How long to wait to apply moisturizer after toner - Skincare Geeks (2023)

You're not alone if you've always wondered how to properly use a toner and moisturizer together. While logic tells us to wash our face before applying anything else, we may have other concerns, like what should happen after using a toner. Of course we need to moisturize the skin after cleansing, but how long do you wait before applying a moisturizer after a toner?

You only need to wait about 30 seconds to apply the moisturizer after the toner. The toner absorbs very quickly into the skin, in less than a minute. After applying the toner, when the skin is almost dry, apply the moisturizer. If you wait too long, the toner can dry out your skin.

We say that you should wait until your skin is "almost" dry before applying moisturizer, as this allows your skin to absorb the moisturizer and last longer. Applying moisturizer to slightly damp skin also allows you to consume the product sparingly as you will likely be using less than necessary.

While there's nothing wrong with waiting for the toner to dry completely on the skin before applying a moisturizer, experts tend to agree that hydration is facilitated and better maintained when you moisturize damp skin.

Read on for more information on how long to wait before applying moisturizer after toner and other helpful information.

How long do you have to wait before applying a moisturizer after toner?

Not everyone who has a skincare routine understands what a toner is supposed to do, or maybe what it's for, but doesn't know how to use it properly. It is important to use a skin cleanser, but a toner is recommended afterwards. A toner is a fast-absorbing liquid that helps:

  • Removes dirt, bacteria, oil, dead skin cells and cosmetic residue.
  • Regulation of the pH balance of the skin [1]
  • Control pimples and acne

But when a toner completes the process started by a skin cleanser that performs the above functions, clean skin shouldn't dry out. Enter the moisturizer, which plays the role of restoring skin moisture.

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Skin care experts recommend applying cream after showering or bathing and drying off(a moisturizer)immediately to ensure moisture is retained and our clean skin feels supple, soft and better protected. The same principle applies to face care and it shouldn't take long to apply a moisturizer after a toner; In fact, it should only take 30 seconds or less.

Check out our full listrecommended moisturizers here.

And since we're talking about moisturizers, now you must be wondering when they start working on our skin.

How long does it take for a moisturizer to absorb?

Moisturizers don't just "moisturize" and hydrate the skin; Products on the market really differ in their active ingredients and offer additional benefits for the skin. But regardless of the components they contain, they all only take a few minutes to be absorbed by the skin.(the moisturizing base with active ingredients),as long as you have properly prepared your skin by properly cleansing it with a cleanser and toner, for example.

The rest of the moisturizing cream remains on the skin's surface to protect and strengthen it and, depending on the formulation, takes on other functions. In general, different moisturizers perform one of these functions:

  • antioxidant
  • anti-aging agent
  • healing of the skin
  • lubrication
  • suncream

However, remember that while moisturizers only take a few minutes to sink into the skin, their ability and how long it takes to "get the job done" depends on their active ingredients. Its effectiveness in the body can last from 1 to 8 hours for antioxidants and up to 24 hours for a few hours.(zB Peptide)for those using anti-aging remedies.

How long does it take for the toner to be absorbed?

The toners you buy at your local store are alcohol-free formula with some alcohol content. Nonetheless, the latter formulation is much milder than astringents, which typically contain solvent alcohols. However, dermatologists always recommend using alcohol-free toners because they do not harm the skin, regardless of skin type.

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Predominantly alcohol-free, today's formulations help to smooth and brighten skin and reduce lines and wrinkles. Facial tonics are usually absorbed by the skin within a few seconds, but their full and long-lasting effect depends on their active ingredients. Some of them are:

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)– ideal for people with oily or acne-prone skin.
  • Glycerin,Vitamin C,hyaluronic acid, Coenzym Q10– for people with mostly normal skin
  • salicylic acid– for those who often have acne, although for people with sensitive skin this component can be quite strong.
  • Plant extracts and essential oils– Some products appear more natural and claim to appear more natural, but it is better to consult your dermatologist beforehand to avoid skin irritation.

People who combine the natural with theoily skin (SPORT.,like those with normal skin on their face but oily T-zone) you can apply aTonic without alcoholIn the morning and at night. for those withdry skin, it is advisable to apply the tonic only in the evening after cleansing.

Check out our full listrecommended toners here.

Watch the video below for more tips on applying moisturizer after toner:

How long should you wait before applying other products?

As we have already discussed the waiting time after using a toner and before applying a tonermoisturizer, you might want to know about other products that play different roles in skincare. You really don't have to wait long to apply one product at a time!

