How To Use Vitamin C Serum In Your Skincare Routine

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Close-up young Asian woman applying serum on her face

Wondering how to use Vitamin C serums properly? If you plan on amping up your skincare routine, you might’ve already considered adding this product.

Vitamin C brings a lot to the table to keep your skin looking young and healthy. It’s definitely a skincare ingredient you’d want to add to your skincare routine. 

Luckily, it’s readily available, and there is a vast range of vit-c serums in the market that you can choose from.

You may already be aware that vitamin c is a potent ingredient. Because of this, a lot of people seem to be intimidated by it. But if you know how to use it properly, you’ll enjoy its benefits.

In a nutshell, it’s best to use it during your morning skincare routine, and you must be careful about using it with other skincare ingredients. 

Read on for an in-depth guide to using vitamin c serums correctly!

Why Add Vitamin C Serums to Your Skin Care Routine?

Before getting into the proper ways of using our superstar ingredient, we need to get to know it first!

Vitamin C is one of the most science-backed skincare ingredients, so many dermatologists approve of its use. Additionally, we know what it can do for our skin thanks to research.

The Benefits of Vitamin C

It Has Anti-Aging Properties

As an antioxidant, Vitamin C helps slow down skin aging. It blocks what causes our collagen to break down quickly, preventing wrinkles and skin sagging from occurring. 

It Boosts Collagen Production

In tandem with its anti-aging properties, vit-c also boosts collagen production in your skin. While our skin continually produces collagen throughout our lives, this process slows down as we age.

 Vitamin C helps boost this production as we grow older, so we can maintain strong, elastic, and young-looking skin. 

It Helps Protect Skin from Sun Damage

Young sensual lady wearing hat exposing her face to sun on hot day

It’s also been proven that vitamin C is effective in helping minimize UV damage. On top of that, it also helps soothe skin irritation that we may get from sunburns. 

Given this, Vitamin C works well with sunscreen as it amplifies the latter’s positive effects.

It Evens Out Skin Tone and Prevents Hyperpigmentation

In the skincare world, Vitamin C is well-known for brightening the skin. It works well in preventing hyperpigmentation and improving skin tone as it blocks the overproduction of melanin.

It Provides Relief From Acne

Besides being an antioxidant, vit-c also has anti-inflammatory properties, which could help minimize redness and irritation caused by acne. 

How to Use Vitamin C Serums in Skincare

To a beginner, skincare might seem too overly simple. To reap the most positive effects from the products you use on your face, you must know how to apply them properly. 

Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as you think!

When to Use Vitamin C Serums

The best time to apply your vitamin C serum is in the morning before putting on your sunscreen. 

As mentioned, this ingredient helps protect against sun damage and works extremely well with sunscreen. Therefore, it’s logical to put it on before starting your day. 

But that’s not the only reason. 

Vitamin C is unstable, so it reacts pretty quickly with other ingredients. 

In skin care, most ingredients vit-c reacts negatively to are usually applied at night. So to avoid any possible loss of potency or any risk of irritation, you should use your serum in the morning. 

The frequency of how you use this type of serum depends on your skin type and the type of vitamin C you have. 

If you have normal, oily, or combination skin, it’s possibly safe to use 10-20% vitamin C serums every day. If you have dry and sensitive skin, you should use serums with a lower concentration of vit-c (usually under 10%) and use your serum less frequently. 

For the best and safest result, do a patch test and see if your face can handle your serum well.

Using Vitamin C Serums: Step-by-Step

There’s a general rule in applying your skincare products, be it in the morning or at night time: use them from the “thinnest” products to the “thickest” ones. 

Here’s how to apply vitamin c serum to your face:

STEP 1: Cleanse

You need a clean canvas for your Vitamin C serum to work the best way possible. To ensure your skin properly absorbs your product, you need to clean it. 

Also, removing the gunk on your face prevents your pores from clogging up as the dirt can get stuck underneath all of your skincare products.  

Start your morning skincare routine with a gentle cleanser, preferably one best suited for your skin type. 

STEP 2: Apply Toner

Side view of woman applying toner with cotton pad on face and looking at mirror

Now, we all know not everyone uses a toner. However, if you do, applying it after cleansing is the best time to do so. 

This step helps eliminate the dirt that may have been left even after washing your face. It opens up your pores, too, making it easier for your vitamin c serum to enter your skin. 

There are many types of toners, and they may contain ingredients that interact with vitamin C. Use one with substances that won’t react negatively with your serum for the best results. 

STEP 3: Apply Your Vitamin C Serum

After prepping your face by cleansing it and applying toner, now’s the time to put on your Vitamin C serum. 

Remember, with vit-c, a little goes a long way. Serums are meant to be potent, so you don’t need to slather a large amount of it on your face. 

A coin-sized dollop of serum is enough for your entire face and neck. Warm it up on your fingers and apply a nice thin layer of the serum on your face and neck. 

Wait for your skin to absorb it, and you’re ready for the next step.

STEP 4: Moisturize

When you use Vitamin C serums, it is crucial to use a moisturizer immediately. By moisturizing, you’re essentially sealing the vitamin c in. 

On top of that, you’re keeping your skin nourished, moisturized, and hydrated. Who doesn’t love that? 

STEP 5: Wear Sunscreen

Usually, vitamin c serums are used in a morning routine. So if you’re about to start your day, don’t forget to wear sun protection.

Sunscreen works well with vitamin c. They both have properties that protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays and boost each other’s effects. 

Vitamin C helps sunscreen protect you from sun damage, while your sunscreen helps block damage that would counteract vit-c’s anti-aging properties. 

