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The one skincare step most of us find easy to follow is moisturizing – it’s pretty simple, right? Well, that’s where you can go SO wrong – a badly chosen formula and careless application can actually cause breakouts and skin sagging. Seriously, there’s a method of getting the most from your moisturizer, and it’s all about getting the time, formula, and technique just right. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered; if you follow these steps you’ll be getting so much more from your moisturizer, and you’ll see the difference in your skin in no time at all.

Pick the right moisturizer for your skin type

All moisturizers are made up of three types of ingredients: occlusives, which protect your skin and retain moisture; emollients which repair damaged skin cells, and humectants, like glycerin, which increase the water content in the skin. Every product will have a different combination of these three formulas so that they can target different layers of your skin. So, the first step to picking the right moisturizer is knowing your skin type, and then finding a formula to complement it – check out our guide to choosing a moisturizer here.

Don’t pull on your skin

Be gentle with your face cream, if you rub too hard you’ll create friction between your skin and hands, causing the water content to evaporate before it’s even started replenishing. Pulling the skin in a downwards motion can also lead to premature wrinkles and even saggy skin over time. Instead, apply your moisturizer gently in a circular, upward motion, and for your eye area, pat gently with your ring finger. When you’re done, you should have a slight glow, give this final layer time to absorb before applying any other products.

Apply routinely

It seems logical to only hydrate when your skin is dry, but if it already reaches this stage, there’s likely to be a layer of dead skin cells on the surface, making it harder for the product to reach your skin. When your skin is dry, it produces more sebum to lubricate itself, which means you’ll likely end up with sebum build up as well. If you’re guilty of under moisturizing, make sure you exfoliate before moisturizing to remove any dead skin cell build-up. Aim to moisturize twice a day, once in the morning after washing your face with warm water, and in the evening 30 minutes before you sleep; so that it doesn’t rub off or get absorbed into your pillow.

Moisturize oily skin

Don’t get sucked into the trap of thinking that if your skin is oily or acne-prone, it doesn’t need moisturizer. If you don’t hydrate your skin, you’ll trigger your body to produce even more sebum (the natural oil that’s the main culprit for its greasy layer). The secret is to look for lightweight, gel formulas that are non-comedogenic with key ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid.

Don’t apply too much

If you over-moisturize your skin you’ll quickly become dependant on it for moisture, and sebum levels can decrease – without the natural oil to keep your skin soft and supple, it’ll only look dull and tired. Applying more product doesn’t mean your skin will absorb more; if you use too much product you’ll end up with a thick layer of product that could clog your pores and lead to breakouts.

Switch it up

We all have a favorite moisturizer, but the fact is you need to switch it up regularly to see good results all year round. The effectiveness of your moisturizer can plateau if your skin gets used to the ingredients, and as the seasons change and hormones fluctuate. It’s essential that you rotate products with different primary active ingredients, so you can experience the benefits of each. So, if you’re currently using a cream packed with AHA’s or a hydrating serum, switch to something that’s retinol based. For nighttime, especially if your skin is dry or aging, consider a richer formula, as this is when your skin loses more moisture.