Introducing a vitamin C serum into your daily routine is the first step in a fantastic skincare regimen, which also includes washing and moisturizing. It’s a powerful antioxidant that protects skin from environmental aggressors including UV radiation and pollution while also boosting collagen formation and banishing dark spot-causing melanin.
A wonderful piece of advice about skin care is to make use of vitamin C. If used correctly, vitamin C serums may have a number of positive effects. To begin, it’s an essential component for controlling hyperpigmentation and essentially leveling out your skin complexion since it may effectively limit the synthesis of melanin, or the pigment in the skin.
Not to mention, vitamin C can also aid in the neutralization of free radicals since it functions as an antioxidant. Environmental stresses including ultraviolet radiation and air pollution may cause the formation of these unstable atoms. Damage to the skin and the onset of early indications of aging may be the result of free radicals’ ability to trigger oxidative stress.
The greatest defense against free radical damage is a regular regimen of applying sunscreen and taking a powerful antioxidant in the form of vitamin C serums. Continue scrolling to read our top selects for these wonder-working formulas.
1. La Roche-Posay 10% Pure Vitamin C Face Serum
La Roche-Posay’s 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum is an easy way to get your skin glowing.
It combines concentrated vitamin C, salicylic acid, and neurosensine to leave skin more radiant. It’s anti-aging and helps reduce wrinkles so you can look younger than you have in years. Skin texture and tone are also more even.
Use it alone or as an added boost to your favorite moisturizer!
“I’ve noticed a difference in my skin feels softer and looks radiant. I’ve had a few compliments since using it. This product is not sticky or tacky and that’s a huge plus,” shared one reviewer.
2. Dr. Barbara Sturm The Good C Vitamin C Serum
Dr. Barbara Sturm‘s coveted The Good C Vitamin C Serum contains an active ingredient complex comprised of oil-soluble vitamin C THD, stabilized, synthetic vitamin C in glucosidic form, and an extract from Kakadu plum, which serves as a potent source of plant-based vitamin C.
This unique combination forms a concentration that’s easily absorbed, safe, and gentle on the skin and is packaged in a white glass pipette bottle to protect the formula from oxidation.
It also boasts other hero ingredients like zinc, aloe vera, apricot kernel oil, olive leaf extract, and hyaluronic acid—though the product comes at a steep price point as a result.
3. Supergoop Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40
Trailblazing its way as one of the first vitamin C serums with SPF, Supergoop’s Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40 signature two-in-one product perfectly pairs two important steps in a skincare routine.
Comprised of clean chemical SPF, marine extract, and a 14% vitamin C brightening complex, this formula prevents the appearance of dark spots caused by UV and blue light. Ultimately, this serum rises to the occasion as a go-to for visibly brighter, healthy-looking skin.
4. Beauty Pie C- Suite Rapid Action Power Vitamin C Brightening Serum
Beauty Pie’s Superdose C Serum is the perfect solution for any skin type!
It contains vitamin C and tranexamic acid, which work together to help reduce the appearance of sun-induced pigmentation. It also contains ferulic acid, which fights against dull, uneven, scarred, or UV-damaged skin to give you a fresh new look!
And it works great for sensitive skin—its gentle formula won’t irritate your face like some other serums might.
5. Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum
Sunday Riley’s CEO 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum is a powerful serum that targets dullness, dark spots, and discolorations.
It also helps to diminish signs of premature aging by restoring skin firmness, plumpness, and even-tone. The formula uses THD Ascorbate, a highly stable and oil-soluble form of vitamin C that offers visible anti-aging benefits: improved firmness, reduced lines and wrinkles, and brighter complexion.
This hydrating antioxidant formula for instant radiance contains Phytosterols that reduce signs of skin sensitivity. It also contains saccharide isomerate extract minimizes pore appearance and reinforces skin’s moisture barrier for optimal results.
Much like the name hints, the product rapidly brightens skin and boosts skin bounce.
6. Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster
Say hello to your new favorite skincare product.
Paula’s Choice’s 15% pure vitamin C serum is a feather-light, liquid formula that absorbs quickly into the skin, revealing a more radiant complexion. It has a unique ability to brighten the skin while firming and lifting it, leaving you with the glow of youth.
Vitamin C has long been known for its ability to brighten the skin and reduce signs of aging. However, Paula’s Choice decided it wasn’t enough to simply add more vitamin C to their product—they wanted to make sure that every ingredient was working together in harmony.
That’s why they included hyaluronic acid to help retain moisture and vitamin E to protect against signs of aging—the perfect amount for maximum results without irritation or sensitivity issues.
7. Libre Skincare Cielo 8% Vitamin C Serum
Meet Libre Skincare’s Cielo 8% Vitamin C Serum, the brightening and skin tone-evening formula that provides anti-aging benefits and supports collagen production. It promotes a youthful appearance and gives your skin all the moisture it needs to look and feel amazing.
With a low pH of 3.7 and an impressive 8% ascorbic acid content, this formula works hard to give you the flawless skin you’ve always dreamed of. It even includes fruit extracts and an oil blend for moisture retention so that your skin stays hydrated and healthy while you enjoy its benefits!
8. Hyper Skin Hyper Even Brightening Dark Spot Vitamin C Serum
Hyper Skin‘s award-winning Hyper Even Brightening Dark Spot Vitamin C Serum will not only provide the benefits of a vitamin C serum but also works hard to combat hyperpigmentation and signs of aging.
Combined with bearberry, licorice, and kojic acid, the formula protects the skin from sun damage whilst also preventing acne scars. Other ingredients like turmeric and salicylic acid help prevent future breakouts.
9. L’Oréal Revitalift Vitamin C Vitamin E Salicylic Acid Serum
This brightening serum from L’Oréal targets early aging signs like uneven tone, enlarged pores, and fine lines.
