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What to use vitamin c serum with?

Adding a new product to your skin care routine can be daunting. But when you find out all the benefits of vitamin c, you realize using vitamin c for your skin is a must. So, you might have seen that many skincare products contain vitamin c in them, especially in serum form. Once you’ve got your hands on the best vitamin c serum, what next?

What is vitamin c? A lot of us skin addicts know that vitamin c is a brightening ingredient that can help to reduce redness, hydrate the skin, and reduce under-eye bags. Sounds like a dream, right?

For many of us, incorporating vitamin c in your skincare routine takes a bit of getting used to. What products can I mix with vitamin c serum? If you want to learn how to make your vitamin c serum more effective you’re in the right place.

Here’s where I come in.

I will be taking you through all the ins and out of vitamin c, including how to use it with other products, which products its best to avoid with it, and how to get the most out of your vitamin c serum. Since vitamin c is quite acidic and can be unstable, it’s not right for everyone off the bat. Make sure you take into account your skin type when using vitamin c for the first time.

Here’s a tip- Keep a simple 3-4 step skincare routine. This is going to help your skin get the most from each ingredient, with less risk of a harmful reaction or even rendering them useless altogether.


A quick note on Vitamin C

Vitamin c or ascorbic acid, is not produced in the body, so to get it you need to take either daily vitamin c supplements or a rich diet of fruits and veggies, or as a skin serum.

Since Vitamin C is an antioxidant, it can help prevent stress on the skin caused by too many free radicals created in the body, or oxidative stress. This helps to boost collagen formation and even brightens out your skin tone and complexion.

Your skin usually contains high concentrations of vitamin c. It acts as a barrier, protecting you from the outside world, boosts collagen production, and protects against free radicals and UV rays. Vitamin c is an essential nutrient that acts like an antioxidant, so it is vital to get your recommended amount if you want to get gorgeous glowing skin.

Check the label

On your serum, see the ingredients list to check if the vitamin c is pure, active or inactive, or a derivative. This will affect how it needs to be handled.

One of the most common forms of vitamin C is the pure form L-ascorbic acid. This is the most biologically active and common form of Vitamin C, but you can also find other derivatives of it.

Vitamin C derivatives are not pure vitamin c, and they are usually combined with other ingredients to help keep the vitamin C stable. When these derivatives come into contact with the skin, they release pure vitamin c. This can include sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, retinyl ascorbate, tetrahexldecyl ascorbate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. Keep in mind that when applying vitamin c derivatives, it will release only a very small amount of pure vitamin c than that percentage.

person holding dropper

Oxidation in vitamin c

Now, there is a downside to Vitamin C. As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C is very unstable. That means it easily oxidizes when exposed to air, light, heat, change in pH. How can you tell when your Vitamin C has oxidized? If you notice it goes brown or simply doesn’t work as well as it used to, then it might be time to replace your Vitamin C serum.

As vitamin C is very reactive, so it can easily lose its antioxidant properties. The best way to prevent oxidization is to buy vitamin c products that are in air-tight, opaque packages and store them in a cool dark place. You cant reverse oxidization, so when it is oxidized it is ineffective and you need to simply throw it away.

What products to use with vitamin c

Here’s a lesson in cosmetic dermatology. Now, if you’ve bought yourself a vitamin c serum, you might be wondering how to use it with other products in the routine, and most importantly what not to mix it with.

woman surrounded by sliced lemons

How to use vitamin c and hyaluronic acid

Vitamin C and Hyaluronic acid can be used together in your skincare routine. When you include both of these power ingredients in your skincare, you’ll improve both the efficacy and anti aging results than simply using one on its own.

It’s best to have these as a separate serum each, rather than purchasing a serum with both in it. This will help your skin absorb it easier since they both have different ph levels.

Can HA and Vitamin C Be Used Together?

Yes, when you apply Vitamin C and HA together helps you to harness the anti aging benefits as well as the rejuvenating and protective effects of vitamin c with the hydrating properties of HA.

Benefits of using HA and Vitamin C

These two are the dream team. Here’s why using vitamin c when applied topically is goo.

