Use all the serums together or alternate them?

I think serums are important in our skin care routines and most of us use at least one serum, one time or another. However, I think some may use more than one serum so I’m curious as to how do you use more than one. I’ve always only used one serum but currently, I have two so how do I use them? Together or separately?

Serum provides intensive care
A good serum provides intensive care to treat problem or fragile areas and it aims to penetrate deep into the three layers of the skin to strengthen the cells as well as deliver active ingredients to our skin. The serums I use are typically for anti-aging purposes and aim to lighten up my pigmentation marks so I only use them in the night. Plus, I have combination skin and hence, I keep my daytime skin care routine simple and try not to overload with too much stuff considering I usually apply makeup over my skin. In the night, I will usually use two to three products after cleansing and toning and one of them is a serum. So is it good to apply two or three serums together?

Take note of combined ingredients and their contrary properties
I don’t have the “expert” answer but personally, I don’t use my serums consecutively. I prefer to alternate them and use one serum at a time. The reason being that I don’t wish to burden my skin with too much products and the other is because I noticed some similar ingredients in the two serums. If your serums serve different functions, then it is perhaps all right to apply two serums, one after another. However, it’s best to also take note that some ingredients when combined, may have contrary properties – for example, I’ve read that you can’t use copper peptide with vitamin C – so that’s another reason not to combine serums. But if you have to, then it’s best to stop at two serums at one go because using more than two all at once just don’t make sense to me.

Tips for layering serums
If you really need to layer your serum consecutively, it’s best to allow time for your first serum to be well absorbed into your skin. I suppose five minutes should do the trick but in some cases, depending on what you plan to slather on next, you may need to leave a 20 to 30 minute window. Additionally, you may like to know that it isn’t always necessary to use a face serum with a moisturizer. If you’re using a face serum that is formulated with some emollient properties, your serum may double up as a moisturizer. But if your skin is very dry and needs more hydration, then you will need to use a moisturizer on top of the face serum.

How many serums do you ladies use? And if you use more than one, do you use them all at once or separately?


  1. Paris B says:

    I use 2 at any given time – one in the day for hydrating and one in the night for antiaging. However, I do mix 2 of my serums off and on – EL Advanced Night Repair and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery and I find it really works wonders for a short intensive treatment. ?

  2. sesame says:

    Actually although Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery is dubbed a serum, but I consider it more like an oil cos of its texture. I also use an oil together with my serum in my night time routine.

  3. AtelierGal says:

    I take the textures of the serums into consideration; for instance since the SK-ll FTE is considered a serum albeit in watery form, I will layer on another of a heavier consistency. This all depends on the current state of my skin condition, of course.

  4. stella says:

    i alternate my serums–it’s too much work to have to figure out if the ingredients ‘clash’ or not, also don’t want to tax my skin too much

  5. Berry Mii says:

    I don’t like the idea of applying too much products to my face. I realized that my skin doesn’t like it. It would give me clogged pores. The most I’ll do is cleanse, tone, hydrating mist, a drop of serum & a drop of oil.

  6. Fernleafify says:

    Good point but Sophyto said it is alright to layer their serum, so initially I did but after 2 weeks I ended up separating them still. As I didn’t see any difference in applying both or separating them. I use the anti-oxidant one in the day and the multivitamin one in the night. They’re so light in texture the skin drink them up instantly.

  7. sesame says:

    I think using two at one go is fine in most cases since as you pointed out, the serums are light in texture. But still, I usually just use one at a time.

  8. sesame says:

    Your routine sounds like mine…except that I might add some vit C powder some days though into my serum.

  9. sesame says:

    True…too much work to try figure out. Just keep it simple.

  10. sesame says:

    Good point. The texture should be taken into consideration. Some of those in watery form are really more like an essence so I would layer a serum over and sometimes even moisturizer.

  11. MissQ says:

    ok i think i am the kiasu one here… I layer on 3 serums in the day (2 antioxidant and 1 antiaging) and 2 at night (1 lightening and 1 anti aging). I feel my face needs extra antioxidant protection in the day when i am outdoors…

  12. sesame says:

    But you split them up into day and night usage so it’s okay. More importantly, if your face is doing fine with the products, then it’s not a problem. ?

  13. xin says:

    i think i have quite a number of serums too but the only one that i will use day and night would be the hydration serum

  14. Caramel says:

    Hi my night facial routine after cleansing is: True Bio Skincare ‘Cell Luminous Concentrate’–> Toner–> Aesop ‘Parsley Seed Anti-oxidant Serum’–> Marie Veronique ‘Anti-Aging Oil’
    I love the MV anti-aging oil and feel so pampered by the oil when applying. The Aesop serum is very light and hydrating, I am just wondering if my steps in using the Aesop serum is correct? Is it necessary or redundant? I have combination-dry and dehyrated skin.
    I was using the EL Advanced Night Repair previously which was really good and for a change I started trying Aesop recently.

  15. sesame says:

    So you don’t use all of them at once too. ?

  16. sesame says:

    Oh you use the Cell Luminous Concentrate too? It’s really good isn’t it but $$$. I used that after my toner but have ran out. Your routine sounds good to me except is there a particular reason you use toner after the concentrate? Cos typically toner should be used after cleansing to prep the skin to receive further goodies.

    MVO anti-aging oil is good stuff! Love it the most! I was using it day and night but now I stop cos I’m testing another two oils.

