How Long Should You Wait Before Applying The Next Skincare Product?

by Gio
how long to wait before applying next skincare product

How long should you wait before applying the next skincare product?

If you’re anything like me, you put them on one after the other without giving them time to settle. Isn’t that how everyone does it?

But then you go on Reddit and someone mentions to wait 5 minutes between each product. “No, wait, 10 minutes is better,” someone else chimes in.

If you were to take this advice, it’d take you an hour to do a 5 step routine. Who has all this time to waste in the morning?!

Fret not, you don’t need to wait that long. Phew! Here’s how long you really need to wait in between skincare products:

Do You Really Need To Wait Before Applying The Next Skincare Product?

You don’t have to, but it helps. Here’s what I mean…

There’s no scientific evidence that waiting in-between products helps them better penetrate the skin or in any way makes them more effective.

If someone tells you this, ask them to back up the claim with research. Chances are, they don’t have it (but if they do, I’d love to see it).

But, waiting a little in between products may still be a good idea. Some products have annoying textures that roll up if you apply them straight one after the other.

This is called pilling and it usually happens when you’re layering a product high in water with one high in oil or you’re using creams high in silicones.

If that happens, waiting a few minutes in between application usually resolves the issue. Or, you can just use the products at separate times.

Related: How To Deal With Pilling


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How Long Should You Wait Before You Apply The Next Skincare Product?

Good news is, you don’t need to wait 5 minutes. Phew!

As a rule, you only need to wait until one product has been fully absorbed by the skin before applying the next.

That means, there really is no set amount of time to wait. It depends on the products you use and the amount you apply. The thicker the texture and the more you apply, the longer you have to wait.

When skin is dry again, that’s when you know you can go ahead and use the next product.

If your skin is still a little tacky, it means the product hasn’t been fully absorbed, yet. Better wait a little, especially if you know one of the products is prone to pilling.

By the way, if it takes more than one minute for any skincare product to fully sink in, it simply means you’ve used too much. Just apply less next time.

Related: How Much Of Each Skincare Product Do You Really Need To Apply?

The Exception To The Rule

Every rule has its exception, right? This one is sunscreen.

Here’s the deal: to get adequate sun protection, your sunscreen must form an even layer all over your skin. This takes time. Around 15-20 minutes, to be precise.

If you apply your foundation (or anything else, for that matter) straight after sunscreen without giving it time to settle, you’ll be rubbing some of the sunscreen off. Don’t do it!

It doesn’t matter if your sunscreen sinks in after a couple of minutes and your skin feels dry to you. You still need to wait 15 minutes at least before touching it. No exception here!

Related: How To Apply Foundation Without Messing Up Your Sunscreen

The Bottom Line

You don’t have to wait 10 minutes in between skincare products. Just wait until one product has fully absorbed before applying the next. The only exception is sunscreen. Don’t mess around with that.

How long do you wait before applying the next skincare product? Let me know in the comments below.

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16 comments

Vonvon August 2, 2011 - 3:34 pm

Normally,i wouldn’t count the time. As long as I feel my skin is already ‘dry’, then I’ll proceed to the next one.

beautifulwithbrains August 2, 2011 - 6:00 pm

Vonvon, I agree with you. I don’t think there is an exact waiting time. As soon as skin is dry, you can apply the next product. πŸ™‚

Amy August 2, 2011 - 9:24 pm

Thank you so much for this post! I’ve always wondered what the rule of thumb is, but it sounds like I’ve been following it, so that’s a relief!

beautifulwithbrains August 3, 2011 - 6:27 am

Amy, you’re welcome. I’m glad you found this post useful and that you’ve been doing it right. πŸ™‚

Ling August 3, 2011 - 12:54 am

Sometimes I get so ultra-lazy that I don’t wait till it dries fully and I slap on the next. But thanks for this great post! I shall try and be better πŸ˜›

beautifulwithbrains August 3, 2011 - 6:21 am

Ling, you’re welcome. I know it can be annoying to wait until skin is fully dry, especially when you’re very tired, but you risk to compromise the efficacy of a product if you don’t. πŸ™ If it’s taking too long, you may have used too much product though so you can try to apply less next time. It’ll dry sooner and you’ll still have the same benefits. πŸ™‚

herroyalbleakness August 3, 2011 - 2:25 am

I wait for my face to dry up before putting on the next skincare product. πŸ™‚ It takes quite a while but it’s better to take more time than not maximize the effects of these bottles we’re using up!

beautifulwithbrains August 3, 2011 - 6:27 am

herroyalbleakness, I completely agree with you. πŸ™‚ If a product is taking more than a couple of minutes to sink it, you might be using too much though. You’ll have the same benefits if you apply less and those bottles will last longer (sunscreen is the only exception). πŸ™‚

Rachel August 4, 2011 - 11:37 pm

Professionally speaking, as long as you go thinnest to thickest an gel-est to creamiest, you’re doing okay. The reality is you want those products on your face while your skin is still most receptive to them and if you find yourself needing to wait a while then you can probably cut down on how much you’re slathering on. Thirty second should do, when I’m giving a fcaial the massaging in of the product takes no longer thn 60 seconds per product.

beautifulwithbrains August 5, 2011 - 6:54 pm

Rachel, thank you for your comment. I agree with you that if it’s taking too long, then you should just apply less product. It should really take less than a minute for a product to sink in.

Christie April 10, 2017 - 5:53 am

Hi, i usually wait less than a minute but i’m still confused as to how to tell when a product as fully sunk in. After applying moisturizer, I usually wait about 10 seconds (or less) before applying sunscreen. Is that too short of a time? After applying moisturizer and waiting a few seconds, when i use my fingers to touch my skin, there’s no product residue on my fingers and my skin feels soft and i guess you can feel that I did apply product but it’s not oily and there’s no residue left on fingers. Would u say that my moisturizer has already sunk in and I can continue to apply my sunscreen?

Gio April 10, 2017 - 6:58 pm

Christie, yes I’d say you can safely apply your moisturizer in this case.

Christie April 11, 2017 - 3:44 am

Hi, thanks for the reply! But did you mean sunsceen? Because I’m talking about how my finger doesn’t have product residue on my fingers but my skin feels like I did apply something on it after I apply moisturizer. ‘And am wondering whether it is alright to apply my sunscreen then. Thank you!

Gio April 21, 2017 - 8:26 pm

Christie, I think it’s ok but if you want to be on the safe side, you can apply sunscreen first and moisturizer later.

Ella December 8, 2018 - 12:12 am

If I wait my skin will dry out which is pretty bad for my oily skin as I wake up with it more oily in the morning and harder to work with

Gio December 9, 2018 - 8:45 am

Ella, if applying them quickly works better for you, go for it.

Comments are closed.