Now that you know how to use vitamin c properly, you’re one step closer to reaping the maximum amount of its benefits. 

Doing so ensures that your skin has absorbed vitamin c and is locked in by the layers you put over it. With regular use, you’ll be able to achieve brighter and more youthful-looking skin.

How to Store Vitamin C Serums Correctly

Vitamin C can react with light, temperature, and certain pH levels. Because of this, such products are notorious for having short shelf lives, especially those that use pure Vitamin C.

To prolong the life of your vitamin C serum, store it in a cool, dry place away from prolonged sun exposure.

Ideally, you should keep it in a fridge as this storage method is known to let your vit-c serum keep for a long time.  

Choosing the Right Vitamin C Serum

There are many vitamin C serums available today, and they’re not all made the same. You should consider several factors to find the right serum that would work for you. 

Types of Vitamin C in Serums

When making topical serums, skincare companies use two types of vitamin C components: pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) and derivatives.

Pure Vitamin C

This type of vitamin C ingredient is more potent than its derivative. It works fast and is strong, so benefits may become visible more quickly if you use it.

However, those sensitive to vitamin C might find this type too strong or irritating. Additionally, it’s unstable compared to derivatives, so heat, light, and ph can easily affect its effectiveness.

Vitamin C Derivatives

Some serums use derivatives of vitamin C, such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, in place of L-ascorbic acid. 

These substances react and become pure vitamin c once applied to the skin. As such, they’re less irritating compared to pure vitamin C. 

They’re also slightly less potent but are just as effective. 

Skin Type

Beautiful smiling young woman touching skin and looking at mirror in bathroom

Like many other skincare products, you must consider several things before purchasing a vitamin C serum. 

If you’re unsure what your type is, here’s a list of common skin types people usually have: 

Normal Skin

This skin type is just the right amount of oily and dry. It also doesn’t react too hard with external irritants and is the easiest to maintain. 

Dry Skin

If you have flakes on your skin, you likely have the dry skin type. This type usually needs more hydration and feels tight. 

Sometimes, this dryness can also result in sensitivity to some products. 

Oily Skin

You may have oily skin if you experience greasiness throughout your entire face. Usually, this is caused by the overproduction of sebum on the skin. 

Combination Skin

If you notice a greasy T-zone while your cheeks and other parts of your face remain dry, you might have combination skin. Usually, the 

Sensitive Skin

If your skin is easily irritated by strong skincare ingredients, external elements, and even food, you might have sensitive skin. 

Depending on your skin type, you will have to look for vitamin C concentrations that might best suit it. 

For those with normal, oily, or combination skin, the sweet spot is between 10% and 20%. 

Any less would not be strong enough to be effective; any more doesn’t necessarily add any extra benefits. 

Meanwhile, people with dry and/or sensitive skin would benefit the best from serums with less than 10% concentration. Formulations with higher vitamin C content might risk irritating your skin. 

Vitamin C Interactions to Keep in Mind

Vitamin C can interact with several popular ingredients used in other skincare products. To maximize its effects and avoid irritation, learn how vitamin C works with other substances. 

Here are some of vit-c’s interactions with other popular skincare ingredients: 

Vitamin C and Retinol

Many skin care fans love vitamin C and retinol, but not together. 

Apart, they’re known to be effective in delivering skin benefits. However, your skin might get irritated if you use them together. 

Using them separately is the proper way to incorporate both vitamin C and retinol into your skincare routine.

If you have sensitive skin, you can do this by applying one at a different time of day than the other. Use your vitamin C serum for your morning routine, then use your retinol for your nighttime routine. 

However, if you’re one of the lucky ones with less sensitive, more resilient skin, you can use one in conjunction with the other. 

Nevertheless, don’t immediately layer them on top of each other. Use your vitamin c serum first and wait at least 30 minutes before applying retinol. 

Vitamin C and AHAs/BHAs

Not many people know any better, but you shouldn’t use Vitamin C with AHAs or BHAs. Doing so is a recipe for disaster. 

Do remember that Vitamin C, AHAs, and BHAs are all potent acids. Layering them on top of each other might render the acidity too strong, even for people with resilient skin. Using them together may likely cause irritation, so it’s best to avoid it. 

Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid

While Hyaluronic Acid is also acid like Vitamin C, using it in tandem with your serum likely won’t irritate your skin. 

In fact, some of the best Korean Vitamin C serums have hyaluronic acid as an additive, and they all work perfectly. 

However, if you’re using hyaluronic acid as a separate skincare product, follow the golden rule of applying products: thinnest to thickest. 

Usually, you get hyaluronic acid as a thicker serum, so layer it on top of vitamin C and then apply your moisturizer.

For the best results, make sure your skin has mostly absorbed one skincare product before applying the next one. 

Reap Vitamin C’s Maximum Benefits

beautiful woman looking at camera using a skincare dropper to apply vitamin c serum to her face

Choosing a good product is only half the journey if you want to enjoy vit-c’s amazing benefits. You also need to know how to use Vitamin C serums correctly.

Yes, it matters, and it makes a lot of difference! 

While there are multiple steps to this, it’s not too overwhelming to remember, even for beginners. 

Get the best bang for your buck and achieve healthy skin by following these steps and tips!

Read more about the best products for your skin here:


  • Ashley Pena

    Ashley Pena brings over 13 years of seasoned writing and editing expertise, fortified by her Bachelor of Science in Management. Esteemed in the beauty domain, her content captivates readers with its depth and authenticity. While she navigates a broad spectrum of beauty trends, Ashley shines particularly as our resident K-beauty guru. Her articles are a harmonious blend of passion and profound knowledge, inspiring readers on their unique beauty journeys.

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