Serum and cosmetics with vitamin C. Essential oil from citrus fruits.

Vitamin C Serum (© Irina - stock.adobe.com)

Skin is the basis of the beauty market today because it tends to reflect your age and the state of your health directly. You can style your hair and put on makeup, but nothing says effortless like healthy, glowing, bare skin. As we get older, our skin reflects age through wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, or loss of elasticity. Vitamin C is a key ingredient in skincare that has been found to combat the signs of aging by reducing sun damage and improving the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes. The best vitamin C serums target skin concerns effectively and improve the overall health and appearance of the skin.

Though the beauty market advertises different products to enhance your appearance, there is a reason the global skincare market was valued at 104.24 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow to $167.22 billion by 2030, according to a report by Fortune Business Insights. Many find that “good skin days” are more significant than “bad hair days,” and the condition of their skin impacts their confidence. A survey of 2,000 American women finds that 72 percent of those surveyed say their skin affects their confidence. Most have spent an average of $170 a year trying to find the right products for their skin.

You might think that remote or hybrid work would lead to less conscientiousness of minute details like skin texture – surely you can’t be worried about wrinkles no one can see through a screen? However, in a post-Covid world society seems to be more conscious of their skin after the digital age has normalized skin-smoothing apps or beauty filters. A survey of 2,000 U.S. respondents even revealed 48 percent of respondents have turned off their camera on Zoom due to insecurities about their skin or appearance in general. If you’re worried about blemishes, a vitamin C serum might be a simple step to add to your routine that will not only improve appearance, but boost the overall health of your skin.

Ready to revamp your skincare routine? If you’re interested in the benefits of vitamin C but not sure what the best options are, StudyFinds has put together a list of the best vitamin C serum formulas in the skincare world. Get ready for brighter, younger looking skin ahead! Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

A woman applying anti-aging serum
A woman applying serum (Photo by BLACKDAY on Shutterstock)

Top 5 Most Effective Vitamin C Serums to Add to Your Routine

 

1. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (skinceuticals.com)

This serum from SkinCeuticals is famous for being the best if you want to make a difference in fine lines, texture, and the brightness of your skin. It can be used by all skin types, and contains 15 percent pure vitamin C, as well as vitamin E and ferulic acid. Elle notes that the addition of ferulic acid in this serum, which you cannot find in all products, helps the vitamin C last longer.

The main drawback of the SkinCeuitcals serum is the price – at almost $200 for only 30ml the cost is pretty steep for such a small bottle. However, the company does have a full return policy within 30 days if you are unsatisfied with your purchase. Byrdie reviewers noticed real results in the improvement of their skin texture, reduction in fine lines, and softer skin after six weeks of using this product. 

This product earned Allure‘s Best of Beauty Award for four consecutive years. They praise it for its effectiveness in smoothing fine lines and significantly reducing dark spots resulting from sun damage. The inclusion of ferulic acid serves as an additional antioxidant for even more skin nourishment.

2. La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum

La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum
La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum

The La Roche-Posay serum is a much more affordable option than our top pick, but it is slightly less potent at 10 percent vitamin C. However, it’s still enough to make a significant impact on skin texture and antioxidant abilities. 

The formula also contains salicylic acid to fight acne and clear pores, and neurosensine, a synthetic peptide that soothes the skin. A reviewer at New York Post “was impressed with its ability to instantly nourish my skin and absolutely loved its roller application that’s a step-up from the potion-like serum dispensers that tend to be too runny.” They also love the fresh scent that is no too overpowering.

The Strategist says if you are looking for sensitive-skin-friendly products, La Roche-Posay is for you. It’s marketed as anti-aging but is also an excellent option for anyone with acne-prone skin.

3. Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum
Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

The Biossance Vitamin C serum is great for targeting dark spots and hyperpigmentation with 10 percent vitamin C and white shiitake mushroom extract. Squalane helps to lock in moisture and hydrate. Us Magazine says the lower concentration of vitamin C is perfect for people with more sensitive skin because it is less likely to irritate your skin. 

This serum is vegan, cruelty-free, and gentle enough to be used daily. Try using it on clean skin and before moisturizer for the best results. Harper’s Bazaar says while every vitamin c serum works to boost collagen and elastin, this one is particularly efficient in targeting dark spots with the mushroom and licorice root extracts laden within. 

But, wait, there’s more! Even Reese Witherspoon loves this brand, according to Country Living. “I love that this serum has almost no scent and goes on very light,” says Country Living Food and Craft Director, Charlyne Mattox. “It is a little tacky feeling at first but it subsides over time. I can’t say for certain that it faded my dark spots (I have one very persistent one), but overall it did make my skin more even toned.”

4. Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum
Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

If you’re looking for the best brightening results, try this 15 percent vitamin C serum from Sunday Riley. The formula uses a powerful form of vitamin C called THD Ascorbate that absorbs rapidly. Reviewers from Glamour say they depend on this “hero product” to preserve their skin’s glow year-round. 

We also love that this bottle comes in a convenient pump form with various sizes ranging from 30 to 100ml. Vogue lists all the impressive anti-aging results to expect from this product: It fights “sensitivity, dehydration, dullness, uneven skin tone, and wrinkles, and replaces it with a radiant, glowing complexion.” 

Allure notes that it is uncommon to find vitamin C and AHAs together, but Sunday Riley manages to do so in a gentle way to exfoliate your skin without being harsh.

5. OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright 15% Vitamin C Serum

OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright 15% Vitamin C Serum
OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright 15% Vitamin C Serum

“Banana” face powder is often known for its brightening effects, which is where this serum gets its name. A high concentration of vitamin C at 15 percent combined with hyaluronic acid and 5 percent polyhydroxy acids that exfoliate leads to brighter, bouncier, and nourished skin. Elle claims that this product does a great job at protecting against environmental stressors while reducing the appearance of wrinkles. 

The formula is lightweight and lightly fragranced with a citrus and banana inspired scent. Forbes calls it “equal parts glowy concealer and a time machine for your skin.” They also ensure that it absorbs quickly and wear well beneath other products you might use overtop. 

6. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare 15% Vitamin C Firm & Bright Serum

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare 15% Vitamin C Firm & Bright Serum
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare 15% Vitamin C Firm & Bright Serum

Actives like acids aren’t usually paired with powerful ingredients like vitamin C for fear of irritation, but the Dennis Gross Serum combines lactic acid with 15 percent vitamin C in a way that clears dead skin cells and improves texture without causing dryness or sensitivity. Cosmopolitan says this is a great alternative for people who have skin that is too sensitive for retinol treatments. You can still achieve similar tightening and smoothing results with this product. 

The formula also contains licorice root, which contains powerful antioxidants, and Alpha Tocopherol, an anti-inflammatory. You can expect a gentle clearing of dead skin cells so the vitamin C can effectively sink into your skin, according to Glamour.

Us Magazine suggests application once-a-day using four-to-six drops all over the surface of your face. Sounds like your future radiant skin will thank you.

7. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Vitamin C Day Serum

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Vitamin C Day Serum
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Vitamin C Day Serum

Certain skincare actives, including vitamin C, can lose potency or break down when mixed with other ingredients or are exposed to elements like light or air. Drunk Elephant eliminates this problem by letting the user mix their own formula bottle when ready to use for maximum potency. People explains that the C-Firma in this product is designed to be mixed by you. That way you achieve the maximum potency and antioxidant content for your skin.

The formula combines a powerful antioxidant complex of 15 percent l-ascorbic acid, 0.5 percent ferulic acid, one percent vitamin E, pumpkin ferment extract, and sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer. 

A reviewer at New York Post has been a Drunk Elephant fan for years. They write, “It turns you into a bathroom mixologist and has one of the freshest, high-quality formulations yet. Aside from its revitalized feel, it always leaves my skin plump and healthy, which is the ideal texture before catching those ZZZs.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Elsa Lee

Elsa is a freelance journalist, copywriter, and marketer based out of the Los Angeles area. She has been writing for 7 years.

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4 Comments

  1. Lee says:

    Sad that Ursa Major vitamin C serum isn’t on your list. Ursa Major uses clean ingredients to create a very effective vitamin c serum..

  2. Zedekiah Mogere says:

    You have wonderful products especially the five top products but from Jumia company in Kenya l m used to order the collegan ant wrinkle,ant aging Vitamins C serum face cream. May l know if you are able to send me products 2 and 4 as mentioned above l need 4 products each and you can enclose it’s price

  3. DeAnna says:

    What’s wrong with throwing a lemon on your face after washing and then spread your green tea bag from yesterday? It’s a lot cheaper very convenient and you know what your getting.

  4. StayK says:

    I have read using real lemon on your face is one of the worst forms of skin care. It has a PH of 2. 2! “Since lemon juice is highly acidic at 2 pH, it can cause permanent damage to your skin. Lemon juice can change the natural pH of your acid mantle, potentially causing skin irritation, hyperpigmentation and sensitivity to the sun. The worst and most serious side effect of lemon juice is a chemical burn.” Just sayin.