How to Use Serum Correctly In Any Skincare Routine

Share this:

Getting a good serum is the first step on your path to your perfect skincare goal. Knowing how to use serum properly is the other step. Maintainance and consistency make up the rest.

After your exciting and informed market search, you get your choice of product in a wholesome bottle that seems made for you. What comes next? Applying it the right way. If you’re thinking anything would do- you are so far from it.

Applying the serum is not a complicated technique, but you certainly need this hack to perfect your skincare routine to get you the skin goal you have set for yourself. Furthermore, using the right serum product at the right stage would put your skin in a great cycle.

Consequently, you have to know how to use serum properly. To help with this, I have simple hacks on how to apply serum effectively, whether for the face or hair or even as a safe skin application.

How to Use Serum on Face

1. Cleanse

This is the first stage in any routine. Starting with a good cleanser preps your skin. A cleanser works to remove makeup residue, dirt, or excess oil on the skin. Furthermore, a cleanser refreshes your pores, keeping them open.

If you do not cleanse, you are keeping your skin clogged. After all, not all grime and residue can be cleared off with water and soap. You need the extra hand and a cleanser does just that.

2. Exfoliate

This is optional or recurring. However, if exfoliation is necessary, get the dead skin cell out of your skin. Exfoliation helps to renew your skin by sloughing off dead and old skin still attached to your pores. It also helps to free up your skin pores from lingering dirt and bacteria.

Exfoliation can be with a mechanical exfoliator like scrubs, or a chemical exfoliator like peels. In addition, you can choose to wash off the exfoliator or leave it in, depending on the guide from the manufacturer.

3. Apply Toner

This comes in after cleansing and exfoliating or cleansing alone. A toner preps your skin and provides quick hydration or smoothening on the face. It is usually left on the face after applying. As a result, it is lightweight.

Furthermore, toner sets your skin. It keeps it open for other products to come.

4. Apply Serum

Toner is like a forerunner, it lays the red carpet for your serum- the main dish. While most people apply their serum the same way they apply other skincare products on the face, it should be done properly.

When applying serum, rather than use a cotton pad or scrub away on your face, you lightly tap. The following simple steps should help improve how you apply a serum to your face:

  • With a dropper or applicator, drop 3-4 pea-sized amounts of serum on your cheeks forehead, and neck.
  • Then with clean hands, massage the serum droplets in a circular motion into your face.
  • Move from your cheeks to your forehead then your neck.
  • Spread the serum to every part of your face and neck, avoiding your sensitive eye area.
  • Leave the serum to penetrate your skin. This takes about 2-3 minutes.
  • Once you feel your skin is a bit dry, move on to the next product.

Always remember to apply ample but not too much serum on your face. The trick is to get enough to lightly coat your face and neck.

5. Layer Your Eye Cream

This is also optional. Use your eye cream if you spot extra bags or dark circles or the age signs creeping on the sides of your eyes even without crinkling.

To apply your eye cream, use two fingers to lightly dab a pea-sized amount of eye cream on your under-eye area. Then gently dab on your eyelids too. Avoid irritating your eyes by not placing a product close to it.  

5. Apply Moisturizer

Your serum should not replace a moisturizer. After successfully applying your serum move to your moisturizer to provide nutrients and coated moisture to protect the beneficial components in your pores.

A moisturizer does more than hydrate. It moisturizes, protects, and shields the skin from aging-causing aggressors such as free radicals.

When it comes to a moisturizer, two pumps or a small scoop is enough. And with your hands, apply the moisturizer on your face, firmly massaging the formula into your skin however you want.

The pressure lets the moisturizer sink faster into your pores. However, do not aggressively massage your face.

6. Finish up With Sunscreen

This is the last step in your skincare. Before getting ready for the day, slab a good amount of sunscreen on your face. Even if you are indoors, apply your sunscreen. The cream protects your skin from direct or indirect contact with UVA/UVB rays.

Pick a sunscreen that has a broad-spectrum of SPF 30 or higher. In addition, maintain protected skin by applying sunscreen every two hours, especially if you are active under the sun.

