The Best Vitamin C Serums for Forever-Young Skin
There are many types of beauty serums. But if we had to pick just one, it would be vitamin C. Vitamin C serums effectively tackle a multitude of skin issues, from aging to sun damage.
Since serums penetrate deep into skin, they can help supercharge any beauty regimen. Jana Blankenship, founder of organic beauty line Captain Blankenship, says vitamin C serums are especially important because they help firm skin, improve texture and tone and combat the signs of aging. Elizabeth Jones, advanced instructor for Dermalogica and the International Dermal Institute, adds that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that brightens and protects from free radical damage.
Because vitamin C is so versatile, it’s suitable for any skin type. Vitamin C serums come in strengths from as little as 1 percent to 20 percent. Those with sensitive skin are better off starting low until they build up a tolerance, explains Dr. Eva Simmons-O’Brien, FAAD. She also points out that serums that mix vitamins C and E are good options for reactive skin.
While vitamin C is definitely a hero ingredient, it can also be highly unstable. In other words, it breaks down quickly and becomes less potent. This is why many vitamin C products are stored in dark bottles or special packaging to prevent oxidization. Vitamin C is also water soluble. Which means it can be tricky for the product to penetrate through layers of skin.
The beauty industry has been working to stabilize the notoriously difficult vitamin. Now there are lots of fantastic vitamin C serums. Read on to discover the best ones.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic With 15% L-ascorbic Acid, $166 at SkinCeuticals
This serum boasts a powerful combination of 15 percent pure vitamin C (aka L-ascorbic acid), 1 percent vitamin E and 0.5 percent ferulic acid. Together they deliver advanced environmental protection, improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and brighten complexions. The serum is also clinically proven to reduce combined oxidative damage from free radicals.
Farmacy Very Cherry Bright 15% Clean Vitamin C Serum, $62 at Farmacy
Farmacy’s serum sources its vitamin C from tropical acerola cherries along with three other forms. So it brightens while reducing the appearance of dullness, dark spots and fine lines. Plus, there’s hydrating hyaluronic acid not to mention soothing botanicals and peptides to prevent irritation.
Volition Beauty Strawberry-C Brightening Serum, $42 at Sephora
The brand’s brightening serum features strawberry-derived vitamin C inspired by Marilyn Monroe's beauty hack of rubbing strawberries on her skin. It promises a noticeably radiant and even-toned complexion. There’s also Kakadu plum to reinforce luminosity and hyaluronic acid for plump, hydrated skin.
Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum, $24.50 at Derma E
Antioxidants are essential for younger, brighter skin and this affordable concentrated serum is full of them. The stable form of vitamin C doesn't evaporate before it's absorbed so skin can enjoy its full anti-aging and brightening benefits.
Dr. Brandt Power Dose Age Fighter Vitamin C 20%, $69 at Macy's
It's no exaggeration to call this a powerful dose of vitamin C. The serum contains 20 percent of the antioxidant, the highest concentration of stable vitamin C skin can absorb. It's also blended with Ascorbosilane C, silicium and Kakadu plum to increase skin's elasticity, plump facial contours and revive dull, tired-looking complexions.
Avalon Organics Vitamin C Vitality Facial Serum, $25.99 at Walgreens
Say goodbye to uneven patches, pigmentation and fine lines with the help of this vegan serum. Vitamin C is combined with organic white tea, rosehip oil, kelp extract and lemon bioflavonoids to make skin clearer and more radiant. The plant emollients also help the formula absorb deep down into pores for noticeable results.
Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Brightening Serum, $69 at Ulta Beauty
Smooth this multitasking serum on before moisturizer for radiant, glowing skin in as little as seven days. It's formulated with vitamin C ester, a fat-soluble form of vitamin C, along with antioxidant-rich ferulic acid and tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E.
The hero vitamin C in this firming serum is 15 percent L-ascorbic acid. It's mixed with vitamin E, ferulic acid, pumpkin ferment extract, pomegranate enzyme and Chronocyclin to firm, retexturize and brighten skin. The multipurpose serum also defends against pollution, aging and other environmental stressors.
Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Brighten & Firm Vitamin C Serum, $78 at Nordstrom
All it takes is one to two pumps of this serum to transform skin. It fuses vitamin C with a proprietary energy complex to revitalize skin. CoQ10, niacinamide, carnitine and superoxide dismutase help stimulate collagen production and create a more even, spot-free complexion over time.
Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum, $85 at Sephora
Take charge of your skin with this serum infused with 15 percent THD ascorbate, a highly stable form of vitamin C that quickly absorbs into skin and works to brighten, tone and minimize dullness. The potent serum also has phytosterols to minimize the look of redness and decrease skin sensitivity.
No7 Youthful Vitamin C Fresh Radiance Essence, $19.99 at Target
No7 serum is a miracle in a bottle that delivers dramatic results in two weeks. What sets it apart from other formulas is that it's activated upon first use so the 5 percent pure vitamin C formula remains potent.
Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop, $23 at Macy's
Those with sensitive skin don't need to fear vitamin C. This gentle serum contains 5 percent of the antioxidant-rich vitamin so it's suited for those with reactive skin. It evens out skin by fading brown spots and stopping pigmentation from developing and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum, $33.75 at Ulta Beauty
Inside that green bottle is a vitamin C serum that increases collagen production and resurfaces skin for a brighter, more even appearance. It's formulated with 7.5 percent ascorbic acid and hyaluronic acid to boost moisture levels.
Algenist GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C+ Serum, $118 at Sephora
Anti-aging is just one of the many benefits of this splurge-worthy serum. It fades spots, retexturizes and adds luminosity to dull complexions. And it even tackles deeper, more prominent wrinkles. The formula is also noncomedogenic, dermatologist-tested and hypoallergenic so it won't irritate skin.