A formula with retinol, like the L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Eye Treatment, should be applied after your serums and before moisturizer due to its consistency.
Retinoids and serums can be used together, especially if the serum is soothing or hydrating. Be careful using very aggressive face oil serums with retinoids.
Retinol should always be applied at night.
It's especially sensitive to light, which is why it's kept in dark packaging or packaging that doesn't let any light through. In order to avoid unnecessary sun damage, only ever apply retinol before you go to bed.
STEP 4: APPLY YOUR HYALURONIC ACID
If you are using it in serum form, you'll apply it immediately after your retinol. If it is part of your moisturizer, it will be your last step. That allows it to truly harness its power as an emollient and seal in both your other products and moisture.
For prescription retinols, you'll typically apply this step onto dry skin before your moisturizer—but always check with your dermatologist. You may be advised to use it after a moisturizer, which buffers the retinol and lessens risk of irritation.
1. Serums go first. As a rule, serums should be the first products that touch your skin after cleansing and exfoliating in order to get the best results. Never apply them after your moisturizer as thicker creams and oils create a protective layer over your skin and hinder absorption.
Niacinamide and retinol can be combined in one product, which may be easier and more convenient. But they're also available as separate products. If you're using these ingredients in separate products, it's recommended to apply niacinamide first and to then follow with retinol.
'Vitamin A creams, such as retinol or retinaldehyde, may increase sensitivity to the sun and so should be applied at night – and SPF should be applied the following morning. The same goes for acids,' explains Dr Kluk.
And washing your face is necessary to remove any retinol or AHAs you wore overnight. Bottom line: Not washing your face in the morning is a mistake. A thorough a.m. cleanse ensures your products will work like they're supposed to.
Should you use retinol under your eyes? Yes, definitely. While it is true that retinol – a form of vitamin A – is a powerful ingredient and the skin under your eyes is delicate, there's no reason why you should miss out on the amazing benefits of retinol.
Always apply Retinol products at night, as sunlight can diminish their power. If you're a prescription-strength user, use Retinol as the first layer on your skin after washing your face with a cleansing cream and before applying your anti-aging moisturizer.
It's perfectly safe and okay to use hyaluronic acid and retinol together. Using skin care products that contain these ingredients together shouldn't cause any interactions or side effects. Hyaluronic acid and retinol are one of the most popular skin care combinations.
Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide
These water-based treatments are a great pair and are made for all skin types — especially babes with dry, acne-prone skin. You'll find niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, in my Rewind Retinol Serum. Use hyaluronic acid first, followed by my retinol for the best results.
Don't Mix: Retinol with vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, and AHA/BHA acids. AHA and BHA acids are exfoliating, which can dry out skin and cause further irritation if your skincare routine already includes retinol.
The truth: You can use vitamin C with retinol and retinoids. Get them as separate products so you can tailor the concentration of each and use them at the right time of day. Although vitamin C can be used day or night, it is ideal for daytime use, while retinol and retinoids should be applied at night.
For maximum absorption, serums should be applied to freshly cleansed skin. Apply the thinnest facial serum first, or, if serums are the same consistency, start by addressing your primary skin concern. Massage a few drops into the skin, then wait until absorbed before applying your secondary serum.
4 Do Mix: Retinoids + Hyaluronic Acid
Similarly, pairing a retinoid with a hydrating hyaluronic acid-based moisturizer is another good combination, according to Dr. Rabach. Retinoids are great because they can help tighten pores, decrease oil production, and get rid of dead skin.
Do mix: Retinol with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and SPF. The latter is a must, as retinol can make skin sensitive to sunlight. "If you have sensitive skin, you should start off by using a very low strength retinol e.g. 0.1 or 0.2%, which is generally better tolerated," says Dr Sewell.
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% Exfoliating Serum
"It's best used at night and contains lactic acid, a gentle but effective alpha hydroxy acid that works to eliminate dead skin cells to improve the overall texture and tone of the skin," the derm revealed.
Retinol is best applied at night, since it can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun. When you do go outside, be sure to use sunscreen to protect your face. Also, keep in mind that you don't need to use retinol on a daily basis for it to be effective at treating acne. Two to three times per week may be enough.
Wait, then Moisturize Serums are not moisturizers.
To allow serums to fully absorb, apply and wait 5 minutes before moisturizing. Take note: Well-formulated serums absorb quickly and disappear into your skin. If they leave an oily or sticky residue, they're not doing their job well.
What Happens if You Don't Refrigerate Retinol? If you do not store your retinol in the fridge it will not impact its efficacy but it may shorten its shelf life. All retinoids including Adapalene, Tretinoin, and Retin-A can be safely stored at room temperature as long as they are not exposed to daylight.