Back to Basics: How to Build a Regimen

Multiple product ingredients layered and swatched together


“Can I combine Lactic Acid 5% + HA with Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%”, “Which product should I use first, Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 or Multi-Peptide + HA Serum”, and “When should I apply SPF?”

We get questions about the correct order of applying our products (also known as “layering”) all the time, so consider this an introductory guide on how to correctly layer our skincare products for maximum effectiveness and building a regimen.

How many products do I need?

This may vary by skin type and/or skin concern. Someone with more sensitive skin or new to certain skincare ingredients may want to use a simpler routine. Whereas skin enthusiasts may be more comfortable with a comprehensive multi-layer skincare regimen.

Think of a regimen as having 3 steps: Prep, Treat, and Seal.
person applying product serum to face

Step 1: Prep

The Prep stage is where we want to cleanse the skin and prepare it to receive active ingredients. Whether you want to start the day fresh or wind down from a great night out, it all starts with a great cleanser.

Consider using our Glucoside Foaming Cleanser to effectively cleanse the skin whilst maintaining the skin’s moisture barrier. If makeup is a concern or you need something a little more hydrating our Squalane Cleanser is a great first cleanse.

Step 2: Treat

The Treat stage is where we address specific skin concerns using targeted formulas. This includes eye serums, toners, face serums, and oils which means someone may have multiple treat products in their regimen.

When it comes to layering skincare, the general rule of thumb is to apply products from lightest to heaviest in texture to ensure optimal delivery of ingredients to the skin. The format is also a factor. You’ll want to apply water-based treatments first, followed by anhydrous (water-free) solutions or oil formulations, followed by creams or suspensions.

This means that you would apply a water-based serum such as Amino Acids + B5 before an anhydrous serum or oil such as Retinol 0.2% in Squalane..

Serum in a dropper

What happens if there is more than one product with the same format?

Ultimately they can be layered in any order, but we recommend focusing on the primary concern first. For instance, if you’re looking to target signs of aging as your primary concern and have both Multi-Peptide + HA Serum and Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, we’d recommend applying Multi-Peptide + HA Serum first because it targets signs of aging while Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 targets dryness.

Conflicting Products

We know conflicts can seem intimidating, but they aren’t! There are two types of conflicts: conflicts of ingredients and conflicts of tolerance but for simplicity’s sake, we’re going to treat them the same.

We’re also going to make a distinction between a regimen and a routine. When we say regimen, we’re talking about the whole skincare process including AM & PM and may span multiple days. A routine on the other hand is just the products that are used in one application - so the AM routine or PM routine.

Let’s dive into conflicts. Take for example Vitamin C and Niacinamide - two active ingredients we don’t recommend using together in the same routine. The key word here is routine. You can use Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% in the AM routine and Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% in the PM routine -- just not together in the morning or evening.

If your current regimen is more complex and contains multiple conflicting ingredients, this is when you might start changing your routines by day. On the first day, you might be using Antioxidants and Direct Acids, on your second day you might be using Peptides, and on the third day Vitamin C… and so on. It’s perfectly okay to rotate products!

Step 3: Seal
The Seal stage is where we lock in the benefits of our treatments and support the skin barrier. It’s also where we add in our SPF. Skin-identical ingredients in our NMF family of moisturizers help to support our skin’s moisture barrier. Our Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA is the original surface hydrator but we also offer lighter or richer versions depending on your skin type and skin’s needs.

Applying SPF should always be the last step in your morning skincare routine. This helps to protect against UV damage. We offer our Mineral UV Filters with Antioxidants in SPF 15 and SPF 30.

Additional Regimen FAQs

How long should I wait between products?
While there isn’t a set wait time between products, we recommend allowing each product to fully absorb into the skin before applying the next one.

When can I expect to see results?
Because everyone’s skin is different, everyone will have a unique response to new skincare products. The important thing is to be patient and consistent.

What is an Emulsion? Where do they fit in my regimen?
Emulsions are a mixture of two or more substances until they are homogenized (do not separate). We have both serum emulsions and cream emulsions so be sure to follow the thinnest to thickest rule in determining where they fit into your routine.

How to stop skincare pilling?
“Pilling” can be caused by many different reasons such as the amount of product being applied or the products being used. Some formulas may just not layer well together.

To reduce the chances of pilling, we recommend applying less product than you think (2-3 drops!) and letting it fully absorb before applying the next one.

Now you have the tools to build your own effective skincare regimen, you can take steps toward achieving healthier-looking, radiant skin. If you just want to grab and go, try exploring our Sets & Collections or make your own with our Regimen Builder.