The short answer for this would be: not necessarily. For instance, if you’re practicing “skinimalism” and you’re more likely to set yourself up for success with a smaller routine. I always say that the best routine is the one that you will actually do consistently, whether that’s 1-step (SPF), 3-step, or 5-step+. While a study in 2019 showed that a more advanced routine did provide increased results compared to a simple routine, my thoughts still remain the same as far as realistic useability goes per individual. Now when it comes to the advanced routine, there are some products that are recommended slightly more for morning use and others that should be utilized in the evening.
Let’s start with the morning routine:
So vitamin C can actually be used both morning and evening. There’s no negative effect of using vitamin C two times a day except the potential for sensitivity. I would not recommend using vitamin C in the evening if you use any acids or retinol as that is a very stimulating combination. It can also lower the efficacy of both your vitamin C and retinol as their pH levels vary quite drastically unless using a vitamin C derivative. Another reason to use your vitamin C in the morning would be because it has a neutralizing effect on free radicals caused by UV rays. While it will never replace SPF, it does help clean up the free radicals that sneak in and essentially, will make your SPF more effective as far as anti-aging goes. We’ve seen several of our HelloAva customers recently switch over to the Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil because this oil helps to give them a conditioning hydration boost as we head into the colder months.
SPF is best used during the morning and throughout the day when sun exposure is at its peak. If used continuously and not rinsed off at the end of the day, it can clog pores. This is usually because SPF products tend to have ingredients to help with glide or use heavier ingredients as their sun protection active.
Retinol/AHA/BHA: we recommend using these products specifically in the evening. This is recommended because they promote cellular turnover which can increase sun sensitivity. Cellular turnover is the process of shedding the top layer of dead skin cells which leaves a thinner, less protective outer skin barrier. We’ve been loving the Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum because it also contains sodium hyaluronate to hydrate and ginger to reduce inflammation. In addition, this serum has CoQ10 which is a potent antioxidant and perfect for evening use.
I don’t think the concept of night cream is given enough spotlight especially when using exfoliating actives in the evening is so common these days. Any cream can technically be used at night (it doesn’t specifically have to say “night cream” on the label), but let me tell you what I’m really referring to. In the evenings, especially for dry, combination, or sensitive skin types an emollient cream can be used to help offset the drying effect of acids or to deeply hydrate the skin without the uncomfortable heavy feel you can sometimes get during the day. A fantastic option we have is the Alo Glow Luminizing Facial Moisturizer. This product is pretty lipid heavy so it helps with barrier function and surface hydration, while the peptide complex adds an anti-aging kick.