The 5 Scientific Reasons Why You Should Pat & Not Rub In Moisturiser On Your Face

In 3 Steps of Skincare, Skincare hint's & tip's by Cheryl WooodmanLeave a Comment

Dabb-dabb, tap-tap, pat-pat, rub-rub, Morse code anyone? Today we are talking Which is the best Morse code of communication with your skin? Should you be tapping, dabbing or rubbing in that moisturiser? Which way makes all the juicy goodness, sink into skin better?

How do you put moisturiser on your face? Have you thought about which is the BEST way? Which makes skin soak it UP best? Are you a dabber, a patter or a rubber? We talk WHICH is best...

First of all, if all this Morse code is a little confusing let’s talk about the different ways you can apply moisturiser to your face.

Method 1. The Dab or Pat. This is when you take some skin loving moisturiser in your hands, maybe warming it up a little and pat your face like you were patting a dog… but maybe a little lighter depending on how big your dog is!

PRO-TIP: Warming up moisturiser in your hands before patting it onto your face is an awesome way to get it sinking into skin faster. Heat pretty much makes anything happen faster! Think of this like ‘melting’ the moisturiser into your skin. #TrustTheScience.

Method 2. The Rub. If we were to moisturise without thinking about it, this would be auto-pilot, default way of facial and skin moisturising. Hell, even chicken marination we are taught requires a good rubbing. By taking the moisturiser in our hands we do the ‘warming-up’ bit against our skin as we rub our faces like Aladdin rubs his lamp!

Method 3. The Tap. Pretty similar to method 1’s dab and pat, but this is half way between that dab or pat and a slap. #BitchNo. Basically imagine you have a pony sized dog when gentle patting just won’t cut it and they need a good tapping to feel your love! This has the benefit of increasing blood flow in your face, which in turn makes skin happy and warmer, which helps to sink in that cream.

PRO-TIP: Boosting circulation in skin is a really good thing, blood carries ‘food’ everywhere in the body. If part of our body has no blood to feed it, then it dies. Tapping skin is a bit like skin exercise without the sweating part. If you have super sensitive skin be careful with the skin tapping!

For me, and for these 5 scientific reasons dabbing or patting is the best way to apply your facial moisturiser and here are all the reasons why you should dab or pat and not rub.

1. Dabbing In Moisturiser Is Less Irritating For Skin

Dabbing a moisturiser on your face is a super gentle and non-irritating way of moisturising. This is like a cushion for your skin and is already the most widely used way to put cream or serum on around the eyes. The reason for that is because it is much less aggressive way of moisturising, and that eye skin is crazy thin, that’s why you can get dark circles under eye – caused by being able to see through the skin.

Skin can be a like a memory foam mattress, especially as it gets a little older. That is why rubbing at your eyes, even in the morning when you’re trying to peel those lids open and let the light of day filter in, is going to give you wrinkles. If you dab moisturiser instead of rub it in, then you aren’t pulling skin into any strange positions it might decide one day to stay in. #IfTheWindChangesYourFaceWillStayLikeThat #WHAT?

*Have you been attacked by a gorilla in a man’s body?* Also known as the ‘sandpaper’ rub. It’s that strange in-between phase all men go through from day 2 sexy stubble all the way to before it turns into a soft beardy garden. Being kissed by post day 2 stubble leaves you with a prickly facial rash. This is skin irritation and another show of why dabbing is better than rubbing.

2. Dabbing or Patting Is Great for Eye & Other Thin Skin Areas

Dabbing has to be THE way to apply moisturiser to the eye area. Skin here is anywhere from as thin as 0.5mm. That’s pretty much like a piece of cellophane, stretchy but super thin and if you stretch it too much, it stays that way. Dabbing leaves the stretchy skills to the Clingfilm and gives your skin (not JUST the eyes) the ‘care’ it deserves.

3. Skin Gets to Drink Up – Dabbing or Patting Gives Skin A Concentrated Dose

Lovely, let me take you back to the last time you marinated a chicken. Did you end up marinating your hands too? Did you have to run to the sink before someone decided your hands looked as tasty as that chicken? You are just too tasty anyway without marinade all over *wink wink*.

When you rub with your hands, you’re kinda making your face compete for moisturiser with your hands. When you dab, you leave nice little micro-mountains of moisturiser for your skin to drink up. Rubbing could be likened to force feeding, whereas dabbing and patting give skin a nice natural way to drink-up!

Some moisturisers need time to sink in, especially a lot of ‘barrier’ type creams. Rubbing at these will just rub them off.

4. More Of It Gets Into Your Skin Rather Than Rubbed Into Your Hands

Let’s not get our hands all competitive with our faces ‘ey! This is also the battle in the quest for perfect foundation application. If you rub too much, you end up rubbing it all off your face and onto or into your hands #Opps, then you have to start all over again. Really the perfect moisturising solution would be to ‘face-plant’ your head into a pot of cream and take the hands outta the equation all together. While that is not realistically achievable a dab or pat works to take your hands outta the drink-up race. #SmilesAllRound.

5. Dabbing Or Tapping Pushes Moisturiser ‘IN’ Rather than Rubbing It Out

When we are having a multi-tasking moment of impatient #WhoIsnt, there ain’t no time to wait for things to happen, the kettle to boil, the toast to brown and the moisturiser to sink in. That’s the moment when we start to rub our faces like we WERE Aladdin’s lamp. Thing is rubbing too much, just rubs the cream out. Think of a new pair of denim jeans with that ‘dye may transfer’ warning. Rubbing against something else, means there’s more chance of it ending up on that, than on your face. Like the accidental mascara wand trail on skin or sneeze right after we applied fresh and still wet mascara #doh!, we ‘rub’ at that to remove it, you’d be there all day trying to ‘pat’ it out!

Because we can’t go ‘hands-free’ when applying moisturiser, some is going to stay on and go into our hands, but that’s just like free treatment for our hands ‘ey, they love it! Dabbing just makes sure that the face gets the biggest dose.


There you have it lovelies. The 5 reasons why you should be dapping or patting moisturiser into your skin rather than rubbing it in. These are especially true if you have sensitive skin that is prone to rashes, breakouts and redness. Morse code #FiguredOut!


Are you a Dabber or a Rubber? Come leave me your questions in the comments below…