To help you select the best vitamin C serum, we have precisely reviewed and compared 7 of the most popular brands available, putting in a considerable amount of time and effort to conduct fact based research and clinical studies.
Our research bases primarily on the efficacy of the products in light of the elements we believe are some of the most important to consider when buying a vitamin C serum.
What is Vitamin C Serum
If you are looking to have radiant, youthful and energized skin, then yes, it is absolutely essential that you get one.
It is important to understand that vitamin C is hailed as one of the most powerful antioxidants Mother Nature has to provide.
Plus, it also contains depigmentation elements.
A majority of citrus fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C.
On the other hand, although vitamin C is quite potent, its health-boosting effects on your skin might considerably lessen when taken in oral form.
This can be because of the natural mechanism of nutrient transportation and bioavailability, which can limit is advantages, if you take it orally.
In order to reap the most health benefits of this powerful nutrient, your skin needs to absorb it.
That is why a topical application is highly recommended, and according to scientific research it is also said to be 20 times more efficient and effective when applied on the skin.
Vitamin C that comes in the form of creams and serums can be a perfect option for you.
Furthermore, a majority of topical serums are designed to be lightweight, with powerful ingredients that boost absorption, providing quicker results.
Top 7 Best Vitamin C Serums
This brand has the highest percentage of vitamin C amongst the other four products we have carefully analyzed.
More vitamin C translates into quicker and better results on your skin.
The most active and potent ingredient in the serum is Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, which makes it increasingly stable, causing minimal irritation.
With a balanced pH of 6.5, Serumtologie’s serum lands in the perfect bracket range for skin pH levels.
The normal skin pH range is between 4 and 7. Applying a product that falls out of this range can cause adverse reactions and irritation.
The product comes in a blue glass bottle, which keeps oxidation at bay.
The price, however, is a bit steeper than you might expect.
Designed for all skin types, the serum is quite smooth, allowing for a quick and effective application.
For favorable results, we recommend you use no more than 5 or 6 drops.
Gently pat the serum on your face and make a habit of using a good SPF product as well.
Similar to a majority of vitamin C brands for the skin, Serumtologie contains 5% Hyalauronic Acid.
Moreover, the product also contains two additional ingredients for healthier and supple skin: Hailed as one of the most effective nutrients that can help protect your skin against free radicals, Vitamin E also shields your skin against the signs of aging. Almost all major brands incorporate vitamin E in their products. Vitamin E combined with vitamin C, can provide your skin with a powerful antioxidant effect, enhancing skin cell repair and smoothening the skin.
Ferulic Acid is the second ingredient. A powerful antioxidant that combats the free radicals in your skin, Ferulic Acid also minimizes the effects of free radicals on your body. Ferulic acid is harvested from rice bran oil. Combined with vitamins E and C, this potent antioxidant can amplify the photoprotective elements of both the mentioned vitamins.
Due to the synergistic results of the ingredients in Serumtologie Vitamin C serum, you can rapidly enhance your skin health.
However, on the off chance that you do not experience the outcome you expect, you can apply for the company’s money back guarantee without any strings attached.
- You can expect visible effects in a matter of days
- Transparent money-back guarantee
- The serum has synergistic qualities
- Has more vitamin C than a majority of other products
- Not everybody will experience quick result
Coming second on our list, the Oz Naturals Vitamin C serum promises to enhance your skin health from first time you try it.
The product is made with powerful ingredients that boost cellular repair, inhibiting the adverse effects of free radicals on your skin.
The non-GMO product is designed for all skin types.
The serum rapidly works to improve your skin’s ability to retain water.
The more hydrated your skin is, the more youthful you will look.
The serum comes in an amber bottle, which prevents oxidation because vitamin C serums are traditionally quite photosensitive.
You will not have to worry about storing in a place where there is no sunlight.
The serum is not thick or runny.
It has a balanced consistency.
We suggest you start using a couple of drops at first and check how much area it covers.
Although some users stated repeated usage of the serum caused dry skin – we advise that you should use a nice moisturizer after applying the serum – that is if you experience dry skin as well.
It is true that majority of vitamin C serums look similar, so we took the time out to examine all the factors that set those serums apart.
In Oz Natural’s case, the powerful ingredients they use are the standout factor.
The serum is designed with 5% Vegan Hyalauronic Acid. This increases the ability of your skin to hold the moisture– a gram of Hyalauronic Acid can help lock in 1000 mL of water.