  17. Caramel says:

    Hi! Yes the Cell Luminous Concentrate is very good but I am pondering hard if I should try MV skin Lightening Serum and Vitamin C Supplement after I run out of it..
    I was told by True Beauty to use Cell Luminous Concentrate on cleansed skin before toner for maximum results… oh I should ask them again next time I visit?
    I love oils too!! I used to blend my own facial oil with aroma oils when I live in Japan but I find it difficult to find good base oils and aroma oils here in Singapore.

  18. sesame says:

    I see…hmm…they never told me that though.

    The MV skin lightening serum and vitamin C supplement is not bad. If your pigmentation issues are too bad, then give it a go. I love the vit C supplement although it’s very powdery. the skin lightening serum is too ex for me so I switched to moisture serum instead that has some whitening properties too.

  19. Caramel says:

    The vit C supplement is not for consumption??

  20. MissQ says:

    Hi Caramel, if you are interested in getting good quality carrier and essential oils, can consider I am collecting orders to split the shipping costs… if you are interested, drop me an email at =)

    oh, and i may be ordering from MVO probably in mid to end March to get more sunscreen (i love it!) so perhaps you’d like to join me then if you can wait… ?

  21. MissQ says:

    hahaha… ya, just the occasional pimples which are still tolerable. but i realised that i am getting fixated on other “problems” like sunken areas my nose and cheekbones, sagging skin around jawlines… sigh… ? humans can never be truly satisfied!

  22. sesame says:

    No, it’s for adding to the serum for topical application.

  23. sesame says:

    Yeah, we’re insatiable when it comes to beauty. ?

  24. Caramel says:

    Thank you MissQ, I will take a look at the essential oils and will be interested to get MVO too, will write to you. Thanks

  25. Nadia says:

    I just use one in the day and one at night. But I alternate them frequently since I have quite a few serums in my stash. ?

  26. sesame says:

    Alternating is good! ?

  27. Mary says:

    I’m only 18, is it good for me to use Serum too?

  28. sesame says:

    If your skin condition is good, you can wait awhile till you hit your 20s.

  29. Ci says:

    Very informative!

    I am planning to use a treatment oil from Dr Alkaitis during the day and night for my acne.On top of that, I also use and antiaging oil from Annmarie Gianni during the night.

    You mention that damp skin absorbs the oils best and one should wait between layers, does that mean that after I apply the treatment oil at night, I would have to wait around 5 mins before it absorbs and mist my face with water(what I use as toner) again for the antiaging oil to penetrate better?

    P.S. Also, I am currently 17 yrs old and have acne prone skin, do you think it is good idea for me to use an antiaging oil? I only use 1-2 drops of each oil each time.The sunscreen I use is from Sweetsensation Therapy Baby Sunscreen SPF 30+, with Antioxidants, Marshmallow and Chocolate.

    My current skincare
    Day: Cleanse-treatment oil-antioxidants moisturiser SPF 30
    Night: Cleanse-treatment oil-antiaging oil

    Thanks so much!=D

  30. sesame says:

    With damp skin, it’s also easier for you to spread the oil. But you don’t have to mist your face afterwards. In fact, you should use the toner prior to the oil.

    You’re rather young to use anti-aging oil but if it doesn’t cause you problems, well no harm. If you find it heavy,try something simpler like grapeseed oil that would work for your skin type.

  31. Ci says:

    Thank you for your quick response!

    By the way, is it wise to mix equal parts of 2 or more serums together, just so one uses less product and we dont have to burden our skin since even with just two drops of my treatment oil is quite moisturising enough.

    Also, have you tried the Lumi’Essence brightening repair treatment from Sweetsensation Therapy?

  32. sesame says:

    Not advisable, unless the product is meant for mixing. While some serums have no problems when mixed together, but we can’t tell for sure as some of the ingredients when mixed in this way may “counteract” each other.

    One safe way to reduce usage and stretch your products further is to apply when your face is still damp.

    Haven’t tried Lumi’Essence (not heard of it) but have tried Sweetsensation Therapy. Reviewed it before.

  33. Ci says:

    What if both oil serums are build the same?
    Eg. A herbal infused oil, other carrier oils plus essential oils. If you check out Dr Alkaitis Treatment oil and Annmarie Gianni Anti aging oil ingredients, they don’t seem to counteract each other.

    Also, I will be using the Sweetsensation Therapy Lumi Essence which is like a moisturizer/lotion. Which do you think I should apply first, the oil serum or moisturizer?

    Thank you for your quick and informative replies.

  34. sesame says:

    Ok, if I understand you correctly, you have two oil serums? In that case, I suggest you alternate them…ie use one each day.

    By right, if your lotion is water based, you should apply it first over any oil products. However, check the consistency. If the serum is thinner than the moisturizer, then apply the serum first, followed by the moisturizer.

  35. richard says:

    hi im new to usin the asian skin care regimen. is it right the routine in this order: cleanser-toner/softner-essence/serum-emulsion-moisturizer-eye cream? how many times is it ideal to exfoliate? i also heard asian skin care involves facial masks, how many times a week is good to use one? if the mask is a sheet mask does it come after toner and before the serum? im sorry for asking many questions. i hope to hear your response soon. thank you ?

  36. Sesame says:

    The sequence sounds about right but I’m not familiar with softner-essence. You can also apply eye cream before moisturizer so that the moisturizer doesn’t get into your eye area. Exfoliate about once or twice a week. I don’t use a sheet mask but you can do it after cleansing your face, followed by moisturizer.

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