It contains 12% vitamin C, vitamin E, and salicylic acid—a combination of ingredients that work synergistically together to target all of your concerns at once. The formula is non-greasy and quickly absorbed, so you can apply it in the morning and not have to worry about it for the rest of the day.
“I’m in my mid 40’s and have noticed some fine lines. This product had done wonders for me. The lines are less noticeable and my skin looks bright,” wrote one reviewer.
10. Joanna Vargas Rescue Vitamin C + Squalane Serum
Skincare expert and celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas—known for working with the likes of Mandy Moore, Meghan Markle, and more—recently introduced her Rescue Vitamin C + Squalane Serum.
The product is infused with vitamins C and E, both of which shield the skin from free radicals and protect it from harmful UV rays. Other ingredients include squalane and elderberry extract, the latter serves as a natural antioxidant and detoxifying agent to prevent breakouts.
“Serums are the best way to show your skin some love in the summer. Concentrated boosts of vitamins and essential ingredients to deliver results without overwhelming the skin with too much weight, a serum is the perfect product in hot, sunny weather,” Vargas shares.
11. The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA 2%
One of the more affordable products on this list, The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA 2% targets visible signs of aging and provides antioxidant support.
Formulated without water, the product leaves a powdery finish great for those looking for solutions for uneven tones. It can be applied in the AM or PM with the key ingredient being L-ascorbic acid suspension.
12. Herbivore Botanicals Nova 15% Vitamin C + Turmeric Brightening Serum
Packed with a powerful blend of super fruits and ingredients like turmeric, Herbivore’s potent Nova 15% Vitamin C + Turmeric Brightening Serum helps improve hyperpigmentation and gives you brighter skin.
The product contains active ingredients such as turmeric root extract and arbutin, which are known to brighten the appearance of dark spots. 15% THD vitamin C also penetrates the skin deeper than other forms, providing immense benefits for dry, normal, oily, and sensitive skin.
13. Gracious Minds Alpha-Berry Daily Vitamin C Serum
Gracious Minds‘ Alpha-Berry Daily Vitamin C Serum boasts ingredients such as acai berry and mountain pepper berry that deeply nourish, brighten, and provide intense antioxidant protection throughout the day.
The formula contains high amounts of natural vitamin C as well as advanced pure magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, which reaches the dermis layers of the skin where collagen is formed.
By incorporating it into your daily routine, fine lines and dry skin will reduce and a brighter complexion will be more visible.
Meet the experts:
Eddie Aguirre, a material scientist and founder of Latine-owned brand Libre Skincare, with an aim of addressing issues such as hyperpigmentation and sun spots in addition to wrinkles, dryness, and inflammation.
How to Choose the Right Vitamin C Serum
Since vitamin C is sensitive to light and oxygen, it degrades rapidly when exposed to these elements. To ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your serum, opt for a product that comes in an opaque bottle or features an air-tight pump dispenser. Additionally, remember to store your vitamin C serum in a cool, dark location.
L-Ascorbic Acid Content
For optimal results, search for a serum containing L-ascorbic acid, which is the most potent and active form of vitamin C. However, keep in mind that it may be more expensive and potentially irritating for sensitive skin. Milder alternatives include sodium ascorbyl phosphate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, which still provide benefits without being as harsh.
Vitamin C works in synergy with other antioxidants, enhancing their overall performance. Commonly found antioxidants in vitamin C serums are vitamin E and ferulic acid. These not only boost the efficacy of vitamin C but also help stabilize it, resulting in a more potent and longer-lasting product.
Hydrating and Soothing Ingredients
To maximize the benefits of a vitamin C serum, look for products that contain hydrating and soothing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, or chamomile. These components help counteract the potential irritation associated with L-ascorbic acid and provide additional benefits like hydration and calming effects, making your serum more comfortable to use and suitable for all skin types.
What can a Vitamin C serum do for the skin?
A vitamin C serum is a highly beneficial skincare product with a range of positive effects on the skin. It can effectively target hyperpigmentation, reduce the appearance of aging signs such as fine lines and wrinkles, and promote a more radiant complexion. Additionally, some serums contain powerful antioxidants that shield the skin from free radical damage and environmental stressors, including harmful UV rays.
“Vitamin C is one of the best active ingredients for the skin! It is such a versatile ingredient that everyone should incorporate it into their skincare routine,” Aguirre explains. “Vitamin C works great to reduce hyperpigmentation and signs of aging. It also does a great job of brightening the skin.”
When is the best time to apply a Vitamin C serum?
Generally, it can be applied during your morning or evening skincare routine. If you’re new to using it, it’s recommended to start with a nightly application, as this allows your skin to absorb the serum overnight, resulting in a rejuvenated complexion in the morning.
“Applying a vitamin C serum can be done morning or night! If you are just starting off, I would recommend applying it once per day at night. This allows your skin to absorb the serum through the night, so your skin is rejuvenated in the morning,” Aguirre states.
How often should you use it to get the maximum benefits?
To achieve the best results, it’s suggested to use a Vitamin C serum several times a week. Consistent usage over a few weeks will lead to noticeable improvements in your skin’s overall appearance and health.
According to Aguirre, “A vitamin C serum should be used a few times a week to maximize the effects. After a few short weeks, you will be amazed with the results of vitamin C on the skin.”
How should you apply it to the skin?
To apply the serum, dispense a few drops onto your fingertips and gently spread it across your face, ensuring even coverage. Use a light massaging motion to help the serum absorb into your skin.
“Just a few drops of the serum onto the face will be sufficient. Make sure to rub it in with your fingertips to spread it out evenly,” Aguirre shares.