With added hydration qualities, the vitamin C serum can give your skin a soft and reinvigorated look. In addition, HA has the capability to penetrate deep within the skin layers to minimize wrinkles and fine lines.
Organic Jojoba Oil. Out of a majority of popular natural oils that are scientifically proven to enhance skin health, organic jojoba oil is perhaps the only oil that bears a near perfect resemblance to our sebum.
The wax that is naturally secreted through the human sebaceous glands is known as sebum. The wax efficiently and effectively keeps your hair and skin lubricated.
The amino acids in the Oz Naturals Vitamin C serum work to boost your skin’s blood circulation, especially in the face.
With an enhanced and healthy blood flow, you skin can get the nourishment and oxygen it needs to look supple and youthful.
Since the serum combines a powerful amino blend, which improves skin healing, you can use it to heal scars on your face and reduce deep lines and wrinkles.
- No irritability
- Good balance in consistency
- Quick absorption
Out of the four products reviewed here, the Vitamin C+E serum by Cosmetic Skin Solution is one of two brands that contain a lower vitamin C percentage (15%).
The serum also has a pH value of 3 and is mainly beneficial for people that have oily to normal skin.
The serum comes packaged in an amber glass bottle and includes a dropper.
The consistency of the liquid is a bit watery with a weird smell; however, the serum has a high rate of absorption.
The Vitamin C+E serum by Cosmetic Skin Solution is designed with traditional ingredients that a majority of vitamin C serums contain.
The product consists of 1% vitamin E and 1% of Ferulic Acid.
- Contains L-Ascorbic Acid
- Low pH
- Highly beneficial considering the price
- Some users might not get used to the smell
With a high concentration of L-Ascorbic acid, SkinCeuticals’ CE Ferulic serum has a pH value of 2.5.
However, out of the four products we have reviewed here, this one is the most expensive.
For this price tag, you should expect a serum that can keep working even after you have washed your face or rubbed your skin.
The product is beneficial for people that have oily to normal skin.
For best results, we recommend that you apply 4 to 5 drops of the serum.
When talking about consistency, the CE Ferulic serum is pretty smooth and light.
The product comes packaged in an amber glass bottle, which also includes a dropper for convenient application.
The ingredients used to design SkinCeuticals’ vitamin C serum are similar to that of Cosmetic Skin Solution’s. However, the serum has 1.5% of Ferulic acid, which is low.
But because of the similarity in ingredients, a majority of users consider both brands as twin serums.
- Quick drying
- Effective for 72 hours after being washed
- You can expect results within a couple of weeks
This product is designed for all skin types.
The serum has a bit of a thick consistency and is not watery at all.
With a high concentration of vitamin C (20%), a majority of it is in the form of Sodium Ascorbate.
However, the product is quite budget-friendly compared to the rest of the brands reviewed here.
But do not judge the performance of this serum based on the price tag.
A majority of users have stated the product as being increasingly effective.
Plus, Foxbrim Vitamin C serum is odorless, which eliminates the irritability caused by unpleasant serum odor.
The serum is packaged in an amber bottle – designed to be tamperproof. This alone is a testimony to how reliable the product is.
Foxbrim’s serum contains Hyaluronic Acid to keep your skin soft and fresh.
The Amino Complex in the product further enhances skin radiance and boasts a more youthful and energized look.
In addition to these powerful elements, the serum is also designed with MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane).
Methylsulfonylmethane is an effective component that boosts the production of collagen in your body.
This is the primary reason why most skincare and beauty products usually contain MSM.
It also helps eliminate deep, fine lines and wrinkles.
When combined with vitamin C, MSM can significantly improve your skin health also enhancing your skin tone, eliminating any skin discoloration.
- Budget-friendly price
- The serum is odorless
- Users can expect a radiant effect on skin
- Some users stated having problems with the consistency of the serum
Ranking 6th in our top vitamin C serum review, TrueSkin Naturals’ serum is manufactured with vegan Hyalauronic acid (vegan), which provides users with top quality vitamin C to help get nourished, supple and radiant skin.
The product contains a multitude of antioxidants, which include hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel), organic aloe barbadensis and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane).
The manufacturer claims their serum can provide users with an eight-fold skin protection, combating free radicals.
The serum is also good for getting rid of dark spots; it also eliminates discolorations and enhances the overall texture of your skin.
