After 16 hours of research evaluating 82 products, we picked TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum as our top choice.
Most of you are missing the most important step in your skin care routine -using a Vitamin C serum.
Our face tolerates some pretty tough stuff. Years of wearing makeup everyday, being out in the sun, and getting older can really take a toll on your skin.
According to the National Institute on Aging, over time, skin changes. It becomes thinner, loses fat, and no longer looks as smooth as it once did. But, there are things you can do to make it feel and look better. The most important thing is using the best Vitamin C serum under your moisturizer.
Why should you use a Vitamin C serum?
The Vitamin C benefits are endless but here are just a few:
Want to know the best part?
We did the research and picked the very best Vitamin C serums so you don’t have to. We spent hours reading beauty reviews and comparing prices to give you the most trusted list below. Now, get glowing.
This Nuva Skin Vitamin C Serum is the most affordable serum on our list, and it does not disappoint. Use this serum twice a day and watch as skin tones start even and dark spots start to disappear. For under $8, we think this product is an absolute steal.
A few users had issues with the pump.
This product contains Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Collagen, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid. This facial serum works to protect skin from harsh UV rays (but please note it is not an SPF) while deeply hydrating and moisturizing skin. The added Vitamin E works to brighten skin and leave it glowing.
This serum feels less like water/oil and more like a moisturizer. It's got a nice thicker consistency and really feels like it's moisturizing the skin. The formula absorbs quickly and doesn't leave behind a greasy residue, so you can apply this before your make up without worrying about smudging.
This Vitamin C serum is the most budget-friendly serum on our list, for just under $8 on Amazon, why not give it a try?
This Vitamin C serum leaves your skin with a dewy glow while producing results that last. This product is cruelty-free and is made without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates - so you can rest assured you're using only quality ingredients.
A few reviewers had some issues with the pump after using it for a while.
Sephora provides an excellent breakdown of the ingredients and how they work to improve your skin. The formula contains Vitamin C (that's a given), Phytosterols Complex (originates from soybeans and works to reduce redness), Saccharide Isomerate Extract (reinforces the skin's natural moisture barrier - hello soft smooth skin!), Glycolic Acid (supports natural cell turnover and maintains the pH levels of the serum). The formula is made to fit all skin types (even sensitive skin!) and shows immediate results.
All you need is one to two pumps, and you're good to go. This cruelty-free formula works to brighten skin and even overall skin texture instantly. The serum is surprisingly thicker than ordinary serums or oils and really works to hydrate the skin. Apply morning and night all over face and watch your skin soften, brighten, and radiate.
You're getting what you pay for with this Vitamin C serum. It's $85, which may sound a little steep, but we've found that this formula truly works to brighten and even skin tones. It's made with high-quality, cruelty-free ingredients that feel good (and make your skin look great!).
Why spend a fortune on skincare routines when you can get a product for under $20 that leaves skin glowing? This serum works to deeply hydrate and plump skin while removing discoloration, dark spots, redness, and scarring.
A few users reported they didn't feel this product fully absorbed into their skin.
The formula is cruelty-free and plant-based. It's made without parabens, mineral oil formaldehyde releasers, synthetic dyes, unsafe preservatives, and PEGs. One of the top ingredients in this Vitamin C serum is witch hazel, which is known to help improve the appearance and feel of skin.
The product applies lightly to the skin and doesn't leave behind a greasy residue. It's got a citrus aroma and varies from light to medium orange color thanks to the natural oils and extracts. The formula quickly absorbs into skin, and a little goes a long way. You should notice a decrease in dark spots, red spots, discoloration, and scarring.
This is one of the least expensive Vitamin C serums out there - and it actually works. For only $17.97, it's definitely worth a try considering how expensive some of the other serums on the market are.
A super-potent vitamin C day serum packed with a powerful antioxidant complex, essential nutrients, fruit enzymes, and a chronopeptide. Formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or fragrances.
This product has a not-so-pleasant smell. The good news is, it doesn't linger for long. And, it doesn't have any harmful fragrances so you can feel good about that.
The Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum has a lightweight texture that soaks in and dries quickly after applying. The runny consistency is smooth and glides over your skin with ease. It doesn't feel sticky at all, which is a good thing when you want to use it during the day. This product has no added fragrance too, so any scent you may smell is completely natural from the products.
The Drunk Elephant bottle has a pump, which is nice for controlling the amount that comes out. Unfortunately it is made out of plastic, which isn't the best for protecting the serum. The good news is it's not transparent so light can't get through.
The Vitamin C in this formula is in the form of L-ascorbic acid which is the purest form. And, it has 15% of it. Only highly concentrated formulas with 10% or more are effective, so this one is legit. On top of that, the C-Firma has a PH level of 3.3. For Vitamin C serums to penetrate the skin effectively they need to have a PH level lower than 3.5%.
