If you’re like many women (and, increasingly, men), you probably spend a lot of money on skincare products. From beauty basics like cleansers and moisturizers to next-level products like serums and scrubs to creams that address skincare problems like acne and discoloration, these things can really add up.

Just as you want to invest your hard-earned money in things that can give you the biggest returns, so should you try to get the most back for your buck out of your beauty expenses. You may have done your research to find the best products out there but there’s more you can do to make them truly effective and give you that million-dollar glow.


Skin Care Tips and Tricks

Skin care isn’t just about buying the best-reviewed product and calling it a day. These tips can help unlock the products’ promises and reveal your best skin ever.


1. Use products for your specific skin type. Just because one product worked wonders for a friend of yours, doesn’t mean it will do the same for your skin. Your skin can be normal, oily, dry, combination, or sensitive. Read this to find out what your skin type is and help you pick the best products for you.


2. Exfoliate. As you age, your skin doesn’t get rid of the top layer of dead skin cells as efficiently as it used to, leaving you with a dull complexion. Dirt and similar gunk can also accumulate and clog up your pores, making it harder for your skin to absorb the beauty-boosting benefits of your serums and creams. Cleansing is thus an important first step in any skincare routine and exfoliating a few times a week can help slough off the dull top layer to reveal fresh skin that’s ready to absorb all the skin-saving goodness of your products. 


3. Apply products to freshly washed skin. Just as you apply lotion right after you step out of the shower, it’s best to apply your skincare products while your face is still damp. Damp skin is better able to soak up the ingredients of your skincare products. If you’re a proponent of skipping cleansing in the a.m., then just splash water on your face to get some moisture on it prior to applying your morning creams. 


4. Apply it properly. Don’t just quickly slather products all over your face with your palms. The experts at beauty brand Mad Hippie recommend “massaging products in an upward, circular motion, trying not to tug or pull on skin.” Think of it as giving your face a gentle massage, so it’s skin care and self-care in one!

You can also make sure you apply your creams and sunscreen evenly by using the dot method: Dab two to three dots on your forehead, two dots per cheek, one dot on your nose, one dot on your chin, and two on your neck, then spread out evenly from there. You can also add a dot each to the tops of your hands—the skin here ca exhibit signs of skin aging before other parts of your body.


5. Go in the right order. The general rule for how to make skin care absorb better is to apply from the thinnest consistency to the thickest. That means serums first, sunscreen or night cream last. It’s also best to save retinoids for night—these are photosensitive and exposure to sunlight can weaken them and make them less effective.  


6. Wait in between layers. With skincare routines spanning several steps these days, getting good skin takes some time. Don’t rush through your routine, slathering on one product after another. There is no hard and fast rule about how much time you should wait before applying the next product but you should wait until the previous layer has been absorbed by your skin before moving on to the next step. 


7. Stick to a routine. Just as you can’t expect to build muscle by sporadically going to the gym, you can’t expect any improvements in your skin if you’re not giving it regular care, so get your morning and evening routines down pat and be consistent. When trying new products, you should also give them time to work—some products need more time to work than others (those that address skincare problems like acne scars might take weeks while those that can minimize fine lines might take months). So, don’t switch after a week or two if you don’t see any improvement just yet.


8. Store your stash properly. It’s best to store your skincare products in a cool, dark place as sunlight and heat can render them ineffective before their expiration date.