A hydrating serum is a great option for morning to ensure the skin is moisturized. MacGregor's favorite, Alto Defense Serum by Skin Better, offers a generous mix of antioxidants, fatty acids, and ceramides.
Many gentle serums, such as a hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum, barrier-boosting niacinamide serum or soothing, Anti-Redness Serum are effective applied morning and/or night.
Serums should be applied twice daily. “They are the first products that should be applied to the skin after cleansing and toning,” Geyer explains. “A sunscreen should be applied over the serum in the morning, and a moisturizer appropriate for an individual's skin type should be used over the serum at night.
Niacinamide can be used morning and night. Because it plays well with other skincare ingredients (even potentially tricky actives such as exfoliating acids and vitamin C) it will sit happily alongside anything else you're using.
"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.
How often can you use it? It's always best to follow specific product instructions and to start off slowly. Generally, though, you can safely use hyaluronic acid both morning and night.
If you are applying a Vitamin C serum and hyaluronic acid separately, it's suggested that you apply the Vitamin C first, and then add the hyaluronic acid afterward in order to help fortify the skin barrier and lock in the moisture.
When used together, always go with applying hyaluronic acid first, followed by Niacinamide. By following this, you would be able to attract plenty of hydration first. After that, apply Niacinamide to help regulate the sebum production and help with the minimization of pores.
Now that we know it's a perfectly safe combination, feel free to mix niacinamide and vitamin C to your heart's content. However, if you still feel nervous about combining the two ingredients on your sensitive skin, you can always use niacinamide in the morning and vitamin C at night, or even alternate days.
Although many products containing salicylic acid recommend that you apply them in the morning and night, you should always be cautious when using an ingredient like this in the day as salicylic acid can make the skin more sensitive to the sun.
“In general vitamin C products should be applied in the morning before heading out for the day, when UV radiation is at its highest,” Dr. Hogan says. But vitamin C becomes less effective when exposed to light, so it's important to give it time to absorb into your skin before going outside, SELF explained previously.
Yes! Hyaluronic Acid can be combined with Vitamin C products or applied separately as the second layer of defense.
Vitamin C serum benefits
One study even recommends applying a vitamin C serum every eight hours, or twice daily for the pinnacle of protection. Vitamin C has photoprotective properties and staves off oxidative stress from the free radicals we meet throughout our day.
As for whether you should apply glycolic acid morning or night, we recommend applying it as part of your evening skincare routine. Glycolic acid can cause “photosensitivity,” which means it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun's UV rays, upping your chances of a sunburn or skin damage.
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.
While the two ingredients are similar, they also have their differences. "Because it's a mild acid, vitamin C also gives you more of an exfoliating and brightening effect than niacinamide," says Dr. Lee. "Niacinamide has a greater impact in terms of hydrating the skin."
Can I use niacinamide and hyaluronic acid together? Yes, you can indeed! Hyaluronic acid and niacinamide deliver impressive hydrating benefits for the skin.
As it's well tolerated by most people, niacinamide can be used twice a day everyday. It works at any time of the year although it comes in particularly handy in winter during cold, dry weather and frequent use of central heating. Use it in the run-up before starting your retinol treatment and alongside it, too.
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.
Niacinamide With Vitamin C Are a Winning Combination
This means that you're safe to use both niacinamide and vitamin C, either together in the same product, or combined from different products that you layer one over the other.
“Hyaluronic acid plays well with most ingredients, while caution must be taken when using retinol in combination with alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids, benzoyl peroxide, and some types of vitamin C.”
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.
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.
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.
Though it's perfectly fine to use vitamin C and retinol or retinoids in your skincare routine, each is better suited to a different time of day. Vitamin C is best used in the morning, while retinoids are better for your nighttime skincare routine.