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Should You Use Vitamin C on Wet or Dry Skin?

by Yu-Jun Park 26 Mar 2024

Ah, the age-old question:

Do you put vitamin C on dry or wet skin? 

Slap it on just after splashing your face, or wait for every droplet to evaporate? 

We've all been there. 

Like a warrior preparing for battle, armed with a pipette of golden elixir, we pause, our reflection raising an eyebrow in anticipation.

Let's first understand why this matters.

Do you put vitamin C on dry or wet skin?

Your skin’s absorption rate – that’s its ability to soak up whatever you put on it – is affected by its moisture level. 

When it's thirsty, just like you parched after a summer run, it can gulp down water...and some of what’s in the water too.

Now, vitamin C serum is not water. It's a potent antioxidant cocktail, designed to dive deep into your skin's layers and wave a magic wand of rejuvenating power. It’s built to work in the trenches, on the DNA strand level. 

So, does wet mean more absorption? More efficacy? More vitamin C goodness? 

Not quite. Unfortunately, skin doesn't discriminate; along with your precious serum, it might guzzle up tap water minerals, hard water residues, or chlorine, diluting your potion.

Now, imagine your skin as a faction of dedicated soldiers, ready to latch on to the crucial vitamin C molecules. 

But if the skin is wet, your serum is spread thinly, the precious molecules could get scattered, diluted, or lost in the crowd - an important factor considering vitamin C's sensitivity to light and oxygen. 

So, the ideal time to recruit your vitamin C soldiers is not when the terrain is chaotic but when it's dry and under your control. By applying the serum on dry skin, you not only concentrate the application but avoid unnecessary dilution which could Edge-of-Tomorrow your luminous skin benefits.

And then enters pH, the unsung hero of any skincare regimen. Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid performs best in an acidic environment of pH 3.5. But with water, especially hard or neutral, the pH balance could sway, decreasing its efficacy. One more vote for 'dry' in our gladiator-round!

But wait! Is dry as arid as the Sahara? 

Nah, relax, we're talking 'pat-dry'. A towel blot post-cleansing should suffice. A bone-dry surface could potentially reduce absorption too. 

Because hydration is still important, it's smart to follow your serum with a moisturizer, which helps prevent trans-epidermal water loss and traps in the nutrients. 

Tip-toeing the fine line between too wet and too dry, the key lies in balance. 

So, there you have it - the most effective strategy in your skincare regime? Apply that vitamin C on skin that's been patted dry post-cleansing.

Now, serum application doesn't need to feel like rocket science. 

  • Skin thoroughly cleansed? Check. 
  • Skin pat-dried? Check. 

Now go on, let your skin drink to its health!

What is the best way to apply vitamin C to skin?

Now, you've got your hands on that dazzling bottle of vitamin C serum, but are a tad flummoxed on how to apply it? 

Fear not. Let's get you fluent in the lingo of vitamin C application in no time!

When it comes to applying vitamin C to your skin, timing is crucial. Morning hours are your best bet. 


Well, meet free radicals - pesky little molecules running amok, determined to damage your skin. Exposure to sunlight increases their presence, and this is where our hero, vitamin C, swoops in, neutralizing these villains and protecting your skin.

After washing your face and patting it dry, summon that bottle of magic. A thumb rule to remember - less is more. Too much product can lead to irritation. Four to five drops should be adequate. 

Yes, tempting though it may be to bathe in the stuff, resist the urge!

Warm the serum between your fingertips, this gets it prepped for absorption. Next, apply with gentle upward strokes, avoiding the temptation to rub it in. Vitamin C serums, with their high acidity levels, get absorbed by the skin easily without any extra 'rubbing in' assistance.

Patience, dear reader! Before moving on to the next skincare step, wait a full minute. Stealthily, the serum penetrates the skin's outer layer and sets to work. Rushing can dampen its effects, and we wouldn't want that.

Now, here's a pro-tip. 

Following up with a moisturizer not only softens your skin but also helps seal in the goodness of the serum. Consider this the perfect closure on your vitamin C application adventure.

Another ace trick up our sleeve is layering. In the skincare world, this is akin to networking. It's about who you know and how well you work together. 

Carefully marrying vitamin C with sunscreen can raise the protection game to a whole new level. However, ascertain that your sunscreen is oil-free. Excess oil can block the pathways for vitamin C to penetrate, reducing its power.