Vitamin C

-Brightens the skin

-Boosts collagen production and cell turnover

-Neutralizes free radicals and sun damage from ultraviolet light

-Reduces dark spots

-Reduces fine lines and wrinkles

Hyaluronic acid

-Helps skin retain moisture

-Improves skin tone and firmness

-Reduce fine lines and wrinkles

How to combine vitamin C and Hyaluronic acid

When you use a separate vitamin c serum and hyaluronic acid serum, the order that you apply them in is very important. The general rule in skincare serums is thinnest first and thickest last.

If you have a vitamin C serum, it would normally be applied before a hyaluronic acid serum or cream. Since vitamin c is very reactive, and has a low ph, they penetrate the skin much quicker, which is why it may not be ideal for sensitive skin.

Step 1-Apply a few drops of vitamin c serum to your fingers and apply to your face.

Step 2-Wait a few minutes for it to be absorbed into the skin

Step 3– Apply the HA serum or cream the same way.

Vitamin c can sometimes dry out your skin, so following up with a ha serum can help to restore moisture into the skin.

Go for a HA serum that suits your skin type. For oily skin go for a water based serum, and for dry or normal skin types go for an oil based serum or cream.

How to use vitamin c and other antioxidants

Vitamin C combined with other antioxidants is always a winning combination.

Vitamin C and Ferulic Acid

Ferulic Acid is one of those ingredients that is underrated in the skincare community. Just like vitamin c, it works to fight free radicals and prevent skin damage. When used with vitamin c, it helps extend the life and improve the effectiveness of vitamin c.

If you are using a vitamin c serum with L-ascorbic acid, one of the most potent but unstable forms of vitamin c, it can be vulnerable to oxidation from light, heat, or air. Combining vitamin c with ferulic acid can help to stabilize vitamin c, so you can get the most from its antioxidant powers.

Benefits of Ferulic acid and Vitamin C

-Both protect against free radical damage

-protects against UV damage

-Boosts antioxidant performance

-Prevents Vitamin C from degrading

-Makes vitamin c more effective for anti-aging

Vitamin C and Vitamin E

Another antioxidant, vitamin e and vitamin c are worth a look at. Vitamin e is already widely recognized in the beauty and skincare world, but when paired with vitamin c, they are both much more effective against photodamage than one on their own.

Both of these vitamins protect against free radical damage, but they each fight different types of UV damage.

Using both vitamin C and E serums can help you give your skin double the antioxidant power to fight off free radicals and protect from UV rays than just Vitamin C on its own.

Benefits of Using vitamin c and vitamin E

-Double, all round protection against free radicals and UV rays

-More effective antioxidants

You can also combine vitamin e, c and ferulic acid all together for triple protective powers as well as enhanced stability. They work like a dream together and can be used under your sunscreen for better protection from UV rays and to neutralize free radicals.

What not to mix with vitamin C

By now you’ve realized that vitamin c is a powerful, but highly reactive ingredient. Here’s a few ingredients you should never mix with vitamin C to get the best results.

Don’t mix Vitamin C with Direct Acids

If you’re using direct acids as part of your skincare routine, you’re going to want to stay away from vitamin C. Acids such as AHAs and BHAs, or glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and lactic acid should not be used with vitamin c which is also an acid. This includes benzoyl peroxide too.

The ph of vitamin c is acidic and as vitamin c is unstable it can be thrown off balance by suing these acids together. In effect, that would make them useless, and cancel out the effects of both of them.

Don’t mix Vitamin C with Retinol

Both of these are powerful ingredients in skincare, but you’re going to want to be careful when using them. If used at the same time, they can cause irritation to the skin.

Ideally, add vitamin c and retinol at different times, for example, vitamin c in the morning, and retinol at night. This will help you to benefit from both without harming your skin or getting an allergic reaction. As a min, allow 30min between application time to ensure the vitamin c has been properly absorbed.

Don’t mix Vitamin C with Niacinamide

It’s best to avoid mixing niacinamide with vitamin c, particularly if you have the purest form of vitamin, L-ascorbic acid. That’s because vitamin c can sometimes convert niacinamide to niacin, which can cause flushing, Although you’d need to have the right concentrations and heat conditions to cause this reaction, it’s better to stay on the safe side.

