Girl applying moisturizer on her face and wondering how long she should keep it on

How long do you have to leave moisturizer on your face?

Moisturizing is a critical step in your skincare routine. It’s so important to do as soon after you cleanse your face as possible to seal hydration deep down in your skin and keep your face glowing with radiance.

Many women wonder how long you have to leave moisturizer on though, and honestly, that all depends on the moisturizer you use. There is no hard and fast answer for this simply because every product on the market is different. And you’ll be choosing one that suits your skin type (if you haven’t, you should!) so that you can get the best results.

Each brand of moisturizer also comes with different directions. You might be thinking, “Geez, it’s not hard to smear and slather my face with moisturizer.” Very true, but there is a special technique to employ so you get the best results.

We’ll get to that shortly, but knowing what the manufacturer of your selected moisturizer recommends is all a part of knowing how long you can leave moisturizer on your face.

It takes 10 to 15 minutes for moisturizer to get absorbed into your skin. While you can keep it on all day long, research suggests moisturizer will stay on your face for up to 8 hours, so you shouldn’t wash off your moisturizer to protect your skin from pollutants all the while keeping it hydrated. If you have to go outside, wear sunscreen for extra protection.

I usually use, La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen, which has an SPF of 60.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60
  • Water Resistant (Reapply every 80 minutes)
  • Broad Spectrum (UVA/UVB) Protection
  • Non-Comedogenic
View on Amazon

Why do you need to wear moisturizer as long as possible?

Again, it all depends on your moisturizer. Stride down any aisle in a beauty store or supermarket and you’ll be greeted with tons of options. The same is true online. You could be scrolling through products for hours.

Moisturizers are created to add moisture to your skin from the outside. You can have the world’s best moisturizer and that would only do so much if you lacked proper nutrition through fresh fruits, veggies, and plenty of water. It’s all about a well-rounded approach to better skincare. Moisturizers also prevent the dehydration of your skin from things you’re exposed to all day.

What things could be problematic for your skin retaining moisture throughout the day? If you sit in an air-conditioned office, that will suck the hydration out of your skin. Travel a lot by plane? That’s another one that will leave your skin feeling parched.

Let’s not forget that big, bright, shining star we call the sun up there. Even if you’re not working outside all day, there are periods of time you’re exposed to it. Think about those long drives to and from the office. It doesn’t matter if the weather is cold or cloudy. UVA and UVB rays are penetrating your exposed skin on your face and hands (and any parts that aren’t covered by clothing) while you sing your favorite songs out of key on the freeway.

In the case of daytime moisturizer formulas, you’ll want one that includes SPF protection in it. But again, that doesn’t mean you’re fully protected. Your moisturizer is serving many functions, one of which is to moisturize. If it’s an SPF formula, you may need to go beyond that if your daily sun exposure is more than 45 minutes. That means you’ll likely need to add sunscreen on top of your moisturizer to ensure you’re fully protected.

Staying out of the sun entirely is a bad idea too. Your body needs a healthy dose of sun exposure to create natural vitamin D. The last thing you need is the headache of health problems that come from a vitamin D deficiency. Covering your skin with a sunscreen allows you to get that exposure in the right doses without damaging your skin. You’ll need to be vigilant to reapply it throughout the day if you work outside or are spending time at the beach, pool, or park.

And then, there are moisturizer formulas designed for nighttime wear. Nighttime is the most important time for moisturizers because as you sleep, the cells in your body work to make repairs. With the right moisturizer for your skin type, you’ll want something that lasts all night to deliver continued hydration deep within your skin.

Can your moisturizer clog your pores?

Again, this all depends on your brand selection. When it comes to sunscreens and moisturizers that include SPF, you shouldn’t leave them on for longer than necessary. For example, when you return from the beach, pool, or your jog in the park, you should cleanse your skin thoroughly and then apply a different moisturizer (like your nighttime moisturizer for example) when you finish cleansing.

Many daytime formulas need to provide full coverage to enact that protection factor that you need from them. There are some non-comedogenic formulas though that can keep from clogging your pores. Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream by Peter Thomas Roth is one of them (check out current price on Amazon).

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench
  • Formulated with 30% Hyaluronic Acid
  • Up to 72 Hours of Hydration
  • Improves the Skin Texture & Appearance
View on Amazon

You can take a page from Korean skincare and do a double cleanse when removing sunscreen or daytime moisturizer formulations with SPF in them. If you use the right type of cleanser for your skin, something that doesn’t strip it while removing excess product, makeup, oils, debris, and impurities, you’ll be left with a clean slate.

So, in short, protecting your skin from the sun is essential. However, cleansing it without delay is also important. Don’t ever sleep with makeup, daytime SPF moisturizers, or sunscreen still on your face. Take the time to cleanse properly and then infuse skin with a proper nighttime moisturizer formula.

How long until your skin absorbs your moisturizer?

Another question many women want to know is how long it takes for skin to soak up moisturizer. This depends on what’s in the formulation you choose, but on average, it takes between 10 to 15 minutes. This is also why skincare experts always advise choosing quality because in higher-end moisturizers and skincare products, there is a major boost of important ingredients and absorption time.

You should be choosing moisturizers that include vitamins, antioxidants, and peptides because these ingredients have been shown to improve your skin. So in addition to selecting one designed specifically for your skin type, whether it’s normal, dry, combination, sensitive, or aging, you should check the labels to see what you’re smoothing onto your skin.

