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Should You Use Vitamin C Oil Before or After Moisturizer?

by Ella Goodman 01 Jul 2024

Should You Use Vitamin C Oil Before or After Moisturizer?

Ever found yourself in front of the mirror, holding a bottle of Vitamin C oil in one hand and a moisturizer in the other, wondering which one should come first? 

Welcome to the skincare conundrum that haunts our Instagram feeds and beauty forums alike. It's time to settle this beauty debate once and for all.

The Scoop on Vitamin C Oil

First off, let's talk about why Vitamin C oil should be in your beauty arsenal. 

It's like the Ryan Gosling of skincare ingredients—irresistible and universally loved.

  1. Brightening Effect: Regular use can make your skin glow like a thousand suns. It reduces discoloration, evens out skin tone, and helps banish dark spots.
  2. Anti-Aging Hero: Say goodbye to fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C oil boosts collagen production, making your skin look firmer and younger.
  3. Protection Squad: This powerful antioxidant defends your skin against pollution and sun damage, keeping it fresh and healthy.

Vitamin C oil isn’t just a trendy ingredient; it’s a skincare MVP with scientific backing. It's like having a personal bodyguard and glow-getter in one bottle. Seriously, who doesn’t want that?

Debunking the Myth: Before or After Moisturizer?

You've been scrolling through TikTok beauty hacks or watching endless YouTube tutorials, and everyone seems to have conflicting advice. 

Here's the lowdown:

Rule of Thumb: Thinnest to Thickest

Skincare layering requires a bit of logic. The golden rule is: apply products from thinnest to thickest consistency.

Why? Thinner products absorb faster and penetrate deeper. 

Putting a thicker product like moisturizer first can block the absorption of your lighter-weight serums and oils.

Vitamin C Oil: The Middle Child

Vitamin C oil is typically somewhere in the middle of the skincare spectrum—neither too thin nor too thick. 

Here’s a step-by-step routine that actually makes sense:

  1. Cleanse: Clear the canvas by washing your face.
  2. Tone (if you use one): It preps your skin for better absorption of subsequent products.
  3. Serum: Apply Vitamin C oil. (Yes, it’s typically lighter than moisturizer but heavier than watery serums.)
  4. Moisturize: Lock in all the goodness from your serum.

Why This Order Rules

Still skeptical? Let’s decode the science.

Enhanced Absorption

When you apply your Vitamin C oil before moisturizer, it can dive right into your skin without any obstacles. Think of it like swimming in a pool without bumpers in your lane—it just flows better.

Maximal Moisture

Your moisturizer acts like a sealant. If you apply it first, you’re creating a barricade. By applying Vitamin C oil first, you're ensuring your skin drinks up all its benefits, then holding it in place with your moisturizer.

Tips for Maximum Efficacy

Now that we've settled the order of things, it's time to supercharge your regimen. 

Here’s how to get the absolute most from your Vitamin C oil, ensuring your skin is at its glowing, radiant best:

  1. Patch Test First: Vitamin C can be potent. Test it on a small area to ensure your skin won’t react negatively. Think of it as a first date. You want to be sure there’s no bad reaction before committing all the way.
  1. Keep It Fresh: Vitamin C can be a bit finicky, much like a high-maintenance friend. It oxidizes when exposed to air and light, losing its effectiveness. Store your bottle in a cool, dark place and make sure the cap is tightly closed after each use.
  1. AM or PM?: Vitamin C oil can be used morning or night. Using it in the morning can give you an extra layer of protection against UV rays and pollution (just don’t forget your sunscreen).
  1. Avoid Mixing with Retinol: Retinol and Vitamin C are like oil and water—they often don’t mix (well, they can, but there’s a bit of skincare wizardry involved). Use them on alternate nights or different times of the day. Your skin needs to recover from one before introducing the other.
  1. Mind the pH: Vitamin C works best at a lower pH. If you're a fan of chemical exfoliants, wait a few minutes after applying them before you slather on your Vitamin C oil. This ensures the pH levels cooperate for maximum efficiency.
  1. Layer Wisely: Vitamin C oil goes on after watery serums but before creams. If it’s a part of a longer skincare routine, keep this in mind to avoid negating its benefits by improper layering.
  1. Ditch the Water: Adding water or other products immediately after applying your Vitamin C oil can dilute its effectiveness. Give your skin a few minutes to fully absorb the oil before moving on to the next step.

