There are a lot of different vitamin C serums out there, and it can be overwhelming to try and find the best vitamin c serum for your face. That’s why we’ve put together a helpful guide informing you why you should include a vitamin C serum in your routine, and a list of the best vitamin C serums for each skin type and concern.
IN A NUTSHELL
Main Takeaways: A vitamin C serum can help to even skin tone, minimize the look of dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles.
Good to Know: Pure vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid) can be too harsh for those with sensitive skin. Instead look for a serum that uses a gentler form like sodium ascorbyl phosphate.
Recommended Products: Nectar of the C Vitamin C Serum.
Vitamin C Serum Benefits
As you age, your skin produces less vitamin C, so it’s important to add it topically to your skin to help reduce signs of aging. A serum is the best product for this as it can deliver higher concentrations of vitamin C to your skin.
So, what exactly does vitamin C do for you? Vitamin C helps to minimize the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. It also helps to even skin tone, improve texture, and protect your skin from environmental stressors due to its antioxidant properties. In other words, it’s kind of a big deal.
1. Best Overall Vitamin C Serum
If your main concern is evening skin tone and texture, then the most important ingredient to you is the vitamin C and how effective it is. Look for a serum that combines vitamin E and Ferulic acid to boost the benefits of the vitamin C.
Our recommendation: Fleur & Bee’s Nectar of the C Vitamin C serum. This lightweight serum includes the gentler, more stable vitamin C derivative sodium ascorbyl phosphate, vitamin E, ferulic acid, and organic jojoba to target skin tone and texture making it the perfect addition to your skin care regimen. Plus, this serum is made with natural ingredients and is perfect for all skin types.
2. Best Vitamin C Serum for Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, you may be nervous to try a vitamin C serum. Higher concentrations of vitamin C can be potentially irritating, but there are alternatives if you’re sensitive.
Most vitamin C serums use pure vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid, but there are gentler, more stable derivatives available that are just as effective. Look for a serum that uses either sodium ascorbyl phosphate or magnesium ascorbyl palmitate with a concentration of no more than 15% vitamin C.
Our recommendation: Youth to the People’s Superfood Firm + Brighten Serum which uses magnesium ascorbyl palmitate and doesn’t contain parabens or phthalates which are common irritants found in skin care products.
3. Best Vitamin C Serum for Oily Skin
Most Vitamin C serums are designed to address skin tone and texture, not oiliness, so you want to look for serums that include extra ingredients to help balance your skin’s natural oils. These ingredients can include natural toners like rose oil, witch hazel and tea tree or exfoliating ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids.
Our recommendation: Tata Harper’s Resurfacing AHA + BHA Serum. This vitamin C serum is specifically designed for oily skin combining lactic acid and glycolic acid to exfoliate, white willow bark to cleanse, and vitamin C to protect.
4. Best Vitamin C Serum for Acne Prone Skin
Similar to oily skin, you want to look for serums that provide extra cleaning properties without stripping your skin of its natural oils. It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s often dead skin cells that clog pores leading to breakout, so you want to make sure to keep your skin hydrated.
Our recommendation: Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum which includes polyhydroxy acids to help exfoliate and cleanse dead skin cells and hyaluronic acid to provide hydration that will help balance your skin’s natural oils.
5. Best Vitamin C Serum for Dry Skin
A vitamin C serum is not meant to replace your moisturizer, but if you have dry skin it can be beneficial to look for a serum that includes ultra hydrating ingredients as well such as hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, or Argan Oil.
Our recommendation: Josie Maran Argan Bright Skin Vitamin C Serum. This serum is specifically designed for dry skin. The argan oil is full of antioxidants and fatty acids to provide moisture as well as the skin rejuvenating benefits of vitamin C.
6. Best Vitamin C Serum for Combination Skin
If you have combination skin, some areas of your face are dry, while others feel greasy or oily. You want to look for extra ingredients to help balance your natural oils like hyaluronic acid.
Our recommendation: Glow Recipe’s Pineapple-C Brightening Serum. This is a lightweight serum that includes hyaluronic acid to balance oils, chamomile to soothe, and pineapple juice to exfoliate.
7. Best Vitamin C Serum for Glowing Skin
Everyone is after that sought after skin glow. One of the major causes of dull skin is uneven skin tone, so a vitamin C serum can play a huge part in getting your glow back.
Our recommendation: Volition Beauty’s Strawberry-C Brightening Serum which uses vitamin C derived from strawberries (move over oranges), and kakadu plum to help brighten and even skin tone.
8. Best Anti-Aging Vitamin C Serum
A good vitamin C serum can help minimize the look of the most common signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. On its own, vitamin C is a super beneficial anti aging ingredient, but if you combine it with other powerful anti aging ingredients like vitamin E, Vitamin B3, squalane, or hyaluronic acid, it’s even better!
Our recommendation: Caudalie’s VineActiv Vitamin C Anti-Wrinkle Serum. It combines vitamin C, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid to brighten skin and lessen the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
9. Best Organic Vitamin C Serum
Finding a serum that uses quality organic ingredients can be tough, but where your ingredients come from can be just as important as the ingredients themselves.
Our recommendation: Éminence Organic Skin Care’s Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum. This is a botanical based serum that gets its vitamin C from lemon and grapefruit. The brand also grows its own certified organic ingredients on its own farm in Hungary.
10. Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum
Many drugstores are starting to stock quality, effective, and natural skin care products. You’re not just stuck with the main brands that use toxic ingredients and test on animals.
Our recommendation: Derma E’s Vitamin C Concentrated Serum. All Derma E’s products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and don’t contain parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. Plus, you can find it at the drugstore!
Finding the Right Serum for You
Your friend may rave about her favorite vitamin C serum, but that same miracle serum, may not perform the same miracle for you. Knowing which ingredients to look for based on your skin type will help find your own miracle serum.