thinnest to thickest

The order in which your skincare products are applied can have a massive impact on their effectiveness. Layering your products from thinnest to thickest helps guarantee the best possible absorption and ensures that you really get the most out of your products. Following the thinnest to thickest philosophy, here’s the product order that we recommend, post-cleansing and exfoliating: 

1) toner

2) essence

3) serum

4) cream

5) oil

6) sunscreen

And here’s why:


Cleansing is the first, and potentially most crucial part of any skincare routine. Ensuring that your skin is free of dirt and makeup will help you avoid unnecessary breakouts and irritation, while also getting your skin ready for the rest of your routine.

For a gentle cleanse that won't strip your skin of moisture or disrupt its natural barrier, we recommend our oil to milk cleanser or facial cleansing oil.


You might consider exfoliating a part of the cleansing process - gentle exfoliators help slough away dead skin cells, improving the look of skin texture while also bringing back your natural radiance. 

2-3x per week, we love to use an ultra-fine, ultra-gentle physical exfoliant like our sea moss exfoliator.


Y’all already know how we feel about toning. At cocokind, we see it as an essential part of any skincare routine because it helps balance your skin’s pH (which can easily be disturbed by harsh cleansers and makeup removers). 

Additionally, toning serves as a second cleansing step. It helps eliminate any dirt, makeup, or grime left over from your initial cleanse.

For oily or acne-prone skin or areas, we recommend our raspberry vinegar toner. To soothe and hydrate, we recommend our rosewater toner.


Although it might not be a part of your daily routine, masking still has a place in our recommended product order! On days you treat your skin to a face mask, we recommend toning before and after to keep your skin as balanced as possible. Our chlorophyll mask is great for brightening dull skin and boosting your complexion - try layering our turmeric mask stick underneath for extra spot-fighting power. Another great option is our sea kale clay mask, which helps soothe, gently exfoliate, and purify the skin, all without drying it out.

Overnight masks, like our gentle retinol alternative resurfacing sleep mask, should come after serums. Products like this, which are worn while you sleep and washed off in the morning, are usually designed to be the last step in your nighttime skincare routine. However, you can also layer a water-based cream (like our texture smoothing cream) on top for extra hydration.


These k-beauty staples prep your skin for the next steps in your routine, by kickstarting the hydration process and helping your skin absorb subsequent products more readily. Your skin after using an essence is like a slightly damp sponge - much more prepared to absorb moisture than a completely dry sponge. 

Essences are ultra-light (lighter than serums, thicker than toners) liquids, which means that they should be applied onto cleansed, toned skin, before serums or moisturizers. 

We love our glow essence because it uses sea grape caviar, sea buckthorn extract, and blue algae extract to boost your glow and support elasticity and suppleness in the skin.


Serums, which are typically lightweight and almost water-like, are formulated to provide your skin with a highly-concentrated boost of hydration, antioxidants, or nutrients. Applying your serum immediately after applying an essence helps it penetrate more deeply, and allows your serum’s active ingredients to really do their jobs.

Our vitamin C serum with sea grape caviar uses sodium ascorbyl phosphate, one of the most gentle forms of vitamin C, to help brighten the look of dark spots and uneven tone.


The thickness of cream moisturizers typically falls between the thickness of serums and oils. Creams tend to be faster-absorbing and more mattifying than oils, especially if the cream in question is water-based, like our texture smoothing cream


Facial oils do a lot more than just hydrate - they also work as occlusives. Essentially, occlusives prevent moisture loss by creating a protective barrier between your skin and the air. When used at the right time in your skincare routine, they can also lock in the products you’ve already used and keep them from evaporating too quickly. 

Oils lock products in; conversely, any product applied over an oil won’t likely be able to penetrate its molecular structure. That’s why facial oils should always be the last step in your skincare routine (besides SPF)!

We love all of our oils - watermelon hemp and golden elixir are lightweight and multipurpose but still nourishing, while facial repair oil and chia facial oil provide deeper hydration.


As you’ve probably heard, you should never skip sunscreen! We always recommend physical sunscreens that use actives like zinc oxide and titanium oxide, as opposed to chemical sunscreens that use chemicals like octinoxate or oxybenzone. You can read more about how we choose a sunscreen here.

A good sunscreen will sit on top of your skin, shielding it from harmful UVA or UVB rays that might prematurely age or damage it. Sunscreen helps keep dark spots from getting darker, and helps defend your skin against environmental stressors like pollution or cigarette smoke.

As we’ve mentioned, products applied over oils most likely won’t be able to penetrate them.  However, in the case of sunscreen, that isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s perfectly fine for a layer of sunscreen to sit on top, where it can create a protective barrier between your skin and the sun.  

we hope you found this helpful! for more skincare tips, tricks, and DIYs, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter below :)