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How long do skincare products actually take to work?
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Beauty Resolutions in association with Darphin

When it comes to looking after our skin, most of us are always on the hunt for the latest and greatest products, shunning the old in favour of the new. Spoiler alert: this is the worst way to get the most out of your skincare because it doesn’t give them time to work. It takes around a month (or 28 days) for skin cells to renew themselves which means that, as a rule of thumb, 28 days is the amount of time you need to stick to until you start to see any benefits. That said, each product is different, so here’s our guide to how long you need to wait until things actually work.


A cleanser’s big job is not to totally revolutionise the way skin looks, but rather to thoroughly clean skin. Instead of waiting a whole month – or even a couple of weeks – to see if the cleanser you’re using is right for you, you can tell immediately, post cleanse. "Once it has broken down the makeup, dust and pollution saturating the skin it will start to work it's magic," says Darphin Education Executive, Kendra Flockhart. That tight, dry feeling? That’s not good. Instead, skin should feel soft and smooth, as well as being free of oil and grime.

If your skin is particularly congested, try Darphin’s Purifying Foam Gel, which is great at removing excess oil. If you’re more sensitive, we love Darphin’s Intral Cleansing Mousse, which contains coconut and chamomile to calm and condition distressed skin.

SERUM: 6-8 Weeks

From brightening and evening out skin tone to deeply hydrating and firming, there is a whole universe of different serums to treat a variety of skin issues. Which, we won’t lie, makes it a little difficult to put a time frame on how long they take to work. Perseverance is key; expect to wait around six to eight weeks before you start to see a difference in whatever you’re trying to treat. While you might expect to see markedly improved skin with a hydrating serum, like Darphin’s Hydraskin Intensive Moisturising Serum, because moisture is something that is easily absorbed by skin. It will take longer to see changes in dark spots or uneven texture.

EXFOLIATOR:  Immediately and then 1 – 2 Weeks

Whether you choose a scrub, like Darphin’s Age-Defying Dermabrasion, or a chemical exfoliation i.e. a peel, there is both a cumulative and immediate effect. Post-exfoliant, you’ll have removed dead cells from the skin’s surface and revealed a tad more of natural glow, but the more you scrub (two to three times a week max) the more radiant and even your skin will look. You’ll start to see true results after a couple of weeks and should keep going to maintain these results.

RETINOLS – anywhere from 4 to 10 weeks

The strength of your retinol (vitamin A) depends on whether you get it over the counter or on a prescription; you can get it much stronger from your dermatologist. Naturally, then, the length of time it takes for each to change the skin varies with strength. It’s totally normal for skin to get a bit flaky and a little irritated after the first week of use, but soon after, you should start to see smoother, more even-toned, radiant skin in its wake.  If you’ve bought an over-the-counter product, it will take longer – around ten weeks - but a prescribed retinol will take around 4-6 weeks to get to work.

EYE CREAM – 6 to 8 weeks

Because your skin is thinner around your eyes, the aim of the game is to rehydrate to lessen the appearance of fine lines, bags and dark circles. Thank goodness then, because Flockhart says that "eye creams will instantly hydrate and over time tighten and soften fine lines." Darphin's Ideal Resource Anti-dark Circle Eye Illuminator does just that.

MOISTURISER – Immediately

Finally, something that works pretty much immediately. Moisturisers are great for doing exactly what they say on the tin: moisturizing. They also reinforce your skin’s barrier (strong and supple skin here you come), as well as adding an instant healthy glow and reducing any irritation or tightness. Our favourite at the moment is Darphin's Hydraskin Essential, which hydrates and also gives skin that dewy finish that we all want.

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