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Ordinary Retinol Before Or After Moisturizer

Retinol is a star ingredient in any serum; there’s no hard and fast rule about its application. As a rule of thumb, it would be best to go from thinner to a thicker consistency the way you do with other skincare products. 
Ordinary Retinol Before Or After Moisturizer

Retinol is a star ingredient in any serum; there’s no hard and fast rule about its application. As a rule of thumb, it would be best to go from thinner to a thicker consistency the way you do with other skincare products. 

Like other products, you can cleanse first, apply a retinol-containing serum and follow with a moisturizer. To know more about whether you can use ordinary retinol before or after moisturizer, read the guide below!

In this blog, you’ll find about;

  • How long after retinol can I apply moisturizer? 
  • How to apply retinol for best results?
  • And much, much more.

Can I Apply Ordinary Retinol Before Or After Moisturizer?

Retinols are best for removing fine lines, wrinkles, and blemishes your skin may have. As far as its application is concerned, apply it before a moisturizer. As a general rule, apply it post-cleansing, give your vitamin A to absorb deeply into the skin, and then use a layer of moisturizer. After that, you’re good to go! 

How Long After Retinol Can I Apply Moisturizer? 

You should wait at least twenty minutes before moving on to the following phase of your routine. It is OK to use other items later; however, you should give the body sufficient time to process and absorb vitamin A. 

As a result, the answer to your inquiry about how long to wait after applying retinol before applying moisturizer is twenty minutes. 

When to Use Retinol Serum in Routine?

How to Apply Retinol for Best Results

When it comes to reversing damage, retinol is highly effective; however, how you apply it may affect the results. Before commencing a retinol routine, discussing your options with a dermatologist is strongly suggested. 

Using this product can cause the skin to become dry and, sometimes, red. It is a potential side effect of using the product.

Before moving on to higher concentrations of an ingredient, the vast majority of medical professionals advise beginning with products that contain a low chemical concentration to observe how your skin reacts to lower quantities. 

This is because higher concentrations of an ingredient are more likely to cause adverse reactions in sensitive individuals.

The following is a guide on how to include retinol in your daily skincare routine:

Step 1: You'll need to cleanse your face and apply eye cream. Using an eye cream will assist in protecting the sensitive skin that is present around your eyes.

Step 2: After a few minutes, check to ensure your skin is dry. On skin that is just slightly damp, you should apply moisturizers and serums, but do not use retinol.

Step 3: Take a small amount of your retinol, around the size of a pea, and apply. Start at your chin.

Step 4: Apply your moisturizer to complete the routine.

Step 5: Remember to wear sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection the morning after using retinol, as this will make your skin more photosensitive.

Benefits of Applying Retinol After Moisturizer 

Retinol has many benefits. They include;

  • It enhances the thickness and elasticity of your skin
  • It lessens the production of melanin 
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Prevents clogged pores

Side Effects of Retinol

Side effects from retinol application  include:

  • Dry, irritated skin.
  • Itching or burning.
  • Redness, peeling, flaky or scaly skin.
  • Sunburn.

These side effects should gradually disappear as your skin gets used to the new treatment.

How to Manage the Side Effects of Retinol?

  • If you use retinol, making minor tweaks to your usual skincare routine will help lessen the redness and irritation you experience. You should only use a single retinol product at a time for optimal results.
  • Instead of using it daily, you can use retinol every other day.
  • After you have washed your face, you should wait half an hour before using your retinol product.
  • If you have sensitive skin, you should not use retinol products.
  • As part of your daily skincare practice, you should consult your healthcare professional about the optimal time to apply moisturizer to your skin.

Can Retinol Damage Your Skin?

If you use retinol, your skin will burn more readily in the sun, which can be harmful. It's possible that taking excessive amounts of retinol could also lead to the development of skin cancer. 

While using products containing retinol, you should always protect your skin by applying sunscreen and staying out of direct sunlight by covering yourself with clothing and a hat.


  • What to avoid when using retinol?
  • Never use retinol with vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, or AHA/BHA acids in any form. Exfoliating with AHA and BHA acids can cause the skin to become more dry and irritated if you are currently using retinol as part of your skincare routine.

  • Do you use retinol before or after moisturizer? 
  • It is essential to wait for at least ten to twenty minutes and apply the following product. Particularly if the product that came before it contained retinol and you want it to fully integrate into the skin before moving on to the next step. Waiting at least ten to twenty minutes before applying the subsequent product is essential.

  • Do you put the ordinary on before or after moisturizer? 
  • When layering products from The Ordinary, begin with lighter, water-based serums, move on to heavier, oil- and cream-based moisturizers, and finish with more serious, anhydrous solutions and suspensions. Additionally, as the final step in your skincare process, you should always remember to apply sunscreen.

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