Loved by beauty editors and dermatologists alike, Vitamin C and Retinol are two of the most powerful ingredients you can add to your skincare routine. Do they complement each other, or should you use them separately though?
Can you combine Vitamin C and Retinol?
Vitamin C benefits for skin
It would be quicker to list what Vitamin C doesn’t help. This potent antioxidant is a great multi-tasker that not only helps to protect your skin but repair it. In addition to helping to neutralise environmental aggressors like UV rays and pollution, which is great if you live in the city, Vitamin C is also credited with boosting collagen production to help firm skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Its anti-inflammatory properties can also soothe redness and blemishes. The benefits don’t stop there either. You’ll find even more reasons to add Vitamin C serums to your skincare routine here.
Retinol benefits for skin
Retinol is a form of vitamin A and another hero ingredient that has anti-ageing benefits and helps to promote skin renewal. Available in gels, creams and liquid serums, it’s a popular staple in many nighttime skincare routines, and helps to encourage a smoother, more even and glowing complexion when you wake. Read on to find out more of its benefits here.
Can I combine Vitamin C and Retinol?
When it comes to skincare routines, layering active ingredients in different serums and moisturisers can help to target a number of different skincare concerns. Using Vitamin C and Retinol together is no different. This power couple can be easily and effectively used in the same skincare routine as long as they’re used in the right order.
How to combine Vitamin C and Retinol
As Retinol and Vitamin C serums operate best at different pH levels, using them at the same time can cause them to be less effective. It can also irritate your skin. Using one in your morning routine and one at night allows them to work at their correct pH and most effective.
We recommend using a radiance-boosting Vitamin C product in the morning to help brighten your skin for the day ahead and protect skin against pollution and other daily environmental stressors.
As Retinol boosts cell turnover and new cells are more delicate, it can cause photosensitivity. Massaging it in when the sun has gone down at night helps to keep it away from UV light.
The key to starting any new skincare routine is finding what works for you gradually. Try this combination of powerful ingredients once a week and see how your skin type reacts before increasing the frequency to two or three times a week. You may also find alternating Retinol and Vitamin C serums on consecutive nights gives the best results for your skin. If you have sensitive skin, start slow and with lower strengths.
Our product recommendations
Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate
The Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate Vitamin C formula penetrates the skin’s surface layers to help hydrate skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s formulated with 12.5% Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid, is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and helps skin to retain moisture. Apply twice daily to cleansed skin and follow with a moisturiser or use alone to encourage a firmer complexion, smoother skin texture and radiant glow.
Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing & Dark Circle-Diminishing Vitamin C Eye Serum
This potent Vitamin C eye serum is uniquely formulated for the delicate eye area with 10% pure Vitamin C and hydrating hyaluronic acid. Gently tap on a small amount to target under eye dehydration and to instantly refresh the appearance of tired-looking eyes, dull skin and dark circles.
Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily MicroDose Serum
Our award-winning Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum is formulated to deliver a daily strength dose of pure Retinol to address signs of ageing and encourage younger-looking skin. Apply this potent serum over your entire cleansed face at night, including the under eye and crow’s feet areas. Its formula, enriched with a combination of pure Retinol, Peptides and Ceramides, helps to strengthen the skin barrier function and promote skin cell turnover with minimal discomfort such as redness or peeling. Always use a SPF in the daytime following application.
Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle-Reducing Night Serum
Retinol can encourage your skin to look smooth, radiant and younger-looking, but these results can take time. Stick with it for at least six weeks. If you don’t experience sensitivity, or you’re looking to target deep wrinkles, try our Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle-Reducing Night Serum. This powerful serum penetrates up to 15 surface layers deep into the skin and works to show a visible reduction of fine lines in as little as 5 days, and visible improvement in deep wrinkles in 2 weeks.
The importance of SPF when using Vitamin C and Retinol
As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C supports your SPF to protect the skin from environmental aggressors, including UV light, and to neutralise free radical damage. Retinol, which encourages cell turnover, can however make your skin more sensitive to UV rays. Make sure to follow any nightly application with a daytime layer of broad-spectrum SPF protection. Here are our favourite sunscreens:
Ultra Light Daily Defense SPF 50 PA++++
You should always apply sunscreen as part of your skincare routine.
Our fast-absorbing, non-comedogenic Ultra Light Daily Defense SPF 50 PA++++ sunscreen defends against aggressors such as UVA and UVB rays and pollution. It’s also enriched with antioxidants such as Baicalin and Vitamin E and helps neutralise skin-damaging free radicals and prevent premature signs of ageing.
Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel SPF 50 PA++++
The water-light Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Aqua Gel SPF 50 PA++++ sunscreen has been tested in humid environments to provide high SPF protection wherever you are in the world. Suitable for normal to oily skin types.