredients it can have numerous benefits for hyperpigmentation from acne scars, enlarged pores and fine lines. Non-comedogenic face oils will not clog your pores, but actually balance oil production. It is a must for dry skin as it delivers the hydration and moisture your skin is lacking. 

One of our absolute favorites is The Ordinary RoseHip Seed Oil. It is 100% naturally derived from organic rosehip seeds which is a great ingredient for minimizing acne scarring and giving you a natural glow. Another option is the Herbivore Emerald Deep Moisture Glow Oil, which uses hemp seed oil, fatty acids and shiitake mushrooms for skin calming and hydration.

9. SPF

Needless to say, SPF is one of the most (if not THE most) important step of your routine. Use this in the morning after you have applied all your products. This
step goes last because it provides your skin with a protective barrier, blocking UV rays and protecting your skin from environmental damage. Make sure you apply it all over your face and neck.

The lowdown on layering

Incorporating these steps into your skin care ritual will ensure your products don’t just sit, but actually penetrate into your skin in order to stimulate cell regeneration. If you are ever confused, a simple rule of thumb here is to apply your products in order of thickness – starting with lightweight, water-based toners and exfoliants and moving towards thicker products like moisturizer and SPF. This way the thicker formulations don’t obstruct the lighter consistency products from reaching the skin. Remember – damp skin is more permeable than dry skin! So don’t leave more than 30 seconds to a minute between your layers. You also want to make sure that you are separating your products in the AM/PM according to the ingredients. Active, exfoliating ingredients do best without sun exposure, and don’t mix well with other ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide and Retinol.

“The idea of quick-fix solutions and instant gratification is constantly perpetuated in beauty. At AAVRANI, we want to challenge that narrative with guided practices that demonstrate the importance of intention, as it relates to fostering beauty from the inside out.” - Rooshy Roy, CEO & Co-Founder of AAVRANI

We understand that keeping these rules in mind and remembering the order can get a little confusing. If you need a simple way to remember this order, print and stick our easy-to-follow guide near your dresser:

Skincare routine diagram by AM and PM



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