How to Layer K-Beauty Serums for Your Skin Concerns

When we’re trying to treat the skin, it’s very tempting to believe that putting more on our face will do more. However, layering skincare can be tricky, and if done incorrectly, not only can it irritate the skin, but it can damage our skin. The primary reason we have to be careful when layering actives is because of how the actives will interact with one another on the skin. More simply, it’s important to create a skincare routine composed of products that complement each other, not products that are randomly put together. 

When it comes to learning how to layer skincare, let’s start by looking at what actives are. 

What are actives?

Active are ingredients in a formula that have been proven effective, and they are put into a formula.  Some examples of actives are acids, peptides, and collagen. Actives are potent and strong, but they have to be put into a good formula so they can do what they’re supposed to do on your skin. Similarly, your skincare routine should also be formulaic so each product can work properly on your skin.

Which actives should I combine?

To know which actives to combine, you need to know what your goal is, and you need to make sure that the actives within the products you’ve chosen align with that goal. For example, if your looking for an active that treats dark spots, vitamin C could be a potential active for this. For irritation and redness, niacinamide could be a great help. For barrier recovery from UV radiation, beta-carotene is good. For fine lines and wrinkles, collagen and peptides are awesome. 

While these are all great treatments, you have to be careful when mixing them. Fortunately, we have provided a serum recipe just for you! 

K-beauty is a great route for layering serums.

K-beauty is known to be very gentle, but oftentimes, it doesn’t even have actives like acids or retinoids. Fortunately, April Skin does. April skin is a phenomenal K-beauty brand, and it does the work of combining potent actives within gentle and absorbable formulas for you. April Skin is the first K-beauty brand that actually caters to actives. It’s vegan and cruelty-free, and it doesn’t contain artificial fragrance making it a great choice. Fragrance isn’t a problem for everyone, but when these actives are penetrating into the skin, you don’t want artificial fragrances to penetrate along with them - especially if your skin is sensitive. 

How to layer K-beauty for your skin concern

K Beauty for sensitive skin

For sensitive skin, cleansing and toning with something that doesn’t have a bunch of actives is a great choice. For instance, if you use a benzoyl peroxide wash, don’t want to follow up with something like vitamin C. These are both powerful ingredients that are very reactive with one another. This can happen with many different ingredients in skincare products, but there are ways to avoid this.

For sensitive skin, wash with a gentle cleanser, and your serum should be the main component. Only layer 2 serums at a time. For large pores, you can use a combination of niacinamide and polyhydroxy acids. 

Niacinimamide is vitamin B3. It helps to regulate the oil production of the skin, and it decreases the look of pores while soothing the skin. Additionally, niacinamide naturally helps produce more ceramides, and therefore, it helps with barrier recovery. Furthermore, it helps with sensitive skin that is prone to hyperpigmentation. If you have sensitive skin, here are two products from April Skin that you can use together to treat large pores, hyperpigmentation, oil overproduction, or a damaged barrier.

April Skin Carrotene Clarifying Serum -$24

April Calendula 10% PHA+AHA Resurfacing Serum -$26

The carotene serum has beta carotene, and this comes from carrots. Beta carotene is in the vitamin A family like retinoids, but it is not a retinoid. The two main actives in this serum are niacinamide and beta carotene. Both actives pair wonderfully with the April Celendula 10% PHA+AHA resurfacing serum.

PHAs are large sugar molecules that sit on top of the skin whereas AHAs are water-soluble and gentle exfoliants. AHAs also impart moisture into the skin. Even though it’s still lightweight, gentle, and easily absorbable, you’ll want to use the AHA/PHA serum sparingly if you have sensitive skin. As mentioned before, it pairs wonderfully with the carotene serum. I would apply this one first, and then the Carotene Clarifying Serum on top. Don’t mix the two in your hands. Dispense them one at a time and apply to the skin. 

Moreover, if you have a lot texture and sebaceous filaments on your nose, you can put the April Skin Clarifying Serum on your nose. Once it’s dried down, put the carotene serum over it.

K Beauty for skin with acne-prone to hyperpigmentation

Vitamin C is an amazing brightener, and it can prevent the production of melanin.  If you’re looking for something over the counter for dark spots, vitamin C is an absolute favorite. The 20% Vitamin A.C.E Brightnening Serum from April Skin is super potent and effective when it is paired with the carotene clarifying serum which contains niacinamide. 

