Use your palms to activate your skin care products

We all apply our skin care products on a daily basis using our hands but have you thought that your hands, specifically your palms and fingers, can make a difference to the performance of the products? So let’s go back to the basics on how to optimize our skin care products using our bare hands today. These are really simple tips without need for fanciful gadgets.

I’ll touch on three techniques that are pretty basic but may not be employed by all. And no, they aren’t time consuming either. And because they are techniques, you can use them across for different types of skin care products as well.

Activate the cleanser
If you’re using a gel cleanser, I’m not sure if you have a habit of activating the foam using your hands or activating the foam on your face. In order to do a more effective job of cleansing, it’s really best to activate the cleanser with your hands by rubbing the gel cleanser with your palms. This way, the foam is created and you’ll find that your cleanser does a better job of getting rid of the dirt and impurities. If you have been activating the cleanser directly on your face, you may find that you often need to use more than is required. And if you’re using an oil cleanser or cream cleanser, you can also do the same but in this case, you’re using your palms to fully emulsify the oil and spread out the cream so that it makes cleansing easier.

Warm up your face cream
I learnt this trick when I was using Creme de la Mer years back and have since, been doing it with most of the face creams I used. Basically, with any face cream I use, I scoop a pea size amount onto my palm and then using the fingers of the other hand to pat the cream – the action is similar to clapping if you need a visual. I find that doing this is more effective then using the dotting method because I end up using lesser of the face cream plus when I warm up the cream, the consistency thins out and makes spreading on the face much easier and definitely aids penetration too.

Pat in your face toner
Okay, this is quite a popular tip with many facial toners that are being promoted in the market like Hada Labo or SKII. So I’ll begin by pouring out some amount of toner into one cupped palm, rub both palms together before patting the toner to my face. But unlike what you see in the commercials, I actually pat a little harder – almost like a light slapping. This effectively does two things; one is to aid the toner to penetrate deeper and the other is to improve blood circulation on the face.

Pay more attention to how you apply your products
You may be using the best product, but if you’re not applying it correctly, you may not get the best results. Or worse, you could be wasting your products. So it’s actually important that we pay attention to what instructions are given before we begin using our skin care products. If there are no instructions given, well, these simple techniques will help you. For example, even if you’re using oil for your face, you can also warm the oil up with both palms before massaging into your skin. And to share further, whenever I apply sunscreen on my face, I’ll just pat the remaining cream on my palm on my eye area. That way, I don’t apply too much and yet, I’m giving the delicate eye area some protection against the sun.


  1. Joyce September says:

    I was about to do a write-up on this area sometime this week!

    I have cupping my palms to pat the products(serums, moisturizers) in, and my skin have been responding well since the warmth from our palm helps the products to absorb better. Not much excessive sebum production too.

  2. sesame says:

    Great minds think alike dear. ?

    Share your thoughts too…I’ll like to read about it. I’ve found that patting is very effective. Also good for those products that are harder to spread due to their thicker consistency.

  3. EcoBeauty says:

    Have never used a cotton pad/ball ever since that viral hada labo commercial came out. Haha.

    I don’t rub products between my fingers, though. I’m afraid my fingers will absorb most of the goodness then I’ll have young-looking fingers, lol. Instead, I warm my hands before dropping a serum or moisturizing on one of my fingers then apply as usual. I do cup my face with my palms, too. Feels relaxing. ?
    EcoBeauty last post is: Mixed Lovies Giveaway (Worldwide)!

  4. sesame says:

    That’s a valid concern! It’s okay when you warm them fast enough…but warming your hands prior to using the products sounds like a good idea too.

  5. Mai says:

    At least n0w i’m c0nvinced it’s 0k t0 rub my skincare pr0duct esp 0ils & serum (th0ugh i’ve been d0ing this with my cleanser f0r decades). Like @ec0beauty, i’m afraid that d0ing s0 will transfer the g00dness 0f the pr0ducts t0 my hand instead 0f my face. l0l.

  6. Lydia says:

    From all the things you mentioned I’m just familiar with the pat it in technique which I’ve seen in a Japanese TV spot. I can remember when I first started using this technique I literally slapped my face quite hard a couple of times and it become sooo red. Actually it’s quite embarrassing to talk about it now… lol
    Lydia last post is: Learn it the proper way

  7. Jung says:

    I have 2 questions on toner-
    1) isn’t toner supposed to clean last trace of make up ? Hence the need for cotton wool to “wipe” off?
    2) Patting on face action- my skin doctor discouraged me from tapping on my melasma, said it’d encourage more to surface. Well, I did that once to show her the spots on my face (and I sort of tap on it) and she said, ” stop tapping in it , encourage more to surface!”

