As a supplement, we may already be aware of the benefits of vitamin C: it helps protect us against immune system deficiencies and cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin C is also a key factor in prenatal health and can aid in the prevention of eye diseases and skin wrinkling.
But what about its topical application? What are the benefits of using vitamin C serums in the face? Is this something you should add to your skincare routine, and how do you choose the best vitamin C serum for your skin type?
Benefits of Vitamin C
Through the years, vitamin C has received a lot of attention, and as more research is conducted, more benefits are added to the list. In fact, medical experts believe that a higher blood level of vitamin C may be used as an ideal nutrition marker for our overall health. Even further, studies reveal the link of deficiency of vitamin C to stress-related diseases.
Popularly known as ascorbic acid (read more about the different types of vitamin C here), it is a nutrient that occurs naturally in some foods, especially fruits and vegetables. It’s water-soluble and our body does not store it, so we need to continually consume food that contains vitamin C on a daily basis.
Aside from boosting our immune system, it’s also an antioxidant — removing unwanted substances from our body. Vitamin C also helps our body absorb iron, facilitate wound healing, and produce collagen, L-carnitine, and some neurotransmitters.
Do I Need a Vitamin C Serum?
Because vitamin c is an antioxidant, there’s a whole lot of benefits it can offer for your skin.
As you might already know, free radicals are these natural compounds that aren’t harmful on their own — but they can cause problems when they accumulate. When there are a lot of them in our body, they can break down cells over time, contributing to sickness and aging.
The role of antioxidants is to help fight against these free radicals, keeping their numbers in check. When applied to the skin, vitamin C (being an antioxidant) can aid in the reduction of skin aging indicators. It minimizes hyperpigmentation, evens up skin tone, smoothes wrinkles, and protects our skin from UV damage.
Our Choices for the Best Vitamin C Serum 2021
With these benefits, you might already be ready to purchase the best vitamin C serum out there. To help you make the best decision, we’ve rounded up your top options for the best vitamin C serum for face — considering a variety of factors such as price, availability, potency and concentration, customer reviews, and packaging. Note that when exposed to light, vitamin C breaks down, making it less effective, so packaging (and how you store your vitamin C serum) is important!
Best Vitamin C Serum: Ulta Beauty
1. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum
When it comes to pH and potency, Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum is one of the best vitamin C serums out there. To keep its formula fresh, it’s designed to be mixed by the user (that’s you!) once opened. Boasting a powerful antioxidant complex of 15% l-ascorbic acid, 0.5% ferulic acid, and 1% vitamin E, the serum can visibly diminish signs of aging and photodamage. It’s also formulated at a skin-friendly pH of 2.5, with no refrigeration required. Vegan, cruelty-free, and with recyclable packaging, it’s no wonder it’s one of the best vitamin C serum at Ulta Beauty
2. L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Serum
Another favorite and one of the best vitamin C serum at Ulta Beauty, L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Serum features a potent 10% pure vitamin C concentration in a creamy formula that quickly absorbs to even skin tone, reduce wrinkles, and give your skin a matte look. So it’s perfect to use before your face cream moisturizer and make-up. To ensure increased stability and efficacy of the serum, it’s packaged in an innovative air-tight metal tube, shielding the face serum from UV and oxygen exposure.
Best Vitamin C Serum on Amazon
3. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Vitamin C Serum
Listed as an Amazon’s Choice, SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Vitamin C Serum is especially beneficial for dry skin. It contains vitamin E, ferulic acid, and glycerin which moisturizes the skin, so reviewers adore how their skin looks and feels after just a few applications. Equally important, this 15 percent vitamin C serum uses L-ascorbic acid, which is the most potent kind of vitamin C. While some users are not a fan of its scent, it’s still one of the best vitamin C serum Amazon.
4. Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Vitamin C Serum
Another one of the best vitamin C serum on Amazon, the Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Vitamin C Serum is a potent anti-aging serum packed with 20% THD Ascorbate. This ultra-stable scientific breakthrough ingredient is said to be 50 times more powerful than your traditional vitamin C. It also contains vitamin E and ferulic acid, helping improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles uneven skin tone, texture, firmness, brightness, and dehydration.
Best Vitamin C Serum: Sephora
5. Tatcha Violet-C Brightening Serum 20% Vitamin C + 10% AHA
Among Sephora’s bestselling vitamin C serums, the Tatcha Violet-C Brightening Serum combines two forms of vitamin C (fast-acting and long-lasting derivatives). Its formula is stabilized by antioxidant-rich Japanese beautyberry, which helps your skin reveal a brighter and more translucent, youthful glow. Gentle enough for all skin types, we can see why it’s listed as one of the best vitamin c serum Sephora.
6. Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Correcting Serum
Also named in the best vitamin C serum Sephora list is Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Correcting Serum. It’s formulated with Activated C (a stabilized form of Vitamin C), buffered Salicylic Acid, and Peony extract, so it’s one of the best vitamin C serums to help you visibly reduce the appearance of a broad array of discolorations including post-acne marks, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation.
Best Vitamin C Serum: Drugstore
7. Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum
Lightweight and formulated with powerful 7.5% Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Sodium Hyaluronate, and Collagen, this formulation can moisturize and smooth the skin — so it appears luminous and glowing. You can conveniently Find the Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum as one of the best vitamin C serums at drugstores.
8. CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum
CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum features 10% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) so you can reap more of that antioxidant benefits, while also helping to visibly brighten your complexion and promote a more even skin tone. This potent, gentle and lightweight, vitamin C serum is also formulated with three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B5. Together, they help improve texture, restore the skin’s protective barrier and enhance hydration for soft, radiant, healthy-looking skin. Suitable for all skin types (which includes sensitive skin) it also comes in protective packaging that helps prevent oxidation and maintain product performance — making it another one of the best vitamin C serums at drugstores.
Best Vitamin C Serum at Target
9. Lumene Valo Light Glow Boost
With a formulation that combines cloudberry extracts and brightening vitamin C, the Lumene Valo Glow Boost Essence is one of the best vitamin C serum at Target. This vitamin C serum instantly enlivens fatigued and dull-looking skin, thanks in part to its pure Arctic spring water and hyaluronic acid which can keep the skin nourished without irritation. Find more options for the best vitamin C serum with hyaluronic acid through our other article!
10. Versed Stroke of Brilliance Brightening Serum
This vitamin C serum comes with licorice root and palmaria palmata extracts (skin-lightening agents that inhibit pigmentation), and niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3 that reduces the appearance of discoloration) so you don’t have to worry about uneven skin tone. Lightweight and with a subtle smell, the Versed Stroke of Brilliance Brightening Serum is one of the best vitamin C serum at Target that you can find.
Bonus Choice: Best Vitamin C Serum to Start Slowly
Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Brightening Serum
Bright and adorably packaged, the Glow Recipe Pineapple-C Brightening Serum features the pineapple (of course!) in its packaging design. This fruit is a potent form of natural Vitamin C, AHA, and bromelain enzymes which brightens, smooths, and hydrates skin while visibly fading dark spots, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation. Also contained in the formula are Ascorbic Acid which evens out skin tone while visibly reducing signs of premature aging and Hyaluronic Acid which works to instantly quench thirsty skin.
Find the Best Vitamin C Serum for You
Now that we’ve gone through some of the best vitamin c serum for face that you can find out there, it’s time to give your skin some nourishing nutrients. You can also read our other article about choosing vitamin C serums for your specific skincare concerns or skin type. Whether you find the best vitamin c serum on Amazon, Ulta Beauty, Sephora, Target, or at a local drugstore, you’ll be able to consider the important factors when it comes to giving your face that youthful glow!
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