How To Apply Face Serum: A Step By Step Guide

How To Apply Face Serum: A Step By Step Guide

If you’re struggling to craft the ideal skincare routine for your face, you’re not alone. Between masks, creams, and toners galore, it can be hard to figure out the ideal skincare cocktail. 

One product you’ll definitely want to make sure is part of the mixer is face serum. These highly-concentrated, lightweight liquids contain ingredients meant to help your skin retain a healthy, glowing appearance. 

This guide will cover everything you need to know and outline how to use serums in your skincare routine for maximum results.

What Is Face Serum?

A face serum is a liquid product that contains a higher concentration of active ingredients than lotion or other types of moisturizers. Serums tend to be lighter and absorb more quickly into the skin. There are face serums designed to help with a variety of skin conditions, including:

  • Aging
  • Dull, dry skin
  • Acne-prone skin
  • Compromised skin

When you select a face serum, you should pick a product formulated to work with your specific skin care needs.  

Why Should You Use Face Serum?

While no skin care product is perfect for everyone, there are plenty of perks packed into serums that can be tricky to find elsewhere. 

Some common face serum benefits include:

  • A little goes a long way—just a few drops is enough to cover your face
  • Serums may help the skin maintain healthy hydration levels
  • The active ingredients in serums are concentrated for a more powerful impact

Plus, once you settle into your skincare routine and learn how to apply face serum, these powerhouse products are easy to use.

4 Steps to Apply Face Serum for Maximum Results

While it may be tempting to slather your skin with serum as soon as you crack open the bottle, there’s a specific method and order you should follow first. 

If you’re eager to learn how to use face serum like a pro, let’s examine the steps:

  1. Cleanse your skin – First, you always want to start with clean skin. Think of it as a blank canvas for your skincare products. Dermatologists recommend always using a gentle face cleanser applied to the skin with your fingers. Rinse with warm—not hot—water and pat your face dry with a soft towel. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing your face with a harsh cloth as this can cause irritation, especially for acne prone skin.
  2. Use a toner if needed – Toners can help wipes away remaining dirt, oil, or impurities that cleansing didn’t catch. To avoid drying out your skin, look for toners without moisture sapping alcohol to fully reap the pore-cleansing benefits.
  3. Gently apply your face serum – Take just a few drops of the facial serum and gently dab and smooth it onto your skin. Because it absorbs fairly quickly, you’ll need to wait for only about 60 seconds before moving to the next step.
  4. Finish with a moisturizer and sunscreen – The last step in your skincare routine should always be to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF, such as our Self Defense Mineral Sunscreen. This will protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Whether you also include a separate moisturizer is up to you and your skincare needs. 

How Often Should You Apply Face Serum?

The type of face serum you use will determine how often you apply it to your skin and what your specific skin concern is. Some types of serums are designed to be used just once per day while others can be used twice. Some serums are even formulated to help nurture the skin under eyes as this is a very delicate area of the face that needs special attention. Typically, serums, like our Pure Retinyl Serum, should be used only in the evening. On the other hand, moisturizing serums like our Stay Hydrated Hyaluronic Acid + NMF Serum can often be used in the morning and at night, especially if your skin is very dry.

When you first start using a new serum, it’s best to only apply it once per day to give your skin time to adjust. This allows you to monitor your face for any signs of irritation or other reactions to the product. It is also best practice to test any face serum on a small area of the skin before applying to the entire face.

What Should You Look for In a Quality Face Serum?

The most important factor in finding effective skincare products is matching them to your skin type and its needs. However, there are specific elements all good skincare products have in common. A quality face serum should:

  • Be clinically tested and dermatologist-approved
  • Clearly list the ingredients on the label

You only want the best for your one-of-a-kind skin—don’t be afraid to hold skincare products to the highest standards.

Skin Care You Can Trust: Honest®

Face serums are the small but mighty heroes of the skincare universe as they contain concentrated amounts of powerful, good-for-you ingredients that can leave your skin feeling happy and healthy. Understanding how to apply facial serum to your face is a must for maximizing benefits. 

Trusting your skincare brand is another must. When you shop Honest® skincare, you can rest assured knowing that you’re only getting the best, as all of our products are toxicologist audited. From the Vitamin C Radiance Serum to the Calm & POREfect Serum, our products deliver the nourishment your skin craves.

Shop Honest today—clean radiance awaits. 


Enhanced Efficacy of a Facial Hydrating Serum in Subjects with Normal or Self-Perceived Dry Skin. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.

Should I Apply My Skincare Products in a Certain Order? American Academy of Dermatology Association.

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.

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