  8. Chris says:

    I’ve been warming up cold lotions ever since I was kid. In the winter, I did not want cold lotion on my skin. ?

    This method also works for foundation. It makes it more spreadable.
    Chris last post is: Tutorial: Glam Neutral Makeup for Tanned Skin

  9. sesame says:

    Ah…cold lotion in winter can be a torture! Yes true, the method works well for foundation too.

  10. sesame says:

    If your cleanser does an effective job of cleaning your face, then a toner shouldn’t be used to clean further but rather to restore the skin’s pH level after washing and to hydrate the skin.

    As for melasma, it’s a bit strange to hear this from your doctor. Did she explain what’s causing your melasma and why patting can encourage more to surface?

  11. sesame says:

    Haha…you were too enthusiastic! Whenever I “slap” my face, my husband will tell me that he can help me to slap instead. LOL.

  12. sesame says:

    Actually it’s okay…so far I’ve been doing this and don’t notice that my creams or oil get absorbed into my fingers. ?

  13. BatAttack says:

    I’ve gotten used to doing this for a long time. Foaming the cleanser on my face would irritate it too much. Applying moisturizing cream after warming it up and by patting was also much quicker and easier. And cotton pads would soak up more toner than it would leave on skin.

    I’ve also read all these tips in Chizu Saeki’s book on skincare. She also recommended warming hands under a warm water stream before applying products (if your hands were prone to being cold) and also said to hold hands over the face after applying products, so that the warmth from the hands would help products penetrate the skin more easily. Oh, and another tip was to apply all these products in a massaging way, i.e. massage skin while cleansing, toning and moisturizing.

    Little things, but all the little things together can make a huge difference.

  14. White Mystery says:

    It had always been a mystery to to me why skin care products are recommended to be applied utilizing the palms. Now I know why!

    Thanks for sharing this post! I’m sure it will be helpful for everyone!

    But of course, an important thing to remember when using the palms to apply your skincare regimen, WASH your hands first before anything else! You don’t want your skin to be infected.

  15. Dee says:

    Nice informative post! I try to make it a habit to pat on my moisturizer and toner, but I tend to forget. I notice that patting on skin care really helps with oil production too.
    Dee last post is: EOTD – Mario Dedivanovic Inspired

  16. sesame says:

    Hmm….interesting that a few of you mentioned this. I have not noticed about oil production but my t-zone hasn’t been so oily and I never gave thoughts that it could be due to this patting. All along I thought it was due to the products I was using.

  17. sesame says:

    Good reminder about washing the hands…very important!

  18. sesame says:

    I didn’t read about her recommendation on warming up the hands…but interesting cos the warm of our hands can definitely help with product penetration. I had no idea that foaming the cleanser on the face would irritate it too much…good point…as you tend to concentrate too much of the cleanser on one spot first.

  19. vonnie says:

    i slap toner into my face already, score! lol
    vonnie last post is: Celebrity Makeup Looks Recreated by Vonnie and Readers

  20. sesame says:

    That’s great!

  21. Issa says:

    these are great tips! i never thought of doing these. i am really an amateur when it comes to these beauty tips! i learn a lot from your blog! ? thanks for sharing….

  22. sesame says:

    You’re welcome! I hope you’ve fun trying these too. ?

  23. Swati says:

    yay!!! I follow all the steps just the same way…I have always found that it is better and saves a lot of product and especially using toners like this yields better results than directly spraying on the face too ? great post!!!
    Swati last post is: Dried Rose Petals {Ingredient}

  24. sesame says:

    You find that it saves more products too? I think the patting method really optimizes…

  25. Amanda says:

    I find that when I use upward movement when applying oil on my face and neck, it does help minimize the wrinkles. There used to be a rut on my neck, but with massage, I find it’s less visible now. I didn’t warm my lotion before application, but after hearing all the goodies about it, I want to give it a go ?
    Amanda last post is: My First Marie Veronique Organics Order

  26. sesame says:

    Massaging upwards is always the way to go. It would help firm up the skin over time too plus it improves blood circulation.

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