While you’ve been going through the ingredient lists of your favourite skincare products, how to apply them to your face is just as important as what they’re made of. Are you still rubbing your eye cream into your skin or stippling moisturiser all-over? It could be doing more harm than good. We spoke to Dr Kiran Sethi, founder of ISYA Aesthetics and Dr Farida Modi, consultant dermatologist at Kaya Clinics for their take.
How to use a cleanser
While using a cleanser seems like a simple matter of soap and water, there’s a proper method to wash your face depending on our face and skin type. If you use a cleansing gel or foam, applying the product on damp skin is best for the product to fully emulsify. For a cleaning lotion, oil or milk, using it on dry skin works, as water can dilute the product. “I tell my patients to apply their cleanser to damp skin, then massage it in a circular motion for one-two minutes on the skin. Leave it on to soak up dirt for a few minutes, and then then wash it off. The method helps remove dirt, while also gently stimulating the skin without abrading it,” says Dr Sethi. Using semi-circles on the sides of your nose and circles up and out across your forehead is the easiest way to make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies.
How to apply toner to your skin
For this skincare step, you should make sure you’re checking the instructions at the back—some can be spritzed on, applied with a cotton, or just massaged into the skin. “Toner must always be applied after cleansing. It preps your skin for serums & moisturisers. It helps get rid of excess oil & dirt that may have remained on your skin despite cleansing,” says Dr Modi. “For best use, take a cotton pad and moisten it with the toner.” Sweeping the cotton pad across the face and neck, going in an upward direction is best. “If you want to skip using the cotton pad, you can take a few drops of a toner (make sure it is alcohol-free), into your palm and then press it in your face,” she says.
How to massage moisturiser into your face and neck
Applying moisturiser by massaging it the best thing you could do, say Dr Modi and Dr Sethi. “Always be super gentle when applying your moisturiser. People tend to rub it in too harshly and pull on their skin,” says the former. “Take a pea sized amount of the product. Warm it up by rubbing it between your fingers. You may also directly apply a few dots all over your face and neck. Apply it gently in an upward, and outward direction on your face and neck. It’s best to use your fingers (not palms) while doing so as it is a gentler way,” she says. “I use my moisturising time as my facial massage time. Some people prefer to tap it in, but I believe massaging it in helps keep skin youthful, and improves absorption into the skin,” says Dr Sethi.
For eye cream, use the tips of two of your fingers, and pat it underneath your eyes and across the brow bones. Dabbing and patting motions is much better than sweeping or rubbing, and reduces puffiness at the same time.
How to use essences and serums
If you’re adding essences and serums to your routine, taking a few drops into your palm and pressing the product into the skin is best. “Do not do it in sweeping motions. Tapping is a gentler way of applying it,” says Dr Modi. “If it’s an oil serum, use it as an opportunity to get an extra facial massage in,” says Dr Sethi. “Make sure to go in an upwards and outwards motion.” For those that like to, add a gua sha or facial roller massage to push in the product even further.
How to make sure you’re applying sunscreen right
Sunscreen is super important, even now. “Think of sunscreen as a protective layer over your skin. So take tiny amounts of the product and apply it on your skin gradually,” says Dr Modi. You need a tablespoon of sunscreen on your face, so you’ll need to slather on a thick layer. Dotting it on your face and patting it in works best, but doctors suggest against massaging it in like you would a moisturiser or oil.