Pregnant pause for reality check: Overzealous expectations may lead to disappointment. 

While our beloved vitamin C does its fair share, it’s not an overnight sensation. Give it some time. Results take around 8-12 weeks to surface, assuring you that slow and steady indeed wins the race.

A quick note on storage. Savvy skincare enthusiasts know that vitamin C serums are sensitive souls. They despise bright lights and love to chill. Keep it away from direct sunlight and pop it into the fridge. Cold storage extends the serum's life, ensuring every drop offers its full potential.

In a nutshell, a well-sequenced, measured application with the right accompaniments wins the best approach title for vitamin C application. Repeat this ritual daily and let the magic unfold.

And, as you flaunt that glowing skin, remember the fabulously meticulous journey here, involving plucky little vitamin C molecules fighting the free radicals. 

An epic of skincare adventures, if ever there was one!

Do you put vitamin C on before or after moisturizer?

Now, let’s dive into the heart of things, addressing a question we’ve heard a few times: do you put vitamin C on before or after moisturizer?

It's like a cosmic tug of war, isn’t it, vitamin C and moisturizer battling for supremacy on your face. Oof, the pressure! 

Let’s break it down.

To begin, it's important to understand why vitamin C and moisturizer are key players in your skincare routine in the first place. 

So let’s have a quick recap.

Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, helps protect your skin from environmental damage and promotes collagen production. Think of it as your skin's personal shield, armed and ready to combat the nefarious foes of pollution and UV rays. 


Meanwhile, your moisturizer is like that comforting friend that always shows up when things get tough. It hydrates your skin, helps maintain your skin's barrier, and, importantly, locks in all the goodness of the products you’ve applied before it.

Now, knowing what each does, it makes sense to apply your vitamin C before your moisturizer. Nothing should stand in vitamin C’s way in its quest to guard your skin! 

However, there's a little more to this tale. 

Vitamin C serums are typically water-based, and water-based products should be applied before oil-based ones. This is because water can't penetrate oil, it's just science! 

Thus, if you put on a heavy moisturizer first, your vitamin C serum won't be able to bust through that oil barrier. It’ll be left powerless on the surface, its potency wasted. 

But, what about if your moisturizer is also water-based, you ask? 

Even then, thinner formulations – like serums – are designed to sink deep into your skin. You want to lay them down first, so they can dive in and go to work.

So, without a shred of doubt, your vitamin C ought to strut onto your skin before your moisturizer makes its grand entrance. It gets first access to your pores, while your moisturizer secures everything in place as a final step (bonus glow-up points if you use a moisturizer infused with snail mucin!). 

Remember the mantra: lightest to heaviest when it comes to product application. Following this principle will ensure each product plays its part effectively. 

Also, consider the pH level. Vitamin C thrives in a lower pH environment (around 3.5). Applying it after a moisturizer, which usually has a higher pH, may decrease its efficacy. 

Finally, don't forget to wait a bit after applying your Vitamin C serum. Allow it a few minutes to sink into your skin and get settled before topping it off with moisturizer. This magic pause ensures the vitamin C isn't diluted or disturbed in its mission.

So, there you have it! Science, facts and product knowledge all come together to settle the vitamin C and moisturizer power struggle. 

So go forth and apply with confidence! 

Just remember our vitamin C motto: first in, last out. It goes on early and stays working until all your other skincare squad have done their jobs.

Do you put vitamin C on your whole face?

Do you lavish Vitamin C over your entire visage? 

Maybe you should, if you haven't started already! It's all about leveraging this natural elixir for a radiant, smooth, and age-resilient complexion. 

But remember, as with any transformative journey, there's a methodology to it.

Consider Vitamin C as the effervescent, knowledgeable guide escorting you through the labyrinthine world of K-beauty. 

As you publicly declare your skincare allegiance, ensure that Vitamin C embraces every nook and cranny of your face. 

Do be cautious though, as your under-eye region and mouth corners represent delicate landscapes requiring a gentler touch!

The Vitamin C Expedition

And there you are, darling skin enthusiasts! Your digestible, handy guide to Vitamin C application. 

Let's face it, if skincare was a theme park, Vitamin C would be the thrilling, heart-stopping roller coaster ride that triggers an adrenaline rush. 

So, roll up your sleeves and don your skin-trepreneur hats because you're about to ink a new chapter in your K-Beauty experience!

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