How to Layer Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide and Retinol

How to Layer Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide and Retinol

With recent years performing your skincare routine has somehow turned from a simple wet washcloth and moisturiser to something that resembles a chemistry lesson. Now this chemistry lesson may be fun for those of you who have a well-established understanding of all thing’s skincare, but if you’re new to all this, chances are all of this will look as confusing as the periodic table. 

Not to worry as I’m here to help demystify everything with today’s focus being on how exactly you can layer hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and retinol together.

Does retinol go before or after hyaluronic acid?

When considering both retinol and hyaluronic acid, they are each carry their own unique skin benefits that are in fact, very complimentary of each other. There is also one main difference in how both ingredients like to be applied to the skin, by this I mean hyaluronic acid adores water and so leaving your skin slightly damp after cleansing will kick start HA’s humectant traits. This will then lead to any water on the skin being drawn into the lower layers and lock into place resulting in a glowing, healthy, and comfortable complexion.

As for retinol, this powerhouse needs to be applied to dry skin meaning it should either be before hyaluronic acid or leave about 20 minutes in between applications to allow enough time for it to absorb into the skin. Whichever way you decide to apply each ingredient they will both target the areas of concern and work together to keep the skin surface balanced and hydrated.

Can you layer niacinamide and hyaluronic acid?

Absolutely! Both niacinamide and hyaluronic acid are hugely hydrating for the skin. With humectant traits you will find they each have the ability to lock and hold onto water ensuring the skin’s barrier remain healthy and able to combat any signs of free radical damage from exposure from UV rays and other environmental aggressors.

When teaming both these ingredients together it is considered best to apply hyaluronic acid first due to the fact it can bind high volume of water which will keep the skin hydrated continuously throughout the day. Follow this with niacinamide as this will help regulate sebum production in the skin resulting in it remain balanced.

How do you layer retinol and hyaluronic acid together?

If you have read any of our previous blog posts, you will be familiar with the general rule of thumb when it comes to understanding how to layer different skincare products and ingredients. The best method is working your way through the consistency starting with the thinnest formulas to the thickest.

This is important to remember when trying to layer retinol and hyaluronic acid together, for example, serums need to be applied first, followed by face oils and finally moisturisers. By following this skin rule you will find each ingredient is able to perform to the best of its abilities without the worry of skin irritation or preventing the potent formulas from delivering the best skin results.

Can I use retinol after niacinamide?

Ensuring you leave enough time in between applications you will be able to apply retinol after niacinamide. By using niacinamide first will help protect the skin from the common drying effects of retinol. You will also find that once the skin is left hydrated then retinol will be absorbed quickly and effectively reaching the lower layers and showing results more rapidly.

There is nothing stopping you however from using both niacinamide and retinol within the same product. The formulation may not be as potent as using each ingredient separately, but many find this to be more convenient, especially if retinol is new to their daily skincare regime.

What can I layer with retinol?

There are several skincare ingredients you can layer with retinol. Hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, squalene, and vitamin E are considered the best at neutralising the irritation associated with retinol. You will also find that any ingredients containing humectant traits will help lock moisture into the outer surface, ensuring retinol can penetrate with little negative side effects.

The easiest way to remember which ones to avoid are any that perform similar benefits to the skin as any form of retinoid, such as increasing the turnover of skin cells. Exfoliating ingredients and formulations should be avoided altogether. Chemical exfoliants such as AHA glycolic acid, and BHA, like salicylic acid as well as physical scrubs containing nut shells and fruit stones will be to abrasive and harsh for the skin, causing irritation, redness, dryness, and overall discomfort.  

Can you use hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and retinol?

Niacinamide and hyaluronic acid are both gentle yet effective skincare ingredients, many users find them easy to use with no to very few side effects. With retinol being known as one of the most potent ingredients means it comes with several warnings and rules when introducing it into your routine. By pairing all three of these ingredients together you can keep the skin hydrated, the protective skin barrier strengthened, and in its healthiest state, finally, preventing retinol from causing the skin to become dry and irritated.

If you are wanting to know more about niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and retinol and how this potent trio can work together on your skin there is a dedicated blog post about using these ingredients in your skincare routine.

Is hyaluronic acid or retinol better?

As mentioned, both ingredients target different areas of the skin and when combined make a powerful and skin reviving duo. With each ingredient working effectively together, you will have the peace of mind that the hydrating properties of hyaluronic acid will counteract the drying and peeling side effects of retinol. Much like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid is another ingredient that can be teamed with retinol for a routine that can really pack a punch. Each skin hero diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, kick starting collagen production and leaving the complexion glowing, healthy and full of bounce.

If you are finding the idea of retinol overwhelming, check out our post about what is retinol and what does it do for the skin. This will help clear up any confusion, and as always, before adding a new product to your routine you must first double check with a doctor or dermatologist to ensure it is safe for you and your skin type to use. Not forgetting of course, to perform a patch test for 24 hours before applying it all over the skin to avoid any unwanted irritation.  

Come and follow us on Instagram for more skincare advice and exclusive offers. You will also find one of our skincare experts in the direct messages if you have any further questions. 


1 comment


  • Irma.

    Nice And Useful Information. Thank You


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