Our skin is easily receptive, and if the products you use are all gentle and well-formulated, none should interfere with the other's performance. So the waiting time between applying different products is more a matter of preference. Well, that should make your skincare routine a breeze!

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The general rule is to wait for the absorption of the previous product; However, you don't have to wait long between products.

However, in some minor cases, a longer waiting time between products may be advisable:

  • If when applying one product at a time you notice the products clumping or rolling. In this case it is best to let one product dry completely before applying the next in the series.
  • If you use sunscreen before any makeup, it is recommended to wait a few minutes for it to fully absorb or set before applying anything. If your moisturizer or foundation has sun protection of at least SPF 30 or SPF 30 [2] so you don't have to wait.
  • Topical treatments/medications prescribed by dermatologists must be thoroughly dried and absorbed into the affected skin area to ensure formulation effectiveness.(usually a few minutes).Then you can apply the next product like a moisturizer.

You want to maintain beautiful skin by taking the best care of it with your routine, but this regimen doesn't have to be boring or time-consuming. At this point, you might want to get an overview of commonly recommended skin care products and understand how to most effectively use them in the right order.

In what order to apply skin care products?

How long to wait to apply moisturizer after toner - Skincare Geeks (1)

Whenever you do your morning and evening skincare routine, follow a series of steps that you can do with your eyes closed. It doesn't matter if it's a simple three or five step cycle or a much longer one; What matters is the order of the steps you use, or more specifically the order in which you use the products. Here's a basic guide to getting the most out of your skincare routine.


To protect your skin from the harmful elements of the environment, these are the basic products in order of use:

  1. cleanser- Water based oil based to remove grease or sweat built up during the night.
  2. turner– preferably without alcohol
  3. Serum– an optional but highly recommended skin care product that contains a high concentration of antioxidants.
  4. moisturizer– cremate the balm
  5. suncream– Cream or liquid with a sun protection factor of at least 30


To repair damage done to the skin throughout the daySol, dirt, grease and makeup, these are the products you can apply in order of application:

  1. Make-up remover- Oil base
  2. cleanser- water or oil based
  3. turner– preferably without alcohol
  4. Serum– optional but highly recommended product
  5. night cream– Your moisturizing night cream

Of course, there are other skin care products like acids, oils, eye creams, masks, etc. waiting to be used. If you're not willing to spend more money on all those beauty products, you can stick to the basics and you'll be fine.

(Video) My Anti-Aging Skin Care Routine | Makeup Geek

Bottom line: how long do you have to wait to apply moisturizer after toner?

So how long to wait before applying moisturizer after toner? Since the toner liquid evaporates easily after application, applying a moisturizer takes only a few seconds.

After applying the toner, wait 30 seconds to a minute until the skin is almost dry, then apply the moisturizer. This way, the moisturizing effect stays on the skin longer, properly hydrating it and allowing you to use the right amount of moisturizer.

Moisturizers, on the other hand, only take a few minutes to be fully absorbed by the skin and work for a few hours a day to hydrate, provide protection and provide antioxidant benefits. It all depends on the active ingredients present and the formulation.

Related reading:

How long does it take for ceramides to work?

How long does it take for retinol to work?

How long does it take for salicylic acid to be absorbed?

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How long do you leave the moisturizer on your face?

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How long should I wait to apply moisturizer after toner? ›

You should wait about five minutes after applying toner before applying moisturiser. This will give the toner time to work its magic and prep your skin for moisturiser.

Should you let toner dry before moisturizer? ›

Apply on damp skin

If you use a toner, essence, or serum, apply that first and then follow up with the moisturizer before your skin is completely dry. This will seal the moisture into your skin and is more effective than attempting to rehydrate your skin with moisturizer after it has already been depleted of H2O.

How long after toner can I apply serum? ›

How long should you wait between toner and serum? You can apply your serum immediately after your toner. As with other skin care products, there is no concern about one interfering with the effectiveness of another.

How long should I leave toner on my face? ›

Using toner as a sheet mask is the most hydrating of all methods, perfect for very dry and super-sensitive skin types. All you have to do is wet a few cotton pads with your toner and apply them to the face. Leave them on for 5-10 minutes and follow up with a light lotion or a cream to lock-in the moisture.

