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All About Layering Serums


Stars of the skincare world, serums get a lot of press. And for good reason! What are serums? Serums are high-powered, concentrated fluids that are a must-have step in your skincare lineup. They are formulated specifically to help you achieve various skincare goals, thanks to their active ingredients.  

Whether you choose Vitamin C, Retinol, Hyaluronic Acid or another formulation, there’s no shortage of formulations from which to choose. If you have more than one skincare goal — anti-aging and acne, for example — you can even layer serums to get the glowiest, most beautiful skin. In this post, we’ll talk about how serums differ from moisturizer and the best way to layer two of our best-selling formulas in the Rodan + Fields range — in addition to answering a few frequently asked questions about serum layering.  

How do face serums differ from moisturizer? 

Serums are thinner, lighter, faster and even more potent than your go-to cream. Facial serums are sort of like lightweight moisturizers in that they’re typically a liquid formula. And as mentioned, they boast a higher concentration of active ingredients. When it comes to modern skincare, serums are known for their efficacy. They can help you address specific skin concerns from acne to anti-aging.  

How should you layer your serums? 

So how exactly should you layer your serums? To amplify your skincare results, you want to apply the thinner formula first. If both serums are about the same in viscosity, then you want to choose the serum designed to target your chief skincare concern first. Then, apply the second one on top.  

You want to give your formulas a little time to absorb. It’s best to wait a few minutes in between layers for best results.  

Should you always layer serums or sometimes just use one?  

That depends on your skincare goals, of course. While you’re targeting multiple concerns, you should use multiple serums. One thing to keep in mind: You want to make sure you’re not layering serums with competing exfoliants. For example, if you’re using a retinol serum, you shouldn’t use one with glycolic acid or salicylic acid on top. Sticking to a single chemical exfoliant is a good rule of thumb when it comes to applying your serums.  

How often should you apply your serums?  
You want to apply your serums every day — consistently — for best results. Depending on your serum’s active ingredients, you may want to apply at night versus during the day. Retinol, for example, is best used at night—though some formulations allow for daytime use. The instructions on the bottle will tell you whether a skincare product is best used during the day, night, or both.  

Should you always layer your serums or sometimes use just one?  
That’s up to you, but to kick off your routine, you may want to layer your serums for a few weeks and then split them up into your morning and evening regimens, respectively.  

What are two serums that work well for layering?  

Two serums that work really well together are Rodan + Fields Intensive Renewing Serum and Active Hydration Serum.  Layer Intensive Renewing Serum on first, then Active Hydration Serum for best results.  

Redefine Intensive Renewing Serum 

Redefine Intensive Renewing Serum incorporates a concentrated and comprehensive revitalizing complex that harnesses the skin’s natural renewing powers to reduce and prevent the visible signs of aging. It’s formulated with Retinal-MD Technology, a form of Vitamin A that’s even more potent than Retinol—but it’s gentle enough for daily use. This serum is best used at night to empower the skin’s  natural renewing process to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while revealing vibrant, younger-looking skin.  

Active Hydration Serum 

Active Hydration Serum is a face serum that was created to deliver all-day hydration and boosts the performance of skincare products layered on top. This serum raises skin’s hydration level by 200% after just one use and maintains continuous hydration for eight hours based on an 8-day U.S. clinical and consumer study.  It helps transform dry skin into younger-looking, younger-acting skin. With consistent use over time in your own Regimen, Active Hydration Serum helps increase skin’s moisture retention and improves skin’s moisture overall.   

How quickly will you see results when using your serums together daily? 

For Intensive Redefine Intensive Renewing Serum, in just four weeks, you should see more refined, firmer-looking, smoother-feeling skin with less visible lines and wrinkles. By formulating Intensive Renewing Serum in single-use capsules, the serum is protected to maintain its stability.  

The clinicals for Active Hydration Serum revealed that 100% of participants had an increase in skin’s moisture retention after one week*. A whopping 94% of participants saw an improvement with regard to moisture after just two weeks** . 

Happy serum layering!  

* Based on an 8-day U.S. clinical and consumer study. 

** Based on a 2-week U.S. clinical and consumer study. Results may vary depending upon multiple factors: age, gender, skin type and condition, concomitant products used, health history, location, lifestyle and diet. 

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