Hyaluronic acid should be layered before retinol in case of dry or sensitive skin, as it helps create a barrier between retinol and your skin, offsetting irritation.
For sensitive skin types, some experts even recommend the “sandwich method” when using retinol. First, apply a light layer of a humectant-filled moisturizer like Dew Point. Next, smooth on your retinol. Finally, apply a second, thicker layer of the same moisturizer to seal everything in.
Don't Mix: Retinol with vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, and AHA/BHA acids. AHA and BHA acids are exfoliating, which can dry out the skin and cause further irritation if your skincare routine already includes retinol.
Yes, you can use hyaluronic acid with retinol together and it's perfectly safe to do so. In fact, using hyaluronic acid with retinol has synergistic effect on your skin because they complement each other.
There's no problem with using both retinol and vitamin C as part of your skincare routine, dermatologists say. In fact, Shirazi calls this combo a "power couple" when it comes to aging well.
If you're determined to use vitamin C and retinol together in the same routine, you'll need to make sure to put enough time between them. It's also essential to apply your vitamin C first because it has the lower pH of the two ingredients.
Order Matters: Serums are applied after cleansing and toning and before your moisturizer. If you don't use toner, then apply serum directly after cleansing. Keep It Simple: It's best to layer no more than two serums at a time. Too many layers can possibly prevent the ingredients from absorbing as effectively.
How do I use retinol and vitamin C together? In general, vitamin C is best used in the morning and retinol is best used at night. In the morning, apply your vitamin C serum to clean, dry skin and follow with a face moisturizer for your skin type and sunscreen with SPF 30 or more.
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.
To apply a serum with retinol correctly, smooth it onto clean skin after you cleanse and before your moisturizer. Your serum will have a thinner consistency than your moisturizer, which is what determines the application order.
Retinol (leave to absorb for 10-20 minutes)
Retinol is also an ingredient that should be left to absorb sufficiently into the skin before following up with another product. “It is important to leave a 10-20 minute wait time before applying the next product.
Hyaluronic acid should be layered before retinol in case of dry or sensitive skin, as it helps create a barrier between retinol and your skin, offsetting irritation. Must-mention: let your hyaluronic acid serum dry before following with retinol as, if applied to damp skin, there's a higher risk of redness and dryness.
In the morning, after applying your vitamin C serum, follow it with a layer of hydrating hyaluronic acid. In your nightly routine, apply hyaluronic acid serum before retinol, as it can increase its effectiveness while also helping to lock moisture in for maximum hydration.
Regardless of your skin type or which product you use first, a layer of moisturizer should always be applied after retinoids.
Afterward, you can apply any brightening products, followed by serums or night creams. “Because retinols can be drying, it's ideal to follow with an effective moisturizer to help keep skin hydrated and [the] skin's barrier protected,” Gabriel notes.
Perform the nighttime skincare routine as directed above. After applying retinol to your skin (while it's dry) allow it to sit for 10-20 minutes. Mist your face with water or a facial spray, and then apply your hyaluronic acid. (HA serums are most effective when they're applied to damp skin.)
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.
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.
Some skin care ingredients you shouldn't mix with vitamin C, but using retinol and vitamin C together works even better than applying them separately, because vitamin C fights free radicals and protects retinol from oxidation.
Pairing the two ingredients is safe and can make retinol easier to use. Niacinamide helps hydrate the skin, which reduces the risk of irritation caused by retinol. Niacinamide and retinol can be combined in one product or used as separate products.