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How to Apply Moisturizer: 4 Easy Methods

Every good skincare regimen needs the right moisturizer. Moisturizing helps your skin stay nourished and soothed and can even help protect your skin against irritants. However, the way you apply...

Every good skincare regimen needs the right moisturizer. Moisturizing helps your skin stay nourished and soothed and can even help protect your skin against irritants. However, the way you apply your moisturizer matters, too.

Without the proper moisturizer and technique for application, you can develop dry skin, blemishes, and other skin conditions. To help you avoid such outcomes, we have developed a guide on how to apply moisturizer, the importance of moisturizing, and how to find the right product for your skin type. Whether you have blemish-prone skin, oily skin, or combination skin, this is an essential step in your skincare routine.

How Should You Apply Moisturizer? 4 Methods

Applying moisturizer with the right amount and at the right time is pivotal for maintaining healthy and hydrated skin. 

Should you use a pea-sized or dime-sized amount? Do you apply when your skin is still damp or fully dry? Here we break down the different ways to maximize the benefits of moisturizing your face to leave your skin feeling hydrated and ward off dryness.

1. Patting

Using the pads of your fingers to pat moisturizer onto the skin helps gently and evenly distribute the product. 

This helps your moisturizer gradually absorb without you needing to tug or pull on your skin, which can damage your epidermis. In addition, the light touch used in this application method is well-suited for the most sensitive skin types.

2. Dabbing Onto Damp Skin

Similar to patting, but with just a slight increase in pressure, dabbing your moisturizer into the skin twice daily helps the product penetrate deeper into your skin’s surface, making it more effective and optimizing on locking in hydration. 

This is an excellent method for all skin types. To get the amount of product just right, try putting the moisturizer on the tip of your ring finger for an eye cream to moisturize around the eye area.

3. Massaging Using Circular Motions

Smoothing your moisturizer into your skin is performed by gently spreading the moisturizer with your fingertips using circular motions. This method not only helps to distribute the moisturizer evenly but can also lend itself to improving circulation, which holds many benefits for all skin types. 

Massaging moisturizer onto the skin involves gently rubbing the moisturizer into the skin. This method can help to improve circulation and promote lymphatic drainage, which can help to reduce puffiness. It's a suitable method for all skin types.

4. Layering

Layering on moisturizer involves applying multiple layers of moisturizer to the skin. This method is best for dry skin types. Layer moisturizer over a nutrient-dense skin oil, serum, or essence to lock in skin benefits and essential hydration.

When Should You Apply Moisturizer?

Moisturizing is essential, especially after a shower. While a scalding, steamy shower might be reminiscent of spa-like pampering, hot water can be exceptionally damaging to your skin and accelerate the appearance of signs of aging. Try using warm or cool water to cleanse the skin instead of hot water for optimal results.

When you get out of the shower, your skin lacks natural oils. So it’s necessary to preserve hydration and prevent water loss by applying your moisturizer within minutes of your shower. Some people find moisturizing while the skin is still wet. Ideally, apply moisturizer after every cleanse. Use your moisturizing lotion after cleanser, toner, and serum.

When applying face moisturizer in the morning, follow it with a high-quality sunscreen. Opt for SPF 30 or higher. At night, you can follow moisturizer with nighttime-specific skincare products, such as night cream or eye cream. If you use any products containing retinol or similar ingredients, these should be applied before your moisturizer.

What Are Some Additional Tips for Moisturizer Applications? 

Choose a Non-Comedogenic Moisturizer

Opt for non-comedogenic products that won’t risk clogging up your pores. For example, comedogenic or heavily fragrant moisturizers can leave residue and buildup on your skin, which may lead to breakouts. Instead, look for simple ingredients and nutrients like antioxidants and ceramides.

Exfoliate Your Skin First

Knowing the correct application methods for skin moisturization helps optimize treatment, but knowing how to prep your canvas for the ultimate product absorption can also make a difference. Keeping your skin exfoliated and clear of dead skin cells and excess face oil is vital to experiencing the effects of your moisturizer.

If your pores are crowded by dirt and old cells, your moisturizer won’t be able to sink in as effectively — rendering your application all but useless. So instead, always moisturize after you cleanse and exfoliate your face. This ensures that you have rid your skin of the impurities clogging your pores, so the moisturizer has the proper chance to seep into your skin’s surface.

We have just the thing for you if you want a product equipped to cleanse and exfoliate. Our Prep-N-Glow® Facial Wipes have everything you need to clear your skin of oil, dirt, and makeup and exfoliate and polish the surface to prepare the way for your facial moisturizer for the ultimate smooth and hydrating finish. 

Consider Your Skin Type

It's important to note that varying methods of moisturization may work better for different skin types and specific skin conditions, so make sure you understand your skin. Consider consulting a skincare professional or a dermatologist for personalized advice so you can accurately assess your skin’s needs. 

Once you find the best moisturizer for your skin type or condition, make sure to regularly include it in your skincare routine for the best, most consistent results.

Why Do You Need To Moisturize?

Moisturizing your skin is vital for several reasons. The primary function of a moisturizer is to maintain the skin's natural barrier. Hence, preserving it is essential by nourishing it with the right products and application style. 

When your skin is dry, it may begin to overproduce oil to account for the lack of moisture, which can make your face appear greasy and impede the proper application of the product. Moisturizer helps to hydrate the skin by attracting and retaining water in the outermost layer of the epidermis, known as the stratum corneum. This helps keep your skin soft, smooth, and plump, improving the overall appearance of your complexion.


Proper moisturization is one of the critical components of managing healthy skin. While there are many different ways to apply moisturizer and many other products, once you find the proper moisturization method, make sure to make it a habit in your skincare regimen. 


The Importance Of Moisturizing | UT Medical Center

Skin | Cleveland Clinic

Histology, Stratum Corneum | NCBI Bookshelf


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