How to Layer The Ordinary Products for Acne-Prone Skin

Do you have acne-prone skin and wondering how to layer The Ordinary products? Then this guide is for you.

If you have acne-prone skin and you want to upgrade or build a new skincare routine, using The Ordinary products is a great place to start. The ordinary products are of high quality, affordable, and offer instant results.

However, with so many products involved, building a routine and knowing which order to use the ordinary products may be somehow overwhelming but not impossible.

So how do I layer the ordinary products? Continue reading as I teach you the steps on how to layer your products to create a perfect routine. That will it will be easy and exciting for you to carry out your skincare routine.

How to layer the ordinary products for acne-prone skin

If you have just bought the ordinary products you need for your new skincare routine and don’t know how to layer them out. Well, you are in the right place.

When using ordinary products, it’s paramount to follow a simple skincare routine to help in protecting your skin from external acne triggers and make your skin barrier healthy.

The general layering rule that Deciem, the parent brand that owns The Ordinary products, recommends in its five different types of products is:

  • Water-based products
  • Anhydrous products
  • Oil-based products
  • Emulsions
  • Suspensions

Step 1: The cleanser

Before you start applying anything to your skin, it is important to wash it.

Cleansing helps remove grime, oils, and makeup that may be covering your skin.

Failure to cleanse your skin may inhibit the skincare products from sinking inappropriately; hence will not be as effective. Always use a gentle cleanser in cleansing your skin.

Step 2: Water-based products

After you cleanse your skin, it will be time to start using ordinary products.

Generally, Ordinary skincare products are either water-based or oil-based products.

For effective results, the correct way to layer your skincare products is to apply the water-based solutions first before the oil-based products.

When it comes to water-based solutions, it is recommended to layer the products on damp skin to ensure they are completely absorbed into your skin.

Also, layer the products from the thinnest to the thickest. This category consists mainly of vitamin c’s, retinoids, and most of your ”actives”. Some of the water-based products include:

  • Amino Acids
  • Alpha Arbutin
  • Matrixyl 10% + HA
  • Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
  • “Buffet”
  • Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
  • Marine Hyaluronic
  • Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA
  • Retinol 0.2% in Squalane

Step 3: Anhydrous products

The third step should be applied after water-based products and before oil-based products. It involves applying a layer of anhydrous products.

This category comprises retinoids, antioxidants, and vitamin c’s. The antioxidants are suitable for use during the day, while Retinols and retinoids are best for use during the night as they degrade in the sun.

Some of the anhydrous solutions of the organic include:

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid 5% * use alone
  • Salicylic Acid Anhydrous Solution
  • Retinol 0.2% in Squalane
  • EUK 134 0.1%
  • Pycnogenol

The only anhydrous solution that is an exception to apply in this step is a high-spreadability fluid primer. Instead, this product should be applied in the last step before makeup.

Step 4: Oil-based products

Once you have applied water-based and anhydrous solutions, it will now be time to apply oil-based products.

The ordinary has a variety of oil-based products that are hydrating and suitable for acne-prone skin. Also, the oils are both lightweight and dense; hence whether you have oily or dry skin, you are guaranteed to get your ideal type. It is good to note that you can use these products for both AM (morning) and PM (evening) skincare routines.

Step 5: Creams/emulsions

Next, you will need to apply emulsions. Emulsions are moisturizing or hydrating products that easily absorb into your skin.

Although many people disagree with Deciem’s recommendation of applying emulsions before sunscreen, it is best to follow the layering process to the latter to get the maximum benefit out of the ordinary products.

Some of the emulsions include:

  • Retinoids (Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion)
  • Hydrators (Natural moisturizing factors)
  • Mineral UV filters.

Step 6: Suspensions

The final step involves the use of suspensions. Currently, the ordinary has three products in this category.

They include:


Layering skincare products properly is paramount as it ensures you get the utmost benefit out of all your products. The above is a guide on how to layer the Ordinary products like an expert to build your perfect skincare routine. While using the ordinary for your skincare needs, you should always layer the products from the thinnest to the thickest.

The steps include:

  • Use a cleanser.
  • Apply water-based products.
  • Apply Anhydrous products..
  • Apply oil-based products.
  • Then Emulsions.
  • And finally, suspension.