If you’re into taking care of your skin and how it looks, then you’ve probably seen or tried a vitamin C skin care product—like a vitamin C serum—at least once in your life. Vitamin C is an excellent ingredient for healthy-looking skin. It's no wonder this ingredient always remains relevant in the beauty industry.
The best way to ensure you get vitamin C's benefits into your skin's deeper layers is by incorporating it in serum form. A serum has a hydrating aqueous base with a smaller molecular size that allows easy absorption into the skin. This makes the serum a great carrier for the benefits and targeted purposes of the serum's activated ingredients. Your dermis can soak in and utilizes all the potent, hardworking activated ingredients of the serum deep into the skin.
Depending on the activated ingredients in the serum, you can use a serum to brighten, tighten, rejuvenate or firm the skin, and serve the skin care needs you desire. For example, if you want to firm and tighten your look, you can choose an Anti-Aging Serum formulated to amply hydrate your skin for a soft, plump complexion.
Topically using vitamin C serum on your skin not only helps your skin retain moisture to keep it hydrated but also helps protect your skin against environmental stressors. By seeing all the benefits vitamin C offers, you might think, “I need to increase vitamin C intake in my diet.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work in that way. You can’t see skin benefits solely by ingesting vitamin C because the epidermis doesn’t have enough blood vessels to send nutrients to the skin cells. The best way to get the benefits on your skin is by using vitamin C skin care products, directly and effectively.
Below, we’ll cover how to deliver the nourishment of vitamin C serums to your skin, so you can truly see the results that vitamin C has to offer!
Best Way To Apply Vitamin C Serum
When applying a vitamin C serum, you’ll want to follow the steps below for maximum benefits. Even though most skin types can tolerate a vitamin C serum, there is always the probability that a skin care product can cause some potential side effects on the skin, like allergies—especially those with sensitive skin types.
To mitigate this risk, we recommend doing a patch test before applying any product to your face. That way, you can see how your skin responds in a more controlled setting rather than overdoing it across a larger surface area.
Here’s how to do a patch test
- Select an area on your skin that’s easy to hide, like your forearm.
- Apply a small amount of the product and give it 24 hours.
- If you experience no side effects, you can use the product on your face. But if you experience side effects like hives, rashes and redness, you must discontinue its use.
Steps To Apply Vitamin C Serum
- Step 1: Wash your face to remove any makeup, dirt or impurities.
- Step 2: If you incorporate a toner in your routine, tone your face in this step. Toning not only refreshes the skin but also helps with the absorption of products that follow.
- Step 3: Apply your vitamin C serum. Pat any excess product onto the top of your hands, neck and décolletage.
- Step 4: Apply your favorite eye cream.
- Step 5: Apply a moisturizer. (Yes, your moisturizer should come after your vitamin C serum—remember the general rule of applying thinner to thicker textured products in a skin care routine.)
- Step 6 (for AM application only): Finally, apply sunscreen. Let it dry/set.
When To Use Vitamin C Serum in Your Skin Care Routine
You can apply your vitamin C serum daily, either once a day, ideally in the morning (especially if you’re cycling in a different evening product), or both in the morning and at night.
Apply your vitamin C serum after you cleanse and tone and before you apply your eye cream and moisturizer. Applying it in this order will allow your skin to be properly purified and prepped for enhanced absorption of your serum's activated ingredients. Then, applying your specialty eye care and moisturizer will lock in all of the serum’s goodness and help drive the benefits of your vitamin C serum deeper into the skin.
Vitamin C can be safely used with other activated ingredients if you’re looking to combine the benefits of multiple products. However, using vitamin C with niacinamide may make vitamin C less effective.
Another common skin care combination is to apply your vitamin C product in the morning and your retinol-alternative product in the evening.
- We recommend separating the application of these two products in two different sessions for the best results. For example, you could apply our Wild Fruit Serum (which features kakadu plum extract as a key ingredient—one of the world’s most potent forms of vitamin C) in the morning before your preferred eye care product and facial oil. Then add 1-3 drops of our retinol-alternative product, Revitalize in the Concentrated Boosting Elixirs, into your favorite serum or facial oil in your evening skin care routine. We suggest separating the sessions of these two products because vitamin A (the key ingredient in retinol and retinol-alternatives) can make skin sensitive to harsh UV rays. So it's best to apply your retinol-alternative product at night.
- When you apply your vitamin C serum the next morning, not only will you provide your skin with the amazing benefits of hydration, brightening and illumination, but you'll also introduce a high dose of antioxidants, which will fortify your skin’s resilience and keep it protected from environmental stressors.
In addition, you can further the benefits of vitamin C by knowing how best to use it in conjunction with other popular skin care ingredients, like AHAs or BHAs.
Frequently Ask Questions
Can I use vitamin C serum every day?
Yes, especially in the morning. Vitamin C can help protect your skin from environmental stressors that affect your skin’s natural defenses. These include car exhaust, cigarette smoke, certain chemicals, liquor and over-processed foods.
Should I use vitamin C serum day or night
Because Vitamin C can act as a shield for your skin from environmental stressors, you’ll probably want to use it in the morning rather than in the evening. However, there is no harm in applying it in the evening if that is when you prefer to incorporate this product. Or, you can apply your vitamin C both in the morning and in the evening. If you have skin sensitivities, always patch test before applying your serum fully.
Should I apply moisturizer after vitamin C serum?
Applying a moisturizer after a vitamin C serum will help seal all of the fantastic benefits of the serum. This order of applying your serum first and then following with your moisturizer is recommended because your serum, an aqueous-based product, is more readily absorbed into the skin. A moisturizer, which is oil-based, will help drive the serum deeper into the skin and serve as both a seal and thin protective layer from the elements. The result? Dewy, supple skin that is hydrated and moisturized.
Interested in vitamin C serum or powder? In our latest blog post, we will help you understand how to choose the right vitamin C for your skin.