Should you use your vitamin C serums in the morning or at night?

When is the best time to apply your vitamin C serum, morning or night?

Vitamin C serum morning or night
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's one of the many eternal skincare queries: When is best time to use your vitamin C serum, morning or night? It's a question that’s been cropping up more and more just lately, mostly because the popularity of vitamin C is increasing the more people learn about its seemingly endless benefits and just how brilliant it is for skin.

For the uninitiated, vitamin C is a powerhouse antioxidant that not only works to protect skin against damaging environmental factors - like free radicals, pollution and UV - but it also works to inhibit the production of melanin – which is the thing that gives skin its colour – so it’s a hero when it comes to fading discolouration and dark spots. 

That’s not all, though, because it’s also able to help encourage skin cells to produce collagen – which is naturally occurring in skin but levels of it decrease as we get older. What’s even more impressive is that it’s one of the few scientifically proven ingredients that can actually help improve existing, visible signs of ageing. That means regular use of a vitamin C serum will leave skin even-toned, radiant, plump and free of any fine lines or wrinkles. A true skincare hero.

However, there is an ongoing debate around whether vitamin c is best used as part of your daily morning routine or whether it should be applied before bed so it can work its magic through the night. 

We’ve broken down the benefits of both ways in order to help you make an informed decision based on what’s right for your skin type.

The benefits of using vitamin C during the day

First and foremost, vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants out there. That means it really comes into its own during the day when it can get to work protecting skin against harmful elements like pollution, free radicals, UV rays and other factors that leave skin looking dull and lifeless. 

If you are using your vitamin C serum during the day, it should always be followed with a minimum of SPF30 in order to help protect it against the sun. However, if your skin is super sensitive and prone to irritation, you may either benefit from using a more gentle antioxidant during the day so you’re still protecting your skin, and using vitamin C at nighttime instead. Alternatively, you could opt for a lower strength vitamin C serum that will be less likely to cause any sensitivity or reaction. 

vitamin c serum morning or night

(Image credit: Getty)

The benefits of using vitamin C at night time

It’s no secret that, while you’re sleeping, skin undergoes its natural repair process. That means it works to repair itself and during sleep skin’s blood flow increases, it rebuilds collagen and repairs damage like fine lines, wrinkles and age spots that have been caused by UV exposure. 

So using a curated edit of products that will help aid skin as it gets to work isn’t a bad idea, and using a vitamin C serum during the night means it will have the biggest and most effective impact on skin. If your chosen serum is quite potent, you also reduce the risk of photosensitivity occurring (a reaction that can be triggered by sunlight). It’s worth adding that if you do choose to use vitamin C at night, you should always ensure you’re using SPF the following day to ensure maximum efficacy. 

The benefits of using vitamin c in the morning and in the evening

Maybe the best of both worlds? Not only will you reap the rewards of vitamin C’s powerful antioxidant properties, but you’ll also benefit from a double dose. However, it’s worth noting that there’s a limit as to how much vitamin c that skin can absorb, so once that limit has been reached, any extra product will essentially be wasted. So if you’re using a product that’s more gentle and has a lower percentage of vitamin C in it, you’re good to use it twice a day – but if your chosen serum has a higher, more potent level in it then it’s best to just stick to using it just once. After, less is more sometimes.