Moisturiser is one of the biggest unsung heroes of skin care. Sure, it's not always the most glamorous or exciting step, but it is the heavyweight working behind the scenes to make sure all your other products work effectively. Knowing the best way you should apply moisturiser, and how to apply moisturiser correctly is the key to a good skin care routine. There's a lot of misconceptions around moisturiser, like 'oily skin types don't need to apply moisturiser, right? Surely my serum or face oil is enough?' Wrong! Keeping your dry skin hydrated is essential for keeping every skin type happy and healthy. Here's everything you need to know about how you can apply moisturiser correctly to make it count.
First of all: your serums and face oils aren't enough
You might think you're getting enough hydration from your serums and face oils (especially if you have oily skin). In fact, none of these products is actually formulated to lock moisture into the skin.
Think of your moisturiser as the blanket keeping all your other active products locked into your skin cells to work more effectively. When you apply moisturiser you also keep your dry skin's moisture barrier in check, to protect it from environmental damage - which your face oils and serums can't do on their own.
Pick the right formula
Before figuring out the correct way to apply moisturiser, the very first step is actually picking the right moisturiser. Picking the right moisturiser for you will depend entirely on your skin type, and what your skin’s individual needs are. If you’re not using the right formula, you’re not going to get the right results - no matter often you apply it.
Oilier skin may benefit from a gel-creme, which will provide hydration without making skin feel overly greasy or oily.
Combination and sensitive skin types should look to gentle, scent-free formulas that will quench thirsty skin without triggering a break-out. Humectants like glycerin, hyaluronic acid and urea will draw moisture into the skin without clogging pores.
For dry skin types, the skin does not produce enough of it's own oil - so triggering a break-out is less of a concern. Using a face moisturiser packed with occlusive plant oils as well as humectants will help to draw moisture into the skin, and lock in hydration.
The Ultra Hydrating Moisturiser contains humectants like glycerine and aloe vera juice to pull moisture from the air and the deepest layers of the skin, to hydrate the upper dermis. Plant oils like shea butter, olive oil and apricot kernel oil help to seal in water molecules while replenishing the skin's moisture barrier for 24-hour hydration.
For mature skin types that need a bit more TLC from their face cream, the Regenerating Collagen Moisturiser contains Matrixyl 3000 which is scientifically proven to promote collagen production in the skin and reduce the signs of ageing.
Wash your hands before you apply moisturiser
When applying moisturiser (and all of your skincare products, really) it’s crucial to start with clean hands.
This is particularly necessary when you’re using a face moisturiser that comes in a tub, since you’re dipping your fingers in and out of your product. If your hands aren’t clean, you run the risk of contaminating your skin care products, which means that every time you use them you’re introducing bacteria back into your skin.
While getting rid of all bacteria is effectively impossible, washing your hands thoroughly before your skin care routine will help to prevent most bacteria from getting into your moisturiser and other products.
Apply moisturiser every day
Waiting until your skin feels dry and flaky to use face moisturiser is the skin care equivalent of ‘locking the stable door after the horse has bolted’.
You want to prevent dryness from even happening in the first place before it gets a chance to cause harder-to-fix problems like fine lines and wrinkles. For dry skin types, you should be applying moisturiser as part of your AM and PM skin care routine. For oilier skin types, daily moisturising can help to prevent your skin over-producing oil which leads to break-outs. Just make sure you're using a formula that suits your skin type.
If you’re under-moisturising, there’s likely to be a layer of dead skin cells accumulating on the surface of your skin. This makes it harder for your moisturiser to penetrate and work its magic. Your skin can also over-produce sebum to lubricate itself, meaning you might also have a layer of oil to work through. Before applying moisturiser, try exfoliating with an acid toner to slough away old skin cells and clear the way for your moisturiser to do its work.
Look at the rest of your routine
If your skin seems overly dry and flaky in the winter months, you might be inclined to pile on a super thick moisturiser to make up for it. But are you looking at the rest of your routine?
If you’re experiencing more dryness than usual, the culprit could be one of the other products you’re using. Be sure that your cleanser doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients like sulfates or drying alcohols. That salicylic acid cleanser could be perfect for summer months but could cause dryness and irritation in cold winter weather. Try swapping to a more moisturising formula with hyaluronic acid and ceramides.
Apply moisturiser on damp skin
The whole point of using a moisturiser is to lock hydration into the skin. Although many moisturisers are formulated to draw moisture into the skin, applying it onto your face when it’s bone dry can only help so much.
To get the most effectiveness out of your moisturiser, apply it when your skin is still a little damp after cleansing. If you’re using serums after cleansing, consider using a facial mist as a final step before moisturiser to give your skin a little extra boost of surface hydration.
Don’t pull and tug - but do massage
You shouldn’t aggressively pull and tug at your skin when applying moisturiser, as this can lead to inflammation, fine lines and weakening the skin’s structure. One thing you definitely should do is incorporate Gua sha into your routine.
Gua sha, or facial massage, is a staple in ayurvedic medicine for reducing stress, fighting inflammation and keeping skin glowing. With regular use, it helps to boost your skin’s circulation to reduce puffiness, drain toxins from the skin and brighten your complexion. With just a few extra minutes, you can amp up your basic moisturising step into a mini rejuvenating spa session.
This step fits in right after moisturising, as you want your skin to still have a little bit of slip. Using your fingers (or a jade roller or gua sha tool) gently pull along your jawline starting at your chin and ending down behind your ears, where your lymph nodes are. As one hand is doing the stroking, have the other keeping your chin in place so you’re not tugging your skin, you’re trying to work deeper.
Use this pulling motion up along your cheekbones, and along your eyebrow. You can also lightly pinch and hold the pressure points at the front, arch and end of your eyebrow. Using a ‘piano’ technique, gently tap around your under eyes to reduce puffiness. Always move in an outwards-and-upwards motion to help drain lymphatic fluid away from the face.
Don’t forget your neck!
One of the most crucial mistakes most people make when applying moisturiser is stopping at their jawline. Your neck and chest need some love too! If not cared for, these areas can be one of the first tell-tale signs of sun-damaged and prematurely ageing skin.
Use a formula that contains potent antioxidants and anti-ageing factors to maintain elasticity and ward off fine lines.
The Regenerating Collagen Moisturiser is the perfect formula for keeping the skin around your neck, chest and décolletage nourished and healthy. Our formula contains Matrixyl 3000 to promote collagen production, and antioxidant-rich aloe vera to fade fine hyperpigmentation. For extra effectiveness, apply in upward strokes to give your lymphatic system a boost.
When applying moisturiser, you can’t be stingy. You need enough product to adequately cover your whole face, neck and décolletage. You should be using a scoop of moisturiser at least the size of a penny, depending on the thickness and spreadability of your formula.
If you’ve splurged on a more heavy-duty, high-end moisturiser and you want to make it last, keep your ‘good’ face cream for nighttime and pick up a more affordable, basic (but still effective) moisturiser for daytime use. Just look for hydrating ingredients like glycerin, squalane and hyaluronic acid and you’re good to go.