Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Do You Need to Wait In-Between Applying Skincare Products? July 4, 2011

Should your morning or evening skincare routine be a waiting game?  Is there really a need to wait a certain period of time between applying your skincare products?

The answer is both yes and no.

Yes, you need to wait

Why?  First off, if the product itself in its instructions tells you to wait after applying it and before applying another product I would follow those instructions.  For instance, once I had a face primer that said to wait about 10 or 15 minutes after application before applying your make-up.  It took that long for the product to be absorbed.  It also was really annoying, and I ended up giving the product away.  So most of the time when a product’s instructions tell you to wait before applying anything else it is usually because that product needs to fully absorb into the skin and applying anything on top of it would hinder that absorption.  If that absorption doesn’t happen the next products you apply won’t go on as you want them to.  Products can even flake or roll of the skin.  Or if you apply a wet product on skin that is already damp or wet from a previous product you could end up with a big mess. 

Another reason for waiting in-between applying skincare products can be for comfort.  I’ll explain.  It could be that if you apply one product on top of another quickly you could experience uncomfortable tingling.  If you do experience tingling after applying skincare products one on top of the other quickly than apply one at a time and take a moment to do another activity in-between applying each product – such as brushing your teeth, putting in your contacts, getting dressed, etc.  It can be frustrating to have to apply your products piece meal but if the end result is comfortable and beautiful then it is worth it.

No, you don’t need to wait

If you use skincare products that absorb quickly into your skin then just go ahead and apply them one on top of the other without waiting.  As long as you don’t experience any discomfort and have any bad side effects like product pilling or rolling off your face than go ahead and apply quickly.


A few general skincare product application tips:


  • Apply the products with the thinnest consistency first, like serums, before moisturizers and creams.
  • Apply products with the least amount of color before those with more color.
  • Apply skincare treatment products, like antioxidant serums or retinols, directly to your skin after cleansing, then moisturizer, sunscreen, and finally your make-up.


For more skincare product application tips see Allure‘s article about how to best apply skincare products.  Or check out Paula Begoun’s advice on the same subject.


2 Responses to “Do You Need to Wait In-Between Applying Skincare Products?”

  1. Pam Says:

    I am almost always rushing in the morning. Is there anything against mixing products that don’t have highly active ingredients? The other day, I mixed my hyrdating serum, spf lotion, and tinted spf (w/o moisturizer) in my palm before applying all over my face. I find that this cuts down on the amount of each product used, thins out spf moisturizers, and reduces rolling. What are your thoughts?

    • You’ve made a great point! You definitely can mix skincare products together that don’t have highly interactive ingredients. That’s a great suggestions. And who isn’t rushing in the morning, right?

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