How to Use Vitamin C Serum in Skincare Routine – Your Go-to Guide

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If you have heard of the benefits of using vitamin C serum, you are probably wondering how to use it in your skincare routine. The benefits of using vitamin C serum on the skin are almost endless as it works to enhance the appearance of the skin. 

Vitamin C serum helps to protect the skin from environmental oppressors such as pollution, ultraviolet radiation, chemicals, and others. Those are factors that cause the skin to age prematurely and look dull. Vitamin C contains antioxidant properties that help to brighten and even out the skin tone.

Using the serum in your skincare routine is one of the best ways to improve the appearance of your skin. However, it is important to use the product properly as that is the only way to enjoy its full effects. 

Read ahead to find out how to use vitamin C serum in your skincare routine. This article also contains ways to use it with other active skincare ingredients.

How to Use Vitamin C in Your Skincare Routine

1. The best time to use your vitamin C serum is in the morning

Even though you can choose to use the serum at any time of the day, it is best to use it in the morning. Using the serum in the morning is a good way to prepare the skin for outdoor activities.

Vitamin C offers skin protection against environmental oppressors such as ultraviolet radiation, dust, and so on. Without this protection, free radicals can easily damage and cause the skin to look dull and rough. Those are factors that contribute to premature aging.

2. Choose the right concentration of vitamin C for your skin type

The strength of the serum depends on the percentage of the active ingredient inside it. Look for a percentage that works effectively for your skin type, and most especially—your skin concern. You can get a serum that contains between 5 to 30 percent vitamin C in it. 

If you have dry or sensitive skin, it is best to stick to a low concentration of the serum. Use a serum that contains only between 5% vitamin C in it; to avoid irritating the skin. For oily and acne-prone skin, you can use up to 20% vitamin C; to deal with skin concerns. 

3. Be mindful of other active ingredients

Although vitamin C serum is generally safe to use on the skin, you should be careful with the ingredients in your other skincare products. Normally, you should use vitamin C serum with exfoliating scrubs if you have sensitive skin. Doing so can irritate and sting your skin. 

The number one ingredient you shouldn’t use with vitamin C serum is benzoyl peroxide. Doing so can oxidize vitamin C and cause the product to be less effective. You should separate them into different routines, be it your morning or evening routine. 

You can try using vitamin C in your morning skincare routine and benzoyl peroxide in your bedtime routine. Generally, avoid using the serum with chemical exfoliants like AHA and BHA—as they can cause the skin to be more sensitive. 

4. Store your vitamin C serum properly

Be sure to keep your serum properly as Vitamin C serum is usually sensitive to sun and air. 

According to Dr. Sarah Hogan, a board-certified dermatologist, “The vitamin C in the serum becomes oxidized when it is exposed to light and air. It becomes a dehydroascorbic acid and is less stable or effective.” 

You should always make sure that the serum container is airtight and properly closed after usage. If your serum comes in a dropper bottle, you have to close it tightly after each squeeze.

5. Dispose the product once it changes color

Vitamin C serums are always either colorless or have a light straw color. One way to tell if your serum is oxidized is if the color changes to yellow or brown. It is best to dispose of the product once it gets oxidized as it will become less effective. 

You may continue to use it, but oxidized vitamin C products can cause yellow discoloration on the skin. To avoid such risk, replace the product with a new one and ensure that you store it properly. 

6. Apply the serum properly

It is important to go through the proper application steps when applying vitamin C serum in your skincare routine. Below is a step-by-step guide to assist you.

How to do it:

  • Cleanse your face with a cleanser and rinse off with clean water.
  • Apply your facial toner to remove leftover dirt from your skin.
  • Apply the vitamin C serum to your face.
  • Do this by using your fingertips to gently massage the serum into your skin.
  • Apply a gentle moisturizer after applying the serum. 
  • Apply an eye cream to assist the serum to reduce the appearance of aging signs. 
  • Layer your sunscreen. Using vitamin C is not enough to protect the skin from the rays of the sun. Apply the sunscreen to your skin and wait for it to absorb totally.

