How to Apply Face Serum

Face serum is a skincare essential for a lot of people. With so many options that can address different skin needs—from collagen face serum to hydrating serums— it’s no surprise that people use them daily. However, they’re only so helpful if you don’t use them correctly.

But is there really a right way to apply your serum? To enjoy the maximum benefits, it’s best to use them as directed.

In this guide, we’ll go over our tips for how to apply face serum to make sure you’re getting the most out of your skincare routine and working toward the improvements you want to see.

4 Steps to Follow When Applying Face Serum

 Graphic titled “How to Apply Face Serum:” featuring four circles with icons of a droplet of water, a towel, a woman applying serum to her face, and a container of moisturizer. Beneath the circles, there is corresponding text that reads, “1.Cleanse, 2.Dry, 3.Apply, 4.Moisturize”.

Get the most out of your face serum for dry skin with the steps below:

1. Wash Your Face

First, you need to wash your skin. It’s important to do this before because you need to get rid of any dirt and buildup that might be on the surface of your skin.

When washing, you want to be thorough but gentle. This applies to both how you apply your cleanser and the type of cleanser you use. Stay away from harsh, chemical ingredients.

Additionally, you should use warm water, not hot. Hot water can dry out your skin.

2. Pat Dry

Once you're done washing your skin, pat it dry. Don't rub or apply too much pressure, as you could irritate your skin. If your face is inflamed or stressed, it might interfere with how it reacts to the serum.

When drying your skin, reach for something clean and soft. You always want to use a fresh towel to avoid getting old debris on your clean skin.

3. Apply Face Serum

Now, it’s time to use your serum! Here’s how to apply face serum properly:

  • Look at the package to figure out how much to use. Some serums require more than others to get the job done.
  • Take a look at whether you’re applying a spot treatment or if you’re supposed to use it on your entire face. If it’s only meant to be a spot treatment, use it only in the areas that need it. Some treatments may be harmful to certain areas—for example, around the eyes—or may be too harsh to use in larger quantities.
  • If you’re applying it to the whole face, do so in a gentle, upward motion. You don’t want to pull down on the skin, as you could cause trauma to the skin, which contributes to it wrinkling and sagging over time.

While many people associate face serum with mature or teenage skin care, it can be helpful for people of all ages.

Black woman in a white robe holding a glass bottle in her right hand and the dropper applicator in her right.

4. Moisturize

So, serum or moisturizer first? To properly hydrate your skin, you should usually apply moisturizer last.

This is because you must give your skin an opportunity to absorb the ingredients in the face serum. If you apply moisturizer first, the ingredients in the face serum might not have a chance to reach the skin because they will be blocked by the layer of moisturizer.

As we mentioned earlier, these tips are all about how to apply your face serum to get the most possible benefits.

In addition, moisturizer is usually thicker than serum. It will have an easier time sticking to your face when you apply it, and following the serum with moisturizer could be an effective way to lock the serum into your skin.

Remember that you should apply a moisturizer with upward strokes. You don't want to pull downward on your skin at any point in your skincare routine.

By following these steps carefully, you can maximize the benefits of face serum.

How Often Should You Apply Face Serum?

As with most types of treatments, you need to use face serum regularly if you want to see improvements. But how often should you use it?

Too often, people think that more of a good thing is always better; however, you can also apply face serum too often. Generally, applying face serum once per day is sufficient. Sometimes, it might be necessary to use it twice a day. Or, for some stronger face serums, usage may be more infrequent.

In short, it truly depends on the specific serum you’re using. A good rule of thumb to follow before using any new skin product is to take a look at the package and see how often the instructions say to use it.

In general, you don’t want to exceed that amount as it could potentially have undesired side effects or harm your skin.

If you need to use it more than once per day, consider using it when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed at night.

A dropper bottle with text that reads, “Face serums can be used for: Irritation, Breakouts, Dryness, Anti-aging, Redness, And more!”.

How Do You Know If You’re Overusing Face Serum?

There’s so much as too much of a good thing, and that can apply to face serums. There are a few signs that could indicate your using your face serum too often, including:

  • Dry Skin: Some face serums absorb oils to prevent breakouts, but they could also dry out your skin. If your skin feels a bit chapped or cracked, you could be using your face serum too often.
  • Redness: Remember that some face serums have particularly harsh ingredients that are necessary to address certain skin issues. These ingredients could irritate your skin with overuse, causing it to turn red. If you're noticing a bit more redness than usual, it could be a sign that you need to pair down your face serum application.
  • Irritation: Are you experiencing unexpected itchiness and irritation? It might be because you're using your face serum too often. Try giving your skin a break to see if it clears up.

Follow the instructions on the package, and you should be able to avoid using your face serum too often.

Tips for Using Face Serum

So you want to get the most out of your face serum? Some of the tips you should follow include:

  • Wash your face to remove impurities before you apply your face serum, so it makes direct contact with the skin.
  • Apply the serum and small amounts.
  • Use light tapping motions with your fingertips. Remember, you need to be gentle.
  • Don't rub the serum into your skin. Instead, let the skin absorb the serum on its own.

It may take a bit of trial and error, but we’re confident you'll be able to figure out how to apply your face serum in a way that works for you.

A clock with text underneath that reads, “Start using face serums as early as possible to help with anti-aging.”

What Are the Benefits of Using Face Serums?

There are a lot of benefits you might enjoy depending on the type of face serum you’re using:

  • More Nutrients: Applying face serum gives your skin the nutrients it needs. For example, many serums have ingredients like niacinamide, which helps strengthen and moisturize your skin. Different face serums include ingredients that target specific concerns about your skin’s health.
  • Vibrant Complexion: Face serums can help keep your skin radiant and vibrant. If you want a youthful, healthy appearance, face serum is a must-have in your skincare routine.
  • Protect Against the Elements: Your face serum is also packed with ingredients that can protect against the elements, including the sun. Many serums have antioxidants, like vitamins C and E that can minimize sun damage.

Take advantage of all of these benefits by finding the right serum for you. A good place to start is with dermatologist-recommended skin care.

How to Find the Right Face Serum for You

With so many options, how do you decide which face serum is right for your needs? Some of the factors to consider include:

  • Skin Type: Is your skin usually dry? Or is it usually oily? You may need to research the different skin types to determine what kind you have.
  • Age: How old are you? Some face serums are meant to address concerns that are more common among people of certain ages. For example, those with mature skin may need a collagen boost or an eye cream for under-eye bags.
  • Skin Condition: Do you have a specific skin condition you want to target? Some face serums might be made for a specific purpose, like correcting discoloration.
  • Ingredients: What types of ingredients does the face serum have? For example, some have extra antioxidants, and others might have hyaluronic acid.

Whether you’re focused on preventive measures or repairing a damaged skin barrier, there is a serum (or two) out there for you.

Serum Is an Important Part of Lifetime Skin Care

Serum can be a powerful tool in your skincare routine when used correctly. With these tips and better knowledge of how to find the right serums, you’re on your way to leveling up your regimen for healthy, beautiful skin you can feel confident about.

Shop our skincare treatments and serums today to find solutions with quality, safe ingredients that can help you address your most pressing skin concerns.