Other main ingredients in this product include pumpkin ferment and pomegranate extract that dissolve the dead skin cells. Rest assured, there are no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or fragrances to be found either.
The $80 price is high for 1 fluid ounce, but this one is totally worth it. Not to mention, a little goes a long way. One pump of product is more than enough to cover your entire face. So, it will last you several months or more.
Who's it for? This Vitamin C serum is formulated with ascrobic acid, which provides the best results for those with oily skin. Those with sensitive or dry skin should consider another serum with sodium ascorbyl phosphate which is less irritating.
An all natural, safe, vegan serum containing 22% Vitamin C.
May cause mild breakouts for those of you with combination or oily skin.
Vitamin C typically comes in the form of ascrobic acid. However, this can be extremely irritating to those with sensitive skin. The Serumtologie serum contains sodium ascorbyl phosphate instead. This ingredient is just as good, just a bit watered down which is why there's 22% of it.
We love this product because it is packed full of beneficial ingredients. This stuff contains 5% hyaluronic acid, 1% ferulic acid, and 1% Vitamin E. As a bonus, it contains aloe vera leaf and jojoba oil for moisture.
To make things even better, it contains no parabens, phthalates, sulfates, or dyes. It's made in the USA, vegan, and not tested on animals, too.
The Serumtologie Vitamin C serum has a luxurious light and smooth texture that we can't get enough of. The color of the serum varies from clear to milky white, which is exactly the color it should be.
But what really sets this product apart from the rest is the cobalt blue dropper bottle. Amber or blue bottles actually protect the serum from light. Brands with transparent bottles are cheaper and give the serum a shorter shelf life.
Since most quality Vitamin C serums cost somewhere in the $20-$100 range, we think $35 for an all-natural product is a steal. The price reflected is for the 1.15 fl ounce jar. We think that is a great price for this serum -- well worth the investment.
Who's it for? This Vitamin C serum contains sodium ascorbyl phosphate (the water soluable form of ascorbic acid) which makes this a lot less irritating than most serums. So if you have sensitive skin, this is the serum you want to be using.
And, because this serum contains moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera and jojoba oil, its great for those with dry skin, too.
A daytime vitamin C serum that delivers advanced environmental protection and improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reverses loss of firmness, and brightens skin's complexion.
This serum dries somewhat tacky and stays sticky on the skin. So, it's best to use at night when you are not planning on wearing makeup.
The Skinceuticals formula is so effective, they actually have a patent on it. What we do know, is that it is water based, has 15% Vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid, 0.5% Ferulic acid, and 1% Vitamin E. Other main ingredients include glycerin and hyaluronate. Rest assured, there are no parabens, dyes, or fragrances to be found.
This product has no added fragrance so, unfortunately it doesn't smell like roses. In fact, some say this product has a metallic smell to it.
The Skinceuticals Vitamin C serum is a lightweight, oil-free, smooth serum. Once absorbed, the Vitamin C is effective for 72 hours. Now that's a dream.
It comes in an amber dropper bottle that is made of pure glass. We wouldn't expect anything less from Skinceuticals.
It's hard to find a Vitamin C serum that actually works miracles. So we think for a best-selling product that does just that, it's worth every penny. Not to mention, this product is effective for so long, you only need to apply it once a day.
Who's it for? This intensely effective Vitamin C serum is made for those with normal to oily skin. Because the formula has L-ascorbic acid, it will most likely be too irritating for those with sensitive and dry skin.
A 98% natural, 72% organic, and cruelty-free serum that transforms every skin type.
A few said this serum made them breakout. However, you can receive a full money back guarantee if this happens to you.
Three main ingredients can be found in this serum: sodium ascorbyl phosphate (Vitamin C), hyaluronic acid, and Vitamin E. When Vitamin C is paired with hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E, it becomes stable and long-lasting.
Other main ingredients include organic aloe vera, dandelion, and jojoba oil. It is certified free of parabens, phthalates, GMOs, sodium lauryl sulfates, petrolatum, mineral oil, artificial colors and fragrances, and is properly pH balanced for effectiveness, too.
The texture of the TruSkin Vitamin C Serum is thin, lightweight, and fluid. It absorbs quickly and leaves behind no oily residue. And, it’s surprisingly lightweight for what it achieves. Also, TruSkin's products are not tested on animals, and that feels good too, doesn’t it?
This plant based formula naturally ranges in color from almost clear to somewhat cloudy from batch to batch. TruSkin Naturals chooses not to hide these natural variations with artificial colors or dyes to ensure the formula is kept as pure as possible and because the appearance of the serum has no impact on the effectiveness of the formula.
The amber colored, glass dropper bottle is the best out there. The screw top dropper allows you to perfectly apply the desired amount. While the dark, amber protects the serum from light.