The serum is a bit on the expensive side, but has all the necessary ingredients to help your eliminate your wrinkles and fine lines, keeping it healthy bright and full of healthy skin cells like collagen and elastin.
Furthermore, the serum has a pH safe pH skin balance of 6.5.
The perfect pH balance of a vitamin C serums should fall somewhere between 4 and 7.
Using a serum that exceeds this range could cause a lot of irritation and possibly skin allergies.
The vitamin C serum was also designed to cater to all skin types.
We recommend using a few drops of the serum to test its potency and effect on your skin.
You should first wash your face with your favorite cleanser, dry your face and gently massage it with a few drops of the serum.
If you’re using a toner then make sure apply the serum after you have put on your toner.
The vitamin C serum contains a healthy dose of vitamin E, which is renowned for providing the skin with all the necessary power and strength needed to fight free radicals.
Plus, vitamin E also helps considerably reduce the signs of aging.
It is one of the most frequently used nutrients in vitamin C serums.
Together, both vitamin C and E can provide your skin with a powerful combination of antioxidants, which result in faster skin cell rejuvenation and repair, helping it to smoothen.
- Fast absorption
- High potency
- Active ingredient vegan Hyalauronic acid
Shielding your skin against the harm that can be done be free radicals should be your topmost priority.
Obagi’s professional vitamin C serum with 15% potency can provide you with that protection – giving you a clearer complexion and help minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
On top of that, one of the best things about Obagi’s serum is the fact that the ingredients used to design the formulation helps enhance natural collagen production, which is vital for the natural, supple and radiant look and feel of your skin.
With the main ingredient in the vitamin C serum being propylene glycol, you can expect the serum to penetrate deep within your skin’s layer, maximizing the effect of vitamin C.
The vitamin C serum manufactured by Obagi also contains Hydroquinone.
Hydroquinone is a special ingredient that boosts your skin’s radiance by reducing melanocyte functionality in your skin.
What this essentially does is it minimizes the production of melanin pigments, which helps reduce dark spots on your skin, removing all the discoloration.
Other top ingredients that in the vitamin C serum include sorbitol and propylene glycol, which help keep your skin adequately moisturized – also keeping your skin supple and soft.
The serum also contains zinc chloride, which is said to help tighten the skin, preventing wrinkles and fine lines to develop.
Plus, zinc chloride also keeps skin infections at bay.
- Can be used for all skin types
- People of all ages can use this serum
- Helps repair your skin cells
- Acts as an antiwrinkle agent
- Helps reduce the signs of aging
- Helps brighten skin complexion
- Boosts collagen production
- It is expensive
- Hydroquinone should be used with care (consult your dermatologist)
Vitamin C Serum Brands Comparison
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
5%Hyaluronic Acid/ 1%Vitamin E/ 1%Ferulic Acid
Light and Smooth
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Hyaluronic Acid/ Vitamin E/ Rose Hips/ Green Tea/ Astaxanthin/ Organic Jojoba Oil
Thick and a bit sticky
1%Ferulic Acid/ 1% Vitamin E
Oily to Normal
Light and smooth
0.5% Ferulic Acid/ 1% Vitamin E
Normal to oily
Light and smooth
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Hyaluronic Acid/ Amino Complex/MSM
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Hyaluronic Acid/ Amino Complex/MSM
Between 4 and 7
All skin types
Benefits of Using a Vitamin C Serum
There is no question that vitamin C can significantly boost your skin health.
In light of this, we have compiled a list of the top 3 benefits of applying a vitamin C serum.
A Powerful Shield against Skin Cancer
Vitamin C is known to provide formidable protection against skin cancer be providing a specific amount of UV protection.
It enhances the positive effects of the sunscreen you use by forming a barrier deep within the layers of your skin.
However, vitamin C is not capable of absorbing the effects of UV radiation.
What it does is reverse the harmful effects of UV rays that are primarily caused by free radicals.
For optimal protection against the sun’s unforgiving rays and to eliminate the chances of developing skin cancer, it is necessary to form a habit of using a vitamin C serum along with your favorite sunscreen whenever you decide to step out in the sun.
It is also important to apply the serum before anything else. If you don’t, you will hamper the serum’s capability of full absorption.
Plus, you should always apply your sunscreen after you have applied your moisturizer and before you put any makeup on.
