How Long Does It Take For Moisturizer To Absorb?

Moisturizer is not a one shoe fits all kind of skincare product. Whether or not a moisturizer is absorbing could be a sign that you need to change up your routine. We've researched the different ways your moisturizer absorption is affected to explain in this article how to optimize your moisturizing experience!

To understand why moisturizer might take time to absorb, consider these important factors:

  • Skin condition (particularly oily complexion), weather, oversaturation, or even product shelf life could contribute to absorption issues.
  • Warming the skin, exfoliating the skin, and patting instead of rubbing the moisturizer can expedite the absorption process when applying moisturizer.
  • Day or night moisture application is beneficial to your skin. Daytime moisturizing helps your skin’s daily defense, while nighttime is when your skin works on repairs. The best time to moisturize for rapid absorption is immediately after bathing.
  • Moisturizers might be too heavy to absorb, causing irritation, clogged pores, milia, or an obvious sheen on the face.

We’ll take a more in-depth look at each of these factors so that you can get the best possible result from your moisturizer. Below we will cover the best ways to moisturize and how your moisturizer might affect your skin.

A woman putting moisturizer on the hand before applying to her face, How Long Does It Take For Moisturizer To Absorb?

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Why Does My Moisturizer Not Absorb?

Everyone is different, and that includes their skin! Internal and external factors can influence moisturizer's ability to absorb based on how our skin is affected.

Skin Condition

If you have oily skin, the product you are attempting to use might be too rich. That means the oil content could be too high for your skin’s unique condition. It’s good to determine your skin type and find a product targeted to your skin’s special needs. For oily skin, a water-based moisturizer is a good place to start.


Weather is also a possible culprit. Depending on whether it is winter or summer can affect how thirsty your skin is.  Products that worked for you in winter might have a harder time absorbing in the summer or on that tropical vacation to Miami. There is nothing wrong with having a go-to moisturizer for different climates.


Maybe you are using too much product and over-saturating your skin. Our skin only has the capacity to absorb so much. Applying more product is always easier than taking some off. So start with a little and reapply as needed.

Product Shelf Life

How old is your moisturizer? If your moisturizer has been stored incorrectly or simply expired, this could possibly lead to an extra oily texture to your moisturizer. As products expire, they don’t have the same integrity.  It’s always best to follow your moisturizer's storage instructions and for the best results, only use unexpired products.

How Can You Make Moisturizer Absorb Better?

Prep that skin! Your skin wants to absorb, but sometimes it needs a little help. Warming your skin can be just the ticket to open the doors to your pores and let that moisturizer do its job. When you are cold, your skin constricts to contain as much heat as possible. So warm up and moisture up!

Exfoliation, as described by, is another method that may help your product absorb. Exfoliation can remove excess dead skin and encourage your favorite moisturizer to penetrate more successfully. Careful exfoliation might be just the answer to sweep away that dead skin and let that product in.

Another pro tip to consider is to pat the product on your face. Patting uses pressure to push that product deeply and stimulate blood flow to the skin. This is a popular technique and doesn’t require any special products or tools. Just always remember to treat your skin gently so as not to injure yourself.

Should You Moisturize At Night Or In The Morning?

Why choose one when you can have both? In the morning, when most of us are getting ready to face the day and all of its harsh environmental realities, we can also prepare our skin. Our skin is our body’s first line of defense.  Moisturizers help our skin barrier retain moisture and, in turn, promote healthy cell production. So moisturizing in the morning is a great way to protect your skin and prepare it for the world's stresses.

Click here to see CeraVe daily moisturizer with SPF30 at Amazon.

Moisturizing at night also has its benefits. At night during sleep is when your skin is busy doing its renewal process.  This is an important job, and skincare professionals highly recommend using a night moisturizer during this time. To prepare for your nighttime skincare routine, check out "10 Best Night Creams With Hyaluronic Acid."

Click here to see Olay night recovery cream at Amazon.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the most opportune time to moisturize day or night is after bathing. After a shower or bath, your skin is dewy. That extra water will be trapped by your moisturizer and drawn into your skin.  Moisturizers are meant to bring water to your skin.  If you use your moisturizer to trap water against your skin, it will absorb and aid the moisturizing effect.

More than anything, remember that any moisturizing is better than no moisturizing. For all the details, read "Is It Bad To Use Moisturizer Every Day?"

How Do You Know If A Moisturizer Is Too Heavy?

If something isn’t working for your skin, it will let you know. A heavy moisturizer can cause irritation, clogged pores, or just sit on your face like the glaze on a donut. It can also be the cause of small hard white bumps on your face called milia. These are little keratin filled bumps that may look similar to whiteheads but aren’t irritated or easily popped. Nor is popping advised! If your moisturizer has too high oil content for you, dermatologists say milia can be a side effect.

Pay attention to your skin’s quality and reactions. If you’ve prepped your skin and you’re still not seeing the results you desire, it might be time to reconsider your product.

Moisturizer Is Your Skin's Friend

No matter how you decide to go about moisturizing, just take care to treat your skin gently. It is the largest organ on your body and your first line of defense. You can’t go wrong with a good moisturizing routine. Learning about your particular skin type and how moisturizers affect you can be a great way to start building your own personal skincare routine. Learn more here.

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