This may seem like a strange one, so the context is important. I am always asked about routines and the order of using products.
There are some things that make it onto packaging purely because NPD and marketing departments regurgitate the same advice time and time again, simply because it’s what they’ve done before.
Obviously the main culprit is on cleanser packaging, or in cleansing routines when it says that after cleansing, you ‘rinse off, then pat dry’.
If you’re soaking wet after a shower, you may want to lightly dry your face, mainly so you can see, but here’s the thing: in an ideal world, you want a damp face.
If you use your flannels and follow my routines, your skin will be damp once you’ve cleansed, you go from there straight to the next stage. Whether that’s acids or spritzs, no need to pat dry. A damp skin is a great skin to work on. Seal in the moisture with your following products.
There is one big exception: vitamin A.
Retinols, especially prescription strength ones, are applied to a dry skin after cleansing. I cleanse, remove it with a flannel, and leave my skin to air for a few minutes (usually enough time to make tea, not hours) before I apply the retinoid. Then I use whatever else I’m using on top.
Patting the skin dry is not necessary. Damp dry is good.
Go straight in.