Helps Eliminate Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Vitamin C is an extremely effective antioxidant.
This is one of the primary reasons why a majority of products incorporate the use of this potent nutrient as their most important ingredient.
Being an antioxidant, vitamin C forms a solid barrier to limit and eliminate free radical cells from wreaking havoc on your skin.
Apart from these important properties, vitamin C is the main nutrient that helps efficiently synthesize collagen and elastin – two vital skin proteins.
Collagen and elastin are two of the most important skin proteins that help maintain your skin’s balance as well as promote a healthy skin-structure.
As soon as there is a decline in the natural production of these two proteins, your skin will begin to sag and loosen, forming wrinkles and fine lines.
Revitalizes your Skin, Prevents Discoloration and Fades Blemishes and Dark Spots
By reducing the production of melanin in your skin, vitamin C can help fade dark spots and prevent discoloration.
Plus, it can also eliminate acne scars, not just on your face, but on your whole body.
How? Well, vitamin C effectively increases your body’s ability to renew cells and heal your skin by boosting it with collagen.
Collagen not only helps eliminate scars, but it also fills indented acne scars.
Vitamin C Serum Precautions
There is no doubt about the fundamental health advantages of a vitamin C serum.
On the other hand, the health benefits reaped from using vitamin C can considerably vary from one individual and product to another.
Before you choose a brand of vitamin C serum, consider the following factors.
It is important to understand that a vitamin C serum isn’t an absolute solution.
While a product may have wonderful effects on an individual’s skin, it doesn’t mean that it will provide you with same outcome.
Normally, using a vitamin C serum may cause slight irritation and redness of skin.
Although these non-harmful effects are typical – it may not always be a good thing.
You may also experience a stinging sensation, which is normal too, and it usually subsides on its own.
However, if the irritation becomes persistent, it can only mean one thing, you skin cannot tolerate that particular brand of vitamin C.
Aside from this fact, the base ingredient used to make a vitamin C serum may also lead to an allergic reaction.
Allergic reactions are more common in people that have extremely sensitive skin.
Vitamin C serums are meant to remain absorbed in your skin for a day or two, which is why it is absolutely necessary to understand whether or not your skin can tolerate its effects.
This also means that that any adverse reaction or allergies are more likely to stay in your skin until the vitamin C applied finishes its due course.
Vitamin C serums have an exceptional absorption rate, which means despite your skin being oily or dry, the serum will work as promised.
But if you have overly sensitive skin, it is important to consult a dermatologist before applying any product.
- As a simple rule for when you purchase a vitamin C serum, if you have oily or normal skin, go for a serum that has L-Ascorbic as the most active ingredient
- And if you have dry skin, consider purchasing a serum that contains Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate
When Will You See the Results
Although vitamin C serums can have beneficial effects on your skin, it is quite unreasonable to expect results overnight.
Understand that skin cell repair and regeneration can take weeks and months.
A majority of people have reported favorable results in a just a few weeks.
The maximum time you should wait to see the positive results of a vitamin C serum is 6 months.
You see, there are plenty of factors that can either shorten or increase the time it takes for the serum to effectively work or before you see any dominant changes.
Mentioned below are some of those important factors:
- Serum application technique
- Potency of the serum’s formulation
- How frequently you use the product
- The condition of your skin
If your skin needs a lot of work, it will take the serum longer to provide you with the results you are looking for.
It will take a bit of time for the serum to restore your skin health back to original.
Moreover, because different people have different skin types, comparing the length of effect will not help you.
How to Select the Best Vitamin C Serum
There is a limitless option of products you can choose from, which means you will find the process a bit daunting.
However, to help you make an informed decision and to help you save money not buying the wrong product, mentioned below are some really important tips you should consider.
The level of potency is determined by the amount of vitamin C the serum contains.
A higher concentration of the vitamin will mean increased potency and vice/versa.
Although we recommend that you get a vitamin C serum that has a high concentration of vitamin C, it is also important to be cautious of selecting a product that contains an exceptionally high amount.
So, if you are new to applying vitamin C serum, it is recommended you start out by choosing a product that contains a low amount of vitamin C so that you could first determine whether or not you skin will tolerate the serum.
If you don’t experience an adverse reaction, you can gradually up the concentration until you have a product that perfectly suits your skin and is highly beneficial.
It is important to take note of the level of vitamin C that suits your skin rather than picking out a product that works for a majority of people.