$20 for the 1-ounce bottle is a dream. And, the bigger 2-ounce bottle is an even better deal at $35.
The best part is, if you decide that this serum is not for you, you have a full 3 months to send an email for a 100% money back refund with no questions asked (you don't even have to return the bottle). So, theres no reason not to give this product a try.
Who's it for? This best overall is designed for all skin types but we found it perfect for women with combination skin and sensitive skin because of the sodium ascorbyl phosphate (dilluted Vitamin C).
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet. It’s not only good when consumed in food, but it’s also beneficial when applied to the skin.
At the risk of sounding like an overused marketing tagline, Vitamin C really is an all-rounder. It’s amazing for all skin types, and people of all ages will greatly benefit from using it topically. As a well-researched and established skincare ingredient, it’s far from being a skincare fad in the vein of 24K gold masks and snail mucin.
If you’re unsure about using a Vitamin C serum into your skincare routine, this guide should seal the deal. We’ll also explore all the different forms of this potent-yet-sensitive vitamin to help you make the right choice!
We’re all guilty of getting swayed by fancy packaging and to-die-for scents at some point in our lives, but these obviously speak nothing of a product’s effectiveness.
When it comes to Vitamin C serums—where there is a plethora of formulas and concentrations to choose from—being a sensible, rational buyer is more important than ever. So what, exactly, are the things to consider when buying the right serum for you?
The form of Vitamin C used in the formula. There are various forms of Vitamin C that are being used in serums nowadays. You’ll usually see names like L-ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl palmitate, among others. Some forms are better at certain aspects than others, so make sure to do your homework! Check out the next section to know more.
The concentration. Vitamin C serums come in a wide range of concentrations—usually between 3 to 20 percent. The higher the concentration, the more potent it will be. Before you get trigger-happy, however, note that high-percentage serums can cause irritation on sensitive skin. As such, it’s better to start off with 10% or less if you’re new to the Vitamin C game.
Effective and protective packaging. I’m not talking about fancy colors and elegant labels here. Vitamin C is inherently sensitive to light and is prone to oxidation, especially in L-ascorbic acid form. This is why choosing a product that’s been thoughtfully packaged is crucial.
Go for serums in opaque and airtight bottles. Translucent amber or blue bottles are fine, too.
Accompanying ingredients. Vitamin C is already amazing on its own, and picking a serum that only has this specific vitamin for an active component will already do a lot of great things for your skin.
However, you can also choose to go for products with added ingredients that help enhance Vitamin C’s skin-saving effects. Vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, and ferulic acid are some examples of helpful henchmen.
The price point. If you’ve been window shopping for quite a while now, you’ll notice that Vitamin C serums are, in general, pricier than many other skincare products. It’s only fitting given that this vitamin is highly sensitive to light and easily oxidizes (and is, therefore, trickier to package and handle) and that serums are usually more expensive because of their higher concentration.
That said, Vitamin C serums come in a wide range of price points. You’re probably going to find something that will suit your budget—although you’re likely going to have to compromise on a thing or two if you want to spend less.
The product’s pH. Vitamin C is at its most stable at acidic pH levels. Ideally, your serum should have a pH of around 3.5 or less for it to remain effective for weeks after the date of purchase.
Vitamin C comes in various forms. There’s L-Ascorbic Acid, which is the naturally-occurring form of Vitamin C, and there are also derivatives. For the uninitiated, derivatives are a form of Vitamin C with an added component that helps prevent degradation and promote stability.
While there really isn’t a definitive answer to what the best form of Vitamin C is, you should know that each has its own pros and cons.
If you have normal or oily skin, you should be able to comfortably use L-ascorbic acid. If you don’t have to deal with sensitivity, you can enjoy the wonderful benefits of this pure and potent form.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, go for the gentler derivatives. We recommend either sodium ascorbyl phosphate or magnesium ascorbyl phosphate because these water-based derivatives are gentler than LAA and more effective than ascorbyl palmitate. However, if you absolutely must use an oil-based formula, ascorbyl palmitate is the way to go.
Although your instinct may tell you that Vitamin C serums are best applied at night, the opposite is actually true. Remember that Vitamin C helps prevent sunburn and boosts the effectiveness of sunscreen, so applying it as a part of your morning skin care routine is ideal. It goes without saying that using SPF is essential, too.
What’s more, you’re usually exposed to more free radicals during the daytime, so you’ll get more use out of Vitamin C’s free radical-neutralizing effects in the AM.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use Vitamin C before bedtime! Applying twice a day is fine—well, actually, it’s great. Just be mindful of whether or not it will jive well with your nighttime products. As you will learn in the next section, some ingredients don’t sit well with Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is awesome, but there are certain ingredients that don't work well with it. To make sure you’re protected from irritation, check out the following guidelines: