How Long Should You Wait Before Applying The 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:

What Are The Benefits Of Waiting In Between Steps?

Before we dive into how long you should wait before applying the next skincare product, let’s see what happens if you just put your lotions and potions on without even a second’s break in between.

Dr Kaywaan Khan, medical doctor and aesthetician at Hannah London Medispa explains: “Risks of not leaving sufficient time for each product to absorb include pilling (when flaky balls form on the face) and dilution of the products used.”

Let’s unpack that. 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.

“This means the product is not being absorbed into the skin. It’s not only a waste of good product, but it also means the benefits of your skincare routine aren’t being delivered,” warns Dr Ioannis Liakas, Medical Director at Vie Aesthetics.

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 (and that includes applying makeup). 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. Wait at least 15 minutes after application before you do your makeup.

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