Everyone’s skin is different, and sometimes niacinamide can also help stabilize vitamin C. If you want to get the most from your skincare, I’d recommend waiting a few minutes before applying niacinamide.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve gone through the dos and don’t of vitamin C, what are you waiting for?

Using a topical vitamin serum in your skin care routine can help you make the most of vitamin c products. Vitamin c serums come in all different concentrations and formulas, but topical vitamin c is the best. If you have sensitive skin, it’s important to know how to use vitamin c serums, and how to mix vitamin c products with other ingredients.

Topical vitamin c or topical ascorbic acid can be unstable, so for healthy skin you need to avoid benzoyl peroxide and other stronger ingredients for optimal skin health. Used correctly, your vitamin c product can prevent skin cancer associated with the sun, and fade dark spots as well since it promotes collagen production and uses the best anti aging ingredients.

Many vitamin c products have a risk of oxidized vitamin c, so when doing a vitamin c application be mindful of this.


clarifying shampoo 1

What Is Clarifying Shampoo?

What is clarifying shampoo, and what does clarifying shampoo do for your hair?

A clarifying does far more than any regular shampoo; it cuts through product buildup and oils, leaving hair looking and feeling super clean. If you’ve ever had a salon relaxer or keratin treatment, it may have been used.

This is because these treatments work wonders on extremely clean hair, so by doing a clarifying shampoo beforehand, you can reap the most benefits of these treatments as they can penetrate deeper into the hair cuticle and work most effectively.

But clarifying shampoos can be used by anyone. If you feel your hair is not cooperating or feels lifeless, then this is a sign of product buildup. Clarifying shampoo leaves a blank canvas for your products to work to their best ability.

Clarifying shampoo is often used as the reset shampoo before completing the Curly Girl Method. This is because sulfate-free shampoos won’t remove product buildups like silicones, waxes, and oils, so it is used as the first step and then once every month or two after.

For curly hair or dry hair, it is recommended that you do a deep conditioning treatment after you use a clarifying shampoo as it can be very drying, so restoring the moisture is key.

You can get a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo, but the key ingredient that cleanses and remove product buildup and excess oils is the sulfates. So for normal hair, the sulfate option is best.

For curly, dry, damaged, or color-treated hair, it is best you go for a sulfate-free option as it is far more gentle on your hair but may not work as well as the sulfate one.

How To Clarify Your Hair:

Using clarifying shampoo is really no different from using regular shampoo on your hair, but there are a couple of things to note when using clarifying shampoos.

For one, you should always do two clarifying shampoos and potentially a third if your hair still feels greasy. Then follow your shampoo with a deep conditioning treatment.

Step One: Pre-Treatment:

Before you clarify your hair, I always like to do a pre-treatment to help repair and protect hair from the clarifying treatment. I personally love Olaplex no three as a pre-treatment.

I start with wet hair; I will towel dry it with my microfiber towel until it is damp and then apply Olaplex No. 3 over the ends– I only use around a pea-sized amount.

I will then leave it on my hair for around an hour so the treatment can penetrate through the strands of my hair to repair and protect before going through a hair detox.

Step Two: Clarifying Shampoo:

I then rinse off the Olaplex (or any pre-treatment) and give my scalp a massage for a minute or two. I then apply the clarifying products to my hands and rub them in my hands for 10 seconds until the formula has doubled in size.

This will help apply the clarifying treatment evenly and work wonders for removing buildup. Once applied leave on for a minute to help break down all that gunk and build up.

Once you’ve left it on for a few minutes rinse thoroughly until there is no shampoo residue left. This should help to break down and remove the buildup of excess oil, excess dirt, and hair products.

So if you’re planning on shaving your legs, do it while it is on.

Avoid the ends of your hair when clarifying and only focus on the root, as scrubbing the ends can not only cause damage but cause ends to become dry and brittle.

Depending on the natural oil and product buildup on your hair, the shampoo may not lather up much for the first shampoo; this doesn’t mean it’s not working.

Then do the second shampoo and repeat once more if you still feel like there is excess oil in your scalp.

Step Three: Apply Deep Conditioner:

After washing, you’ll then want to apply a deep conditioning mask as when using a clarifying shampoo, the natural oils are stripped from the hair shaft, so the moisture needs to be put back into the hair.

