The Skin Care Timeline: The Expert’s Guide

There are many questions about a proper skincare routine. From the number of products that you need to apply, to the right skincare order and amount. While we have already debunked some of these doubts, we still have one question popping up every time. Have you ever wondered how long we should be spending on each step, and how long to wait between? You will learn now. 

Photo by Greta Hoffman :


Morning Skin Care Routine

The morning skincare routine is very important for overall healthy-looking skin. What many people don’t know is that keeping the right order when applying your skincare products is crucial. Besides, you should also leave some time between applications so your products can penetrate well. This is especially important when you use products with active ingredients, such as serums and boosters.


You should spend from 30 seconds to even a minute washing your face. Make sure to massage the cleanser really well and to be assured your face is well-cleansed. Concentrate on your T-zone or other places where your skin is mostly oily. You can rinse the face immediately after you are done unless there are some active ingredients (AHAs, BHAs).

Wait For: Wait for the skin to completely dry. However, if you intend to use a toner that contains hyaluronic acid, you can actually leave the face a bit damp. 


Applying a toner takes approx 30 seconds. You don’t need to rush. Make sure that you have covered every part of your face with a cotton pad. 

Wait For: Some toners still contain alcohol. If that is the case with yours, then your face will be dry immediately. 


The step of applying serum should take around 30 seconds at least. Most serums are watery, so you can take the time to nicely tap them into the skin. 

Wait For: Since the next step are eyes, you can go right to it. No need to wait for the serum to dry. 

Eye Cream

Under eye area is very delicate and can easily become irritated. That says you should take around 30 seconds to apply an eye cream. Do it gently, by using your ring fingertips. 

Wait For: The next step is a spot treatment, so you can skip the waiting time. Since you shouldn’t apply this type of product under the eyes, you can apply it immediately after eye cream. 

Spot Treatment

Spot treatment is not a necessary skin care product, but some people tend to use it. It solves many different skin concerns, such as skin inflammation, redness, and acne. This step approximately takes 15 seconds to apply. 

Wait For: Here you want to give this product to penetrate and dry before applying the next product. Wait until it is dry completely to apply your moisturizer. 


One of the most important products of your skincare routine is moisturizer. Applying moisturizer takes from a minute to two minutes. Take your time and apply it everywhere on your face. Don’t forget the neck too.


Wait For: The moisturizer has to be absorbed completely before moving on to the next step, which is sunscreen. Wait for at least two minutes. 


Believe it or not, the last step of your skincare routine should take the longest. Take your time to apply sunscreen, on every exposed part of the face, neck, and the rest of the body. We are talking about at least two minutes of applying thoroughly. 

Wait For: At the end of your routine, you should wait for at least 10-15 minutes before applying makeup. This is especially important for sunscreen since makeup can disrupt it. 

Photo by Polina Kovaleva:


Evening Skin Care Routine

Naturally, the evening skincare routine will take a bit longer. Especially if you are adding peels or face masks into your routine. Since the skin is soaked in the dirt, pollution, and excess oil throughout the day, it is very important to clean it very well. These are the only steps that can be different from the daytime. 


Since there are many treatments, the only thing you should do is follow their instructions. Regardless if you are using peels, serums, acne, or even retinol, in this way you will avoid the damage. 

Wait For: It is important for treatments to be applied in good order and not one immediately after the other. 

Night Cream

This is the last step of your night routine. You can take some time to even use a jade roller or gua sha. Apply night cream all over your face and neck for about two minutes. 

Wait For: Dermatologists suggest you should wait for at least 10 minutes before putting your head on the pillow. That is how the products will stay on the face and not on the pillowcase. 

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