Follow The Instructions: Why The Directions On Your Favorite Products Matter

September 04, 2018
By: Jackie Burns Brisman | by L'Oréal
Follow The Instructions: Why The Directions On Your Favorite Products Matter

From a young age we’re taught to follow the rules. And while some rules are made to be broken—why yes you can wear white after Labor Day—others are made for good reason. Case-in-point? The instructions on your favorite skin care products. Think that 5-minute mask can be left on for 15? Think again. To find out why the directions of your beauty products matter, we turned to board-certified dermatologist and consultant, Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali.

If you recently bought a new skin care product and have found that after using it for some time you aren’t thrilled with the result, make sure you’re following the directions. “Generally [the instructions] have to do with absorption and penetration,” Bhanusali explains, saying that if you don’t follow the directions the formula may not work the way it was intended. With that said, here are some rules to keep in mind:

Rule 1: If the products says to apply to clean skin, don’t think you can get away with not cleansing. You may run the risk of trapping makeup, dirt, and other impurities underneath the product which can wreak havoc on your complexion.

Rule 2: If the product directs you to use it no more than a certain number of times per day or week, using it more often isn’t going to make it more effective, it just may lead to problems. Take, for instance, spot treatments for breakouts. Sure you may think that applying that formula with salicylic acid as many times as you can will help make that pimple appear to go away faster, but what you’re most likely doing is drying out your skin. One to three times daily means one to three times daily!

Rule 3: If your face mask is supposed to be used for five minutes, for the love of all things skin care don’t leave it on for ten! “Many masks have alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids which are great for improving the look of the skin while providing great exfoliation,” Dr. Bhanusali says. “But, if left on too long, they could potentially lead to issues like discomfort and dryness.”

Rule 4: Some cleansers work best when applied to dry skin, while others may need water to work. If you want to get the best results, you’ll want to follow the directions. Take, for instance, cleansers with certain alpha-hydroxy acids. While your initial instinct may be to wet your face and lather up, depending on the formula you may be wrong. Always check the directions to see if you should apply to wet or dry skin before your start if you want to see the intended benefits of the formula.

Lesson learned? If you want the most bang for your buck when you shell out that hard-earned cash on beauty products, be sure you’re following the directions! 

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