How to Make Your Skincare Products Work Harder
Skincare products are only as good as you apply them.
If you're using them incorrectly, they're not going to work as effectively as if you were using them properly.
That is why it's crucial that you use the right techniques and right order to reap the most benefits from your cleanser, serum, and moisturizer. Here, we show you how to maximize the effects of your beauty products.
Lather Your Cleanser for 20-30 Seconds
In order for skincare products to truly penetrate, you'll need to leave them on your skin for around 20-30 seconds. Spend the time lathering your gentle cleanser into your pores to cleanse away dirt, oil, product buildup, and dead skin cells while letting any active ingredients work their magic.
Many people wash off their cleanser too quickly. Doing this prevents a product from properly penetrating the skin and delivering the effects it promises.
The next time you wash your face, ensure the face wash sits on the skin for 20-30 seconds before rinsing it off.
Apply Serum While Skin is Still Damp
Damp skin acts like a sponge. It quickly absorbs whatever is applied. Thus, it's always best to apply your facial oils and antioxidant serums while your skin is still damp. This rule applies to most products -- including retinoids and moisturizers.
Dermatologists recommend applying face serum within one minute of cleansing or getting out of the shower. This'll enable your products to sink in better and lock in hydration.
The science behind it: once water evaporates off the skin, it can steal the skin's moisture, leaving it dry and dehydrated. Try this serum packed with vitamin C and vegan collagen -- Rainbow's Smooth Serum -- for bouncier, fresher, fine line-free skin.
Exfoliate Twice a Week
"Think of the surface of the epidermis—those dead cells—as a barrier," says dermatologist Amy Wechsler. "You have to remove it for products to get in."
To allow your retinol serums and hyaluronic acid moisturizers to absorb into your skin, start exfoliating twice a week. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to limit your exfoliation sessions to once a week to prevent irritation.
Look for a grainy scrub with small, smooth particles or a gentle buffing tool like a washcloth. For best results, choose a gentle chemical exfoliator such as Rainbow's glycolic-laced Glow Serum.
In addition to improving product penetration, regular exfoliation also offers brightening effects and can prevent breakouts in acne-prone skin types.
Apply Products in the Correct Order
The secret to a successful skincare routine is layering your products properly.
"The rule is — apply thinnest to thickest," says celebrity New York City dermatologist, Dendy Engelman. "Some patients apply face cream first, which blocks their serum from penetrating — so cleanse, use a botanical toner (if you use one), then your serums, and a cream and sunscreen last."
One of the best ways to boost absorption is to top ingredients with occlusive ointments and creams formulated with natural butters and oils.
And whatever you do, never skip the serum. Serums contain high concentrations of active ingredients that target what your skin needs. From antiaging to hydration, hyperpigmentation to antioxidants, serums should always be applied -- and first.
Make Retinol Part of Your Nighttime Routine
Otherwise known as vitamin A, retinol is the gold standard ingredient for antiaging. You'll find it in eye creams, night creams, face serums, and face oils. It's a great addition to your skincare regimen if you are looking to tackle fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, or even acne.
However, if you want to work its very best, we recommend applying your retinol-formulated products in the evening right before bed. This is the time when your skin absorbs the most, so you'll reap the most benefits from using it at night.
Adopt the Dot Method for SPF Application
There's a high chance you may be applying your sunscreen incorrectly. As you know, sunscreen is an essential part of your daily skincare routine. It protects the skin from UV rays and pollution, thereby cutting your risk of premature aging and skin damage.
A mistake many people make when applying sunscreen is putting it on their palms, rubbing both hands together, and then slathering it onto the skin. Doing this results in uneven application with most of the cream absorbed into your hands, and ultimately, unprotected skin.
The best way to ensure a smooth and even application is by using the dot technique.
Apply two-to-three dots on your forehead and on each cheek, one on your nose and chin, and two on your neck. Massage it in for optimum protection.
Some skincare ingredients work better together. For best results from your products, make sure you combine them right.
For example, salicylic acid and zinc work twice as hard at attacking blackheads and whiteheads when used together. Sunscreen and antioxidants are a fantastic duo for providing additional protection. Benzoyl peroxide may enhance the bacteria-killing powers of clindamycin.
If you have dry skin, a great combo for deep hydration is hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5. They work together to inject moisture and elasticity into the skin, while targeting dark spots and acne scars. You will find this dynamic duo in Rainbow's Hydrate Mask.
Give Your Products 30 Days
We know you want to see results as soon as possible, but we recommend giving them a full month before tossing them aside. According to the experts, it takes your skin approximately 30 days to fully turn over.
Some products like retinol tend to take much longer to show results. Unless a product is causing irritation or other unpleasant side effects, it's worth being patient with new products and giving them the full month before judging them. After a month, you should know whether it's worth continuing with or not.
If you're going to invest time and money taking care of your skin, it's worth spending a little extra time making sure you're using your products in the best possible way. Try our tips above to maximize your skincare routine.