'Sandwiching' Trends Have Taken Over Beauty And Fashion - But Are They Really Necessary?

Sandwiches are delicious and allow us to cram a whole lot of food together between two slices of bread (or lettuce), giving us a collection of some healthy, and possibly some not-so-healthy ingredients that somehow taste perfect together. When it comes to beauty and fashion trends, sandwiches take on a new meaning, but one that really feels similar to the original — a sandwiching of different ingredients to help with some aspect of our beauty routine.

When it comes to sandwiching, there are a few trends out there right now. Some people love them, some people don't — and others are wondering if they're worth the time and effort. We are going to take a look at the four most popular sandwiching trends running amock on TikTok and give you the details on their pros and cons, benefits, and whether or not they're something you may actually want to try out (before you invest any money in new skincare products or capsule clothing).

Moisture sandwiching

Moisture sandwiching is one of the most common sandwiching techniques we've been hearing about lately. Aesthetic nurse practitioner Ali Patek explained to Camille Styles that, "A 'moisture sandwich' is a simple process of layering your skincare products so one can combat dryness and irritation caused by environmental changes or certain products, and lock in hydration and moisture for a glowing complexion." Sounds simple enough, and all you really have to do to achieve this is to leave your face a little damp after you've washed it, follow that with a toner, then serum, then moisturizer. You can stop there if you have sensitive skin or are prone to acne, or you can seal it all in with an occlusive, like petroleum jelly.

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Carl Thornfeldt told Who What Wear, "If the skin barrier is healthy and intact, it will hold in moisture better. However, if the skin barrier is not healthy, adding more moisture won't help in the long term." So, while dermatologists seem to agree that this trend works and is worthwhile, you need to start with healthy skin if you want to get the most benefits from it. Some signs that you may have skin barrier damage include itching, acne, rough patches, and flaky skin. Gentle cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing, balancing your skin's pH levels, and protection habits (like wearing sunscreen) can help repair your skin's barrier, according to Cleveland Clinic.

Retinol sandwiching

If you want smoother, younger-looking skin, you've probably already tapped into the benefits of vitamin A, aka retinol. But first, let's talk about what a retinol sandwich is — the process of putting your retinol on after moisturizing, but then moisturizing again over the serum. Essentially, the moisturizers are your bread and the retinol is the meat of the sandwich. But, does it work this way?

One of the good things about using the sandwiching technique with your retinol is that it is kinder to sensitive skin — perfect for folks who have a harsh reaction to retinol but still want to enjoy its benefits. Dermatologist Dr. Doris Day told The Zoe Report that, "It is just a different way of saying something that we, as dermatologists, have been recommending for many years." However, there are some things about this sandwiching trend that may make your retinol not work as well. You'll also want to be careful with your choice of sandwich ingredients, avoiding very thick moisturizers or occlusives as they can interfere with the retinol's ability to absorb into the skin. 

Shower sandwiching

Shower sandwiching, like moisture sandwiching, is a way to keep moisture in your skin while you're in the shower. Washing your skin can quickly strip away natural oils but this method is said to protect your skin and keep it hydrated. It's easy to do, and all you need is some oil. 

Consider oils that are good for your skin, like those containing vitamin E, aloe, or coconut oil. Smother your skin in the oil before you shower, go about your normal showering routine, and then lock the moisture in again with another slathering of your oil of choice. Celebrity esthetician and dermatological nurse Natalie Aguilar told Truly, "This oil barrier prevents excessive water loss and helps with any irritation." In essence, a shower sandwich is basically the same as a moisture sandwich, with the same benefits, you're just giving your entire body a moisture boost instead of just your face.

Outfit sandwiching

Now that your skin is fully moisturized and looking soft, what are you going to put over it? If you're looking for something that looks effortlessly seamless, and you like the idea of getting the most mileage out of every piece in your wardrobe, this may be a good trend for you. From your shirt to your shoes, there are all sorts of ways to practice outfit sandwiching. The basic idea is that you have two slices of bread, aka two matching clothing pieces, and something in between that doesn't match, the stuff inside your sandwich.

TikTok user @barbieekaay explains how to use the outfit sandwiching trend on her channel. She explains how certain outfits can look unbalanced, but by sandwiching, you can create an even aesthetic that doesn't take the focus away from the overall look. You can do this by wearing shoes that match your top with a different colored pair of pants or adding a different colored belt to a matching shirt and pant outfit. While this trend isn't going to change your life or your health, it can make picking the perfect outfit just a little bit easier.