Essentially, it’s the same reason why you should only blot your skin with a towel post-cleanse: If you’re going to layer on humectants, it’s best to do so on damp skin. Humectants (like hyaluronic acid and glycerin) hydrate by pulling in water and holding it in your skin, helping it stay supple and dewy throughout the day. And as board-certified dermatologist Angelo Landriscina, M.D., once said: They’ll “have an easier time holding on to moisture if you’re providing it.” 

You don’t need to leave your face completely dripping post-shower—a nice veil of dewiness is all you need to help those humectants do their job. If your face is sopping wet, Lee likes to tap in the water with her palms before moving on with her routine: “I have an antioxidant mist that I spray immediately and let that fully absorb,” she also notes, as hydrating essences and sprays are great for re-moistening the skin.

It’s like performing a mini facial, right there in your bathroom: Cleanse your face (either before the shower or under the spray—it’s a hot debate among the skin care crew), let the shower steam help make the skin more permeable (just make sure the water isn’t too hot when it’s touching your skin), and be sure to leave your face glistening with moisture as you towel off. Spray on a hydrating essence or mist if you choose, apply your humectant serums, and layer a moisturizer or oil on top to keep all that moisture from evaporating into the air.