So you’ve invested in a new moisturiser and now you need the lowdown on how best to apply it. Never fear, there’s a method to this madness! We’ve got a super easy method for applying your moisturiser that benefits your skin and leaves it feeling hydrated and nourished. Let’s break it down.
Do I really need to moisturise?
First things first, let’s talk about why moisturiser is such a crucial part of your skincare routine. The main purpose of moisturiser is to hydrate and nourish the skin, because when we cleanse each day we remove our skin’s natural oils along with the dirt, grime and makeup. A moisturiser helps to replenish that lost moisture and keep the skin's natural barrier intact, plus protect it from environmental factors that can cause dryness and irritation. A good moisturiser can also help to improve the overall appearance of the skin, making it look smoother, plumper, and more youthful - and that’s what we want.
Why won't my face absorb moisturiser?
Have you ever noticed the sensation of your moisturiser sitting ‘on top of’ your skin once you’ve tried to rub it in? This is because your skin may not actually be absorbing moisturiser because you're applying it to fully dry skin. When your skin is damp, it's more receptive to the product and can better absorb it, which is why hydrating spray mists have surged in popularity lately, and why it’s best to keep your skin a little damp after cleansing so that your moisturiser has the best chance of sinking in.
There are also a few other reasons why your face may not be absorbing moisturiser. Some of the most common include:
Using the wrong type of moisturiser for your skin type
The reason skincare can feel overwhelming is because unfortunately it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. Your skin is unique, and you’ll have to work out what works best for your skin type through a bit of trial and error.. For example, if you have oily skin, using a heavy cream moisturiser may not be the best option. Similarly, if you have dry skin, using a lightweight, water-based lotion may not provide enough hydration.
Using too much moisturiser
When we find our skin getting dry, for example in winter, it’s tempting to think that just applying more moisturiser will solve the problem. The catch 22 here though is that more is not always more, and applying too much moisturiser at once can actually leave a residue on the skin that can prevent it from being absorbed properly.
Exfoliating too much
Over-exfoliating can strip the skin of its natural oils and damage our delicate skin barrier, making it difficult for moisturiser to be absorbed.
Cleansing the skin incorrectly
If your skin is not clean, moisturiser may not be able to penetrate the surface and be absorbed. If you’re removing SPF or a full face of makeup, you’ll likely need to be doing a double cleanse to get your skin properly clean.
Using products with occlusive ingredients
Some moisturisers contain occlusive ingredients such as petrolatum or mineral oil, which can form a barrier on the skin that can prevent moisturiser from being absorbed.
What are the different types of moisturisers?
There are several types of moisturisers available on the market, each with its own unique set of benefits and properties to suit different skin types. The most common include:
Lotions are lightweight and easily absorbed into the skin. They’re typically made with a combination of water and oil and are ideal for people with normal to oily skin. Lotions can be used on the face and body and are often used together with other skincare products.
Creams are thicker and heavier than lotions. They are made with a combination of water, oil, and wax, which helps to keep the skin hydrated for longer periods of time. Creams are ideal for people with dry or mature skin. They can also be used on the face and body and can be used as a night cream.
Ointments are the thickest and most occlusive of all moisturisers. They are made with oil and wax and are typically used for dry, cracked, or irritated skin. Ointments are not typically recommended for use on the face, as they can clog pores.
Balms are similar to ointments in that they’re thick and occlusive, but they are typically used for specific areas of the body, such as the lips or cuticles. They’re made with natural oils and waxes and can be used for both hydration and protection.
Gels are lightweight and easily absorbed by the skin. They are typically made with water and are ideal for people with oily or acne-prone skin. Gels can be used on the face and body and are often used in conjunction with other skincare products.
Do you moisturise on wet or dry skin?
So, the question you’re all here for: do you moisturise on wet or dry skin? The answer is… wet! You should apply moisturiser to damp skin right after showering or washing your face. The dampness will help lock in hydration and leave your skin feeling more smooth and hydrated all day.
When the skin is wet, it is more absorbent, meaning the moisturiser is able to penetrate deeper into the skin. Also, having water on the skin helps to soften its outer layer, making it easier for the moisturiser to spread evenly.
What are the benefits?
One of the key benefits of applying moisturiser to damp skin is that it can help to seal in the water that is already on the skin. This is known as the ‘occlusion effect.’ When the skin is wet, the moisturiser creates a barrier on the surface of the skin that prevents the water from evaporating. This helps to keep the skin hydrated for a longer period of time.
Another benefit of applying moisturiser to wet skin is that it can help to improve the effectiveness of the moisturiser. When the skin is wet, the moisturiser is able to penetrate deeper into the skin, which means that it can provide more hydration and nourishment to the skin. Additionally, the water in the skin can help to soften the surface of the skin, making it easier for the moisturiser to actually spread evenly.
