How To Apply Face Serum

Discover how to apply face serum for the most magical skincare results that you can see and believe and learn how to use serum in your skincare routine.

Darlings, face serum is an essential step in your skincare routine that helps your skin to look and feel its best. Discover how to apply face serum and the best ways to use serum to unlock a silky-smooth complexion that’s flooded with supercharged, skin-loving ingredients.

Lily James Magic Serum model shot

Discover How To Apply Face Serum

  1. Charlotte's Magic Hydrator Mist hydrates the skin before applying toner and face serum

    1. Apply your cleanser, face mist and toner

    Before you apply your face serum, it’s important to begin your skincare routine with a cleanser, face mist and toner. Applying face serum to freshly cleansed skin that feels healthy and hydrated will help to maximise the absorption of your serum into the skin, allowing you to reap the most benefit from its ingredients.

    Discover the correct order of skincare steps

  2. Model holding Charlotte's Magic Serum Crystal Elixir face serum

    2. Choose the right serum for your skin

    Be sure to choose a serum that is beneficial for your skin type and skin concerns. For example, if your skin is prone to dryness, it’s best to reach for a deeply hydrating formula that’s rich in moisture-boosting ingredients like hyaluronic acid or polyglutamic acid; or if your skin looks dull and uneven in tone, a vitamin C serum will help to brighten the look of your complexion.

    Discover how to find your skin type

  3. Charlotte's Magic Serum Crystal Elixir releasing drops of face serum

    3. Release 4-6 drops into your hands

    Once you’ve selected your face serum, apply 4-6 drops into the palm of your hand. Face serums contain powerful skincare ingredients and are generally more concentrated than moisturisers, so you only need to apply a few drops to feel their benefits.

    A lot of face serums including Charlotte’s Magic Serum Crystal Elixir feature a pipette-style dropper. Before removing your dropper from the serum, squeeze the top to fill it with serum, then twist to remove it from the bottle. Squeeze the dropper again – this time into the palm of your hand – to release the product into your cupped hand ready to apply.

    Discover more about Charlotte’s Magic Serum Crystal Elixir

    Discover the correct amounts of skincare product to use

  4. Lily James applying Charlotte's Magic Serum Crystal Elixir face serum

    4. Warm up serum between your fingers

    Gently rub your hands together to help activate the ingredients in your serum before you apply. Warming up your face serum between your hands will help to distribute the product more evenly when applying it onto the face, as well as helping denser face serums to feel lightweight on the skin.

  5. Charlotte's Magic Serum Crystal Elixir on a crystal backdrop

    5. Lightly press serum into the skin

    When applying your face serum, lightly press the product into the skin and let it absorb naturally. Gently press your face serum evenly across all areas of your face including the forehead, cheeks, nose and neck. This pressing technique will provide subtle lymphatic drainage that helps to flush toxins from the skin while your superpowered serum works on reviving and revitalising the look of your complexion.

    Tilbury Tip: The skin on your face is delicate, darlings, so avoid any harsh, rubbing motions.

  6. Charlotte's Magic Serum Crystal Elixir with lid off

    6. Massage serum into the face using wave motions

    After applying face serum, perform a gentle facial massage to help work the product into your skin. The key to a successful facial massage is using light pressure and upward motions that help to lift the look of your face. Keep your hands in a cupped formation and follow the natural contours of your face, softly gliding along the face to massage your serum into your skin.

    When applying both serum and moisturiser to your face, I recommend following my easy 5-minute ‘Tilbury Tap’ massage technique. Click here to learn how to perform my facial massage technique like a pro.

  7. How to apply face serum featuring Lily James and Charlotte's Magic Serum Crystal Elixir

    7. Gently tap the face with your fingertips

    Now that you’ve massaged your face serum into the skin, you can use gentle tapping motions to help your product to absorb even further. Lightly tapping your face serum into the complexion is an easy way to help boost microcirculation, which in turn can promote refreshed, healthy-looking skin.

  8. Model holding Charlotte's Magic Cream immediate skin revival moisturiser

    8. Wait 60 seconds before applying your moisturiser

    Moisturiser is best applied after your face serum, but before you apply your face cream, it’s important to give your serum some time to absorb. Take a moment to let your face serum naturally sink into the skin, letting all the supercharged skincare ingredients nourish your complexion. I suggest waiting 60 seconds after applying your face serum before reaching for your moisturiser; this will help to avoid overloading your skin and lets each individual product fully absorb.

How To Apply Face Serum FAQs: More Ways To Use Serum

How To Use Serum

Where Do You Put Face Serum?

You can put serum on your face, ears and neck for overall skin benefits, or focus on concern-specific areas such as over dry patches, blemishes, areas of redness or fine lines and wrinkles. When applying face serum, lightly press your product into the skin and then massage evenly onto the face.

Should You Massage or Pat Face Serum into the Skin?

You can massage and pat face serum into the skin – both are useful techniques for applying serum. I recommend using a light patting motion to initially press face serum into the skin, and then moving on to a light facial massage that helps to evenly distribute product and works it into the skin. As long as you are using a gentle pressure and are not being rough with your skin, both of these application methods are useful when applying face serum.

Discover my Tilbury Tap massage technique

Why Do Face Serums Have Droppers?

Face serums often have pipette-style droppers so that they can release the perfect amount of product. Serums are generally formulated with potent, highly concentrated skincare ingredients, and so you only need to apply a small amount of product. Serum droppers allow you to carefully manage how much serum you are applying, making it easy to disperse a few drops at a time.

How Do You Use A Serum Dropper?

Serum droppers are submerged within your serum, so I recommend avoiding direct contact with your face to prevent contamination. To use your serum dropper, squeeze the handle to fill it with serum, then remove it from the bottle ready to apply. Instead of gliding the dropper onto your skin, I suggest squeezing your serum onto cleansed hands before applying to the face using light pressing motions. Once you have applied your face serum, place the dropper back inside your serum bottle and firmly twist closed to ensure your serum is secure and airtight.

How To Apply Face Serum at Night

It’s important to apply face serum day and night to flood your skin with nourishing, skin-loving ingredients. At night, you can use your face serum as you would during your morning skincare routine – after your cleanser, face mist and toner – then following up with your night cream and face oil for plenty of overnight hydration.

Learn how to perform your evening skincare routine

How To Get the Best Results from your Face Serum

To get the best results from your face serum, I recommend applying it consistently in the morning and evening, as well as following my step-by-step guide on how to apply face serum. This will give your skin the best chance at benefiting from all the supercharged skincare ingredients that your face serum has to offer.

Share article

Author Details

Charlotte Tilbury

Founder, President, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Charlotte Tilbury Beauty

With over 30 years experience, Charlotte Tilbury MBE is the world's number 1 makeup artist and British beauty entrepreneur. Charlotte established Charlotte Tilbury Beauty in 2013, which is now a record-breaking beauty brand that has won over 400 awards.

Related Posts