Can I use moisturizer after the ordinary toner? ›

you can have a double-whammy effect of skin softening by using an exfoliating acid AND a moisturiser to soften the hard skin. What you can also do, is simply mix some of the toner with a moisturiser / lotion, and then apply it to the skin just like that (reduces the wait time).

How long does skincare take to absorb? ›

However, Vivian Bucay, a dermatologist in San Antonio, does say that it does take time for products to be fully absorbed into your skin. “It typically takes around 30 minutes for products to be absorbed, meaning, that if something is washed off before 30 minutes, it would need to be reapplied,” she says.

Is it better to put toner on wet face? ›

Wet Or Dry? It's best to apply toner to a dry face, especially if you're using a pH balancing toner. To use toner properly, after cleansing, pat your face dry or dry it with a light towel. Then, place some toner onto a cotton pad and spread it over your face and neck.

Can I skip moisturizer if I use hydrating toner? ›

Can a toner be hydrating enough to replace your daily moisturizer? "They are not exactly a replacement," says Harper. "I tell my patients with extremely oily skin that they can sometimes get away with skipping a moisturizer in the summertime if they use a toner instead," adds Gilbert.

Does toner absorb moisturizer? ›

Using a toner can also help your skin better absorb other products you use. When skin is dry, other ingredients will just sit on top. However, when it's hydrated with a toner, these ingredients can penetrate the skin and work more effectively.

How much time gap between skincare products? ›

“It is important to leave a 10-20 minute wait time before applying the next product.

How long should I leave toner in before washing? ›

Leave the toner in for up to 45 minutes, then rinse, and wash with a moisturizing shampoo and deep conditioner.
If you're using a toning shampoo:
  1. Gently massage shampoo into wet hair.
  2. Lather and rinse well.
  3. For especially stubborn brassiness, you can leave the shampoo in for 2-3 minutes before rinsing.

What comes after toner in a skincare routine? ›

A good rule of thumb is to apply products from thinnest to thickest—toner, serum, moisturizer, oil. Be sure to always start with a clean face.

Should you pat or rub toner? ›

When to Rub vs. When to Pat: Almost your entire skincare regimen — toners, essences, serums, moisturizers, and eye creams included — should be patted into the skin, since liquids, creams, lotions, and gel-based offerings absorb best with this technique.

Is it OK to use face toner everyday? ›

For best results, use a toner morning and night. But if your skin gets dry or irritated easily, try once a day or every other day. Remember: These toners contain potent ingredients. And for more astringent formulas (designed for oily or acne-prone skin), she suggests using it every two days before gradually ramping up.

Do you wash toner off after applying? ›

You don't need to wash toner off after applying it to your face. The best time to apply toner is right after using your daily cleanser. Toner can help remove additional dirt and grime that your cleanser might have missed.

Can I use moisturizer after AHA BHA toner? ›

"Moisturizing after applying AHA and BHA is extremely important so as to limit irritation. Look for ceramides, petrolatum, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin to hydrate and soothe skin," says Dr. Marchbein.

Can you use the ordinary toner every night? ›

Don't use it daily otherwise you risk damaging your skin barrier by over-exfoliating. Do not apply it on damp skin! Glycolic Acid increases sensitivity towards the sun so a good sunscreen is mandatory.

What do you put on toner before moisturizer? ›

Your Daytime Skin Care Routine: A Step-by-Step Guide
  1. STEP 1: CLEANSER. ...
  2. STEP 2: TONER. ...
  4. STEP 4: EYE CREAM. ...
  7. Step 7: SUNSCREEN.
Sep 28, 2022

What is the 60 second rule skincare? ›

To quote Roberts-Smith, “All the 60 second rule is: washing your face — with your fingers — for 60 seconds. That's it!” Supposedly, most people only wash their face for about 15 seconds. The 60 second rule is a skincare hack that prolongs cleansing so you're sure to wash every single part of your face.

How long should I wait for moisturizer to absorb? ›

The professionals advise waiting a minute between your moisturizer and sunscreen steps to allow each to penetrate and dry down.

How long should you let your skincare sink in? ›

In general, it is best to give skin care products at least 10-15 minutes to sink in before applying makeup or sunscreen on top. A skin care product will absorb the majority of its content in 5 to 20 minutes. You should wait until the previous application dries to the touch before applying the next product.

Should I apply toner with hands or cotton? ›

Toner Application Depends on Your Cleanser.

Conversely, products that are applied with a cotton pad will help remove those residues. Therefore, whether you choose to apply a toner with your fingers or a cotton pad should depend on how effective your cleansing step is.

