How To Apply Face Serum Correctly

How To Apply Face Serum Correctly

Serums boast highly concentrated formulas packed with key ingredients that target specific skin concerns – but they must be applied correctly to deliver desired results. Read on to discover how to apply face serum, as we answer the most commonly asked questions about serum application and explain where it fits into your skincare routine. 

How to apply face serum FAQs  

Should you apply serum before or after moisturizer? 

Serums have very lightweight formulas consisting of small molecules that can be effectively absorbed by the skin. A moisturizer, however, affects the surface layer of the skin, creating a protective barrier.  

As such, a serum should always be applied before a moisturizer to allow the key ingredients to deeply hydrate and nourish. The moisturizer then works to lock those ingredients in.  

Should you apply oil before or after serum? 

Much like moisturizers, facial oils create a protective barrier over the skin that would hinder the absorption of any further products. A serum should always be applied before a facial oil. 

Should you apply a serum before or after a concentrate? 

Concentrates are very similar to serums and help to target specific skin concerns. However, while serums often bring together multiple ingredients, concentrates usually consist of one key ingredient, like hyaluronic acid or retinol. A concentrate should be applied before a serum to allow that key ingredient to take effect without being diluted by other ingredients.  

Apply a concentrate onto the face after cleansing and toning, wait two minutes, then apply a serum.   

How to apply serum on the face 

A face serum should be used as part of a daily skincare routine and applied onto clean, dry skin after cleansing and toning, but before moisturizing.  

Step 1: Cleanse 

To allow the key ingredients to be effectively absorbed, a serum should always be applied onto clean skin.  

Morning and night, before applying serum, cleanse with a gentle face wash to help dissolve makeup, impurities and pollutants, and leave skin feeling clean and revitalized. 

Step 2: Tone 

Often overlooked, facial toners play an important role in preparing the skin for serum application. Not only do they help to rebalance the skin after cleansing, but they sweep away remaining traces of dirt and makeup, removing all barriers on the skin’s surface and allowing the serum to effectively penetrate the different layers of the epidermis.  

Apply a toner (like No7 Radiant Results Revitalizing Toning Wateronto a cotton pad, then sweep over the skin in an upward motion to help reduce the appearance of pores and even out skin tone.  

Step 3: Apply serum 

Dispense two pumps or a pea-sized amount of serum into your palms, then gently rub the hands together to warm and activate the serum. Lightly press your palms onto the skin. Pat in outwards and upwards motions until fully applied to the face and neck. 

Step 4: Moisturize 

Allow the serum to absorb into the skin for at least 90 seconds, then massage a moisturizer over the face and neck to lock in those key ingredients, and protect and hydrate the skin’s surface.  

How to apply different face serums 

When and how to apply Vitamin C serum 

A vitamin C serum (like No7 Radiance+ 15% Vitamin C Serumshould be used once a day. We recommend applying it in the morning to make the most of its antioxidant properties and help protect skin from environmental stressors throughout the day. 

After cleansing and toning, apply onto the face and neck. Wait 90 seconds for the serum to absorb before using a No7 day cream and SPF. 

When and how to use hyaluronic acid serum 

Gentle to the skin and largely non-irritating, a hyaluronic acid serum (like No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Serum or No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum) can be applied twice a day as part of a morning and evening skincare routine.   

Massage onto the face and neck after cleansing and toning. Then, follow with a hydrating No7 SPF moisturizer in the morning and a No7 night cream in the evening. 

When and how to use retinol serum 

As retinoids can increase skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, retinol serum and retinol concentrates (like No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrateshould be applied at nightThis allows the formula to work with the skin’s natural renewal process 

Start by applying retinol twice a week onto cleansed and toned skin. After a month, as skin’s tolerance grows, increase usage to multiple times a week.  

When and how to apply eye serum 

An eye serum (like No7 Youthful Eye Serum) should be applied after facial serum but before moisturizer and eye cream. It can be used twice a day as part of a morning and evening skincare routine.   

Dispense a pea-sized amount onto the tip of the finger, then gently dot around the eyes and pat into the skin. 

Find out more about the power of serums and the best face serum for your skin 

No7 Beauty

No7 Beauty

Writer and expert