If you’ve ever asked your go-to beauty guru or most trusted dermatologist about the products that will give you brighter, smoother, firmer and all-around just glowier skin, then you’ve surely been told to incorporate a vitamin C serum into your routine.
Vitamin C is one of those truly multi-use beauty products, and aside from giving your skin a radiance boost, it can also help to fade fine lines, reduce the look of dark spots and tighten loose skin. Perhaps most importantly, it also protects your skin from environmental pollutants.
“Vitamin C is a powerhouse ingredient, serving as a potent antioxidant with boundless benefits for every skin type,” Eminence Organic Skincare’s international educator Brian Goodwin told Observer. “Not only does vitamin C reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone, it also smooths skin texture, prevents UV damage, and reduces pigmentation and inflammation. Additionally, vitamin C boosts collagen production and cell regeneration, keeping your skin looking younger. All of these benefits are achieved through vitamin C’s ability to protect us from free radical damage.”
It’s best to use vitamin C serums in the morning, so that you can add that extra layer of protection to your skin that works to neutralize free radicals. While all skin types benefit from vitamin C serums, those with sensitive skin should look for formulas with a “lower percentage of l-ascorbic acid and other forms of vitamin C, such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate,” Goodwin suggested. He also recommends avoiding using retinol and vitamin C at the same time; instead, use a vitamin C in the morning and a retinol at night, or rotate them. You should also avoid using vitamin C and acne-fighting benzoyl peroxide in the same routine, as the two ingredients can interfere with each other.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, you’re surely wondering what vitamin C serum is best for you to add into your skincare routine now. Don’t worry; we’ve done the research, and found all the best beauty guru-approved vitamin C serums to consider. Below, see our favorite vitamin C serums to incorporate into your beauty regimen.
Omorovicza Daily Vitamin C Serum
This Budapest-based beauty brand’s oil-free vitamin C serum includes a combination of Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Kiwiberry, which work together to help stimulate collagen production. It also contains hyaluronic acid, so it’s super hydrating. The milky formula is great for those that want to use a vitamin C serum as part of their daily routine, but find products with too high a concentration to be a bit harsh and drying. $155, Omorovicza.
Skinceuticals Silymarin CF Serum
Skinceuticals’ highly lauded vitamin C serums have long been considered the gold standard, and while the brand’s CE Ferulic formula might be its most well-known and loved, we personally are very into the new oil-free Silymarin CF, which specifically made for those of us with oily, more blemish-prone skin. It has all the benefits of a vitamin c serum, including brightening and toning, with the addition of salicylic acid to help banish acne. “It is best applied first thing in the morning after cleansing,” Skinceuticals partner physician Dr. Julie Woodward told Observer, as “this specific formulation needs to be applied alone to be absorbed into its maximal concentration in the skin.” After five minutes, you can apply other products (sunscreen!) without diluting the vitamin C. $166, Skinceuticals.
Circumference Vital-C Antioxidant Day Serum
This lightweight daytime serum from vegan, sustainable beauty brand Circumference contains the usual antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, as well as natural active extracts from olive leaf, mullein leaf and licorice root. You’ll notice your skin is glowing within just a few uses, and it’s great for helping reduce the appearance of dark spots, and helps protect your skin from pollution as well as UVA and UVB rays. $80, Circumference.
Tatcha Violet-C Brightening Serum
Tatcha’s Violet-C serum is composed of 20 percent vitamin C and 10 percent AHAs, for an ideal combo of brightening, plumping and smoothing. It’s a very sheer formula that goes on easily and, even though it’s fragrance-free, actually smells wonderful, which isn’t always true of vitamin C serums. It’s also a gentle option for those of us with sensitive skin that can react badly to super harsh vitamin C products. $88, Tatcha.
Eminence Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum
This natural, organic skincare brand is another great choice sensitive skin. The ultra-lightweight serum is composed of citrus fruit, kale, avocado and lime juice (lots of fruits and veggies, even on your skin!), which work together to help tone, hydrate, sooth and rejuvenate tired skin. $110, Eminence.
Alo Yoga Radiance Serum
Try this vitamin C serum if you’re on the hunt for an unscented version. It’s filled with amla superberry and hyaluronic acid, to aid in moisturizing and smoothing. $88, Alo Yoga.
The Organic Pharmacy Stabilised Vitamin C Serum
This no-fuss, ultra-concentrated vitamin C serum gets the job done, and truly, we felt the firming and tightening effects almost immediately after using just one dropper. Everyone’s skin is different, but we personally recommend making sure you’re using a heavy duty moisturizer in your routine with this particular serum, as otherwise, your skin can feel a bit taut, especially during colder months. $65, The Organic Pharmacy.
Volition Strawberry-C Brightening Serum
Fun fact, which we only learned after using Volition’s fruit-y product: strawberries actually contain even more vitamin C than oranges! This serum is filled with 20 percent strawberry-derived vitamin C, for soft, smooth and bright results. $42, Volition.
Farmacy Very Cherry Bright 15 Percent Clean Vitamin C Serum
Speaking of fruits, this serum is packed with acerola cherry-derived vitamin C as well as hyaluronic acid, for an extra boost of hydration. $62, Farmacy.
Naturopathica Vitamin C15 Wrinkle Remedy Serum
We’re big fans of Barbara Close’s natural, clean skincare brand, and we really love that this serum manages to firm, brighten and protect skin while also doing serious double duty and helping fade the look of pesky wrinkles. The serum contains a mixture of 15 percent L-ascorbic acid, vitamin E and oat beta-glucan that work to correct skin tone, with hyaluronic acid for extra moisture. $122, Naturopathica.
Supergoop Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40 Serum
As you’ve surely noticed, we love a good two-in-one skin product. We highly recommend this combination vitamin C and SPF 40 serum, which will brighten and protect your skin. $46, Supergoop.
Allies of Skin 35 Percent Vitamin C and Perfecting Serum
This ultra-potent serum is the first waterless 35 percent vitamin C serum, for a serious radiant brightening boost. $118, Allies of Skin.