We’ve all been guilty of buying a skincare product that promises immediate miracles, and then been disappointed at the results. Often, products that offer immediate results don’t cause long term improvement of your skin, and in fact can counteract any good work you’ve been doing. We know that, in reality, it’s the keeping up of a regular, nourishing routine that improves the long term condition of our skin, but it can be very discouraging when you don’t see a difference quickly, and aren’t sure how long you should wait before writing a product off.
Unfortunately, there is no one answer for this: it varies between types of products, the ingredients used, the desired effect, and an individual’s skin cycle. The skin cycle is the process in which new skin cells are created, travel up through the skin, and eventually end up on the very top layer as dead skin cells. As we age, this cycle takes more and more time: in our early 20s, it’s generally around 14-21 days, which increases to around 28 days in middle age, and can slow to 60-90 days in our 50s and 60s. That’s quite an increase! As the skin cycle slows, dead cells begin to accumulate on the surface of the skin, which can accentuate fine lines and trap bacteria, causing blemishes. It’s therefore important that as we age, we choose products which promote rapid cell turnover, and make sure to gently exfoliate our skin to remove the dead skin cells. It’s also important to take your likely skin cycle time frame into account before dismissing a product out of hand as having not worked.
Often the bedrock of a great skincare routine, cleansers are something we simply couldn’t live without! Because they’re washed off the skin instead of being left to sink in, they actually don’t rely on the skin cycle to work their magic anywhere near as much as other types of products. If you choose the right cleanser for your skin type - and we recommend having a browse of the options on our site to find the perfect one for you - your skin should feel fresh and clean immediately, but not tight or in need of a ton of moisturiser after rinsing off. You probably won’t find a cleanser that transforms your skin instantly, but rather one that rids skin of the build up of grime that accumulates throughout the day and provides a great base for further skincare products to work. If you choose something like our Daily Detox Facial Wash, you’ll have the added benefit of ingredients like moringa peptides, which help to protect skin from pollution, and balance skin’s natural oil production.
Moisturisers, too, are more of a marathon than a sprint when it comes to improvements in your skin. Whilst a lot of them contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which will plump skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, it’s the long-lasting benefits you want to look out for. A great example of this is our Multi Peptide 360 Moisture Cream, which immediately nourishes skin with Sacha Inchi and coconut peptides, as well as Cupuacu butter, which supports skin’s collagen and elasticity. This results in bouncier, supple skin that retains a youthful glow for longer. There’s also a good dose of cacay oil, whose bio retinol and linoleic acid support the skin barrier to lock in moisture in the future. It’s as much a preventative measure as a cure, and is a part of our Age Smarter 360 concept - so it’s a good idea to start using it before you think you need it. If you’re looking for real results, you’ll need to wait several weeks or even a couple of months - but we promise it’s worth it! And in the meantime, your skin will be plumped and hydrated thanks to the fast-acting ingredients. What’s not to love?
Serums are a little trickier to quantify. Because they’re designed to target specific concerns, and contain potent, concentrated ingredients, the time it takes them to work can vary hugely. As a general rule, you’ll need to give it four to six weeks before seeing definite results. However, like moisturisers, they also often contain ingredients that let you see some immediate benefit. Our Organic Hyaluronic Acid Serum, as the name suggests, contains hyaluronic acid as the star ingredient. This delivers an immediate dose of hydration to skin, but meanwhile the pomegranate extract works to regulate cell turnover and strengthen and skin barrier. This means that, long term, the skin cycle speeds up, and moisture is retained more easily. This is the benefit that means your skin actually improves over time, instead of recurring problems just being treated on the spot. Similarly, our Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum contains willow bark, which is a natural source of salicylic acid, as well as a blend of acai and copaiba, which decrease sebum production over time. The salicylic acid targets existing blemishes immediately, but the acai and copaiba ensures that future breakouts are less severe and less frequent. Win win!
If you are looking for an instant skin pick-me-up, though, your best bet is a face mask. They’re designed to be used as quick fixes, so are ideal before a big day. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them regularly, though: many contain ingredients that, like serums and moisturisers, work over time to provide you with healthier, happier skin. A regular face mask once a week or so can do wonders - and it means you get a little pampering in, too! Both our face masks are great for all skin types, so which you pick depends on your preference. Our Miracle Organic Face Mask contains natural AHAs, which have become a buzzword in the beauty world for good reason: they’re a gentle chemical exfoliant. This can sound scary, but it just means that dead skin cells are gently buffed from the surface of the skin, allowing the new ones underneath to shine through. AHAs also bind water to skin, leaving it plumped and dewy. It’s fantastic as an immediate fix for that reason, but there’s more: it also contains Peruvian maca, which boosts cellular renewal. This means you end up with fresher skin cells on the top layer of your skin, ready to glow once the dead ones have been cleared away! Meanwhile, our Radiant Glow Organic Face Mask is a gentle physical exfoliant, and contains coconut shell powder that helps remove dead skin cells. True to form, it also boasts ingredients that aid skin over time: raw cacao is used for its antioxidant properties, which protect the skin from free radical damage, as well as being high in magnesium, vitamin C, and omega 6, all of which promote cell repair and renewal.
Sadly, there isn’t one straightforward answer to the question of how long skincare products should take to work. We’d recommend waiting at least a month before deciding a product doesn’t work for you, or even longer if your skin is more mature and likely to have a longer skin cycle. The obvious exception to this, of course, is if your skin reacts badly the first time - in which case stop using it! A little redness can be natural when using something harsh like a retinol (in which case try gradually building up the length of time it stays on your face), but anything more severe will tend to keep happening, and is generally a sign that that’s not the right product for you!
There’s also little to no evidence that switching up your skincare routine regularly will trick your skin into being more receptive to the ingredients. If you’ve found a product that works miracles for your skin, stick with it! You may notice less of a drastic improvement over time, but that’s because the ‘base’ level of your skin’s wellbeing will be better than when you first started using the product. We recommend taking progress pictures of your skin to make a note of subtle improvements, so you can look back and see how much a product has actually benefited your skin!
If you are keen to try out new products, though - and we certainly wouldn’t blame you! - try to add in one product to your regular routine at a time, and stick with it for a while. This way, you’ll know exactly what the product is doing for your skin - and know immediately if your skin reacts badly to it. Just don’t give up hope if your skin looks the same the day after using your new favourite serum!