How to Use Serum on Body

Body serums like any other type of serum provide targeted treatment for particular skin problems. When it comes to using body serums, rather than focusing on your face, your body is the recipient of this treatment.

To use your body serum properly, follow the steps below:

  • Cleanse and wash your body. Dry lightly, leaving damp skin.
  • Pump out an ample amount of body serum into your hands.
  • Rub your hands together before dabbing the serum on your skin. Rub the serum over your body, including your back.
  • Apply the serum as you would your lotion or body moisturizer.
  • Let the serum sip into your skin before applying your lotion.

How to Use Serum at Night

You can also use a serum at night. It can be a normal serum to be used in your morning and nighttime routine or a night serum designed only for nighttime use. Whatever the serum type, you can also apply serums at night.

To use your serum at night, you can follow the same steps in your regular or morning routine except skip some steps like sunscreen. That is, cleanse-exfoliate-tone-apply serum-eye cream-moisturize.

If you exfoliated in your morning routine, you can skip it in your nighttime routine. In addition, you can add some face oils to your nighttime routine if it permits, but it should be a face oil suited for your skin type and problem.

How to Use Serum Mask

Also called sheet masks, serum masks are the rave right now thanks to Korean beauty hacks. The sheets are cotton or paper parchments shaped like a face to provide hydrating, restorative, or other treatments to the skin.

The sheets are wet on one side (the side placed on the skin) and dry on the other (the outer layer). However, they are very adaptive and easy to use.

To use a serum mask, follow these simple steps:

  • Peel off the serum mask gently from the package.
  • Unwrap the mask; avoid touching the wet part with the serum.
  • Delicately place the wet part on your cleansed face, fitting the punctures and shapes on the designated parts.
  • Pat the serum mask on your face to fit. Leave the serum mask on your face for as long as required.

While you have the sheet on, you can take the moment to relax your nerves or listen to some music. Moreover, the absorbent sheet gets to work on your skin immediately, leaving you with a cool relaxing sensation in the process.

How to Use Serum for Hair

Hair serums help to shine, tone, straighten or define your curls. They are used for targeted hair treatment just like a skincare serum. However, if you do not apply the serum correctly, you could end up with a treatment that lasts for a short period.

To use your serum for hair:

  • Gently dampen your dry hair or dry your wet hair until it is damp.
  • Then apply 2-3 drops of serum on your hair strands or your palms.
  • With your palms, spread the serum evenly on your hair strands and roots if required. Be gentle as you work between your tresses.
  • Comb through your hair with a wide-toothed comb after applying serum on your hair strands.

Frequently Asked Questions

At what age should you start using serums?

In your twenties. You should start applying the serum for whatever skincare problems or issues you have in your twenties. This gives your skin an early start in renewing and maintaining a fresh texture.

How often should you apply a serum?

Twice a day. Apply your serum twice a day – morning and nighttime – to get a faster result.

However, use the serum as directed. If the serum works at a specific time due to its active ingredients sticking to it.

Does serum come before or after essence?

After essence. Essence is lighter than serums. And in the skincare application guide, you apply your products from light to heavy.

Moreover, essences have the same features as serums, although they are slightly more concentrated. Consequently, you would find most routines without them. Nonetheless, if you want to add essence to your routine, apply it before the serum.

Can you use a serum under makeup?

Yes, you can. You can apply your serum under your makeup. Serums allow you to layer makeup on your skin due to their fast-absorbing feature.

However, if your serum leaves a dewy finish to hydrate your skin longer, you should go for lightweight makeup. On the other hand, use a primer before applying your makeup. This separates your makeup from the skincare products underneath it.


When it comes to applying serums, a good technique is necessary in achieving your desired result. You must remember that you move from light products to heavier products. As a result, your serum is often between the cleansers and the creams.

It’s function in your skincare is essential, which means getting it right should be your topmost priority, as with other skincare products.

When you know how to use this product in whatever routine before you, you will get the best result. So apply your serum in the best way possible today.

Thanks for reading.

Serum101 provides relevant skincare answers to improve your skincare routines.