On the hunt for the best vitamin C serum? Join the club. In recent years, the popularity of vitamin C for skin care has skyrocketed, and there’s no better way to reap the benefits than a potent serum. You see, serums provide the most potent dose of active ingredients. This is a very good thing considering what vitamin C can mean for your skin.
This beauty vitamin may already be a staple in both your medicine cabinet and in your pantry. It deserves another place in your life: your beauty regimen. Especially when you consider the benefits of vitamin C against all sorts of skin concerns. From perking up dull skin, fading hyperpigmentation, to slowing down signs of skin aging, vitamin C has it covered.
Let’s explore the skin care science behind our citrusy favorite, shall we?
Vitamin C Serum Benefits
You drink orange juice and squeeze plenty of lime into your guacamole, so why do you need to put more vitamin C on your face?
Let’s start with the enemy, free radicals. These are basically chemicals bouncing around in our atmosphere (especially in polluted cities) that tend to stick to skin and make it look dull and dreary. These free radicals also break strands of collagen on skin, which can worsen premature signs of aging.
Enter vitamin C, a known antioxidant that prevents these free radicals from sucking oxygen from your skin. The result? It gives you back fresh and younger looking skin.
Aside from the benefits it has on its own, vitamin C also works with other hormones in your body to give you lighter and glowing skin. It is considered a powerful skin lightening ingredient. Vitamin C increases the concentration of vitamin E and glutathione in your body, two things the body needs to lighten and brighten your complexion.
At the same time, vitamin C is also said to inhibit the production of Tyrosinase around hair follicles. This in turn lessens production of melanin pigments that cause darkening. A mild chemical exfoliator, vitamin C also sloughs off dead skin cells that may contain melanin as well.
Lastly, apart from protecting collagen in our skin from free-radicals, it also boosts the production of collagen to keep skin cushioned, springy, and youthful.
Top 5 Best Vitamin C Serum Reviews
Ready to pick out the best vitamin C serum for your skin? Let’s go through our top picks for the best vitamin C serums in the market.
They’re all potent but differ in their level of concentration as well as other active ingredients. So make sure to read through and choose the one that’s best for your skin type and needs!
Pro-Nu Organic 35% Vitamin C Serum
This first product is easily one of those with the strongest concentration of vitamin C, with a whopping 35% concentration. Touting maximum strength skin repair, make sure to do a patch test before you start using this product. If you have skin prone to flare ups, be sure to very slowly incorporate this into your routine to avoid adverse reactions.
Formulated in the USA, this serum contains three different acids (including vitamin C) to ensure maximum benefit on your skin. The vitamin C concentration is scientifically proven to increase collagen production as well as protect skin from environmental stressors.
Retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A, works by boosting your skin’s natural turnover cycle. It can jumpstart the production of newer and healthier skin cells in your body.
The 10% hyaluronic acid works to moisturize and help the other active ingredients penetrate deeper onto the skin. In addition, it helps keep inflammations under control and promote faster healing of various skin abrasions (we’re looking at you, acne scars!).
This organic, cruelty-free, FDA-approved product comes in an opaque pump bottle to minimize contact with the environment. It is pleasant to use, with a refreshing scent, and it doesn’t leave skin feeling heavy or greasy. As a bonus, it contains zero parabens.
Just keep in mind that this is the most potent concentration of vitamin C you’ll find on the market. More is not always better, especially if you’ve never used a vitamin C product before or you have sensitive skin. So if you’re brand new, you may want to start off with one of the lower concentration serums below and work your way up to this one.
That being said, this high concentration serum produces visible results. The speed it takes to see them makes this a top-rated vitamin C serum. If you’re curious about this product, they offer a money back guarantee in case you change your mind. Read all user reviews!
Pura D’Or 20% Vitamin C Serum
- ACNE & DARK SPOT REMOVER: Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic acid, Witch Hazel, White...
- REDUCE APPEARANCE OF WRINKLES: Improve your skin’s texture and elasticity. When...
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If you’re a nature loving gal, this is the perfect organic vitamin C serum for you. The brand is all about maximizing the effects of both nature and science to give customers a transformative effect on skin.
Made with plant-based ingredients and certified organic and vegan, this product is filled to the brim with organic ingredients such as aloe vera and argan oil. Both are sourced through ethical practices with no loss of efficacy. The serum contains no unnecessary ingredients such as pesticides, parabens, artificial fragrances, or colorants.
