The patch test is often a sidelined part of beauty routines. We’re so excited to get our mitts on our fun new makeup and supercharged serums we rush right in without a breath of caution. But here’s why you should always patch test. Starting from right now.
A simple, effective patch test makes sure your skin and the product agree. That you can apply it safely and liberally without worry. And that you can dodge any irritation or unwanted flare ups.
Why Patch Testing Is Important
Your skin is incredibly unique to you and therefore the way your skin reacts to a product is wildly different to how your sister/bestie or that Youtuber you adore’s skin will react. It’s worth your time to make sure everything in your routine, skin care and makeup agrees with your skin. Saving you from a bigger reaction down the track.
How To Patch Test
- Pick a time and area to do your patch test. No big events the next day just in case and choose an area concealable to be extra cautious. The skin on your face/neck is more reactive than that of your extremities, so it’s worthwhile picking a spot that’s as responsive. For me? The little area where your neck and your ear meet is perfect, where if something goes awry I have my hair to cover it. Behind your ear, under your jaw work too, as well as your forearm if you don’t want to take it anywhere near your face just yet.
- Apply a tiny amount of the product to freshly cleansed skin as directed on the label. Don’t slather it on to start, take it slow and be patient. For skin care that would be a drop or pump spread into skin evenly, for makeup a dab or two blended down. You want to do your best to recreate what it’d be like to actually use it in your routine, albeit on a smaller scale. That way, you can mitigate any surprise bumps or inflammation from allergic reactions.
- Set a timer and keep an eye on how your skin reacts. Things to watch out for include any sensation or irritation when you’re applying the product (by way of skin changing color to a purple-y or red, heat, itching, stinging, burning etc.). If this happens, wash it off stat. That product has not passed the patch test bar. If you don’t, leave it on and take note of how your skin goes over the next 24 hours.
- The last step now they’ve passed the test? ENJOY! You can slather and integrate these new picks with the comfort of knowing they’ll work for your skin. For makeup that means go forth adding it into your daily makeup routine, but for skincare we’d recommend curbing that to one product at a time - so you can tell if it’s making a difference to your skin over the next few weeks or just feels good.
I Have Acne-Prone/Mature/Sensitive/Normal or Combo Skin, Should I Patch Test Too?
Yes! Please do. Where sensitive skin folx are accustomed to the patch before play method, doesn’t mean if you have another skin type you can forgo the patch test altogether. You never know how your skin will react. Even if you’re familiar with ingredients that aggravate your skin, it could be a different form or type in any given formula - so it’s worth your while to patch first. Always.
For the extra sensitive, patch test on your arm first. That way if an adverse reaction does arise, you can wear your favorite sweater to cover it up, not stress over the rash climbing up your neck.