The right way to apply skincare products

Proper techniques make the biggest differences.

By now, you probably know which skincare products work best for you. But using the proper products is just half the battle. In order to make your skincare routine the most effective, it's important to pay attention to how you're applying each item. We asked a couple of experts for the best skincare tips on how to properly put on moisturizer, eye cream, and other essential items for the face. Follow this advice, and your days of just slapping on gobs of face serum will be long gone.

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  • Cleanser


    “Take time to massage your cleanser into your skin,” says Jordan Pacitti of Jordan Pacitti Skin in Seattle. “It'll not only be a more effective cleanse, but it will encourage healthy blood circulation resulting in a healthier looking skin.” When applying cleanser, you want to get into the nooks and crannies. Use your first three fingers to rub big circles on your cheeks; semi circles on your nose; and then big circles once again on your forehead.
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  • Exfoliator


    “The application method is essentially the same as with cleanser, here, but be sure to be extra-gentle, as scrubs and exfoliants tend to be more abrasive,” says skincare expert and author Adina Grigore of S.W. Basics. “I like to make tighter circles with my index, middle, and ring fingers for my oily areas, such as my chin and forehead, applying slightly more pressure. I also like to leave on a scrub for a minute or two before rinsing thoroughly in order to allow the product to really sink in and work.”
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  • Serum


    “A general rule of thumb if you are layering products is to apply these thinnest to thickest,” Pacitti says. Put the serum on your fingertips and gently it pat it on your face. “Always make sure to take these down the neck as well,” Pacitti adds.
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  • Moisturizer


    “Apply the product with your index, middle, and ring fingers,” Grigore advises. “I put my hands in prayers position and begin at the nose and slowly work my way out.” She says if you feel like your skin is still needing a bit more hydration, add in a couple more drops to your fingertips and spot-apply to your driest areas. 
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  • Eye cream

    Eye cream

    The skin under your eyes is pretty delicate, so you want to be gentle here. Pacitti says to use your ring finger to lightly dab on the product. “That way you won’t stretch this delicate skin,” he says.
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