Eight Saints skincare apply skincare products correctly for maximum results

6 Skincare Application Tips to Get the Most Bang For Your Buck

When it comes to skincare, it’s not just what you buy but also how you apply those products to your skin. Even if you have the greatest products in the world, the reality is that they won’t work as effectively if they’re applied incorrectly or in the wrong order - and nobody has time for that.

Here’s are six tips to help you get it right.

1. Sing the ABCs While You Cleanse

No face products will soak in and work its magic in an instant - and the same certainly goes for your cleanser. The problem? Unlike your other products, which generally stay on for hours, your cleanser is usually only on your face for a few seconds.

This isn’t enough time.

The general rule of thumb? Thorough washing should take at least 20-30 seconds -- and twice that if you have a lot of makeup on your face or if you’ve been sweating.

And don’t shy away from the double cleanse. The idea here is simple: you use one cleanser to get rid of your makeup and daily grime, followed by a second cleanser to really get into your pores and provide a deep clean. The second cleanser should also contain the most active ingredients like vitamin E or antioxidants.

If you have the time and energy, this is really the best way to go.

2. Use Your Ring Finger For Eye Products

ring finger eye cream all in eight saints

Many experts suggest that you apply any eye products -- including eye cream, eye shadow, and concealer -- with your ring finger. This is the weakest digit, so applying with this finger can help avoid harsh pressure around the eyes.

Remember, though, that even the weakest finger can pull or tug at the skin, so you’ll still want to be mindful about the amount of pressure you’re using as you apply.

3. Consider Your Lymphatic System

Move up and out from the center of your face toward the edges as you apply products to encourage lymphatic drainage.

The lymphatic systemis a network of vessels, nodes, and structures that transport lymph fluid throughout the body. The purpose? To help your immune system kill bacteria and viruses, and to get rid of protein, toxins, cellular debris, and unwanted materials. 

Overall, the lymph nodes can be considered as your immune system’s first line of defenseagainst bacteria and viruses, and they can often appear in little clusters around the body - like in your neck, check, underarm, belly, and groin.

So, how does your skincare application fit in here? Well, the idea is that the lymphatic massage that they allow can help stimulate the lymphatic system and move that lymph fluid away from places it tends to settle on the face (like around the eyes). This will remove toxins from the skin, improve texture, and stimulate circulation. 

If you apply your skincare products in an upward and outward motion, it’s more likely to encourage a similar kind of drainage. You can also use a tool like a jade roller to help (more on that here).

4. Apply In the Correct Order

If you want your skincare products to work, you have to apply them in the correct order. In general, that means:

  1. Cleanser
  2. Exfoliator
  3. Toner
  4. Serum
  5. Eye cream
  6. Face oil
  7. Moisturizer

Though this will vary slightly based on which products are staples in your routine (you can find more comprehensive instructions for your routine here), and you certainly don't need to use all of these products to have an effective routine. However, you do need to apply those products in the right order.


You could have the most effective skincare products ever, but if you don’t apply them in the right order, they’ll be unlikely to work. The reason here is threefold:

  • The products may not penetrate as well:If you apply thin, water-based products on top of rich, creamy, or oily formulas, they simply won’t penetrate. The thicker or oil-based products will act as a barrier against the thinner products, and they'll just sit on the surface of your skin until they get washed or wiped off.
  • They could cause irritation or skin concerns:Ultimately, this lack of product efficacy can lead to big-picture skin problems. If you’re applying a serum on top of oil, for example, it won’t soak in and the oil will not be able to hydrate alone. This will lead to dry, dehydrated skin.
  • They may not be as effective:Again, if a product can’t penetrate well it’s less likely to work. What’s more, certain actives could cancel each other out or even cause a reaction if they’re applied one after the other.

This is particularly important for your products with active ingredients like vitamin C, glycolic acid, or peptides. These are the ingredients that are meant to make a big difference for your skin, so you want to make sure you apply them in a way that lets them do their job.

Also, remember that your face oils should always go on last. Oils are naturally occlusives, meaning that they provide a barrier to seal all your other products in while soaking through and providing their own benefits. If they’re not on top, this will not happen.

5. Pat Your Serum

skincare serum pat skin eight saints

Next, try to apply your serums with your fingertips and pat it on instead of rubbing. Why? In general, rubbing can create friction on the skin and pull, irritate, and inflame the area. Plus, most serums are water-based and thin in consistency, meaning that you don’t need to rub them in for them to penetrate effectively.

In fact, patting can actually help your products penetrate more effectively while stimulating blood flow and circulation to the area. Hello, glow!

6. Wait In Between Products

If you want your products to really soak in and work effectively, you have to wait for each product to soak in before applying the next layer. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Many products can pill or become texturized if you apply another product too soon.
  • You want to give each product a chance to soak into the skin, especially if it has lots of actives

There is no defined time limit in place, but you just want to wait until the previous product is dry, which will probably take 30-60 seconds.