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Layer with Love: Get the Most from Your Favorite Products and Layer Like an Expert

It all starts with a skin dream…buttery soft feel, dewy glow, smooth and even tone, youthful bounce and shape.

And so you find yourself with a pretty row of thoughtfully formulated, medical-grade PFAM skincare! But you might have a lot of new products that you aren’t exactly sure how to use, let alone maximize. Lucky for all of us, one of my favorite things about aesthetic medicine just so happens to be educating my PFAMily on how to get the most out of their personalized lineups so that together we create true, lasting, perfect transformation. Let me first say, the order you put products on your face really, really matters.

The General Rule

If we aren’t intentional about how we layer, likely we’re rendering our lineup ineffective, and at worst we can be further irritating the skin.

But of course on the other end of that spectrum, when we do layer intentionally, those skin dreams start coming true.

When in doubt the general rule is this:

Cleanse the skin first (of course!) and layer products thinnest to thickest.

The reasons being:

  • Thinner products tend to have smaller particle size, allowing them to penetrate deeper in the skin.
  • Thicker products tend to have a larger particle size that would block thinner products from absorbing if we made the mistake of putting them on first.
  • Following thin product with thick product creates an outer seal that maximizes total absorption.

Morning Skincare vs. Night Time Skincare

That general rule of applying product thinnest to thickest is true of morning and evening skincare. BUT, skin is vastly different in the morning as compared to at night, and so the lineup itself needs to adjust to the needs of the skin.

During any given day, skin will be exposed to dirt, environmental pollutants, makeup, UV rays, oil, bacteria, free radicals, and the list could go on. In short, the skin’s barrier is greatly challenged with potential wear and tear on skin cells and collagen. So the goal of our morning skincare routine is to protect the skin and preserve it’s health and radiance throughout the day.

At night on the other hand, our skin switches focus and goes into repair mode. This way, our cells regenerate and heal as we sleep. Our night time skincare can support this natural rejuvenating process, while also incorporating certain ingredients that may make skin too sensitive during daylight hours (think renewing and resurfacing products like retinol).

Your Morning Layering Routine

Say good morning to your perfect face! It’s time to layer our PFAM products for protection against the day’s environmental stressors and to support that beautiful glow we love.

Morning Skincare Lineup

Step 1: Cleanser

There’s no better way to start the day than with a fresh face. To get the most out of your skincare, it starts here! I recommend a gentle cleanser with clean ingredients to wash away any dead skin cells or dirt that accumulates while sleeping. I also love mixing it up with an exfoliating cleanser every few days, and use of a gentle exfoliating sponge like Dew Puff, to keep the skin fresh and ready to absorb my lineup.

 (PFAM products appropriate for this step: Cleanse, Active Cleanse, Defense)

Step 2: Toner

The toning step is one not to be missed. It’s decongesting, balancing, and restoring qualities set up all following products to be successful. Toners also provide a light hydration that improves total lineup absorption. And of course on their own, toners brighten, soften, and strengthen the skin.

Melasma tip: Perfect Tone Pads are one of our most effective skin brightening products. Although it actually doesn’t fall in the category of toners (it’s more of an active ingredient, treatment step), Perfect Tone Pads immediately follow your cleansing step if they’re in your lineup.

(PFAM products appropriate for this step: Balancing Toner, Perfect Tone Pads)

Step 3: Serum

Serums tend to be fairly lightweight formulas with heavy concentrations of active ingredients. The serum step of a lineup can and should be personalized to include ingredients that address your specific skin concerns and dreams. And for the morning lineup, we should be careful about using serums safe for day time. Look for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin and antioxidant-rich formulas that provide protection, and avoid ingredients like retinoids that would be inactivated by the sun or make the skin sensitive to the sun.

If you use multiple serums, remember the general rule of layering: thinnest to thickest, always leaving heavier serums for last. If your serums are of similar consistency, start with the most concentrated serum that focuses most directly on your skincare goals.

(PFAM products appropriate for this step: C Glow, X5, Hyaluronic Plus, Botanically Bright, The One)

Step 4: Eye Cream

The skin around the eyes is some of the most delicate skin on the face, making it some of the most affected skin by daily stressors, which is why it’s also one of the first places to reveal signs of aging. Proactively using skincare for the eye area keeps skin elastic, preserves collagen, and prevents fine lines, wrinkles and crepey skin. Eye cream can be applied day and night to the under eye to de-puff, brighten, and protect.

(PFAM products appropriate for this step: Eye RX)

Step 5: Moisturizer

Hydrated skin is healthy skin, and hydration is an essential step for preparing for the day ahead. Typically, morning moisturizer is more lightweight than what we might use at night. And specifically for oily or acne prone skin, a lightweight moisturizer will be most effective. If you live in a cold climate or have dry, mature skin, then a more decadent moisturizer may be preferred. This step in the lineup not only provides hydration for the day, it also seals in all the product used so far for deep and lasting nourishment.

(PFAM products appropriate for this step: Dew, Vitamoist, Enriched Biotherapy, Power of 3)

Step 6: SPF

If you’re investing in yourself by investing in good skincare, you just can’t miss this step! UVA and UVB rays are some of the biggest culprits of aging skin, and if we’re exposed to them regularly without protection, no serum will save us. At PFAM, we’re also BIG believers in clean, quality, mineral based sun protection because not all SPF is created equal! Put it on daily, re-apply often, and protect that perfect face.