While it claims to be hypoallergenic and promises to be gentle to sensitive skin, make no mistake: this serum is a vitamin C powerhouse with proven effects. Its claims to fame are its anti-aging benefits and its ability to target skin’s imperfections. It contains a 20% concentration of vitamin C, which works together with active ingredients like ferulic acid and antioxidants to increase elasticity in your skin, making it look and feel firmer.
The serum also works on reducing redness – perfect if you’re using vitamin C for acne scars – and keeping the development of fine lines and wrinkles at bay. It contains hyaluronic acid to help the active ingredients penetrate skin while keeping it moisturized. Hyaluronic acid also lends a healthy, dewy look to your face.
Since it’s a gentle formulation, it’s safe enough for daily use. It is best applied after cleansing using a circular motion. To be on the safe side, remember to avoid putting it too close to the eyes or nostrils. You might smell a faint sour aroma, but this is just due to the acidic nature of vitamin C and the fact that this product does not attempt to mask the natural scent with artificial fragrances. Overall, a great organic vitamin C serum that’s powerful yet gentle enough for beginners! Read all user reviews!
Claire-ity Skincare 25% Vitamin C and E Serum
- NEW & IMPROVED FORMULA! MADE IN USA: Our Most advanced 25% Vitamin C + Hyaluronic...
- VITAMIN C WORKS: Vitamin C serum is the #1 anti-aging secret that is suited for both...
- POWERFUL ANTIAGING BENEFITS: Our clinically tested formulation combats the most...
When it comes to serums, gentleness and effectivity are the name of the game, especially if you have dry skin. This is what makes Claire-ity the best vitamin C serum if you’re looking for a deep moisturizing serum that won’t irritate your skin.
It can effectively drop decades off your face, but it’s still one of the most affordably-priced serums in the market. It contains a good dose of vitamin C – 20% concentration. In addition, it has high-caliber ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to help soothe and nourish your skin while rejuvenating it. It also has your skin’s sensitivity in mind, since it contains zero parabens and alcohol.
According to studies, vitamin C is approximately 20 times more effective when applied directly on skin than when taken orally. If you’re looking for brighter and smoother skin, Claire-ity’s serum is a great contender. It is proven to jumpstart collagen production and maintain a youthful complexion.
If you’re a sun-worshipper, you’d also be glad to know that this product can help you lighten sun spots and other hyperpigmentation issues. This serum also targets a variety of other skin concerns such as enlarged pores, bouts of acne, and fading of minor facial scars.
If you’re unsure about the product, the company also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Any time within 90 days that you feel like the product did not live up to your expectation, you can ship it back for free, no questions asked. But most likely, you’ll just be back to order another bottle, because this stuff is wonderfully effective, especially considering its humble price tag! Read user reviews!
Super Vitamin C Serum + EGF
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Marketing itself as luxury you can afford, Coui’s Super C Serum is impressive in terms of formulation. While other products have two or three active ingredients, Super C’s serum is so jam-packed with good-for-you ingredients that it’s hard to imagine skin that won’t benefit from this serum.
It promises the user transformative and revolutionary effects in terms of anti-aging. Expect less noticeable fine lines and wrinkles, fading of age spots and acne scars, and a lighter, brighter complexion dripping with the radiance of youth.
This powerhouse of a serum was formulated by renowned biochemist Hannah Sivak, an authority in skincare. One of the serum’s main goals is to stimulate collagen production, and it has four active ingredients that do just that: betulinic extract, carnosine, centella asiatica extract, and collagen itself.
To regulate cell growth and promote healing of damaged cells, Sivak also incorporated Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) in the formulation. EGF was a Nobel Prize winning discovery by Stanley Cohen that shook the foundations of anti-aging science. In a nutshell, the chemical binds itself to damaged cells and speeds up the process of cellular repair. This means you don’t even have to wait a month (the average time for cellular turnover) to see effects. You can see the difference when damaged cells are brought back to life.
The vitamin C in the serum is in the form of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, one of the highest forms in terms of efficacy. While vitamin C works great to lighten the complexion, it is also aided by both glutathione and niacinamide. Both ingredients benefit your skin color by suppressing melanin synthesis. Niacinamide also decreases itching and inflammation. Gtlutathione is a skin protectant that defends the skin cells from oxidation and other forms of environmental harm.
