As our skincare routines become more lengthy and complicated it’s no longer just about what you use, but when you use it. You might already have your head around the cleanser and toner part, but throw essences, serums, emulsions, ampoules and sheet masks into the mix and things get kind of foggy. In an effort to defog things a bit, I chatted to cosmetics formulator for Minenssey, Cheryl Ross.

“I have always been a great fan of layering, it makes sense to me particularly for the harsh Australian climate,” explains Cheryl. “Such as liquids, light gels and milky moisturisers for summer, or liquids, gels, oils and nourishing creams and balms for winter. If you have the right product, you should see an improvement in your skin very quickly.”

Since consulting with Minenssey in my role as Chief Experience Officer, I’ve been working with the team on copywriting and packaging concepts for the new line of skincare they are launching. While coming up with the text that goes on the boxes, we’ve had to think carefully about how women use skincare. One thing that keeps coming up is that there needs to be more education around how we use products, particularly new categories, like essences and absolutes. Cheryl was happy to help shed some light, here’s what she said…


Once you’ve finished cleansing (which obviously goes first) and you have a nice clean slate, then start your routine from the thinnest to the thickest texture. “Gels and water based products will absorb into the skin very quickly,” says Cheryl, so start with those. So that’s your toners and waters, then essences, absolutes and serums. Oils and cream-based products would go last.

Cheryl explains that it’s not unlike getting dressed in winter – to be warm (yet stylish) you might wear a coat, and a shirt, and a jumper, but you probably won’t put them on in that order. Applying products in the correct sequence is key.


Some products need a bit longer to penetrate into the skin. “If you have a gel-based serum, it is best to wait two minutes till you apply the next product, this way the serum won’t ball on the skin,” says Cheryl. I try to do other things while I’m waiting for each layer to penetrate, such as brush my teeth and floss in the evenings, or make my coffee or pack lunches in the morning.

3. Don’t Overload Your Skin

Every skin is different but it is possible to overload your dermis and the products stop being as efficient. “You need to know your skin type and how your skin is feeling on the day,” says Cheryl. “After your cleansing routine (which may consist of several steps) some people will need only four treatment products whereas other can take as many as six.”

4. Know your product’s purpose

Keen to test out Cheryl’s advice,  I recently headed to Shoal Bay to shoot some content for Beauticate and I took the three new Absolutes from Minenssey with me. Absolutes are a new category of skincare that fall somewhere between essences and serums. The Minenssey Absolutes are highly concentrated and contain 99% pure plant actives, making them ideal to layer in with your existing skincare.

Cheryl recommends layering Minenssey Flannel Flower and Strawberry Gum in the morning to hydrate and protect and Flannel Flower and Snake Vine at night to hydrate and repair. Most oils don’t layer well, as they are too thick to let subsequent products properly sink in – but the Absolutes are lightweight and water-soluble, so you can layer to your heart’s content.

The Absolutes are like a complex wine, a real treat for your skin,” explains Cheryl. “Flannel Flower is for deep hydration and can be used under face masks or even on your lips for instant moisture. You can mix a few drops in with your foundation or dot onto your cheekbones for added glow.

Strawberry Gum is a must if you are working in front of a computer, as it helps protect against blue light and air pollution. If you’re worried about premature ageing Snake Vine is the absolute for night – this one can also be applied during the day.

Naturally, your heavier serums and moisturisers, eye creams are layered over the top.

So, I tried it with the Absolutes – and true to Cheryl’s word, my skin was seriously happy. I love that I can easily add the products into my existing routine and I can test out whatever serums, creams or oils I’m currently using for work, but happy in the knowledge that the Absolutes are doing their thing. And since Shoal Bay I’ve already finished my bottle of Flannel Flower and am onto the next. And that’s the sign of a seriously clever product – it’s one that you didn’t know you needed, that subs in seamlessly with your routine until it becomes essential.


Story by Sigourney Cantelo; Photography by Alice Mahran; Video by Patrick Justin. Shot on location at Salt at Shoal Bay. Sigourney wears Country Road Camisole; Earrings by Arms of Eve. In collaboration with Minenssey.

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