Light propagation in two-layered turbid media having an infinitely thick second layer is investigated in the steady-state, frequency, and time domains. A solution of the diffusion approximation to the transport equation is derived by employing the extrapolated boundary condition. We compare the reflectance calculated from this solution with that computed with Monte Carlo simulations and show good agreement. To investigate if it is possible to determine the optical coefficients of the two layers and the thickness of the first layer, the solution of the diffusion equation is fitted to reflectance data obtained from both the diffusion equation and the Monte Carlo simulations. Although it is found that it is, in principle, possible to derive the optical coefficients of the two layers and the thickness of the first layer, we concentrate on the determination of the optical coefficients, knowing the thickness of the first layer. In the frequency domain, for example, it is shown that it is sufficient to make relative measurements of the the phase and the steady-state reflectance at three distances from the illumination point to obtain useful estimates of the optical coefficients. Measurements of the absolute steady-state spatially resolved reflectance performed on two-layered solid phantoms confirm the theoretical results. (C) 1998 Optical Society of America.