Moisturizer is probably the most basic component of a skin care regimen. In fact, you may have been taught to use it around the same time you learned to wash your face! Nonetheless, there is a possibility that you’re actually applying your facial moisturizer incorrectly. Do you feel as though no moisturizer is hydrating enough? Or perhaps you feel as though you should skip this step altogether?
The truth is that moisturizer is a step that everyone should have in their regimen twice a day, but many ignore its importance! It may be a good idea to review how to apply moisturizer—especially if you feel like your face cream only leaves you with more skin problems than before!
You’d think that the purpose of a moisturizer is to moisturize, right? Well, you’d be partially right.
The essential function of moisturizer is indeed to ensure that your skin is hydrated by holding water in the outermost layer of the skin. This means that the ingredients in your moisturizer will do one of two things (if not both): those that attract water, and those that create a shield to keep the water in.
The amount of ingredients varies greatly, but according to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, these ingredients can be categorized as humectants, occlusives, and emollients. Humectants are ingredients that attract water, occlusives create barriers around the skin, and emollients are oils combined with water. Emollients are very much like occlusives, but tend to be lighter and less greasy.
But as previously hinted at, moisturizer does far more than hydrate your skin. Kenneth Arndt, in his Harvard health report Skin Care and Repair, advises one to "think of moisturizers as putting a barrier between your skin and the cold, dry air.” Besides moisturizing, it protects your delicate skin from the elements, which would otherwise cause dryness in the skin barrier.
As a special bonus, many natural moisturizers are made with additional ingredients that can help with anti-aging, such as retinol and sea buckthorn. We can all use an extra helping of antioxidants every now and then!
Moisturizer is a crucial precaution for everyone, as dryness can lead to further damage and discomfort such as inflammation, cracks, and breakouts. However, the more fine-tuned needs in a face cream tend to differ for the individual, and these needs depend on your skin type, environment, and personal preferences.
For instance, those with dry skin should go for water-absorbing humectants, which include glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
Those with oily skin should absolutely avoid occlusives such as paraffin, lanolin and petrolatum, as these can lead to clogged pores. Instead, opt for lighter formulas containing gentle emollients like shea butter. Don’t forget to incorporate exfoliating into your skin care routine at least once a week as well. This will help slough off the dead skin cells, which tend to be produced more rapidly in oily skin. That being said, make sure you’re not washing your face too often or too harshly, as you are potentially stripping your dermis of its natural oils. Make sure you’re cleansing your skin correctly!
Those with normal skin tend to do well with a light formula containing natural oils, such as pomegranate seed oil. Likewise, people with sensitive skin should search for a similar formula, as well as take the additional measure of avoiding any fragrances.
Pro tip: It’s best to find a moisturizer that holds a combination of these ingredients, such as Puristry’s cult favorite product, the Seaberry Moisturizer, which is ideal for all skin types and can be worn both day and night.
After you’ve cleansed your face and applied a toner, it’s time to hydrate your skin! To do so, take a small amount using clean hands. No more than the size of a large coin should be needed. Your first instinct might be to apply the moisturizer to your fingers for best application, but we advise sticking to your palms instead for the most even application possible.
Next, warm up and spread the moisturizer in your hands. Then, gently sweep the product around your face and neck. Start with the cheeks first, since this is usually the driest part of your face. Gently rub the moisturizer in with light, upward motions. Being gentle is key, so you’re actually transferring the moisturizer to your face and not rubbing it deeper into your skin! Continue to the rest of your face with the same upward motions. Don’t forget your neck!
Pat any residue into the skin and allow to dry. If you feel like your skin needs any extra boost of hydration, start off with a facial oil first. This is especially beneficial for traveling; airplane cabins have incredibly dry air!
Achieve your skin goals by getting the basics right:
How to Wash Your Face for Clearer Pores: How to wash your face properly to avoid breakouts, dry skin, and more!
How to Use Toner for Soft, Glowing Skin: Easy, beneficial tips for using a toner in your daily routine.
How to Apply Eye Cream Everyday: For a plumper, more youthful-looking eye area.