3 Ways To Use It & What Is Pycnogenol Good For?

What is pycnogenol?

Pycnogenol comes from the bark of a European pine tree, and among other places, it also comes from grapes. It is a stable (does not degrade easily) and awesome antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage. Pycnogenol is an amazing skincare ingredient, and it’s one of Cassandra’s favorites. Some studies show that it’s an even more potent antioxidant than vitamin C. There are some cases where it has helped with melasma too. However, these medical studies only serve as a reference point because some participants applied it orally. But, in this case, we’re putting it on the skin. So, how is pycnogenol used topically? 

How to use pycnogenol

Pycnogenol should be used in the morning because it is an antioxidant serum. But, it could be used at night as well. It truly doesn’t matter though because it will be effective either way. So, here’s how to use one of Cassandra’s favorite pycnogenol products.

The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5% -$11.10

This is one of Cassandra’s favorite pycnogenol products. The scent reminds Cassandra of camping as a child. This little antioxidant serum is inexpensive, and it works amazingly. It’s a water-free (anhydrous) formula for only $11! So, it has a little bit of an oily texture, but nevertheless, it still soaks into the skin quite nicely. The product is so antioxidant-rich that it’s got an orange-red color. And although it doesn’t stain the skin, some people have noticed an orange tinge on their skin upon applying an ample amount by itself. 

So, the best way to use this antioxidant serum is in the morning and under your sunscreen/ moisturizer. And if you’re applying sunscreen, you don’t necessarily need a moisturizer, and you can apply it last. Apply any other serums or toners within your routine first, and then, use the pycnogenol. Pat it down with clean hands, let it soak in for maybe five minutes, and subsequently apply your sunscreen. 

What can you mix with pycnogenol?

Depending on what you mix The Ordinary’s Pycnogenol formula with, you could ruin the formula. For example, mixing it with certain things could ruin the formula’s pH or how it’s supposed to penetrate into the skin. However, Cassandra did find a couple of options that work well with it.

To being with, if you’re going to mix The Ordinary's pycnogenol with a moisturizer, it will give it a thicker, more tacky, and slippery feel. Given this, the best moisturizers to mix pycnogenol with are simple ones that don’t have fragrances or additives. In regards to The Ordinary’s pycnogenol serum, you can use this powerful antioxidant serum to boost vitamin C and E.

It’s great to use with a moisturizer that has vitamin C or even with one that is lacking antioxidants.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA - $13.50 


This is a fantastic gel moisturizer. It’s not only inexpensive, but it’s fragrance-free. It works very well with pycnogenol because of the way it mixes. The pycnogenol really disperses throughout the moisturizer, and it reduces the orange color, but it still gives you hydration on the skin. It’s more of a lightweight gel. Cassandra would recommend this mixture for oily to combination skin. 

Ceramedx Ulta Moisturizing Cream -$18.99 

But, If you want to mix it with something a little thicker, this works too. You just have to mix it in your hand with the pycnogenol a little more. When you mix the two, you’re able to make a thick moisturizer with antioxidant potency.

Because this is such a powerful antioxidant, you could do this during the day. But, Cassandra loves to use this mixture as a sleep mask because it can support the skin barrier and protect it from environmental stressors. If you live in a big city with pollution, this is an awesome treatment. You especially need antioxidants and sunscreen in this case. This mixture also works well for fine lines and wrinkles. 

Likewise, you can use this mixture in the eye area. Pycnogenol doesn’t really help with puffiness, but it can help with pigmentation. So, if you are prone to purpleness or pigmentary issues, you could use this in the under-eye area. Cassandra even makes homemade pycnogenol eye masks! First, you take two cotton pads and soak them in a gentle, hydrating toner or a serum that you could all over your face.

Cosme Pure Natural Bleached Frog Cotton pads

Mixoon Galctomyces Toner 

This is affordable, and it absorbs into the cotton pads so well. This presoaks the cotton pads so they’ll stick to the skin, and they provide hydration. Next, you apply pycnogenol to the under-eye and put the soaked cotton pads on top of it. These will stick to the skin, and the mechanical pressure will also help to relieve puffiness. This is such a helpful treatment.

Pycnogenol is an amazing ingredient shown to give fantastic results such as brightening, evening the skin, and the reduction of fine lines in wrinkles, especially when used in tandem with sunscreen and vitamin C or vitamin E.