It seems with every day that passes my interest in skincare moves away from simply a routine, and more toward a devotion. The skincare-sphere is whispering in my ear to start my routine in my ’20s, and thus, being in my ’20s, I am wholeheartedly answering, “Yes. Absolutely.” (Sometimes I look back on my simpler days of Neutrogena oil-free cleansers and Clean & Clear moisturizers with a particular fondness, though.)
The only problem is, for every addition to my routine (my cleanser-moisturizer gig has now graduated to a cleanser-double serum-eye cream-moisturizer-oil regimen), I seem to a) find more things I apparently need to add, and b) be told I’m doing something wrong, again. And then there’s the added messaging of every skincare routine being individual to the… well, individual, and does that mean every nay-say is moot?
It’s a big, big world out there, and we’re going to dig a little deeper in how to apply skincare. Not next-level stuff like a full-on facial massage, but highlighting some methods that will help your skin drink up all the benefits of what your skincare products are trying to achieve in the first place.
So, it seems there are two types of people in this world. Those who rub their skincare in, and those who pat and tap.
Patting is when you apply product by spreading product all over your hand, and gently pressing your hand over your face and holding for a couple seconds before pressing to another area of your face (the main areas to press on are cheeks, forehead, chin, and neck). There is only one direction of motion, and it is into your skin. Tapping is similar, in that it involves the one inward direction of movement, but at a faster speed than patting and with lighter pressure, using mostly only your fingers, rather than your entire hand.
I, too, used to rub it all in, but after reading up on it, patting and tapping is much more optimal. Why?
It absorbs better.
Especially when you take a moment to warm the product up in your hands before applying to your face, patting and tapping literally presses the product into your skin. Think about when you apply hand cream: rubbing your hands together not only moisturizes one hand, but simultaneously moisturizes the other hand, too. The same applies to rubbing skincare into your face: a precious amount of product is being misdirected to your hands instead of your face. So while it’s unavoidable to have some product nourish the skin on your hands instead while applying your skincare, this method will definitely deliver the maximum amount of product to your face, exactly where you want it.
It leaves more to be absorbed later.
The point of applying skincare is to make sure it sinks in and gives our skin its benefits, right? So it’s only logical to make sure it actually absorbs, which rubbing would seem to ensure most efficiently. Patting and tapping will leave a thin layer of product for the skin to absorb on its own, which is actually exactly what you want. Because you’re not rubbing until the product disappears with patting and tapping, it’s important to leave some time between each layer of skincare to give your skin a chance to fully absorb it. The skin will always drink up what you apply, so no need to work it in vigorously, which brings me to the next point.
It minimizes stress on your skin.
When you rub product into your skin, you move your skin around as well, stretching it in directions and degrees it does not naturally do on its own. As we already know, skin loses its elasticity over time, and an accumulation of rubbing over the years will make you lose elasticity faster. Patting and tapping, by pressing the product into the skin, minimizes stretching your skin and helps to preserve its natural elasticity.
It increases blood flow.
In olden times, in lieu of blush, women used to pinch their cheeks lightly in order to create a rosy glow (I’m thinking when Mr. Bingley is barging in on the Bennet household to propose, and Mrs. Bennet, unprepared, brings a fresh flush to her visage with a couple vigorous squeezes). Similarly, tapping lightly on your skin stimulates increased blood flow to your face, which will flush out toxins and bring a natural warmth to your cheeks.
Because it’s been engineered for prime application, quality skincare will absorb easily, meaning minimum effort is actually required from our hands. Tapping and patting are methods that ensure the least amount of product is lost and deliver the maximum benefits of your hard-earned and carefully selected skincare regimen.
So, beauty enthusiasts, how do you apply your skincare? Are you already a seasoned patter and tapper, or are you looking to try it out?
Photos by Samantha Clarke