You could slather your feet with face cream. While we’re on the subject, you’ll find some great options here. You could also use eye cream on your knees, hands, and elbows, or wash your hair with cleanser. Again, more fantastic formulas to be found here and here. Technically, you could do all of these things–but should you ignore where labels direct you to apply serums, lotions, oils, or creams? The answer is: not really; there’s often a good reason why labels include instructions for how to use a particular product in a particular way.
More than just a breezy recommendation, the prescribed usage for beauty products (including skincare, haircare, and bodycare) is intended as a clear directive so specific benefits can be reaped, key goals can be reached, and potential irritation avoided. Take a blemish treatment, for example: common sense should deter you from applying it to the eye area. The same goes for other formulations, too.
“Our skin is our largest organ and also our greatest defense, and it varies greatly in density and sensitivity,” explains Youth To The People’s AVP of Product Development, Laura Cline. “The skin on our face, lips, and eyelids is the thinnest and most sensitive, while our palms and the soles of our feet have thicker skin to help protect us. That means chemists intentionally create products with different levels of raw materials, occlusive agents, and other active ingredients for the face versus anywhere else on the body.”
Another example of why something like body butter shouldn’t be used as face cream in a pinch is fragrance. Body products with fragrance tend to use more than a facial product to provide a sensorial experience that carries on throughout the day. We suggest avoiding higher fragrance products on our near your face whenever possible.
“You want to use formulations where they were created and tested for,” reiterates Cline, adding that “skin goals are less likely to be achieved by a cream applied other than where it is intended.”
There are a slew of mutually beneficial ingredients, though. “Hyaluronic a cid, niacinamide, antioxidants, omegas, jojoba, even retinal are all wonderful for skin on the face and the body, so long as the percentage is right,” says Cline, and the ideal percentage depends for where on the body the product is formulated. “Exfoliation is another example, formulas for the body typically require larger granules or a higher level of acid to help slough away dry skin or stubborn calluses and aid in cell turnover.”
As a rule of thumb, Cline recommends adopting the following approach when it comes to applying skincare: “If it’s formulated for your face, bring it all the way down to your chest. And if it’s formulated for your body, don’t bring it above your decolletage.”