How Often Should You Use Vitamin C Serum?

To achieve the most effect from using vitamin C serum on your skin, you should use it every single day. Using the product every day is safe for all skin types, as long as you use a concentration that works best for it.

How to Use Vitamin C Serum and Hyaluronic Acid

To use vitamin C serum on the skin, ensure you follow the rule of thumb—from thinnest to thickest. If your hyaluronic acid has a thinner consistency compared to the vitamin C serum, use the latter first. 

However, if your vitamin C serum has a thinner consistency, then use it before the hyaluronic acid. It works both ways, as hyaluronic acid will help to keep your skin hydrated whenever you apply it. 

Ensure that you allow one to absorb into the skin first before you apply the other. This allows the product enough time to work on the skin without interrupting each other.

Can You Use Vitamin C Serum With Retinol? 

If you think you can’t use both retinol and vitamin C serum in your skincare routine, you are wrong.

Using vitamin C and retinol together in your routine is fine and won’t cause any of them to stop working. Therefore, you can use vitamin C serum with retinol safely on your skin. 

None of the ingredients will lose their effectiveness if you use them properly on your skin. If you are thinking of using them together in your routine, read ahead for a guide on how to. 

How to Use Vitamin C Serum and Retinol

There are three ways to incorporate both retinol and vitamin C serum. You can choose to apply both products to your skin in a routine. 

Do this by applying the thinnest first before the thickest. In this case, vitamin C serum comes first before retinol. After applying the vitamin C serum, wait for 30 minutes for your skin to absorb it. Then follow up with the retinol product and finish with a moisturizer.

You can also use the ingredients separately in your skincare routine. You can do this by using one in your morning routine and the other in the evening routine. Likewise, you can alternate between the two ingredients each night.

How to Use Vitamin C Serum With Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid

To use vitamin C, retinol, and hyaluronic acid together in your skincare routine, start with the thinnest consistency, which is retinol. Apply retinol on your skin as you would, then follow the process with hyaluronic acid. 

After applying hyaluronic acid to your skin, you can apply vitamin C serum. Applying hyaluronic acid in between the two ingredients will help to reduce the risk of skin irritation. Additionally, it will help to balance the skin’s pH level.

How to Use Vitamin C Serum and Niacinamide

There are three different ways to use niacinamide with vitamin C serum in your routine. First, you can get a product that contains both ingredients and apply it to your skin. 

You can also use them separately by using vitamin C first before niacinamide. Allow your skin to absorb the vitamin C serum completely before layering the niacinamide on it. 

The last method is to use a moisturizer that contains niacinamide after applying your vitamin C serum. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use vitamin C in the morning and niacinamide at night?

Yes, you can. Using vitamin C in the morning and niacinamide at night is the safest way to use both ingredients on your skin. 

You can use this method to combine vitamin C and niacinamide in your skincare routine if you are not sure about the other methods.

How long should you wait after applying vitamin C serum?

Wait for about 2 minutes or as much as it takes for your skin to absorb the ingredient completely. 

Applying another skincare product immediately after using vitamin C serum will dilute it. Doing that will lessen the effect of the serum.

Can you mix your vitamin C serum with your moisturizer?

Yes, you can. You can mix vitamin C serum with your moisturizer before applying it to your skin. 

Do this if you have sensitive or dry skin as this will help to maximize the effect of the serum without skin irritation.


Using vitamin C serum properly on the skin will help to glow up the skin while also protecting it from damage. It is important to apply the serum correctly on the skin, especially when combining it with other ingredients. 

All you have to do is match the right serum with the right concentration for your skin type and concern. Follow the guide in this article to use the serum and enjoy a brighter skin tone.

Thank you for reading. 

Read more guides on how to use your skincare products on Serum101.