How To Properly Layer Skincare Products | Ambrosia | Hong Kong

How To Properly Layer Skincare Products

July 22, 2020

Guess what, even with the most amazing skincare products, if you're applying them in the wrong order, you probably won’t get the results you want, as the ingredients won't be able to penetrate and work properly. In fact, this is often one of the reasons people get different results from the same product. So what's the best way to apply products? As a general rule of thumb, after cleansing and masking, you would want to go from the ones that are thinnest in texture, then moving on to the thickest. Obviously there are also some techniques there, which we will get into shortly.

First of all, let's look at the below. While you may not be using all the products listed below, but it should serve as a general guide as to what order different products should be applied.


How To Properly Layer Skincare Products | Ambrosia | Hong Kong



Products generally contain ingredients that are either humectants, emollients or occlusives. Due to their individual molecular structure and weight, their penetrabilities differ, and thus should be applied in a specific order. So how do you classify them?



Humectants extract water molecules from the air (or from deep in the skin when the air is dry) and pull them to the skin’s surface. These ingredients include aloe vera leaf juice, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, glycols, panthenol, honey, and amino acids. Skincare products consist of a high humectant content, such as toner, essence and serums, should always go on first, as they are thinner and runnier in texture.

If you are using two serums, say one is an anti-aging serum and the other is a hydrating serum, the anti-aging serum should be applied first, because hydrating serum, usually consisting of hyaluronic acid, is heavier in weight, and applying the other way may lead to piling.

Agent Nateur holi(water) Hyaluronic Pearl & Rose Toner | Ambrosia | Hong Kong

holi(water) Pearl & Rose Toner  <- Click to shop

Fortified with Bulgarian Rose Water, Lavender Water, Pitaya, Cucumber, Pearl Powder, Jasmine Oil, Honey, Sandalwood Oil and low-weight Sodium Hyaluronate, this ultra hydrating toner intensely hydrates, softens, soothes, plumps, tightens and brightens the skin. Its rich content of antioxidants and phytonutrients also provide anti-inflammation and anti-bacterial benefits, thereby reducing and improving acne and redness.



Emollients, such as squalane, oils, and panthenol, fill the spaces between skin cells, and provide hydration and softening benefits, thereby restoring the skin's protective barrier with nutrients, and reducing the chance of irritation and bacteria invasion. Being thicker than humectants, they should go on after.

Marie Reynolds London Skin Quencher | Ambrosia | Hong Kong

Skin Quencher  <- Click to shop

Enriched with 16% olive-derived Squalane, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmyitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin and Aloe Vera, it stimulates collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid production, smooth wrinkles, firm, increase skin elasticity, hydrates and reduces glycation and inflammations.

OUMERE Serum Bioluminelle™ | Ambrosia | Hong Kong

Serum Bioluminelle™  <- Click to shop

Combining Carrot Seed Oil, Prickly Pear Seed Oil, Green Coffee Oil and Black Seed Oil, which are known to have superior anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties, as well as Ursolic Acid, Beta-Glucan, Elastin Protein, Ginseng, Reishi, and Turmeric etc., it promotes collagen and elastin synthesis, improves wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, hydrates, soothes, reduces acne, fights free radicals and slows aging.



Occlusives, which include lecithin, petrolatum, lanolin, mineral oil, plant butters and waxes, such as shea butter and beeswax, are ingredients that basically form a physical barrier or seal on the skin surface to prevent trans-epidermal water loss and keep moisture locked in. This essentially means products with occlusives should always go on last, as products won’t be able to penetrate once this is put on. 

Twelve Beauty Essential Bio-Technological Moisturiser | Ambrosia | Hong Kong

Essential Bio-Technological Moisturiser  <- Click to shop

Suitable for the most sensitive skin, this day moisturiser gives the skin maximum hydration with Saccharide Isomerate, Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate, etc., whilst Sunflower Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, and Sunflower Seed Oil mimic the lipid balance in healthy skin and lock in moisture. The formula is further fortified with prized botanicals to fight free radicals, UV damages and inflammations, soothe skin, and reduce irritations.




A serum containing retinol should go on after a toner and before other products to allow maximum penetrability. Allow 5-10 minutes for full absorption before applying other products so the active ingredient doesn’t get diluted.

Also, on the nights when you’re using a retinol product, avoid any acid-containing products to avoid any sensitivities, unless your skin is very used to both.

KLUR Stellar Restoration Corrective Complex | Ambrosia | Hong Kong

Stellar Restoration Corrective Complex  <- Click to shop

Featuring star ingredient 1.8% Encapsulated Retinol, as well as White Tea and Green Tea Extract, 1.5% Salicylic Acid, Niacinamide, 2 forms of Vitamin C, Licorice Root, Gotu Kola, Willow Bark, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Sodium Hyaluronate and Squalane, the powerful yet gentle watery serum stimulates collagen synthesis and rejuvenates skin to effectively reduce wrinkles, acne and hyperpigmentation, smooth skin texture, slow aging, and minimize pores in a soothing, hydrating way.



Exfoliating Acids

AHAs and PHAs work by dissolving breaking the bonds that hold together the dead skin cells on the skin surface. As these bonds are broken and dead skin cells removed, new, regenerated skin is revealed.

Whilst, since BHA is oil-soluble, it works its way deep into the pores, dissolves sebum, unclog enlarged pores, which in turn reduces acne and improves the appearance of pores.

Therefore, and also because of its low pH, when an acid product is incorporated into a skincare routine, it should always go on first after cleansing, and before a toner. Also note that in order to reap the most benefits, don’t neutralise it prematurely with another product. Rather, give the acids some time (say 15-30 minutes) to do their job before applying another product.

OUMERE No. 9 Daily Chemical Exfoliant | Ambrosia | Hong Kong

No. 9 Exfoliant <- Click to shop

Contains natural effective yet gentle AHAs, BHAs and PHAs, together with Goldenseal, Licorice Root, Mulberry, and Aloe Leaf Juice, etc., it removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores and prevents acne, speeds up the skin's renewal process, while providing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial actions.


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