Putting Theory into Practice

Enough talking. Let’s walk through a hypothetical routine, because seeing the flow can be a game-changer.

Morning Routine

  1. Cleanser: Start off with a gentle cleanser to wash away any overnight build-up.
  2. Toner (optional): If you use one, apply it next to prep your skin.
  3. Vitamin C Oil: Apply a few drops and massage into your skin. Remember, less is more.
  4. Moisturizer: Seal the deal with your favorite moisturizer. This locks in the oil while hydrating your skin.
  5. Sunscreen: Vital. No arguments. Vitamin C and sun protection are a power duo.

Evening Routine

  1. Cleanse: Again, clean slate.
  2. Tone (if it’s your thing): Helps in absorbing what's to come.
  3. Serum: Apply any night-specific serums you use.
  4. Moisturizer: Hydrate your skin.
  5. Oil (if using an oil-based Vitamin C): Layer it last to seal everything in.

Remember, consistency is key. A one-time application won’t transform your skin overnight. 

Make Vitamin C oil a staple in your routine and give it a few weeks. You’ll start seeing a brighter, more even complexion you naturally want to flaunt.

By integrating Vitamin C oil properly, not only are you fighting the effects of aging and pollution, but you're also setting your skin up for lasting health and glow. It’s like unlocking the level-up bonus in skincare. 

So, grab your bottle, adjust your routine, and let your skin bask in the benefits of this golden elixir.

Store It Right

Your Vitamin C oil is like a vampire—it hates sunlight. Oxidation can turn this skincare hero into a dud faster than you can say “cloudy complexion.” 

So, stash your bottle in a cool, dark medicine cabinet or a skincare fridge if you really want to get fancy. 

Remember, keep that cap snugly fastened. Letting air in will have your precious serum waving goodbye to its potency. Ain’t nobody got time for ineffective skincare.


We can't stress this enough—sunscreen is non-negotiable. Vitamin C makes your skin as photosensitive as a film photographer's darkroom. 

Yup, skin sensitivity hangs in the balance when you're flaunting that Vitamin C glow.

Forget the embarrassing sunburns and the dreaded dark spots. Be diligent with your SPF—layer that stuff on like it's your job. 

Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. This keeps your skin protected and ensures those Vitamin C benefits don’t go down the drain.

FAQs: We Got You!

Q: What if my skin feels sticky after applying Vitamin C oil?

A: Less is more when it comes to Vitamin C. Start with a tiny amount and let it absorb fully before layering other products. That sticky feeling is your skin's way of saying, “Chill, I’ve got enough for now.”

Q: Can I mix Vitamin C oil with my other serums?

A: Hold off on the skincare cocktail. Vitamin C oil likes to fly solo to maximize its benefits. Mixing it with other serums might not only reduce its effectiveness but could also introduce clashes between ingredients.

Q: My skin tingles after using Vitamin C oil—Is that normal?

A: A slight tingle is a tiny whisper from your skin: “Hey, I’m working here!” This is perfectly normal. But if it feels like your face is hosting a firework show, hit pause. You’re probably using a concentration that’s too potent. Switch to a milder formula or cut back to using it every other day.

Your Skin, Your Story

Every drop of Vitamin C oil is like a love letter to your future self. You’re not just building a skincare routine; you’re curating confidence that carries you through everything from board meetings to brunch dates. When your skin glows, so do you.

Your skincare regimen should be as habitual as brushing your teeth, yet as thrilling as catching the next episode of your favorite series. Each step, every product, is a nod to self-care and a promise to future you.

Final Thought

Voilà—a streamlined, easy-to-follow guide to infusing Vitamin C oil into your skincare regimen, sealing it with confidence. 

This guide does more than just answer questions; it empowers you to achieve radiant skin that reflects self-love and commitment.

So next time you find yourself overwhelmed by the skincare aisle, remember this manual. Step briskly into your new routine, and watch as your natural glow catches everyone’s eye.

Dive in, glow on, and let your skin speak volumes!

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