I would go for a restorative hair mask; I have created a full guide of my favorite deep conditioners on the market, so be sure to check that out.

So first things first, you’ll want to squeeze the excess water out of the ends of your hair, then apply the treatment to your mid-lengths and ends of your hair.

Use a wide-tooth comb and comb your ends through to ensure even coverage, and then leave the treatment on for 10-30 minutes. This should help strengthen the ends, restore moisture, help with detangling and prevent hair breakage.

clarifying your hair

How To Clarify Curly Hair:

So how do you clarify hair on the Curly Girl Method? We all know the best way to clarify hair is using a shampoo with olefin sulfonate or sulfate, which is not CGM approved.

And no, apple cider vinegar is not clarifying for all kinds of buildup, so it’s not recommended on curly hair. It works to balance pH and helps with hard water.

There are many “Curly Girl Friendly Clarifying Shampoos” on the market, but without

And many of the curly girl-approved shampoos that are labeled as clarifying are not either. So go check your bottle and see if it has a sulfate or olefin sulfonate as an ingredient it is not clarifying.

How Often Should You Clarify Curly Hair?

So while clarifying shampoo is not curly girl friendly, it is a necessity for removing buildup. It does state in the CGM that you can do one clarifying “reset” shampoo every month.

For flaky scalp, you can try a more natural clarifying treatment like bentonite clay mask or apple cider vinegar rinse.

Bentonite clay mask:

A bentonite clay mask works wonders for removing buildup on curly hair around the scalp area—mix one tablespoon of bentonite clay with water or apple cider vinegar to form a paste.

Please apply directly to your scalp on damp hair, cover it with a cap to prevent it from drying out, or spray your scalp with water in a spray bottle every few minutes.

Leave it on for 30 minutes and then wash and style like usual. This is ideal for curly hair as it can deeply cleanse the hair and scalp without using sulfates.

How To Clarify Hair With An Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse :

Doing an apple cider vinegar rinse is a great alternative to removing buildup caused by flaking. If you want a natural alternative to using a clarifying shampoo.

Just apply the apple cider vinegar to your scalp in the shower, massage it through your tresses and then rinse. I like to do this once a week to help prevent product buildup.

However, it won’t work wonders; your hair may need a clarifying treatment from time to time with sulfates.

how to clarify your hair

How To Naturally Clarify Your Hair

So let’s talk more about the natural ways to clarify your hair. For some of us, using a clarifying shampoo is far too harsh, especially for curly hair, so there are a few natural methods you can try.

How To Clarify Hair With Baking Soda:

Baking soda is a brilliant gentle exfoliant; it can give a gentle detox to the hair and scalp. It removes oils and dirt and even some hair care products for an intense clean.

It is perfect for those with an oily scalp. It is free of all worrying chemicals and additives that you would find in a store-bought clarifying treatment.

While there are some brilliant store-bought clarifying shampoos, sometimes they are just too harsh, especially if you have damaged or curly hair.

Plus, for this recipe, you only need a few ingredients, which you will most likely have around the house!

  • – 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • – 1/4 cup warm water
  • – 2 tablespoons of shampoo
  • – Apple cider vinegar to rinse

Create a paste with the water, shampoo, and baking soda and apply directly to the scalp and massage it in. Don’t be too vigorous rubbing it in, as it can hurt your scalp.

Use a wide-tooth comb and brush the baking soda shampoo down the hair length to coat everything evenly; you’ll want even coverage all over. Leave it on for 3-5 mins.

Rinse and wash the baking soda. If your hair is fairly clean, then a rinse and condition will be enough, but if it’s a little greasy, follow with a wash and condition.

Do an apple cider vinegar rinse after using baking soda, as this will help to pH balance of your scalp again.

claifying shampoo for curly


So there you have it how to clarify your hair. There are lots of benefits of doing a clarifying shampoo for removing hair products like hair spray, heat protectants, and more.

The clarifying properties of the shampoo are specifically formulated to give your hair a deep clean and remove buildup. So you’re left with a blank canvas to work with.

So if you’re not using clarifying shampoo in your hair care routine, then you should be; it’s time to reap the benefits that clarifying has to offer and break down those styling products in your hair.

Every day should be a good hair day, my friends.

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