The Vitamin C Serum Step Confusion and my Skincare Arsenal


Vitamin C serum is something of a nightmare when it comes to application step. It stirs a lot of confusion.  I won’t go into detail here but I wanna show you how I wear mine. This is not necessarily right or the best step but upon several methods of application I feel that this is the most comfortable for me, shorter waiting time and it’s still effective.

So here’s the deal with vitamin C serum. It may not be exfoliating ingredient per se but it’s one of those serum that works best on cleanse skin, applied directly to skin and works effectively on low pH. The pH for vitamin C serum to work best is around 2-4 which means skin have to be acidic. In most journal I read, it’s cited that pH at around 3 is best. Anyway, I go by the 2-4 ballpark because it gives me room to move around.

When applying AHA and BHA, a lot of people suggested to go 1. vitamin C, 2. BHA and 3. AHA. You need to wait between application. The logic is because vitamin C need to go on bare skin and need the lowest pH. BHA goes deeper into the skin than AHA. Then there’s the AHA debacle whether it’s Glycolic or Lactic because the latter have bigger molecule so it needs to go last. Confusing?

Ok, so here’s where things go hazy. I don’t like using vitamin C first because my acid toner (I alternate between AHA and BHA toners) is applied with cotton pad. Which means I’ll be erasing my vitamin C, am I not? Secondly, I have to wait for at least 20 minutes (best to wait for 40 minutes) before I can get on with any other skincare if I apply my vitamin C first. This is too much for me to process in the morning. Of which, I usually apply my vitamin C serum in the morning.

What I do is that I make sure that my pH is still acidic, not necessarily 3, but it’s somewhere around the acidic level, apply vitamin C serum, wait for 15 minutes (make coffee, do couple of squats, apply body lotion, apply sunscreen on the body, etc) before I move on to the next step in skincare.

So the step would be cleansing – acid toner – vitamin C serum – hydrating and pre essence lotion combination – and whatever that follows.

So … tadaaa … this is my morning routine.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 2.02.59 PM

  • Cleanse with Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm, I like using balm in the morning so I could a quick facial massage.
  • In this routine I used Erha Balancing Toner as acid toner, but I think I should have gone with lower pH toners, this toner is around pH 4.5. Not ideal at all!
  • After the acid toner dries, around 5 minutes, I apply Sampar C-Rum, which is my go to vitamin C serum at the moment. Texture is great, not sticky and it’s milky. Will do full review when I have the time. Leave it for about 15-20 minutes and do the whole coffee etc that I told you above.
  • Spray Goodal Oil Plus Skin Mist for hydration followed by lightly patting SK-II Facial Treatment Essence with my hands.
  • This is where the layering begin. I usually add another serum or oil and several of them. In this picture I used Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Oil followed by Dr Jart Water Up Serum for hydration (forgot to include it in this picture). I never go without hyaluronic acid serum. My skin is that dry it drinks up moisture real fast.
  • Seal everything with Vanilla Pod Cream from Antipodes (divine!) and Skinaqua sunscreen for protection. Lots of it considering I’m using both acid and vitamin C. This is the most important step.
The Vitamin C Serum Step Confusion and my Skincare Arsenal

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