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How Long Should You Wait In Between Skin Care Products

September 14, 2021 2 min read

How Long Should You Wait In Between Skin Care Products

We all know there’s a specific order to apply skincare products for the best effectiveness. But when you think about it, not only how we apply our products matters, but how long we wait in between also matters. After all, each product needs time to absorb. So, how long should you wait between applying skin care products in your daily skincare routine?

There’s no scientifically correct answer to this question. It depends based on your product’s formulation and quality. There’s no evidence to suggest that waiting a specific amount of time to layer products helps with absorption or effectiveness.

Instead of relying on a specific length of time, it may be better to go by how the product feels on your skin. The product should settle into your skin before you apply the next product. You want to avoid the products pilling and rolling onto each other. Each product will vary slightly in how long that time will be.

Acne Treatments

Topical treatments for acne, such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, need a minute to sink into the skin to allow the active ingredients to work effectively. Follow the packaging directions as well – some products might need longer to sink in.


High quality retinols will absorb into the skin quickly, so there’s not really any need to wait before layering on your next product. By the time you’ve massaged the product into your skin, it will be effective.

Serums & Moisturizers

Serums and moisturizers can use a minute or so to absorb deeply into your skin. The higher the quality, the less time each product should take to absorb. Because they’re thicker, moisturizers and eye creams will most likely take longer to absorb than serums.


Sunscreen needs more time to penetrate into the skin. It can easily become diluted and less effective, so it’s important to apply last in your skincare routine. Before you apply your sunscreen, let your other skincare dry down for a minute. Once you’ve applied your SPF, be sure to let that dry a minute as well.