August 20, 2022 5 min read


Facial serums, especially CBD-infused ones, are increasingly becoming the hardest working products in most people's skincare routines. They offer multiple benefits, from a brighter complexion to smoother, firmer, more hydrated skin. With their lightweight, fast-absorbing formulas, consumers can easily layer serums to target skin concerns.

It's essential to know how to layer serums for optimal results and minimal irritation. The newest ingredient, CBD, is being incorporated into serums to boost their benefits. Also, think of serum's other coveted ingredients for transforming your skin, from retinoids to chemical exfoliates, antioxidants, etc. Don't panic; this article is a guide on how to layer serums and which ingredients should be combined with caution or the advice of your dermatologist.

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural ingredient found in the hemp and marijuana plants of cannabis. It's among the most prevalent cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, the other being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn't make you feel high. CBD has therapeutic qualities useful in treating various ailments such as epilepsy and seizures. Pamplona et al.  (2018) showed that CBD was successful in treating resistant epilepsy.

THC is the psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant that causes a high. THC is mostly used for recreational purposes in legalized states. The therapeutic properties of CBD have seen it acceptable by many states. The evidence further shows that CBD cures many skin issues such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. According to Peyravian et al.  (2022), CBD has anti-inflammatory properties useful in treating acne.

Singh et al.  (2015) reported that  CBD has potent antioxidants exceeding those of vitamin C, and E. Antioxidants stabilize free radicals preventing them from damaging our cells' DNA. As a result, it's reasonable to assume that CBD skincare products could be particularly beneficial for acne-prone skin, soothing it and making it look and feel better. Many manufacturers have used CBD in making serums to optimize their effects.

Efficient and lightweight serums possess a powerful blend of targeted active elements formulated for a particular purpose. They're great for anyone who needs a fast and easy product that quickly absorbs into the skin has a high level of ingredients and isn’t greasy. With the various serum treatments accessible and the fact that there's a serum for almost every skin issue an individual may have, it somewhat feels disfavor to select just one or nearly impossible.

If one is going to mix serums and oils, the order is critical. Just like one wouldn't apply SPF before cleansing, do not apply serums at random. Mix serums in the palm of your hand before massaging them into your skin. However, this works well if all the serums are of the same consistency. Otherwise, they won't blend super smoothly, and one might end up with serums that feel rough. If all of your serums aren't of the same consistency, it's essential to start with the serum with the lightest formula and move up to the thickest one. To assist you get started, there are a few points to remember in the application of serums and oils;

Serums Go First

The general guideline is that serums ought to be the first products to touch the skin after cleansing and exfoliation to acquire the best results. Don’t apply serums after applying a moisturizer since thicker creams and oils cause a protective layer over the skin and limit absorption.

You Can Mix and Match

The good report about serums and oils is that they are teammates. You can mix them, particularly if you have several skincare problems you're addressing, and they'll work perfectly together. For instance, Szyszkowska et al. (2014) advised that you can layer a squalene serum for hydration and vitamin C serum for dark spots.

Three Is the Magic Number

Although there’s no restriction to the number of serums you can use in your routine, skin experts advise a maximum of three. Stacking up more products than that isn't only time-wasting, but it also minimizes the rate of each element getting accurately absorbed by the skin. Instead, go for a juggling serum if you're looking to address several concerns such as oiliness or dryness and add 1 or 2 more that target more pressing concerns like wrinkles and fine lines.

Consistency Is Essential

The general principle is to layer by consistency. Lighter serums are effortlessly and quickly absorbed, while the hefty hydration serums or oils lock in the ingredients leaving your skin fluffy. For serums with almost similar consistency, opt for the ingredient you wish your skin to get the most of it.  For example, if one’s biggest concerns are signs of aging and dark spots, apply vitamin C or retinol serum first.

Pick Your Cocktail Carefully

Skin specialists advise that cocktailing may be the solution if layering different serums consume lots of your time. You combine a few serums to make your special combination and save time. However, that doesn't communicate you can concoct your skincare portion with everything in the mixture. Sharad (2013) concluded that it’s not advisable to mix mixing retinol, peels, or acne treatment products. Use these products individually or in layers. Tenderly massaging your face when applying your serums can help boost circulation. Also, it provides a fresh portion of oxygen to the skin.

Let Your Serums Soak

Waiting ensures that your serums are fully absorbed into your skin and prevent piling; products start to ball up or rub off when you apply your moisturizer or sunscreen.

Anyone Can Benefit From Layering Serums

Selecting the right products for one’s skin type can benefit a consumer significantly. Skin specialists recommend using different serums, particularly for grown skin, as it needs powerful ingredients to restore and strengthen the skin following collagen breakdown.

Layering Is Effective At Night

When exposed to ultraviolet rays, specific ingredients in your serums such as hydroquinone and retinol might cause skin sensitivity. Therefore, you should allow the skincare products to work more successfully as the body restores itself in your sleep. If you intend to layer serums in the morning, ensure your skin is maximally protected with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.


It's never boring to attempt new things, and testing makes you discover what best suits your skin. Or else, you might only use and rotate one product, hindering the benefit your skin may get from other elements. Also, if you can, find a serum that does as much as possible for your skin. For example, instead of having separate serums for soothing and hydrating, find one that does both. Instead of a serum that contains vitamin A and another for your vitamin C, why not find a product with both A and C?


Pamplona, F. A., Da Silva, L. R., & Coan, A. C. (2018). Potential clinical benefits of CBD-rich cannabis extracts over purified CBD in treatment-resistant epilepsy: observational data meta-analysis. Frontiers in neurology, 9, 759.

Peyravian, N., Deo, S., Daunert, S., & Jimenez, J. J. (2022). The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Acne. Journal of Inflammation Research, 15, 2795.

Sharad, J. (2013). Glycolic acid peel therapy–a current review. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology6, 281.

Singh, K., Bhori, M., & Marar, T. (2015). α-Tocopherol mediated amelioration of camptothecin-induced free radical damage to avert cardiotoxicities. Human & Experimental Toxicology34(4), 380-389.

Szyszkowska, B., Łepecka-Klusek, C., Kozłowicz, K., Jazienicka, I., & Krasowska, D. (2014). The influence of selected ingredients of dietary supplements on skin condition. Advances in Dermatology and Allergology/Postȩpy Dermatologii i Alergologii31(3), 174.