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How To Layer Skincare Products for YOUR Skin

Cleanser, oil, and then moisturizer...right? Or is it cleanse, exfoliate, and then apply a mask? It all depends on you! Read on and discover how to layer skincare products for YOUR unique skin.

Blonde woman holding Fifth & Root's High Glow Radiance Facial Oil bottle and dropper next to her face

Gosh, you’re gorgeous! You’re hardworking, have personality for days, and you’re utterly unique. So, why shouldn’t your skincare routine reflect that?! Yes, those twelve-step routines look ultra-luxurious. However, when it comes to product layering, the first thing you should consider is YOUR skin. 

We won’t lie, there’s some dispute about the “correct” way to layer skincare products. One thing most dermatologists agree about, however, is that there’s no one-size-fits-all guide to product layering. That’s why we’re celebrating the beauty of unique skin with three unique product layering techniques

You deserve healthy, happy skin! That means discovering the right techniques to give your skin everything it needs. Read on and find out how to layer skincare products for YOUR skin. 

What is Product Layering?

Product layering refers to the order in which you apply your skincare products. While it may seem pretty straightforward, there’s a surprising amount of debate about the “correct” order. 

The American Academy of Dermatology Association says, “The sequence in which you apply your skincare products affects how well the products work.” Honestly, that makes a lot of sense. Some products absorb faster than others, some are meant to sit on your skin, and others are meant to be washed off. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be practical to apply a moisturizer before you cleanse and wash your skin.

Why There’s No One-Size-Fits-All Guide to Product Layering

Everyone’s skin is different. For example, someone with particularly dry skin may skip cleansing altogether and opt for a moisturizer with a few drops of facial oil. If someone with acne-prone skin tried to use that same strategy, however, they may notice more oil and congested skin. So, there’s really no perfect guide to product layering that works for everyone.

Some argue that you should apply products from thinnest to thickest for maximum absorption. However, this also increases the risk of irritation for certain ingredients, so those with sensitive skin might think twice. And what about those with acne or eczema-prone skin? What about dry skin? 

Dermatologists are well aware there’s no generic guide to product layering. Andrea Suarez, aka Dr. Dray, is a board-certified dermatologist and skincare enthusiast with an entire Youtube video dedicated to this very topic. In it she says, “Truth be told, there are no rules when it comes to layering or applying skincare products. But there are some principles for applying skincare products that I think can be helpful.” 

She also specifies that you should always consult with YOUR dermatologist about your skincare concerns. The order you apply your products really depends on your skin type. Everyone’s skin is so unique, and it’s very possible that your skin needs are drastically different from the norm. And you know what? We like that! That’s why we put together the following product layering tips for specific skin types.

There's no one-size-fits-all guide to product layering - Fifth & Root

Product Layering for Dry Skin

For dry skin, the name of the game is moisture. It’s all about keeping your skin hydrated and protected to avoid dull skin and early signs of aging. Here’s our Product Layering Guide for Dry Skin (plus a few extra tips for daily protection).



  • Splash some water on your face and only cleanse if you really need to. Since your skin is already prone to dryness, skipping this step will help you avoid stripping the natural oils from your face. 
  • While skin is still slightly damp, apply 2-3 pumps of moisturizer to your palm and mix in 2-3 drops of a revitalizing facial oil. This will help lock in moisture and protect your skin.
  • Don’t forget to apply sunblock and feel free to spritz your face with aloe or rosewater throughout the day as needed.


  • After removing any makeup, go ahead and cleanse your face. A two-in-one product, like our Karmic Cleanse Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser, will do wonders for dry skin. This will help promote circulation and remove dead skin cells. 
  • Once a week, use a clay mask to help draw out any impurities. However, avoid over-masking since your skin needs all its moisture.
  • For you, you’ll ALWAYS want to moisturize before bed. You can repeat the morning moisturizer step (Second Nature + High Glow), or use just one product. Just listen to your skin and give it what it needs 😉

Product Layering for Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

If you struggle with oily or acne-prone skin, you’ll want to layer your products so they more effectively eliminate bacteria and tame oil production. 

