Skincare Stacy

Skincare Stacy
Should Vitamin C Serum Be Used Morning or Night?

Should Vitamin C Serum Be Used Morning or Night?

Vitamin C serum should be used as part of your morning skincare routine as it works synergistically with sunscreen to prevent premature aging.

As someone who is obsessed with skincare, I can tell you firsthand that vitamin C serums are more than just an essential part of your daily multivitamin. Topical vitamin C can help with:

  • Dark spots
  • Premature aging
  • Dull skin tone
  • Loss of collagen production
  • Sun damage

By the end of this piece, you’ll have a much better understanding of how to incorporate a vitamin C product into your own routine!

What is vitamin C, and what can it do for you?

Pure vitamin C, also known as l ascorbic acid, is one of 13 essential nutrients that your body needs to function. It helps with iron absorption, supports your immune system, and promotes your body’s natural repair process.

Other than l ascorbic acid, some common forms include:

  • Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate
  • Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (best for acne prone skin, kind of like salicylic acid)
  • Ascorbyl palmitate

These active ingredients are all powerful antioxidants. But what are antioxidants?

Free Radicals and Vitamin C

Vitamin C products are essential to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules looking for an electron to balance them out. They’re created every day through environmental aggressors like smoke!

Even benzoyl peroxide can create free radicals, but these get neutralized quickly anyways.

Because our bodies don’t have spare electrons lying around, free radicals tend to “steal” them from other, balanced molecules. This process is known as oxidative stress and it’s bad news for health skin. Oxidative stress is the driving force behind premature signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles.

When you apply vitamin C serum, you support your skin cell health and fight free radicals.

But the benefits of vitamin C don’t stop there!

More Benefits of Vitamin C Serums

Stratia C+C Serum with BowTiedFawn branding

With regular use, vitamin C products can:

My favorite vitamin C serums have formulas where l ascorbic acid is combined with ferulic acid and sometimes vitamin E.

Everyone’s skin reacts differently, but as mentioned earlier, there are a few factors to consider that will impact how you react:

  • Serum form
  • High concentration or lower concentration
  • Vitamin derivative

You can always patch test to see how you personally react to your product.

When should you apply vitamin C serum in your skin care regimen?

Nearly across the board, dermatologists recommend incorporating vitamin C serum into your morning routine instead of your nighttime routine.

Why is that, you might ask?

Because it fights free radicals, vitamin C helps back up the protective effects of broad spectrum spf. You can almost think of it like an extra layer of protection for your skin when applied topically.

Now, that’s not to say that you can’t use vitamin C serum at night! If you’re going to do that though, I suggest not mixing it with anything like retinol or exfoliating acids.

Also, vitamin C serum lasts 3-6 months typically, so be sure to use it up before it expires.

How to Incorporate Vitamin C Serum into Your Morning Routine

You don’t have to use every step of this routine, but this is how I would incorporate vitamin C for maximum benefit.

  1. Cleaser
  2. Toner (optional)
  3. Vitamin C serum
  4. Moisturizer (optional)
  5. SPF

You can also choose a tinted moisturizer as well if you prefer.

Although the specific skin care products you use may vary, sticking to the following morning routine format is a great place to start:


CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser with BowTiedFawn branding

All good skin care routines, no matter your skin type or concerns, start with a supportive cleanser. While the type of cleanser you use will depend on your individual needs, it’s important to choose one that’s gentle yet effective at removing dirt, oil, and makeup from the skin.


After cleansing, it’s a good idea to follow up with a toner. Toners help to balance the pH of the skin and remove any remaining traces of dirt and oil. They also help to prep the skin for the next steps in your routine.


Applying vitamin C serum to your face and neck is the most important part here!


Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream with BowTiedFawn branding

After applying your vitamin C serum, it’s time to moisturize! If you have particularly oily skin, you may be able to get away with skipping this step because sunscreen is just moisturizer with SPF in it anyways.


CeraVe Hydrating Mineral SPF 30 with BowTiedFawn branding

Of course, the final step in your morning routine should be a broad spectrum sunscreen!

Consistency is Key

Your skin care routine will not work unless you do it consistently. Take 5 minutes every morning and night and show your face some love. Adjust frequency to avoid skin irritation, but make sure you stick with your skin care!

Other Tips for Using Vitamin C Serums

  • Store your product properly – Vitamin C is sensitive to water, UV, and air. It’s so unstable that it wants to bind to anything and everything. Make sure you store it in a cool, dark place to extend its shelf life. Many products come in airtight packaging or a dropper bottle to help with this.
  • Don’t overdo it – Yes, consistency is key, but adjust your routine to avoid irritation.
  • Pair it with other skin-loving ingredients – Vitamin C plays well with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or niacinamide!
  • Be patient – we’re in this for the long haul! Vitamin C is a preventative measure against premature aging. You’re going to be using it for the rest of your life, so be patient!

The Bottom Line

A vitamin C serum is the second best anti-aging tool we have in our toolbox! Go ahead and give it a try in your morning routine instead of nighttime.

I have a feeling you’ll love the results!

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