Applying moisturizer is as easy as breathing, right? We'd argue that we've all become so used to whacking it on, it's just as automatic as getting our O2. But the truth is a lot of us aren't doing it right, leading to many a breakout or dry skin problems that could be easily avoided. Whether that's choosing the wrong product or not realizing that the stuff isn't working, there are a few tricks we've discovered that will mean your moisturizer will work that much harder for you. We've rounded up some useful insights from some of the world's biggest skincare experts about the five main mistakes we all make when applying moisturizer and how we can avoid them.
#1: You're Using Too Much Product
The biggest signs for when you're using too much product? Clogged pores. Breakouts. Your skin looks greasy, and your makeup won't stay put. "If you are experiencing these symptoms, it's a good idea to reduce the amount you use or explore a different product that's more suitable for your skin type," says skincare expert Cecilia Wong. We like Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream ($64); not only does it suit various skin types, but it also packs in a load of anti-aging properties and fills out lines (always a bonus).
#2: You're Not Using Enough Product
Worryingly, if you don't use enough moisturizer, not only will you discover that your skin is a bit dry, you could also be increasing the likelihood of creating wrinkles. According to dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe, MD, "when the skin barrier is compromised, which is what we see when it becomes dry, there's actually a low-grade chronic inflammation that occurs in the skin." This can then lead to collagen breaking down, which in turn increases the look of aging. Yikes. Remember to apply your cream by massaging it into the face, under the jawline, and onto the décolletage.
#3: You're Putting It on Dirty Skin
By that, we mean you're not properly cleansing and exfoliating your skin, so your moisturizer can't sink in properly. Skincare expert Renée Rouleau recommends exfoliating, especially during the winter. "Often when the skin is dry, we tend to load up on heavier creams to compensate for the dryness. But dry skin means you have dry skin cell buildup. And the more you layer on the heavier creams, the more you are trying to rehydrate dry skin cells, which makes no sense! Instead, increase your exfoliation to remove the dry skin cells, and then moisturize the new skin cells, resulting in a moister skin."
If you're looking for a gentle way to exfoliate your skin every day, try a toner like Pixi Glow Tonic ($15); it contains glycolic acid that will help remove dead skin cells, allowing your moisturizer to sink in better.
#4: You've Layered Too Many Products
This one is slightly polarizing as there are plenty of experts out there who love putting on as many products as possible. But to stop that annoying pilling of the products (you know what we mean—it goes all bumpy and basically falls off your face), then there are some clear rules to follow. The late dermatologist Fredric Brandt, MD, said that to stop this from happening you need to do three things: 1) Ensure you leave time between applying products (a minute at least), 2) pat don't rub, and 3) check the ingredients as "talc, iron oxide, mica, and fluorphlogopite" will all contribute to pilling, so you should apply that last.