It’s important to remember, however, that acne can be caused by LOTS of things (hormones, stress, poor sleep, etc.). So, if your skin is only oily during certain times of the month or when you’re particularly stressed, be open to flexibility in your skincare routine. 

Also, while it’s tempting to “scrub your skin clean” when you have acne, please don’t! A gentle touch will be more healing and effective.



  • Cleanse your skin. If you have active acne, just make sure you’re being gentle and not irritating blemishes. 
  • Use a light moisturizer with balancing CBD to tame oil production. Believe it or not, NOT moisturizing can actually worsen acne. 
  • Apply sunblock and consider carrying oil-blotting sheets to mattify afternoon oil production. Plus, if you hit the gym or have an impromptu sweat-sesh, WASH YOUR FACE. Don’t let the sweat sit on your skin and clog your pores. 


  • After removing any makeup, cleanse your skin. It may seem like overkill, but you NEED to remove any dirt from your face that may have accumulated throughout the day.
  • Apply a clay mask with additional nutrients to draw out impurities and deep-clean your pores. We recommend adding 1-2 drops of our High Glow Rejuvenating Facial Oil to our Moonlight Cooling Glow Mask. Simply mix it together in the palm of your hand, and apply evenly. Do this a few times a week (2-3) or as needed. 
  • After gently removing the mask, apply a light moisturizer. If your skin still feels particularly oily, you can skip this step. 


Pro Tip: This is important for all skin types, but particularly for oily and acne-prone skin. WASH YOUR PILLOWCASES! Your face spends several hours pressed into your pillow, so make sure it’s clean.

For dry skin make sure you're locking in moisture to enhance hydration - Fifth & Root

Product Layering for Sensitive Skin

When layering products for sensitive skin, it’s important to emphasize protection. You’ll notice that your routine looks a bit more involved. That’s because your skin requires flexibility and patience. Some days your skin will require additional care because it’s delicate and can be highly reactive.

For example, products applied to damp skin will penetrate more deeply. This is great if you have dry skin and need to ramp up hydration (just dampen your skin before applying moisturizer, voila!). If you have sensitive skin, however, this can be tricky. 

Even ingredients that are SUPER helpful for skin health, like Vitamin C, can cause irritation for those with sensitive skin. If you strategically layer your products, however, you can get more of the benefits with less irritation. 



  • If your skin feels particularly oily, go ahead and cleanse in the morning. We recommend adding extra water to our Karmic Cleanse to create a more watery consistency. This will make it even more gentle for your sensitive skin.
  • Allow your skin to dry and then evenly apply a gentle moisturizer.
  • Use a Revitalizing Wellness Tincture to help combat inflammation throughout the day. 
  • Apply sunblock and stay hydrated!


  • Gently remove makeup and cleanse your skin. You could probably skip cleansing in the morning if needed, but we wouldn’t recommend skipping at night. You need to get all that irritating dirt and pollution out of your skin!
  • If your skin feels particularly irritated, use a calming CBD mask to soothe and reduce inflammation. If your skin is particularly sensitive, you may want to start out by using our Moonlight Cooling Glow Mask for just 5 minutes once a week. As your skin adapts, you can use it as needed. 
  • Allow your skin to dry and reapply a gentle calming moisturizer like our Second Nature. Let the moisturizer absorb completely before moving on.
  • Apply 2-3 drops of a facial oil to dry skin 2-3 times a week. If your skin can handle it, you could do this every evening. However, start slowly and give your skin time to adapt. 

Layer Your Products for Glowing, Healthy Skin!

We really want to emphasize that there’s no perfect way to apply your skincare. Yes, there are tips and tricks, but everyone’s skin is SO unique. We recommend starting with these layering strategies and then adjusting as needed. You’re constantly growing and changing, and your skin’s needs will change with you. 

Regardless of your routine, however, make sure you’re staying hydrated, getting plenty of nutrients, and that you’re getting the beauty sleep you deserve. Thanks for hanging out with us today, cuties! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for all the latest updates 


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