Career Advice, Education, Wellness / Self-Care

How long do Skincare products actually take to work?

Hint: Nothing is instant.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Jul 9, 2022

If you feel skeptical towards every brand that releases claims that their products provide instant results; hydration, glow, or anything else, you would be right to. Working in the industry, I too am exhausted and completely overwhelmed with how many products are out there and claim to do the same thing. Which begs the question: How much of this is actually true? In other words, say these products do deliver real, effective results — how long does it actually take to see said results? Instantly or over time? And if results are instant, are they temporary or long-term? And if they show over time, how long does it take? To discover the answers to these burning questions once and for all, I did the research.


Can skincare products provide instant results?

The complicated answer: Sometimes. Some thing should work rather quickly. Think moisturizers, serums with hyaluronic acid — these things should smooth and add hydration into the skin immediately. Although you might not always physically see the result, know it is working inside your skin.


However, the face masks and creams that claim they will lift, tone, or brighten skin, might very well do that but the effect is temporary. Those that claim to remove blackheads, remove sebaceous filaments. Sebaceous filaments are reproduced every few days, so when your skin looks clean and glowy from a face mask, just know that you might feel and appear oil in a few days once the sebaceous filaments return. Face masks and creams that say they will give an instant glow do so through light-reflecting particles, so this is only temporary.


On the other hand, if you are using a skincare product to solve cosmetic needs (pigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines) or acne, the product (retinol, Vitamin C, etc.) needs to actually penetrate into your skin and change the cells’ behavior. This type of process would never be instant, but instead take a few weeks to see any form of results.


Similarly, acne-fighting facial cleansers that are formulated to figure out breakouts will take a couple weeks to see, as it is working to shift the skin’s pH level. Generally speaking, you should try out a skincare product for 28 days, the length of time it takes for your cells to reproduce, before making the verdict. And if you are worried about any skin changes, try one product at a time rather than combining others, so you can really see how the product works on your skin.


We don’t want to steer you away from using instant results products, as they aren’t terrible for your skin. We just want to provide you with the information and let you know they will have a temporary effect on your skin. You can still use these products, just don’t make them the main part of your daily skincare routine. Now, did you know that some of your favorite skincare products are made from African ingredients?