Q: What's best practice when layering serums?


Let’s start as we always do with a little info on serums themselves. What are serums exactly? They’re the powerhouse of your skincare routine, purposely formulated in light, easily absorbed formulas which deliver a strong, concentrated dose of ingredients and actives targeted to your chosen skin woe. You might say, but my moisturizer targets my skin woes? Moisturizers are specifically developed help give your skin moisture, obviously, but also create a barrier to keep the moisture in. Added ingredients to target other issues are going to have a much harder time getting through the thickness of a formula designed to block escapees. And where a cream likes to sit on the surface of your skin, serums penetrate through the layers of your dermis to wherever they’re needed.


Serums are great carriers of antioxidants, super hydrators, nutrients and vitamins. And if you have more than one skin concern you’re looking to improve, or are one of our combination skin type friends, it only makes sense to use more than one serum. Which is the first point I’d like to make about layering… You don’t have to use multiple serums on your entire face. Instead, you could apply an oil-balancing serum to your oily T-zone and a hydrator to the rest of your face. Or, an anti-ager just to the areas you see fine lines or wrinkles. Some serums, like our Zinc PCA Facial Serum, can be used as a treatment product, in our case for blemishes. There’s also the option to split them up, with one being your AM serum fix, the other for the PM routine. If this is your preference, I’d always suggest using your more hydrating one in the morning, and your anti-agers or skin repairers at night, locked in with a moisturizer to give them time to work when you’re not out and about (or rather at the moment, in and around).


Of course this is by no means a deterrent against layering two right on top of each other. You might have come across the suggestion three was an optimal number for layering, in your time on the internet, but here at Q+A we like to keep things simple with two serums (or a serum paired with an oil, but more of that in a bit!). Some serums are great multitaskers (like our hydrating and anti ageing Peptide Facial Serum), and too many poses the risk of weighing on your skin and nothing being able to really get through and address your skin concerns.


Your serum is going to be the lightest product you put on your skin, therefore they should always be the first product you apply after your cleanser and toner. If you read our blog on how to build a skincare routine, you’ll know you always follow the lightest to heaviest rule. This gives those light products like your serums the best chance at completely absorbing and getting right to work.


And that takes me to point four! Whilst serums are fast-absorbing, we still need to give them some time to soak. Wait a few minutes in between each serum. There’s some debate on whether a good massage is the best way to sink your serums in, or perhaps a tool such as a jade roller, to pat it in or leave it to work its magic on it’s own. I like to give a light massage, just to help boost circulation, and then let it sit for a minute or two. Whichever way you prefer, don’t just pile them on in a hurry!  


Then, it’s time to seal in your serum with a moisturizer, or an oil. Whilst moisturizers are the traditional approach, you might find a once a week, or daily oil application instead is just what your skin needs. A moisturizer’s function is primarily to hydrate and moisturize, with a small amount of oil to help your skin barrier function. An oil, on the other hand, is the best product you can use for healthier barrier function; not just keeping moisture in, but also keeping pollutants out. 


Not sure where to start? I asked some of the Q+A team for their perfect combos…

Lucy, our Brand Marketing Manager, swears by her ‘epic’ pairing; Zinc PCA for her T-zone to minimize the appearance of pores, then Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum all over for hydration. Our lovely Marketing & Customer Service Advisor, Lauren, who is currently on maternity leave agreed with Lucy, but also adds in her Super Food Facial Oil once a week for extra glow! 

We have another Zinc PCA x HA fan with Isabella, our Key Account Manager, except she splits them up morning (HA) and night (Zinc PCA).

And that leaves me, and I’ve taken the serum with an oil route! Zinc PCA first, and then every couple of nights I’ll pair it with my Squalane Facial Oil; not what I first expected to work well with my oily skin, but because it’s non-comedogenic it works like a charm for a next-morning glow.  


If you have an absolute favourite combo, we’d love to hear it!  

That's me for this week,


Amy @ Team Q+A



Amy Robson


Aspiring author, craft addict, and Q+A's eCommerce Coordinator