The form of the serum facilitates its shelf life and helps determine the product’s stability.
In order to have a comprehensive grasp of the form of a vitamin C serum, mentioned below are some important things to look for.
- L-Ascorbic Acid is considered as the most potent form of vitamin C. But because the component doesn’t have good stability rate and can cause skin irritations, a majority of companies do not incorporate its use in manufacturing vitamin C serums.
- Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate. This chemical is a derivative of vitamin C and is known for stability compared to L-ascorbic acid. This is why we recommend it for people with highly sensitive skin.
- Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate
- Ascorbic Acid Polypeptide (AAP) is another derivative that promises high rate of stability. The chemical can immediately start the vitamin C conversion process when applied on the skin. Moreover, Ascorbic Acid Polypeptide is water soluble.
- Ascorbic Palmitate is another derivative, which is quite commonly found in a majority of vitamin C product. Plus, the chemical is also fat soluble. It isn’t irritating at all offers a powerful shield against free-radical damage on the skin.
- Ascorbic Glucosamine is also water soluble vitamin C derivative. This chemical agent is widely used in skin whitening products. Ascorbic Glucosamine also has antioxidant properties. A majority of beauty companies incorporate the use of Ascorbic Glucosamine because the chemical poses significantly less risk to your skin.
Color and Smell.
Vitamin C serums and topical applications must always be either colorless or white.
Colored serums may present a problem with the serum. For example, if the serum you’ve just purchases as a brownish tinge or is cloudy, it means that the serum has been oxidized. Vitamin C, if oxidized, will be useless. It is important to abstain from buying colored vitamin C serums.
An adequate pH balance in the serum can determine whether the product you are applying is effective or not. To ensure your vitamin C absorbs deep within your skin layers, you should opt for a serum that has a low pH value. A low pH value means the product is considerably acidic.
However, it is important to determine whether or not you skin can tolerate higher levels of acidity
To be safe when it comes to selecting a vitamin C serum, you can also opt for using different derivatives. They are just as effective, even with increased pH values. For example, the pH value recommended for Magnesium Ascorbyl is 5 or 6. This means the derivative is going to provide you with effective results.
In theory, a 5 to 6 pH value is in line with the recommended pH level of normal skin, which is 4 to 7. Derivatives that are as close to hitting the 4 to 7 are less likely to cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.
It is important to select a vitamin C serum that also contains vitamin E.
Clinical research has indentified that combined; both vitamin C and E can enhance your skin health.
This ingredient acts as an enhancer, facilitating the advantageous effects of vitamins C and E.
Ferulic acid adds a high degree of stability and prevents both elastic and collagen from depleting.
The component also acts as a UV rays blocker, which shields your skin against the effects of photoaging.
Did you know that sunlight actually boosts the potency of Ferulic acid?
This ingredient provides a broad scope of benefits.
As you age, your body stops producing HA, a vitamin C serum with high levels of HA can boost a more natural and youthful look of your skin.
Plus, Hyaluronic Acid also acts as a moisturizer and further promotes skins health providing it with lubrication and healing.
It is important to realize that vitamin C is photosensitive, which means natural light and air can significantly inhibit its health benefits.
This is why packaging plays a vital role and should be your topmost consideration when getting a serum.
If you’re ordering online, abstain from purchasing serums that come in transparent or white bottles.
The best options include amber-tinted, blue or brown bottles.
Airtight serum packaging is also a good option.
A majority of vitamin C serum can be expensive.
However, there is no reason to lose all hope; you can still find a budget-friendly serum that packs powerful benefits.
Traditionally, a vitamin C serum costing $20 can provide you with the effects you are looking for.
Serum companies that market their product for $3 or $4 aren’t telling you everything. So beware.
Producing vitamin C in bulk quantities is expensive.
Apart from making the product and packaging it, beauty brands spend a significant portion of money to ship and deliver product to their customers as soon as possible.
How to Store Vitamin C Serum
While there is no doubt you might want to keep you bottle of vitamin C serum next to you on the bedside table, humidity can adversely affect the ingredients of the product, reducing quality.
Plus, always keep your serum away from place there is high sunlight exposure.
For effective and efficient storage, keep your serum tightly closed to keep any from going inside.
While you can keep your serum in the refrigerator, a majority of people opt for wrapping their products in aluminum, which helps to keep the vitamin fresh and effective in the long term.
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