Using niacinamide and vitamin C has been advised against, but pairing these two are okay because the niacinamide is at such a low concentration. Niacinamide helps ingredients to penetrate deeply, but for some, vitamin C can be irritating, especially if it’s in the form of l-ascorbic acid. 

When using these two, apply the ACE brightening serum. Once that’s on, you can go in with this clarifying serum that has niacinamide. Apply it right over the top. Especially if you have dark spots that show up after breakouts, this combination is really great. The clarifying serum has some tea tree extract,  and it’s formulated for acne-prone skin. It’s not going to cure acne, but together, these are a power couple. You can apply it underneath sunscreen during the day, and the vitamin C in the brightening serum can even help boost up the efficacy of sunscreen. 

You can also layer these two in the morning or night. Starting out, applying these once a day is recommended. However, these are relatively gentle formulas so you can eventually move up to twice a day.

20% Vitamin A.C.E Brightnening Serum -$36


April Skin Carotene Clarifying Serum -$24

K Beauty for sensitive, dehydrated skin

The vegan collagen serum from April Skin is a collagen peptide plumping serum, and it’s amazing. It’s soothing, and it brings hydration into the skin. The vegan collagen in this serum penetrates deeper than animal collagen. FYI, animal collagen actually sits on top of the skin because the molecule is too large to absorb. 

Furthermore, the vegan collagen acts as a humectant and draws water into the skin. The peptides in this serum are really plumping so this is a good choice if you need hydration or have problems with fine lines too. If you have acne-prone skin, you can also use it to address wrinkles too because the ingredients are particularly gentle. Along with the beta carotene serum, the vegan collagen serum has hyaluronic acid, and it’s a great option for thirsty but easily irritated skin.  

When it comes to the process of layering, you can use the vegan collagen on top of the beta carotene. It’s better to use products that are more acidic like the clarifying serum first because the skin likes to be more acidic. Then, you can use more neutral or alkaline products like the vegan collagen serum next. Lastly, let the clarifying serum, which helps with barrier repair, dry down a little before going in with the collagen peptide serum, the serum for skin resurfacing. 

April Skin Carotene Clarifying Serum -$24

40% Collagen Peptide Plumping Serum -$33

K Beauty for fine lines

The A.C.E serum is super potent. It has vitamins A, C, and E. It’s meant to brighten skin tone, smooth over the skin, and provide antioxidants. As we mentioned before, antioxidants provide barrier protection. In combination with the collagen peptide serum, it’s so soothing, and it really helps to plump the skin. The collagen serum has hyaluronic acid that draws moisture. A lot of people don’t realize that when you see fine lines or wrinkles, it’s not wrinkles in the dermis or the deeper layers of the skin. It’s actually a little bit of dehydration. It can also be a combination of both. But, just by adding moisture, you can really help with this.

20% Vitamin A.C.E Brightnening Serum -$36

40% Collagen Peptide Plumping Serum -$33

K Beauty for Dullness

To exfoliate and add brightness, you can layer the calendula PHA + AHA and the collagen peptide serum.

If you’re not looking to treat major skin concerns, this is a great way to combine exfoliation with a hydrator. Some exfoliating actives like BHA are oil-soluble, and likewise, can be overly stripping to the skin. Because this has PHA + AHA, it’s gentle, and it penetrates well into the skin. It also exfoliates the skin, but it still hydrates the skin. Afterward, when you apply the vegan collagen serum, it can then penetrate deeper and really plump up the skin. The peptides help the cellular signaling, and because this formula has a high water concentration too, the vegan collagen can take the water and moisture and make it penetrate deeper into the skin.

April Calendula 10% PHA+AHA Resurfacing Serum -$26

40% Collagen Peptide Plumping Serum -$33

Finally, you can go in with a moisturizer. The moisturizer shouldn’t have a lot of actives, and it should lock in moisture. You can use the hydrogel moisturizer cream from April Skin. It’s like a k beauty version of the water hydra gel from Neutrogena. The texture is hydrating, and it blends into a water. The moisturizer seals everything into the skin, and it’s lightweight. 

April Skin Hydra Gel Artemisia Cream -$28.80

K beauty is gentle yet effective. After you wash your face, please remember to address one skin concern during your skincare time. Only layer two serums per skincare time.