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    How Long Does it Take for Skin Care Products to Work?

      |  Aug 16, 2023

    It happens to the best of us. We decide to incorporate a new product into our skincare routine. We research, we talk to friends, we read countless reviews — we might even saddle up to a Sephora employee for a free sample. And after all that time and effort, we finally try our new product, and…well, nothing happens. We might give it a week or two before tossing it in the trash, or wait months for results that never show. And instead of getting glowing skin from our hard work, we end up with a wasted product, time, and money. 

    Luckily, skincare is a science, and the experts have discovered exactly when to hold them and when to fold them when it comes to betting on a new product. On average, it takes 28 days to see results from a new product or skincare routine. 28 days is the length of one “skin cycle” — the length of a skin cell’s life. However, depending on the product’s purpose and ingredients, you could see results immediately or as long as a few months.

    Let’s break it down.

    Morning skincare routine


    Cleanser has two main purposes: to remove dirt and sebum, and prepare the skin for the absorption of other products in your skincare routine. There’s a wide range of cleansers on the market, but any cleanser you use should do its job on the first wash. If you regularly wear makeup, you might need to double cleanse your skin, but otherwise a good cleanser will leave you feeling clean and your skin ready for product absorption right away. If you’re using a cleanser with additional purposes, like reducing acne in the long term, it can take up to a month to see results.


    Serums can provide results immediately or over the course of weeks. That’s because many serums are working on the sub-dermal or genetic level, and it takes time for ingredients to permeate the skin and work their magic.

    Vitamin C

    This serum is a staple in many skincare routines, especially for people looking to solve hyperpigmentation and early signs of aging, like fine lines. You can expect to see results in 6 - 12 weeks depending on the strength of the formula and the issues you’re looking to address.


    Niacinamide has a wide range of benefits, including reduced pore size, improved skin tone, and a strengthened skin barrier. Results from niacinamide typically take 8 - 12 weeks to show up.

    Hyaluronic Acid

    Unlike other serums, you can expect more hydrated, plumper skin immediately after using hyaluronic acid, and the results only compound with time.


    Your moisturizer should leave your skin feeling soft right away, but if you have especially dry skin or are looking to improve your skin’s moisture levels, you can expect to see consistent results after 1 to 2 weeks of everyday use.

    Evening skincare routine

    Chemical exfoliant (AHAs and BHAs)

    AHAs and BHAs work right away to remove layers of dead skin and leave you looking glowy. But you won’t see peak, long term results until you’ve been using the product consistently for 12 weeks.


    When you see results from retinol is dependent on the strength of your product and the frequency of use. Stronger formulas might take 4 to 6 weeks to show results, while less intense formulations (better for first time users) can take 3 to 4 months. Retinol influences cellular behavior, promoting skin cell turnover and boosting collagen production, which can reduce signs of aging

    Eye creams

    Eye creams are used to solve a wide range of issues, from dark circles to fine lines and dehydrated skin. Like many other products, eye creams will start to show results based on their purpose and ingredients, but on average you can expect to see results in 4 to 8 weeks.

    Is your routine working?

    The exact products you use in your skincare routine will be unique to you, but once you land on your perfect routine, you’ll know it when you look in the mirror. 

    If you use a Vitamin C serum, you might see age-old acne scars start to fade. A great moisturizer can leave your skin feeling smooth and supple even in dry months or climates. And you might notice less breakouts when you finally find the right cleanser. It all depends on your unique skin goals. But overall, the proof points of a solid skincare routine will be reduced acne, smooth and radiant skin, and even faster healing times.

    If a product causes an allergic reaction, stings, or causes redness on application, it’s safe to look up a store’s return policy and try something new.

    If you have questions about what skin care products and treatments are best suited for you, book a complimentary skin consultation today.