While it's all down to your skin (and no one knows your skin better than you), most prefer to apply vitamin C serums in the morning because of its antioxidant properties—which means that it helps to defend against pollutants and free radicals that could otherwise damage skin throughout the day.
"Because vitamin C serum helps protect your skin from free radicals, most dermatologists have recommended applying it in the morning to prevent damage during the day," says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
If you're wondering when to apply a vitamin C serum, the answer is both morning and night, after cleansing and toning. One study even recommends applying a vitamin C serum every eight hours, or twice daily for the pinnacle of protection.
Many people wonder when the best time is to use their Vitamin C products. While some associate Vitamin C with daytime, others believe nights and evenings are best to use their Vitamin C-infused products. The truth is, Vitamin C can work effectively in the days or evenings.
It'll also absorb into your skin most effectively after you've cleansed and exfoliated, so it makes sense to apply it during your nighttime routine. When you use your vitamin C serum during the night, you'll also avoid the risk of photosensitivity, which can occur in some cases with daytime use.
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.
When do I use Vitamin C in my routine? Vitamin C absorbs into skin most effectively after cleansing. AM: after cleansing, allow to absorb before applying a moisture lotion/SPF. PM: add a dose to your go-to night moisturizer, or layer a Vitamin C serum beneath it for a boost.
A thick moisturizer with hyaluronic acid would be applied after a vitamin C serum, but a hyaluronic acid serum will come before a face cream with vitamin C in its formula. In the case that you have two separate serums, it still comes down to thickness. Apply whichever is thinner first.
Yes, you could use niacinamide in the morning and vitamin C at night. Both ingredients are highly effective and are able to deliver impressive results whenever they are applied to the skin.
So, should I use vitamin C or retinol for wrinkles? Well, when it comes right down to it, the choice is really in what you're looking to do for your skin. While vitamin C is incredible for the skin because of its ability to help brighten and improve hyperpigmentation, the best active ingredient for wrinkles is retinol.
Apply your vitamin C first, since it has the lower pH of the two. Then, wait half an hour before you apply your retinol. Incorporating the waiting period allows your skin's pH to return to normal, so each ingredient can work at its intended pH.
You can use your serum(s) both morning and night. They do not necessarily replace your moisturizer but can boost the hydrating effects of your moisturizer.
Is it a good idea to combine Vitamin C, Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid in a skincare routine? Yes. These ingredients work well when used individually and even better when paired together.
Retinoids work best if you use them daily. Specifically, they should be used at night because some types are deactivated by light and air. It's important to start slowly and allow your skin time to adjust. Using too much too quickly can cause redness, dryness, and irritation.
In short: yes, you can use vitamin C and retinol together; try retinol at night and vitamin C during the day—always with sunscreen.
The main difference between Vitamin C Serum and Hyaluronic Acid Serum is the basic functionality of the compounds. Vitamin C shall protect you from skin damage, while Hyaluronic Acid Serum helps your skin retain moisture. For effective results, these both are combined to give desired results for your skin.
What's the difference between using vitamin C or hyaluronic acid products? Vitamin C serums stimulate collagen production and works as an effective antioxidant, while hyaluronic acid moisturizes the skin.
Both vitamin C and niacinamide increase the natural production of ceramides in your skin which helps to strengthen your skin barrier, keep your skin hydrated, and reduce irritation. However, niacinamide is probably the better option for sensitive skin as it's usually gentler than vitamin C.
Use your vitamin C serum first, and let it dry.
Then "Let vitamin C completely dry prior to placing niacinamide," says Lamm. That way, the ascorbic acid has a chance to settle into the skin, and there's a smaller chance of combining the two actives.
But overall, stick to using water-based products and serums together. AHAs and BHAs, such as glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids should never be used with Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an acid, too, and is unstable, so the pH balance will be thrown off by layering these ingredients together and might as well be useless.
"Niacinamide can reduce the effectiveness of vitamin C, so it's best to apply them alternatively — one in the morning and one at night," says Dr. Irwin. And luckily, using niacinamide in the morning doesn't pose an increased UV risk.