This product is safe enough for everyday use, even for those with sensitive skin. You can use this both morning and night by applying just a few drops on your face and patting it in until it’s well-absorbed. Since the serum is formulated with as few preservatives as possible, it has a shorter shelf life of 6 months. For best results, and to maximize the longevity of the product, you can keep it in the fridge. This provides an additional boost of refreshment when you apply it to your skin. Read user reviews!
Raw Biology Organic Liquid Facelift Set
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For those who take their daily skincare regimen as a form of meditation and relaxation, this three step serum system might just be the set of products you’re looking for. Instead of an all-in-one serum which is jam-packed with active ingredients, this one is a set of three serums that you apply in order to get the optimum dosage and effects from each one.
Touting itself as a liquid facelift, it boldly claims to take as many as 10 years off your face. It contains three serums with different active ingredients, designed to work in tandem to help you achieve extreme results without going under the knife. You start off with hyaluronic acid serum at 5% concentration. It works by deeply moisturizing skin to plump your skin, lessen wrinkles and fine lines, while also helping erase dark and puffy under-eeye circles.
This is then followed by an organic 18% concentration of vitamin C serum that boosts cell repair and turnover while protecting skin from environmental aggressors. The last serum is a 2.5% concentration of retinol that works to stimulate cell turnover, promote collagen production, and even out hyperpigmentation while brightening the complexion.
These three ingredients are great alone, but they’re brilliant when combined. Research has shown that certain combinations are the best way to achieve results. Retinol was shown to work beautifully alongside vitamin C to defend the skin against free radicals. In fact, vitamin C actually helps retinol work better by protecting it from oxidation while it penetrates deeper into the skin.
You can expect to see changes in the texture of your skin immediately. In terms of deeper repair such as erasing fine lines, acne marks, and other forms of scarring, it can take any time between a month to three months. This is the average time the body takes to regenerate collagen and elastin. For best results, use continuously for six months.
To use, start with a clean face and apply the serums in any order, allowing a few minutes to dry before layering on another serum. You can apply just a few drops at a time since the acids in the serum can be drying. To achieve optimal results, you can generally do the regimen twice a day. But if your skin is a bit sensitive, it would be best to stick to night application to take advantage of skin’s natural rejuvenation process when we sleep.
This set of serums also have a longer shelf life of two years, and it does not necessarily need to be refrigerated. It doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals such as PABAs, sulfates, or artificial dyes. As part of the company’s commitment to leave as little of an ecological footprint as possible, it is also not tested on animals. Read user reviews!
How to Choose the Best Vitamin C Serum
Found a vitamin C serum that looks promising and wondering if it’s worth buying? Here are some simple guidelines to keep in mind when choosing a vitamin C serum:
What Form of Vitamin C is Used?
To choose an effective vitamin C serum, check both the type of vitamin C the product has and the concentration. Vitamin C comes in many forms, but these are the best to go for:
- L-Ascorbic Acid: Shown to protect from UV damage, increase collagen synthesis, and reduce skin pigmentation, this is one of the most potent forms of vitamin C (as well as the most researched). It has a high degree of bioavailability and offers good penetration. The downside is that it can be finicky, so it needs to be formulated properly. In addition, it is a little more irritating, but it’s also the most effective.
- Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP): This is the best form of vitamin C if you have sensitive skin as it’s less irritating. Plus, it’s deeply absorbed into the skin and penetrates both the cell wall and coats the exterior of the cell. It’s also stable and bioavailable.
What’s the Concentration of Vitamin C?
When it comes to concentration, the general rule is the higher the better, but only if your skin can take it. Remember that vitamin C is still an acid, so too much might cause a burning sensation, especially if you have sensitive skin. Try to tread the fine line between optimum concentrations without sacrificing comfort.
How is the Product Packaged?
Lastly, pay attention to the packaging. Vitamin C reacts fast to oxygen, so look for serums packaged in a way that minimizes air and light exposure (goodbye jars and hello dropper applicators!). Something packaged in a glass amber bottle is usually a safe choice. Since light can cause the product to oxidize, some store their precious serums in the fridge to preserve it.
When applying, remember that a few drops can go a long way. Start slowly and just put enough product for a thin layer on the face. If you experience signs of skin dryness, scale back on the amount of serum, and be sure to layer on a good moisturizer after slathering vitamin C serum on your face.