5 Ways Korean Women Apply Face Care Products, One Is Best For Applying Face Serum

Do you want to learn the best way to apply facial serum on your face? I think I just heard a resounding ‘YES’? #k8SjZc9Dxk.#k8SjZc9Dxk

Okay, this is a tip I picked up from a K-beauty expert on an old episode of Get It Beauty and it’s rather unique. Well at least it’s the first time I’ve heard of it.

But before I share that with you, let’s look at the other ways that Korean women, along with scores of other nationalities apply their facial products.

Patting: good for most products especially serums and lotions
Most of you are already familiar with this method which is highly popular with the Koreans as well as the Japanese. Usually, this method is recommended for applying lotion and serum that has a more watery consistency to ensure better absorption.

I was first introduced to this method of applying skin care when I had a Korean Traditional Anti-Aging Facial at Spa Scene back in 2009. So naturally, I associate this as being a K-beauty tip.

How you do this is you start by pouring a small amount of the product on the palm of one hand. Next, using fingers from the other hand, dab into the product, then apply your product using short, firm strokes to your face. Finally, gently pat the product onto your face using your fingertips.

Besides lotion and serums, you can also use this method for facial creams that are difficult to spread. Like I pat on my sunscreen as rubbing in can cause my sunscreen to become flaky. I also use this to apply my CC cream to minimize disturbances to my sunscreen.

When I use moisturizers, this is also a method I usually fall back to. Come to think of it, I really prefer to pat when it comes to facial cream.

And if you watch some of the K-beauty shows or K-dramas (hint: DotS), you might also notice that most people also pat their face after removing their facial sheet mask. Why? Because patting is supposed to help their skin absorb the serum left from the mask better.

Some skin care experts have suggested that applying products this way increases blood circulation to the face. I suppose it might but I’m more inclined to think that this is a gentler way to apply facial products that’ll minimize pulling and stretching your skin.

Pressing: good for facial oil
This involves rubbing the product with both your palms and then pressing firmly onto your face a few times. Usually this is useful for facial oil as the palms of your hands are warm and pressing can aid the application.

I can attest that this is a good method to apply facial oil as opposed to other methods. Also, it’s quite a logical method considering I usually pour a few drops of oil onto my palm, squirt some face mist over before rubbing the oil and mist with both palms, and finally pressing the mixture on my face. Patting with the palms is also quite a common extension to pressing.

Tapping: good for eye cream and gel
This method is quite similar to patting except that you don’t need to use all your fingers. I call this method the piano tap. Usually, one or two fingers are involved and they are usually the third and/or forth finger.

The idea behind tapping on your skin care is that it helps to apply products to delicate areas—like around your eye area. We don’t want to stretch or pull the delicate skin around that area, do we?

Anyway, most eye cream come with the instruction to use your ring finger to tap on your eye product because it exerts the weakest pressure but I’m actually more comfortable using my middle finger instead. In fact, I’ve tried both fingers and do not sense a noticeable difference in the pressure.

Usually, I begin by dotting a small amount of eye gel at the outer corner under my eyes with my middle finger. Then I tap the gel around my eyes until all of the eye gel or cream are fully absorbed.

Rubbing: good for cleanser and most products
This is probably the most common way to apply your facial products. Usually you use this method when cleansing your face by rubbing your face with the cleanser in small circles.

Many women also rub in their moisturizer or sunscreen that almost doubles up as a short facial massage. Some also use this with facial oil.

Other than cleansing, I also this method when I first apply my lotion or serum. It’s easier to spread on before patting the lotion and serum onto my face. I rub less with my face cream and oil as those are not as easy to spread. Also, rubbing causes me to use more product as the natural tendency is to keep the face well moistened or lubricated.

So if you use this method, make sure you use sufficient product to minimize unnecessary skin pulling.

Fisting: good for serum concentrate and ampoules
I bet not many of you have come across this method. This is the unique K-beauty tip of applying face serum that I mentioned earlier. It’s said to be great if you want the product to penetrate the skin better.

Personally, I think it helps with absorption but I’m can’t vouch that the penetration is any better than patting. But I like the novelty of the idea. The first step you do is to apply the product on your face. Next, tighten your hands into fists and begin rubbing on your face using small, circular movements.

While this method can be used to apply serum or essence, I only use this method when I apply my Odacite serum concentrate as I don’t want the concentrate to sit on top of my lotion.

I think the strength exerted on my face using this fisting method is quite strong so I’m not in favor of using it all over my face too–I use it around my cheeks only. In fact, expect your skin to redden but it’s only temporary. If you have sensitive skin, this method might not be suitable for you.

But I think this is a great method to apply products on the neck though because the strength from your fists can help pull some of the muscles upwards.

A mix of different methods
You may also like to know is that the success of using a skincare product is actually in how we apply the product. You may be using the best product, but if you’re not applying it correctly, you may not get the best results. So always read the instructions that come with the product and follow them to get optimal performance.

Another point to highlight is that if you are using two different serums, it’s good to let the first be fully absorbed before applying the second. Pat or tap all you want, just give your products some time between each other.

Anyway, applying skin care products isn’t always so clear cut. Usually, it’s a mix of different methods. And after awhile, the routine becomes so ingrained, you are likely to be less conscious of what you are doing with your hands. Perhaps reading this post will help you rethink the way you are applying your products.

So tell me: how do you usually apply your facial care products? Have you heard of the fisting method? Is it something you will try? Or do you have a new, unheard method that you can share?


  1. Morgan says:

    This is really interesting! Who knew there were so many ways to put on your skincare products! Sounds like there’s a technique that works for every type of skin!

  2. Sesame says:

    Yes, indeed…

  3. Alaysia Butler says:

    This is really great post and well informative about face care tips. I always like to use the skin products. After using “Annimateo” products I feel instantly freshness in my skin. Believe me, it’s most effective and I try to follow your tips. Thank you, keep blogging

  4. Dr. Racanelli says:

    I honestly had no idea that different methods were better for applying certain kinds of lotions/etc… I’ve just been rubbing everything on this whole time! Clearly I need to step my up skin care application game ?
    Dr. Racanelli last post is: Enhance Your Aesthetic Appeal with Liposuction in Brooklyn

  5. Meenal says:

    Fisting is really new for me as usually i apply lotion and rub it slowly and smoothly. I will surely try it at home today. Thanks

  6. Adrienne says:

    I appreciate your post, and these tips are very useful. i never know that many ways to use skin care products. i usually apply sugar scrub its would helps easy to rid out all the dirt.

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  9. Ayurskins-the beauty store says:

    I have been using many Korean face cream that’s really very good products, this post really very amazing- thank you for sharing.

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  11. Fourseasonslasercenter says:

    Koreans are known for their skin. Rubbing is what I usually do. Thanks for sharing the other techniques when applying.

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