Hyaluronic acid and vitamin C are each noteworthy in their own right, but put them together and you just might have something even more remarkable. The two skincare ingredients can brighten and hydrate (respectively) when used individually, but Kiehl’s Customer Representatives are often asked whether you can—or should—use the two together in your skincare routine. And these are easy questions to answer.
Not only can you use vitamin C and hyaluronic acid together, but when you do, they can help create a more effective skincare routine. Each one has skincare benefits, some of which we mentioned, but when combined, they can form a more potent formula that offers increased results. But, before we get into how they work together, we first need to talk about what each of these powerhouse ingredients is capable of doing solo.
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What Do Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid Do For Your Skin?
There’s a solid chance you enjoy a dose of vitamin C every day—it’s present in more than just your orange juice. Everything from tomatoes and potatoes to Brussels sprouts and bell peppers are good sources of vitamin C. Beyond being present in foods, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is also known as ascorbic acid. It’s key to the production of collagen and elastin in the skin and is known to have an anti-aging effect. As a skincare ingredient, it can visibly improve deep lines, wrinkles, uneven skin texture, and dullness. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which means it may help improve the appearance of damage caused by UV radiation. It can even block some of the effects of free radicals, which, over time, are largely responsible for some of the visible effects of aging.
As for hyaluronic acid, this skincare ingredient has also earned quite the reputation for its anti-aging benefits. It’s naturally found in your skin, and one hyaluronic acid molecule has the ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water. The fact that it’s naturally-occurring in your skin means it’s highly compatible with it, which has made it a massively popular ingredient in skincare products for dry and mature skin. When used topically, its benefits include replenishing skin to boost hydration, improving skin’s elasticity, rough texture, and firmness, and decreasing the appearance of wrinkles.
Can You Use Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C Together?
Not all powerful skincare ingredients can be mixed, but hyaluronic acid and vitamin C are two that become even stronger when paired with one another. These ingredients can provide both immediate and lasting results when used together in anti-aging formulations. One study on a serum made with L-ascorbic acid and hyaluronic acid found that the formula visibly reduced wrinkles, improved skin brightness, and left participants with more hydrated skin.I These impressive benefits are why we combine hyaluronic acid and vitamin C in our Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing collection.
The bestselling Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Serum is formulated with two different types of vitamin C—L-ascorbic acid and ascorbyl glucoside. The result is a multi-benefit vitamin C serum that instantly smooths skin’s texture and visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles while improving the appearance of skin’s radiance and texture. It also contains fragmented hyaluronic acid—a shorter-length hyaluronic acid that is better able to penetrate surface layers of the skin. This allows for more moisture to be drawn into the epidermis, plumping the appearance of fine lines and smoothing out the look and feel of rough texture.
The line also includes Powerful-Strength Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum, which has earned a fan in celebrity aesthetician Shamara Bondaroff. She says, “What’s so great about this product is it hits the brown and blue under-eye issues—not a lot of products do that.” Dark circles can be either brown or blue in color, and some formulas may only address one type or the other.
As a skincare expert, Bondaroff also recognizes the value of using both vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. She shares, “I am a huge fan of vitamin C, not only ingesting it but using it topically because it’s an antioxidant.” Hyaluronic acid also earns points in her book, thanks to its ability to take away the look of dryness and make skin appear plumper. The benefits she calls out shine in our gentle eye creams, which are clinically proven to help decrease the appearance of lines, crow’s feet, and dark under-eye circles.*
Which Goes First: Hyaluronic Acid or Vitamin C?
Finding the right products for your skin is key, but using them in the correct order is essential as well. Apply them incorrectly, and you may find that the benefits you’re seeking aren’t in the cards for your skin. With hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, the question of which to apply first will be moot if you’re using products from the Powerful-Strength line. Because you’re using a formula that stars both ingredients, you’ll be applying them simultaneously.
If you decide to use hyaluronic acid and vitamin C separately, that’s where your knowledge of the correct order to apply skincare products comes in. The general rule of thumb is to use formulas based on their consistency, applying from thinnest to thickest. This means oils come before moisturizers and after serums. There won’t be a hard-and-fast rule about which ingredient to apply first; it will depend on the product you’re using. A thick moisturizer with hyaluronic acid would be applied after a vitamin C serum, but a hyaluronic acid serum will come before a face cream with vitamin C in its formula.
In the case that you have two separate serums, it still comes down to thickness. Apply whichever is thinner first. Stick with this rule, and you’ll be able to reap the benefits of every formula in your skincare routine.
Next: When used together, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid make for an amazing alternative to retinol. Read our article on The Best Retinol Alternatives to learn about three other options.
*Clinical grading of the full panel tested in an 8-week study.
I. Garre, Aurora et al. “Antiaging effects of a novel facial serum containing L-Ascorbic acid, proteoglycans, and proteoglycan-stimulating tripeptide: ex vivo skin explant studies and in vivo clinical studies in women.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology vol. 11 253-263. 29 May. 2018, doi:10.2147/CCID.S161352