The application process can make the product more effective, says Abigail James, a facialist and the global treatments ambassador at Liz Earle. (I was afraid of this, but you dont have to be. Her tips are easy.) We asked James to share her expert advice for the proper ways to pat, glide, and smooth on skincare--plus the best order of operation. Below, James shares her wisdom.
The Best Way to Apply CLEANSER:
Use warm water (it helps open pores so you can really get the gunk out)
No fancy tools needed; use your fingers.
Rub cleanser in big circles on your cheeks.
Make semi-circles on the sides of your nose, and big circles up and out across your forehead.
Rinse, then splash with cold water.
The Best Way to Apply a FACE SCRUB:
Use room-temperature water.
Your fingers work great here, too.
Rub product in small, tight circles.
Focus on areas like your nose and chin, and give more sensitive areaslike the apples of your cheeksless attention.
Depending on how oily your skin is, exfoliate for 1 to 3 minutes (the oilier, the longer).
Rinse, and gently pat dry.
The Best Way to Apply TONER:
Toner balances skins PH and adds hydration. Do with this information what you will at 11 p.m. after a long day and you dont feel like adding a step. (For real, no judgement.)
Should you opt-in: Apply toner after cleansing.
Spritz toner onto two dry cotton pads. (For an eco-friendly swap, were really into Magnitones washable, reusable, WipeOut Swipes
Using your two pads, start at the middle of your forehead, then glide outwards.
The same goes for your nose and chin: Start there and glide outward.
We love: Georgette Klinger Vitamin C Toner
The Best Way to Apply SERUM:
Apply serum after toner.
Using your fingertips, pat serum onto skin, then smooth it outward.
Resist the temptation to massage, and let the formula absorb on its own.
Serums are packed with active ingredients, so James advises using more than the standard pea-sized amount to ensure your entire face gets coverage.
The Best Way to Apply EYE CREAM:
Apply after serum.
Using the tips of two of your fingers, pat it underneath your eyes and across top of the brow, gently dabbing your eyelids.
Eye Cream for A.M., Eye Gel for P.M.: James says you want to apply eye cream in the morning when its more likely to be absorbed because your blood flow is more active. At night, it just sits on the affected area and can make eyes puffy, so use a gel formula instead.
We love: Supergoop Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream for morning applications (or Pai Feather Canyon Eye Cream + SPF over it), and Port Products Marine Layer Under Eye Recovery Gel for evening applications.
The Best Way to Apply OIL:
Spread face oil across the palm of your hand, and then pat it onto the skin and glide it across.
Unlike with moisturizer application (your last step!), which focuses on your fingertips, use your whole hand to apply oil, says James.
We love: Kiehls Daily Reviving Concentrate
The Best Way to Apply MOISTURIZER:
Apply after oil
Glide and smooth moisturizer onto your skin, gently massaging it into the surface with firmer pressure than you used to apply serum.
Putting your hands in a prayer position, move from the middle of your face outward, gliding from your nose out to your ears, your forehead out to your temples, and your chin out to your jawline with your fingertips.
If your moisturizer doesnt have SPF, use the same technique to apply SPF afterwards.