The reason why applying to dry skin is more ineffective is because when the skin is dry, the moisturiser sits on top of the skin, rather than penetrating into it and being absorbed. Additionally, when the skin is dry it is more sensitive and can be prone to irritation. Applying moisturiser to dry skin can then further irritate the skin and cause more dryness. When the skin is dry, it means the skin barrier is compromised and not functioning properly, so it's not able to retain moisture as well as it should. Think of it like a sponge and water: applying moisturiser on dry skin can be like putting water on a dry sponge, where the water will sit on top and not be absorbed.
How to apply moisturiser?
So how do you apply moisturiser? We know, we know, it seems like a simple task, but like all things skincare - there are a few steps to it!
First things first, it's important to cleanse your skin properly using a cleanser of your choice to remove any makeup, impurities or dead skin cells left lingering on the skin that could impede the absorption of the moisturiser into the skin. If we were to suggest one, we’d definitely be heading in the direction of our anti-bacterial cleanser.
Once your skin is dry, go ahead and apply a small amount of moisturiser to your face and gently massage it into your skin. When applying moisturiser to wet skin, it's best to use a small amount and apply it gently. It's also important to use a moisturiser that is appropriate for your skin type. For example, if you have oily skin, you may want to use a lightweight moisturiser that is oil-free, and luckily, our thirst trap moisturiser ticks all these boxes!
Use upward and outward motions to help the product absorb properly, while trying to avoid tugging or pulling on the delicate skin around your eyes and mouth. Give the moisturiser a few minutes to fully absorb into your skin before applying makeup or other products.
Now an important step: Be consistent. Moisturising should be part of your daily skincare routine, so make sure to apply moisturiser every morning and evening. You should also be sure to adjust the amount of moisturiser as needed. If your skin is feeling dry, you may need to apply a little more moisturiser.
Sunscreen is a vital step in protecting your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays, so make sure to apply sunscreen after moisturiser every morning - rain, hail or shine. Also, don’t forget to apply SPF to the back of your hands, neck and body, as they need some love too.
Side note: It's important to keep in mind that not all moisturisers are meant to be applied to wet skin. Some are formulated to be used on dry skin, and may not work as well when applied to wet skin. Therefore, it's important to read the label on the moisturiser and follow the instructions for use if there are specifics.
How much moisturiser to apply?
It's also important to use the right amount of moisturiser. A coin-sized amount is typically enough for your face, and slightly more for your neck and chest. You should also pay extra attention to make sure you’re evenly distributing the product on your face, and avoiding applying too much in any one area.
A common misconception is that you don’t need to apply moisturiser to oily skin. “Why add more oily products to my already shiny face?”, you may be asking. Well, this is absolutely a myth. Even if you have oily skin, it is still important to moisturise. Oily skin can be a result of the skin producing too much sebum, which can lead to clogged pores and acne. However, this does not mean that your skin does not need hydration - and in fact, moisturising your oily face will help to regulate oil production as your skin won’t overproduce oil to make up for the lack in moisture.
To find out more on skincare for oily skin, read here.
When choosing a moisturiser for oily skin, it's important to look for oil-free and non-comedogenic (meaning non-pore-clogging) products. These types of moisturisers will hydrate the skin without adding excess oil. Additionally, choosing a lightweight and water-based moisturiser can also be beneficial for oily skin as these are easily absorbed and won't leave a greasy feeling. Again, it’s still sounding like our very own thirst trap is ticking all these boxes - just saying.
When should you apply moisturiser?
Finally, when should you apply moisturiser? The best time to apply moisturiser is after showering or wash your face in the morning and again before going to bed. When you shower or wash your face, you strip the natural oils from your skin. Applying moisturiser immediately after allows it to replenish your skin's hydration levels.
Where does moisturiser sit in my skincare routine?
You should apply moisturiser before going to bed to keep your skin hydrated throughout the night. Moisturiser should be the last step in your PM skincare routine, after any cleanser, acne cream, or serums. When you sleep, your skin goes into repair mode and it's important to provide it with the necessary hydration to do so. For super hydration, try out the thirst trap moisturiser. It is suited for all skin types and provides barrier support to the skin whilst keeping it hydrated and smooth.
We’d also encourage you to apply moisturiser in the morning, before applying makeup or sunscreen. This creates an extra layer to help protect your skin from environmental elements throughout the day. Applying moisturiser in the morning can also help to create a smooth base for makeup application. Our skin shady SPF50+ is a moisturiser, sunscreen, and primer all in one. A lightweight, non-greasy moisturiser that provides ultra protection of 50+ SPF and nourishes the skin. You truly get the best of both worlds!
So bestie, to sum it all up, there are so many different reasons why your face may be feeling a little dehydrated. If you’re wanting to achieve smooth and hydrated skin, apply your moisturiser to damp skin. It’s a game changer! Be sure to use a gentle, circular motion while rubbing it in, use the right amount, and apply it to your face and neck, after showering or washing your face and before going to bed. Happy moisturising!