You know those people who have the kind of bright, even and glowy skin that looks like they spend 90 percent of their time at a facialist under an LED light? Odds are the one thing they all have in common (besides good genetics) is a great vitamin C serum. But with so many on the market, what is the best vitamin C serum to buy out there?
Available in several different forms, Ascorbic Acid is the most common you're likely to find when it comes to skincare products—and personally, it's also our favourite thanks to its proven high potency. However, other common forms you might come across are sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ethyl ascorbic acid, the trademarked Ester-C and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.
It's critical to note that vitamin C isn't the kind of product you can leave in your cupboard and dig out later, expecting the same level of effectiveness. Topical vitamin C is generally volatile and will destabilise when it comes into contact with light and oxygen. We recommend keeping a close eye on your products use-by date (this is one time a smaller-sized product can be the preferred choice), as well as choosing packaging that's made from opaque glass or features an airless pump. Storing vitamin C products (along with any other actives) away from direct sunlight and heat will also ensure you get the most skin benefits for your buck.
Ideal for almost every skin type, and toting perks like boosted collagen production, reduced inflammation, improved appearance of uneven skin tone and providing defence against free radicals, it's no surprise that a lot of highly recommended vitamin C serums tend to skew more towards high-end skincare territory.
However, have no fear. Whether you’re a vitamin C veteran or you've only just considered introducing it into your routine, below we've rounded up a list of our top recommendations so you can find the best vitamin C serum for your routine, regardless of budget.
Best Vitamin C Serums Under $50
Mecca Cosmetica Skin Brightening Vitamin C Serum
This transformative daily treatment works to treat environmental damage and signs of premature ageing. Shop it here.
The Inkey List Vitamin C Serum
This powerful (and affordable) serum will help to protect your skin from damage caused by environmental pollution. Shop it here.
Sephora Collection Ultra Glow Serum
This budget-friendly serum contains a hydrating cocktail of brightening vitamin C, E and natural peptides. Shop it here.
Olay Luminous Niacinamide + Vitamin C Super Serum
Non-greasy and fast-absorbing, this super serum is ideally suited for uneven and dull skin. Shop it here.
Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster
This cleverly formulated serum contains hero ingredients, vitamin C, E and ferulic acid to support your skin. Shop it here.
Best Vitamin C Serums Under $100
Medik8 C-Tetra Lipid Vitamin C Antioxidant Serum
Suitable for all skin types, this formula stimulates collagen while boosting the skin with antioxidants. Shop it here.
Kora Organics Noni Bright Vitamin C Serum
This serum features a balanced concentration of vitamin C that offers results while minimising irritation. Shop it here.
Biologi BF Restore Face And Body Serum
A multi-use serum that can be used on your face and body, Biologi’s best-selling Restore uses native finger lime extract for a completely natural vitamin C that nourishes and protects skin. Bonus, it now comes in a new 100ml size if you're worried about running out. Shop it here.
Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum
White Shiitake mushroom extract is combined with vitamin C for this targeted treatment that adds brightness and addresses pigmentation. Shop it here.
Best Vitamin C Serums Under $200
EmerginC Vitamin C Serum 20%
Containing 20% vitamin C, this serum is for those who want more intensive antioxidant protection. Shop it here.
Summer Fridays CC Me Serum
The perfect multitasking formula, this serum brightens, locks in moisture and protects against free radicals. Shop it here.
Medik8 Pure C15 Vitamin C Antioxidant Serum
Designed to ensure stability, this serum is ideal for those looking for a higher strength product. Shop it here.
Aspect Extreme C 20
This lightweight and fast-absorbing formula works to reduce fine lines, firm and brighten the skin. Shop it here.
IS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+
An excellent choice for blemish-prone and ageing skin, this powerful formulation significantly increases antioxidant protection. Shop it here.
Societe Triple C Vitamin Therapy Serum
This serum features a unique formulation of three different vitamin C types for maximum results. Shop it here.
Best Vitamin C Serums Over $200
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum
This super antioxidant serum features vitamin C and E and ferulic acid for advanced environmental protection. Shop it here.
SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF
Formulated with oily and combination skin in mind, this serum targets free radicals, cell turnover and discolouration. Shop it here.
Joanna Vargas Rescue Serum
The antioxidant-packed formula nourishes the skin whilst making signs of ageing less noticeable. Shop it here.
Here’s where you can recycle all the best vitamin C serum bottles when you’re done.
Image credit: Juliette Mason
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