How Long Should You Wait Between Applying Skin-Care Products?

If you love skin care as much as we do, or you just want to get the most out of the products in your beauty arsenal, you've probably wondered once or twice about the timing of your routine. Especially with the ever-increasing number of steps in today's trending skin-care routines, it's a valid question. To maximize the efficacy of each product (moisturizer, serum, oil, sunscreen, etc.), do you need to wait a certain amount of time in between applying each one? You've already got the correct layering order down, but should you apply your products immediately after one another, or give each one some time to soak in?



The skin is very good at absorbing multiple products at once, but there are certain exceptions to the 30-to-60-second rule: sunscreen and acne treatments. When sunscreen is mixed with other products, it becomes diluted and less effective.  Because of this, and because it's your last layer of defense against UV rays, you always want to apply sunscreen as your very last step, after all your other skin-care products have had at least a minute to penetrate and dry. Post SPF-application, before reaching for your makeup, you'll want to also wait a couple of minutes to ensure that the sunscreen is properly absorbed.Prescription topical medications, such as acne medications, [which] need to be fully absorbed before other products are applied on top for maximal efficacy. With acne treatments, you need to "let the active ingredients sit for a minute before applying creams over them.


 Though the type and quality of your skin-care products can affect absorption rates, the best general rule is to wait until each product feels dry before moving on to the next one. Moreover, all of the experts agree that the layering order in which you're applying products is more important than timing. We want to layer starting with the smallest molecule and gradually get larger.  A good rule of thumb is to start with the lightest product and finish with the thickest, allowing each layer to be fully absorbed by the skin.  In case you need a layering refresher, check out our guide below