(PFAM products appropriate for this step: Shade, Sheer Protection, Perfect Powder)

Your Night Time Layering Routine

Your skin is about to do wonderful, natural rejuvenation while you sleep. Why not support it with a PFAM lineup that targets your exact skin goals?

Evening Skincare Lineup

Step 1: Cleanser

The skin accumulates dirt, bacteria, makeup, and more throughout the day. For our evening skincare routine to be effective, of course we have to start with a fresh face! Wash the face just like in the morning, with the option of using a Dew Puff for extra exfoliation.

(PFAM products appropriate for this step: Cleanse, Defense)

Step 2: Toner

Let me reiterate PFAMily, the simple toning step will improve the results of your entire lineup. Plus its cell repairing ability makes it a perfect addition for your night time routine.

(PFAM products appropriate for this step: Balancing Toner, Perfect Tone Pads)

Step 3: Serums

Morning and night, serums are the most potent and customizable step of your routine. At night, we can use targeted serums to address specific concerns, some of which might include ingredients not optimal for day time. This may lead to a bit more skin sensitivity, so we want to remain mindful of also including hydrating and nourishing ingredients. Any antioxidant-rich serums in your lineup can be saved for the morning.

(PFAM products appropriate for this step: Hyaluronic Plus, Total Repair Serum, Botanically Bright, The One)

Step 4: Eye Cream

Prevention, prevention, prevention! Like I said before, the eye area is one of the first areas of the face to reveal signs of aging due to its delicate nature. This little step of eye cream (applied on the under eye and eyelid) will go a long, long way! And who doesn’t want to wake up every morning with smooth, hydrated, bright under-eyes?

(PFAM products appropriate for this step: Eye RX)

Step 5: Active Retinols

At PFAM we have several retinol serums (which also happen to be some of our most trusted and favorite products for revealing your perfect). Retinoids are known to commonly cause redness and irritation because they are actually speeding up the process of skin cell turnover. In order to minimize discomfort while still getting all the skin-transforming benefits, we place retinol products here at night (and also because they are deactivated by sunlight) to safely encourage skin rejuvenation and resurfacing. You should expect on average about 3 weeks of this transition period as the skin adjusts. You may see some dry/flaky/pink/sensitive skin as your skin adjusts during this time.

Pro tip: I often recommend that clients who are new to retinol products (or just new to Perfect Change Serum) actually combine equal amounts of the retinol serum with a gentle, oil-free moisturizer in order to dilute the potency of the actives and allow for a more gradual tolerance to the product. The One Serum is also a great pair for Perfect Change Serum. When layered underneath, The One can help with deep hydration and nicely support the skin while it adjusts.

(PFAM products appropriate for this step: Perfect Change Serum, Liquid Gold, Retinol Serum)

Step 6: Moisturizer

And final step of the night, seal in your routine with a hydrating moisturizer! Night time moisturizers tend to be a little heavier, often continuing to absorb while we sleep. Beyond hydrating the skin, a night time moisturizer also prevents the evaporation of all those potent lineup ingredients. Waking up with hydrated, glowy skin will keep you re-committing again and again to your amazing skincare routine.

(PFAM products appropriate for this step: Dew, Vitamoist, Enriched Biotherapy, Power of 3)

 The Occasional “Zhuzh”

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to maximizing your skincare lineup is that consistency is everything. Change won’t happen overnight. And when change is achieved, it needs to be maintained! So curate your skin dream lineup, stick to it, and love your perfect.

With that being said, sometimes our base lineup needs a little something more. A little “zhuzh” one might say! Maybe a surprise blemish needs taken care of, maybe we want to be extra glowy for a special event, or maybe our skin is showing just how poorly we slept last night. Here’s where I fit in my favorite “zhuzhing” products.

  • The Gold Treatment - This sheet mask is IT when I need a hydrating boost that will take my skin straight to the glow! Since it’s rich in antioxidants and provides a noticeable lift due to collagen boosting properties, this is great for a morning “zhuzh.” The mask essentially soaks the skin in healing and strengthening serum, so work it into the serum step of your routine.
  • Dr. Spot - PFAMily, why struggle with pesky little blemishes when you can literally stop them in their tracks? I keep Dr. Spot on me so I can unclog pores, kill bacteria, and reduce inflammation as soon as I see a spot coming. Roll this product on right after cleansing and re-apply up to 2x more per day as needed. For best results, this product should not be layered with Perfect Tone Pads, Perfect Change Serum, or Retinol Serum.
  • Perfect Charcoal Mask - This detoxifying mask is a true treat and great way to boost your base lineup. I use it 2x a week to clear impurities, balance oil, and tighten pores. Cleanse first, follow with the charcoal mask, rinse off when you’re ready and move on to the toning step. Pro tip: Remove the mask with an ice cold Charcoal Dew Puff. Your skin will feel so incredibly smooth and bouncy!

    The power of a well-rounded, thought out, and consistent skincare routine is not to be underestimated. This is truly where the magic happens! If you have any questions about what products will best support your skin dreams, or any further questions about how to maximize the products you have, come see us for a complimentary consultation.

    Let’s layer our way to perfect skin PFAM!

    Dr. Zoe

    Perfect Face Aesthetic Medicine

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