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How to prevent skincare pilling

Even if you haven’t heard the phrase ‘skincare pilling’ before, chances are you’ve experienced it once, twice or a lot in your skincare routine! Skincare pilling simply refers to the little granules of product that can build up and fall from your skin while you’re applying your skincare products. And while frustrating, the good news is that skincare pilling is super easy to avoid with just three quick fixes to your routine! So without further ado…


Exfoliation is key to product absorption and therefore plays a role to affect pilling. By ensuring that your skin is well exfoliated and rid of dead skin and build-up, your products will have the ability to penetrate, absorb and dry into your skin without fuss. So it almost goes without saying – skin that isn’t well exfoliated can slow down or inhibit product absorption and when this happens products tend to build up as you’re layering and start to pill.

Exfoliate for your skin type:

  • Dry or balanced skin: Aim to exfoliate once per week
  • Combination or oily skin: Aim to exfoliate two – three times per week

We recommend:

Allow products to absorb and dry

Take a leaf out of the slow beauty book and truly enjoy the self-care experience – because pilling is most experienced when we pile on products too quickly, before each individual product has had a chance to absorb into your skin. This causes the products to practically band together, dry up and fall from your face instead of absorbing into it.

The great news is that this is completely avoidable by slowing down your routine and giving each product sufficient time to absorb before applying the next product. We recommend at least 60 seconds.

Tip: Don’t forget to be mindful of how much and what type of product you’re applying – the more product you use and the thicker it’s consistency, the longer it will take to absorb and dry.

Layer products the right way (thinnest to thickest substance)

If you’re not already layering your products in the right order (don’t worry, it’s an easy mistake to make!) then it’s highly likely you’ll experience skincare pilling. By layering your skincare in the right order you can increase product absorption, product effectiveness and avoid pilling (so long as you apply slowly as we’ve mentioned!).

A good rule of thumb to follow is layering based on a products’ consistency – meaning layer from your thinnest (watery) substance to your thickest substance. Applying your thinnest substance first increases product absorption into your skin (after all, that’s what we want!) because if you applied your thickest substance first (think oil) then this could actually prevent your thinner products from penetrating into your skin and therefore inhibiting their performance.

In practice your best routine would be: cleanser, exfoliator, mask (to best prepare your base to absorb your following products) toner, treatment (light serums), moisturiser, treatment (thick treatments) and facial oil.

  1. Cleanser
  2. Exfoliator
  3. Mask
  4. Toner
  5. Serum
  6. Eye treatment
  7. Moisturiser
  8. Facial treatment (retinol)
  9. Facial oil
  10. Lip care

Follow our suggested RAWKANVAS routine

And just like that, skincare pilling is a thing of the past!