You probably know that you should be using a vitamin C serum in your skincare routine every day. But do you know why? And are you even using it properly? Here’s a little refresher.
HOW TO USE VITAMIN C SERUM
Because vitamin C helps protect your skin from pollution, ultraviolet light, and free radicals, you’re going to want to use it in the morning rather than in the evening. If you’ve never used vitamin C or if you have sensitive skin, start by applying the serum every other day for the first two weeks to combat any side effects.
Also it’s important to keep in mind that as a rule of thumb, skincare products should typically be applied from “thinnest” to “thickest” in terms of consistency.
Regardless of your skin type, there are numerous benefits of vitamin C. Here’s how to use it to get the most out of this skincare step:
Step 1: Wash your face.
Step 2: If you’re a toner person, use a toner. (I personally only use toner at night.)
Step 3: Apply vitamin C serum. Pat any excess product onto the top of your hands, neck, and décolletage.
Step 4: Apply a moisturizer (Yes, your moisturizer should come after your vitamin C serum — remember the “thinnest to thickest” rule.)
Step 5: Apply your favorite eye cream. (This list of the best anti-aging eye creams is a great resource.)
Step 6: Apply a sunscreen. Let it dry/set.
Step 7: Begin your makeup. (Check out my everyday makeup routine and products here.)
What’s nice about Vitamin C serums is that they can be applied as a base layer underneath whatever products you use in the morning, because the good ones never feel sticky. (This list of the best vitamin C serums includes all the “good ones”!)
When To Use Vitamin C Serum?
For optimal results, you should use vitamin C serum every single day. This is the one I’m currently using—I’ve been really impressed with it!
It’s worth noting that vitamin C serum (and all serums in general!) are most effective when your skin is properly exfoliated. The build-up of dead skin cells due to lack of exfoliation can make it difficult for products to penetrate.
However, keep in mind that exfoliating can cause some sensitivity—particularly if you’re using a chemical exfoliant that contains acids like AHA and BHA—so be sure to use your Vitamin C serum and acids at different times of day.
I personally apply my vitamin C serum every morning, and then use my AHAs and BHAs at night a few times a week.
How to Use Vitamin C Serum and Hyaluronic Acid
If you’re wondering how to use a hyaluronic acid serum and a vitamin C serum together, the answer is—you guessed it!—go from thinnest to thickest. The HA serum I use has a slightly thicker, gel-like consistency, so I apply it after my vitamin C serum and before my moisturizer.
It’s completely fine to layer your serums, but make sure to give each one time to try before applying the next. You’re also going to want to make sure your products have settled into your skin before beginning your makeup routine.
How to Use Vitamin C Serum and Retinol
Ideally, you should separate the application of vitamin C and retinol, and use them at different times of day. (Ex: Use your vitamin C serum in the morning, and your retinol at night.)
Of course, some people can use the two in conjunction without experiencing sensitivity—although it’s not traditionally advisable.
If you’re going to use them together, just be sure to wait 30 minutes in between application, so that the vitamin C serum has time to properly be absorbed. (It should always be applied first.)
When used together, vitamin C serums and retinol can effectively reduce the appearance of dark spots and can help improve your overall skin texture.
How to Use Vitamin C Serum and Niacinamide
Both vitamin C and niacinamide can work wonders on your skin, and luckily, they pair together beautifully. Niacinamide is a water-soluble and active form of vitamin B3 that offers up a variety of complexion-boosting benefits like increased collagen production and extra hydration. It can also combat hyperpigmentation and calm and soothe inflammation.
When used together, the pair can target signs of aging and distress on the skin in a powerful way. Some products contain both of niacinamide and vitamin c, which makes it easy to incorporate into your skincare routine. However, most dermatologists recommend keeping the two ingredients separate. To use the duo, layer one on top of the other from thinnest to thickest.
How to Use Vitamin C Serum and Sunscreen
I touched on this a bit above but it’s worth mentioning again: Sunscreen should always be incorporated into your skincare routine. It’s a non-negotiable if you want to keep your complexion healthy and clear. Apply your favorite sunscreen as the last step before your makeup.
VITAMIN C SERUM BENEFITS
So perhaps you’re wondering… what does vitamin c do for your skin anyway? Here’s a list of the benefits.
- According to dermatologists, vitamin C is one of greatest anti-aging ingredients found in nature
- Short Term Benefits: Immediately after using a product with vitamin C (like a serum) you’ll notice increased radiance and sheen
- Long Term Benefits: With consistent use over time, it helps build collagen and increases firmness
- After just 4-6 weeks, dermatologists say you can expect to see a difference in skin tone and improvement with hyperpigmentation
- Here’s how one dermatologist (Dr. Mona Gohara) explained it to me: Vitamin C sucks up the free radicals that can lead to aging and skin cancer caused by ultraviolet light. Think of it as ‘Pac-Man’ eating those little pellets
- Products containing vitamin C also help protect the skin from the effects of pollution
Does Vitamin C Serum Expire?
Like most beauty and skincare products, vitamin C expires after a certain amount of time. Without opening it, most vitamin c serums have a shelf life anywhere between one year and 18 months.
However, if you’ve already opened up your serum, you’ll want to use it within a three to six month period, depending on the specific product.
Using an expired product can be much less effective (aka a bit pointless), so it’s always good to be timely with the items in your skincare lineup.
How Long Does Vitamin C Serum Last?
Once opened, vitamin C serums typically last between three and six months. If you don’t plan to use it that quickly, opt for serums that are available in small bottle sizes.
Unopened vitamin C serums can last anywhere between one year to 18 months.
Did you guys find this helpful? Need some good vitamin C products to test out yourself? This post will come in handy.
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