How To Layer Your Skincare Products

Once your skincare shelf is fully stocked, there’s one question left waiting for you: what order should you apply your products? Do you apply serum before or after a cream moisturizer? When exactly do moisturizing face oils come into play? And if you’re using more than one serum, how do you choose which one to apply first?

Let’s explore the best ways to assemble your routine to ensure you’re getting the most out of each and every product so you can get that glow you’re after.

What Makes Up a Basic Skincare Routine?

While a foundational skincare routine for some people is as basic as a facial cleanser, cream moisturizer, and SPF during the day, this can really only be pulled off with the right products that can multitask, like our moisturizing Pure Radiance face oils that hydrate, address targeted concerns, and fight signs of aging all in one.

Working towards a comprehensive skincare routine is particularly important if you’re interested in minimizing the appearance of fine lines and slowing their deepening into wrinkles. Adding focused products into your routine is also key if you want to tackle specific skincare concerns, such as breakouts.

In addition to a reliable cleanser, cream moisturizer, and SPF, other products worth incorporating include acids, serums, and moisturizing face oils. You don’t need to have one of everything, of course — it’s all about finding the best routine for you and your skin.

Serums and Boosters

In general, serums and boosters work well in both the morning and the evening. You can use the same product for both ends of your routine if you want, or you can use two different ones — and you can layer more than one product on top of the other, too.

Our favorite serum is our Chebula Active Serumwith chebula’s powerful antioxidant properties and high bioavailability, we’re confident this is the last serum you’ll ever need. It works with every skin type, all skin tones, for every person at every age, fighting five signs of aging including roughness and dryness, fine lines and wrinkles, uneven tone, sagging and crepiness, and dullness. You can use this serum both day and night, and you can get even more out of it by combining it with our Vitamin C Booster. 

For daytime usage, our Vitamin C Booster is our all-around go-to. When mixed with a cream moisturizer or liquid serum, our Vitamin C Booster offers a dramatic boost in skin brightness, while helping to reduce the appearance of dark spots. It outperforms other Vitamin C products thanks to its powder form, which helps to preserve potency, so it’s at its strongest when you’re ready to use it. Our Vitamin C Booster also includes Ferulic Acid, which helps to support surface skin cell turnover and protects your skin’s overall integrity, leaving you with a smooth, bright, and even-toned complexion.

A common additive you’ll see in many serum formulations is Synthetic Retinol. However, Synthetic Retinol products often come with sensitizing side effects like dryness, redness, flaking, and overall irritation. This can damage your skin barrier over time, so while it’s sought after for its anti-aging properties, it can disrupt your microbiome and cause more issues than it resolves.

That’s where our Phyto-Retinol comes in. Our Phyto-Retinol Vitamin A Booster comes in vegan capsule form, and is a powerful plant-based version of Retinol that works just as hard, without the sensitizing side effects. Rather than disrupting your skin’s natural processes, Phyto-Retinol works with your skin’s innate intelligence to deliver powerful anti-aging benefits that are microbiome-friendly

Above all, you can use Phyto-Retinol in both the daytime and as part of your nighttime routine, and unlike Synthetic Retinols, you can use it alongside Vitamin C and chemical exfoliants without the irritation. 


The most popular skincare acids are Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA). 

AHAs like Lactic Acid and Glycolic Acid are a great addition to your skin care routine if you’re struggling with dull skin or clogged pores. They work as chemical exfoliants, sloughing off dead skin cells and revealing brighter, more evenly-toned skin. 

Salicylic Acid is the most well-known Beta Hydroxy Acid, which is typically used in breakout-fighting products.

Acids are most commonly included in spot treatments and serums, but we include Lactic Acid in our Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm thanks to its gentle but effective exfoliating abilities. Our Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm is the makeup remover of your dreams, gently exfoliating while cleansing away makeup, dirt, debris, sunscreen, and other impurities, all while keeping moisture intact to leave skin feeling soft, supple, and totally hydrated.

It’s a perfect way to chemically exfoliate sensitive skin, and as an added bonus, the scent is irresistible thanks to ingredients like Ginger Root, Mandarin, and Neroli Oils.


The last big step in your skincare routine is moisturizing. There are two main types of moisturizers you can choose from: cream moisturizers and moisturizing face oils. 

