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Moisture sandwiching: the latest skin trend

  • 5 min read

Whichever way we put it – moisture sandwich or skincare sandwich – it doesn’t exactly sound too glamorous. While the trending skincare technique may not have the most appetising of names, we can definitely overlook that part and focus on the wonderful skin benefits it provides. 

It’s always difficult to establish whether a new trend is here to stay and whether you should be trying to include it in your routine, so we’ll give you Team UpCircle’s view. Discover what moisture sandwiching actually is, how to use the skincare sandwich method and which products you should use together. 

What is moisture sandwiching?

Moisture sandwiching involves layering your moisturising skincare products – in a similar way to skin flooding – on top of damp skin in order to increase the amount of moisture your skin absorbs and retains. Products are typically layered from thinnest to thickest to help aid absorption.

Products with thinner, more watery consistencies are applied to damp skin to help them retain moisture. Humectants such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid work well at this stage, as they draw water into the skin. Then thicker products containing occlusives, such as oil or shea butter, can seal in the moisture you’ve added. 

What is a retinol moisturizer sandwich?

This technique is often used to help prevent irritation when using retinol in your routine. Here, retinol is sandwiched between two moisturising products. While efficacy of the retinoid may be reduced, your skin remains hydrated and less irritated. 

The benefits of using retinol are too great to ignore for some people, despite the potential for purging and irritation. Retinol helps to slow the ageing process of the skin as it can penetrate into multiple layers of the skin. As well as this, the ingredient has the ability to promote cell turnover and stimulate collagen production, making it a popular choice to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone.

Using moisture sandwiching when applying retinol can help you to make the most of these benefits while avoiding irritation. Use a lightweight moisturizer on top of damp skin, then apply your retinol product. After retinol, apply another layer of moisturizer on top to lock in hydration and help prevent flaking. 

Top tip: Using a mineral SPF is always essential, but even more so after using a product like retinol. Always ensure you protect your skin with a high-quality SPF. 

Ingredients to use in the skincare sandwich method

1. Hyaluronic acid 

A hero ingredient for many skincare lovers, hyaluronic acid is perfect for moisture sandwiching. Hyaluronic acid is a sugar which holds over 1,000 times its own weight in water and helps to prevent your skin from losing that moisture to evaporation. 

We find hyaluronic acid naturally in our bodies – specifically in our skin and our joints – but levels of the substance naturally decline with age. 

Hyaluronic acid product picks: Hydrating Face Toner, Eye Cream with Coffee and Night Cream with Niacinamide.

2. Glycerin

A naturally occurring ingredient found in many skincare products, glycerin is a natural component of healthy skin. The popular skincare ingredient can be derived from both plant or animal sources, so can be vegan – but it’s essential to check if this is an issue that’s close to your heart. 

Glycerin is used to replenish the skin’s natural moisture levels, draw moisture into the skin and lock in hydration. At UpCircle, we only ever use plant-derived glycerin so you can feel secure in the knowledge that you won’t be compromising your ethics with our products. 

Glycerin product picks: Face Moisturizer with Vitamin E and Kaolin Clay Face Mask.

3. Shea butter

Acting as an emollient to soften and hydrate the skin, shea butter is an excellent moisturising ingredient. The ingredient is rich in fatty acids such as oleic acid and linoleic acid, so can help to improve the skin’s natural barrier while protecting it from environmental aggressors such as pollution. 

Shea butter also stimulates the production of collagen in the skin, making it a ‘must-have’ ingredient for rejuvenating and plumping the skin. 

Shea butter product picks: Hand Cream with Hibiscus Flowers, Herbal Blend Coffee Face Scrub and Natural Body Cream.

4. Jojoba oil

A fan-favorite natural ingredient, jojoba oil comes from the nut of jojoba plant and is a great ingredient to use in moisture sandwiching. Attracting moisture to the skin, jojoba oil helps to keep your skin hydrated and nourished. 

Jojoba oil can help your skin heal as it is known to encourage collagen production in the skin. Collagen is important for your skin’s health, with its healing properties and ability to weather the effects of ageing. 

Jojoba oil product picks: Cleansing Face Milk with Aloe Vera, Organic Face Serum and Floral Blend Coffee Face Scrub

UpCircle moisture sandwich skincare

1. Cleanse your skin

The first step to take when using the moisture sandwich method in your skincare routine is still to cleanse the skin thoroughly, but gently. 

To do this, use cleansing products containing replenishing and nourishing ingredients and consider double cleansing with an oil-based cleanser and water-based cleanser to remove impurities. 


2. Dampen your skin with toner

One of the key principles with moisture sandwiching is to apply products on to damp skin. While you could just apply your products to water-dampened skin, you’re missing out on a chance to add extra hydration!

Spritz some of our Face Toner with Hyaluronic Acid and BHA salicylic acid onto the skin after cleansing. Before this can fully dry on the skin, start layering your other moisturising products.  

3. Apply your moisturising products

On damp skin, you can now start applying your moisturising products and serums to your moisturizer sandwich. This should be in the order of thinnest to thickest (or most occlusive). We recommend the following order: 

With our Day and Night Hydration Bundle, you’ll receive the face moisturizer, night cream and serum and will save 15%.


Discover our full range of vegan skincare products at UpCircle.