Vitamins like vitamins A, C, and E for example provide intense healing and anti-aging powers. But if you don’t wait long enough to let them absorb, they won’t do a thing for your skin.

You have to properly prepare skin before applying moisturizer which is why the cleansing step is so important. In both the morning and evening, you should have a strict skincare ritual that you follow to prime your skin for absorbing your nourishing moisturizer.

Every moisturizer has an emulsion base in which these star ingredients are delivered. You have to allow for these active ingredients to release from that base so that the skin can absorb it. It generally takes a few minutes. The rest of the moisturizer will be on the surface of your skin, protecting the moisture barrier and keeping skin hydrated. To get the most out of your moisturizer, you’ll have to do a thorough cleanse and then allow it to absorb into your skin without washing it off. This means you have to wait before you move on to your makeup routine.

But that’s only a general guideline. Peptides for example can last between 3 and 24 hours. And antioxidants are all water soluble, so they ease into the skin and body fairly quickly. With antioxidants though, they need to be delivered into your skin at the time that you’re exposing yourself to free radicals, so right before you head out in the sun. They’ll remain in your body between one and eight hours before you sweat them out.

Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C
  • Brightens & Plumps the Skin
  • 50 X more Powerful than Traditional Vitamin C
  • Reduces the Appearance of Fine Lines and Wrinkles
View on Amazon

In short, it all matters what active ingredients you’re trying to put into your skin. You should understand about the active ingredients in the moisturizer you choose as well as any other skincare product. Some are best for different skin types. For example, if your concern is fine lines and wrinkles, you’ll want to seek out formulas that tackle those problems and deliver real results. I personally use the Potent-C Bright & Plump Moisturizer by Peter Thomas Roth.

Why you should massage your skin gently to help it absorb moisturizer

Massage is a critical point for better skin all-around. You should be using gentle massaging motions when you’re using your cleansers as well as with your moisturizers, but the key is in the word “gentle.”

With a gentle massaging motion, you can encourage increased blood circulation. This helps the products you use work optimally. Using a gentle touch, you’ll have better skin. But if you press to hard, you can cause over-exfoliation. This leads to weakening of your skin’s barrier function, resulting in inflammation and leaving you prone to infections (both bacterial and fungal). Not exactly the picture of beauty you had in mind, huh?

That’s why you should apply very light pressure as you move your fingers in a soft, soothing, circular motion. It’s really relaxing too, but if you’re a bit freaked out about damaging the natural barrier, you can try something else to massage it.

They make some pretty fantastic facial massagers these days. Since ancient times, jade rollers were used to help increase circulation and relieve puffiness. They feel soothing and divine on puffy, tired skin. The release the lymphatic drainage in your skin, a very good thing for looking and feeling your absolute best.

We live in amazing times where you can find some pretty amazing products to help you with facial massage which will maximize the effectiveness of your moisturizers and help them penetrate. There are devices with nano-technology, eye massagers, rose quartz rollers, facial contour definers, and tons more. They make short work of massaging your skin and feel pretty good too.

Leaving your moisturizer on your face, you can use these massaging techniques to help coax those active ingredients into the skin, down to the deepest layers of your skin. This helps it absorb faster and more efficiently to the layers that need it most. Remember, wrinkles come about from years of making the same expressions and are revealed as you lose collagen with aging. By keeping the layers beneath supple and encouraging collagen production to keep on keeping on, you will prevent wrinkles before they can take hold.

Another benefit of massaging your face is that it will relax you. Most of us are so stressed out with all the things we have to do that it does a number on us from inside out. When we take the time to nurture our needs, we set the tone for the day. Get up a few minutes earlier to make your skincare routine a priority and include massage as you work in your moisturizer. You will soon see you start the day off more positively and it will impact everything you do.

Conclusion

Moisturizers are all created differently. They may all look and sound the same, but choosing one for your skin type and one that has quality ingredients in it will make all the difference in how long you should leave it on your skin, but as a rule of thumb it takes 10 to 15 minutes for moisturizers to absorb. Additionally, moisturizer formulas vary by day and nighttime formulas. It’s critical to have one of each to nourish your skin and again moisturizers will be effective for 8 hours.

Daytime requires a bit more thought because you have to be vigilant about sun protection. For minimal sun exposure, you’ll do fine with a moisturizer for daytime that include SPF in it. If you’ll be out in the sun for longer periods, you’d better apply sunscreen in addition to your moisturizer for ample protection.

Removing your daytime formula at the end of your day is essential for keeping skin looking refreshed and youthful. Take off that SPF and your makeup, ensuring you get a proper cleanse, then follow with a nighttime moisturizer and don’t wash it off. Nighttime formulas tend to be richer and tend to absorb into the skin in a controlled way to nourish and hydrate all night while you sleep.

Massaging your skin as you apply these products will bring even better benefits, though it’s important to be gentle to avoid damage. Following these tips will ensure you get the maximum from your moisturizer with every application!

Hajer

My name is Hajer and welcome to my site. This is my little haven, my outlet, where I can express myself, and show you everything I've learned about makeup, skincare, hair tips, and so much more, as well as the different beauty mistakes I've made so that you can avoid them.

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