If you’re into cream moisturizers, our Chebula Extreme Cream is your perfect match. Formulated without pore-clogging waxes, our Chebula Extreme Cream delivers extreme hydration, extreme antioxidant benefits, and extreme skin barrier optimization. So if anti-aging is a priority for you, look no further than this antioxidant goldmine that powerfully hydrates while fighting five signs of aging thanks to ingredients including Acerola Cherry, Calendula Oil, and Wild Pansies.

It also includes both low and high-weighted Hyaluronic Acid (HA) molecules, which work to attract and bind water molecules to your skin, preventing troubling water loss and keeping your hydration levels optimal all day long.

If moisturizing face oils are more your speed, our Pure Radiance Oils work to hydrate while also delivering targeted benefits depending on your skin concerns. 

Our Renew Pure Radiance Oil is so good at delivering hydration and restoring a youthful glow that it’s been called the ultimate tool in no-makeup skincare. While you may have turned to foundation and concealer to make your skin look bright, even, and glowing, all you really need to walk out the door au naturel is this moisturizing face oil. 

Our Clear Pure Radiance Oil works to hydrate blemish-prone, oily skin without clogging pores and causing breakouts. It includes Helichrysum, which offers antibacterial properties, while Hemp, Pumpkin, and Grape Seed oils balance sebum to help achieve optimal pH balance. 

Finally, our Calm Pure Radiance Oil brings hydration to sensitive skin, while being pregnancy-safe. Calendula Oil naturally soothes and calms sensitized skin, while Ginger Root Oil soothes redness and restores radiance.  

Tips for Layering Your Skincare Products

With a foundation of what roles different products can play, let’s look at where they fit best into a layering skincare routine. 

There are really two main parts to your skincare regimen: your morning routine and your evening routine (though you can use virtually all of your True Botanicals favorites both day and night!).

Some products can be used both in the morning and in the evening, while other products will be better off for evening use, especially rich night creams, so they have time to absorb into your skin without feeling too heavy as they may during the day. 

Other products — like Synthetic Retinols and AHAs/BHAs — won’t work well together and can cause side effects like dry skin, so you’ll need to use them at opposite times of day, or alternate usage from day to day. Vitamin C also doesn’t layer well with AHAs, because they both affect your skin’s pH balance, and can render one another useless. 

At the same time, some ingredients, like Hyaluronic Acid work well with just about everything, and can potentially be used multiple times a day, or even be included in the formulation of multiple products without incident. 

It’s important to do a bit of research on this front so you’re not accidentally stressing your skin out, or rendering some otherwise brilliant products ineffective!

The most important thing to remember with layering your skincare products is to layer them from lightest to heaviest.

After cleansing, the first product on your face should be the thinnest, so it’s the fastest to absorb. You don’t want it to compete with a heavier product which may stop a lighter product from absorbing into your skin properly. 

Follow your cleanser with a toner or essence if you use them, which are typically thin and water-based. In the evening, many people choose to double cleanse, especially if they wear thick makeup or have a little more grime and residue from the day that they want gone before they start on the rest of their skin care products. 

With our Turmeric Ginger Cleansing Balm, double cleansing isn’t necessary, but the ingredients are gentle enough that you can double cleanse if you’d like to!

Next, you want to work in your serums and active ingredients. If you’re using more than one serum, you’ll want to go by feel — whichever one feels thinner and more watery should go first. 

Next, comes eye creams and moisturizers (both cream moisturizers and moisturizing face oils).

Finally, SPF should always be last in your skincare routine to protect you from those UV rays! You can typically layer makeup over most modern face sunscreens, but your skincare products should always come first.

In Conclusion

You can create a skincare routine that’s both easy and effective with two simple rules: Apply the fastest absorbing products on your shelf first, and make sure you have the right products on your shelf in the first place.

Multitasking products that hydrate, target signs of aging, and nourish your skin will work the best in a layered routine, and we’ve made it easy by formulating natural, bio-compatible skincare that actually works. 

Looking to get started? Check out our Hydrating Anti-Aging Routine here, or take our Skincare Quiz here for some extra guidance on what ingredients your skin may be craving the most. 


Alpha Hydroxy Acids | Food & Drug Administration

Beta Hydroxy Acids | Food and Drug Administration

The Hype on Hyaluronic Acid | Harvard Health Publishing