How many drops of toner should I use? ›

One to two pumps is usually enough to cover the entire area. Some toners also come in spray bottles and can be misted over the face. You want to use your toner right after you cleanse but before any serums or moisturizers.

Is it better to apply toner with hands? ›

Directly Apply by Hand

Because the toner will absorb and work best when using clean hands. Similar to using cotton, the application of toner by hand is also enough to be gently patted so that the toner can be more absorbed into the skin.

Should I let toner dry before hyaluronic acid? ›

1. Apply hyaluronic acid serum to a damp face. If you're using a hyaluronic acid serum, use it after you wash your face with cleanser and/or toner. Don't dry your face after cleansing or toning.

Do you really need toner? ›

No, toning is not necessary for skin health. Toners were originally developed to remove soap scum from the face when lye-based soaps combined with hard water left a sticky residue post cleansing. The alcohol-based toner removed the soap scum eliminating irritation and contributing to cleanser mildness.

Do we really need toner and moisturizer? ›

Since you can easily get pH-balanced cleansers these days, toners are no longer necessary in a skincare regimen, says Dr. Ted Lain, board-certified dermatologist and chief medical officer at Sanova Dermatology.

Does toner close pores? ›

Toners can help close pores and tighten cell gaps after cleansing, reducing the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants into the skin. It can even protect and remove chlorine and minerals present in tap water. It acts like a moisturizer.

Why does toner leave my face feeling sticky? ›

The sticky texture that one may feel from the toner, then, “is due to the nature of the arginine lactate retaining water.

Why is my cotton ball dirty after toner? ›

Improper Cleansing

Have you ever washed your face and then swiped on toner only to discover the cotton pad is dirty? Yep, your skin is not properly cleansed and all those impurities (sunscreen, makeup, dirt, excess sebum) can get trapped into pores and cause breakouts.

How long is a skincare purge? ›

Generally speaking, dermatologists say purging should be over within four to six weeks of starting a new skin care regimen. If your purge lasts longer than six weeks, consult your dermatologist.

Can you overdo skincare routine? ›

Too much skin care can be bad news for any skin type. Over-exfoliating—pairing acid exfoliators or using them too often—can cause red, dry patches on the face, leading people to counteract the dryness with thick creams that cause congestion or acne breakouts.

Is it OK to do skincare 3 times a day? ›

"If you're doing a lot of exercise, perhaps you wash your face three times a day, regardless of your skin type," board-certified dermatologist Jeanine Downie, M.D., explains. That is, once in the morning, again post-workout, and again in the evening.

How many washes does toner wash out? ›

Depending on you hair type and hair condition, toner can last between 2-to-6 weeks. Hair that has been coloured previously can sometimes hold toners for less time than hair that has only been coloured once, so may need more regular toning.

How many washes will toner fades? ›

They are a deposit colour only, which means they won't do anything to your natural hair and they last about 4 to 5 weeks depending on how often you wash your hair . If you wash your hair every day, expect your toner to fade out FAST. If you wash it once a week, you will generally get a month of nicely toned hair.

How do you know when toner is done? ›

Toner will typically last 2-8 weeks, but you might see your color start to fade before that. Since it's a simple and relatively cheap process, and isn't quite as hard on your hair as bleaching or dying, you can tone again after about a month.

How long does it take for hair toner to absorb? ›

If you have never toned your hair before, it's best to do a strand test first as the results of the treatment will vary depending on your hair's porosity. Leave the toner in for between 5-20 minutes: you can rinse a small section to see when the color has fixed to your liking.

Are you supposed to wash toner off? ›

As explained, toners are designed to be left on the skin, so washing them off would defeat the purpose. Toners are usually applied after cleansing, and they help to remove any remaining dirt, oil, and makeup from the skin.

Is it better to use toner in the morning or night? ›

You can use toner in both your morning and evening skincare routines, depending on your skin's needs and ability to accept toner's benefits. It is ideal to incorporate toner into your skincare routine immediately following double cleansing.

What should we apply after toner? ›

Be sure to always start with a clean face.
  • Step 1: Cleanser. After removing all your makeup, cleanse your face with an oil-based or water-based cleanser—or both if you're doing a double cleanse! ...
  • Step 2: Toner. ...
  • Step 3: Serum. ...
  • Step 4: Spot Treatment. ...
  • Step 5: Eye Cream. ...
  • Step 6: Moisturizer. ...
  • Step 7: Face Oil.
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