Best Vitamin C Serum Reviews
Looking for the best Vitamin C serum? A Vitamin C serum also known as topical Vitamin C, is one of the most potent and effective anti-aging skin care products to add in your beauty arsenal if you want healthy, glowing skin. This antioxidant has been scientifically proved to reduce wrinkles, increase the potency of sunscreen and boost the skin’s immune system.
Vitamin C Serum Benefits
Improve Your Sunscreen’s Protection
Vitamin C serum is a powerful antioxidant will work with your sunscreen in order to prevent damage from UVA rays which are the leading cause of skin damage.
Reduce Hyperpigmentation & Melasma
Vitamin C provides antioxidant protection which can aid cell renewal and improve skin’s brightness and clarity. It can neutralize free radicals which can cause signs of aging.
A vitamin C serum is the most effective anti-aging serum available for the face and increases the production of collagen which increases the skin’s elasticity and density.
Our Best Vitamin C Serum For Face Picks
After hours of researching, these are our top three best Vit C serum picks.
Our Top Pick – Skinceuticals CE Ferulic
Our top pick for the best vitamin c serum goes to Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. This is an l-Ascorbic serum which is the most powerful form of topical Vitamin C. Out of all the vitamin c serum’s we’ve reviewed it boasts the lowest pH levels of 2.5-3.0 allowing for maximum absorption and effectiveness.
Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is also backed up by science; this Duke University study shows that Vitamin C & E when combined with ferulic acid, protects the skin’s natural protection against the sun by as much as 8x. Skinceuticals also hold the patent for an l-Ascorbic acid serum with a pH level of 2.5 – 3.0.
Skinceuticals CE Ferulic acid’s vitamin E works beautifully together with Vitamin C since they are both network antioxidants. Ferulic acid minimizes brown spots and discoloration. This product also contains hyaluronic acid which works as a base to transport Vitamin C deep into the skin’s layers. What we really like about this product is the quality of the ingredients and low pH level. What we don’t like is the high price. Read Our Review Here
Our runner up for the best Vitamin C serum is Cosmetic Skin Solutions C+E. Like it’s more expensive counterpart Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, Cosmetic Skin Solutions C+E also counts Vitamin C, Vitamin E and ferulic acid as it’s main ingredients. The ingredients are actually identical, however the pH level is slightly higher as not to violate Skinceuticals patent yet low enough to remain effective.
We like the fact that Cosmetic Skin Solutions manufactures its Vitamin C products once a week for optimum freshness.
If you want an effective product that is similar to the more expensive Skinceuticals CE Ferulic acid product but don’t want to break the bank, we recommend Cosmetic Skin Solutions C+E. Read Our Review Here
What Makes Oz Naturals one of the best Vitamin C Serums we’ve reviewed is the fact that it’s super affordable and contains 98% natural and 72% organic ingredients. We also like the fact that it is made in the USA. Oz Naturals Vitamin C serum is a 20% l-Ascorbic acid product making it one of the stronger serums.
As a result of its potency this serum is best suited for those who have used a Vitamin C serum before and would like to try something a bit stronger. If it’s your first time trying a Vit C serum you may want to start off with a standard 15% concentration.
In addition to Vitamin C, this product also contains hyaluronic acid (a deeply hydrating base), Vitamin E and Astaxanthin; a known super-antioxidant.
It is formulated without any parabens, phtalates, petrochemicals or sulfates.
Oz Naturals is a winner of Allure Magazine’s Best In Beauty. Read Our Review Here
Why You Should Trust Us
In my quest for younger looking skin I have personally spent countless hours reading Vitamin C serum reviews on MakeupAlley (my favorite beauty resource), searching and posting on the MakeupAlley skin care forums and read dozens of articles, research journals and studies demonstrating the effectiveness of this product.
I have used a Vitamin C serum for over 10 years on and off. I’ve used the best of the best; Skinceuticals CE Ferulic as well as the more affordable Cosmetic Skin Solutions CE Ferulic after I read on various forums that they were identical in terms of ingredients. The reason why I started this site is because of my strong conviction that this product truly works and delivers, unlike many skin care products that claim to deliver miracles. I believe in logic and reason and l-Ascorbic acid serums have the scientific studies to back up their claims.
I’ve been often complimented for looking young for my age and I believe the reason why is partly due to genetics and also due to preventative measures which includes wearing sunscreen and vitamin c serum daily.
How We Tested
Our top three vitamin C serums are all l-Ascorbic acid because these are the most effective serums. In terms of ingredients; scientific studies surmise that the most effective serums contain a combination of Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Ferulic acid. It is this fact that makes Skinceuticals & Cosmetic Skin Solutions our top choices. The ingredients are identical. The only difference is the fat that Skinceuticals has a lower pH level.
pH Levels are of the utmost importance when considering the best vitamin c serum to buy. Many people automatically think a stronger concentration of L-Ascorbic means the product is superior (20% vs 15% L-ascorbic acid) but that isn’t necessarily true. A serum should have Ph levels of 3.5 maximum (preferably lower), otherwise it won’t penetrate the skin which is the objective. Skinceuticals holds the patent for a CE Ferulic serum with a pH level between 2.5 and 3.0 which is the lowest on the market.
Other more affordable brands have pH levels in the 3.0-3.5 range; still low enough to be competitive but not quite as good as Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Acid. If money is no object and you want the best vitamin c serum on the market I would suggest SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. Other products such as Cosmetic Skin Solutions Vitamin C+E Serum have higher pH levels that are just slightly higher than Skinceutical’s (as not to violate their patent) but still low enough to be very effective.
We picked products with a strong trust factor. Skinceuticals, Cosmetic Skin Solutions and Oz Naturals are all well known brands that you can trust. Skinceuticals was founded in 1994 by a professor of Dermatology at Duke University. Cosmetic Skin Solutions C+E has favorable reviews on MakeupAlley here.
There are a lot of vitamin c serum products on the market but the fact is that some are white label products meaning that numerous companies are purchasing their product from the same supplier and merely changing the packaging. Anyone can put a label on a product and sell it online but that doesn’t make it effective let alone the “best”.
Does the product offer any additional beneficial ingredients? The serums we picked as winners combine the power of Vitamin C with ingredients like Vitamin E or Hyaluronic acid for a super potent combination. Hyaluronic acid is a super moisturizing base that works to deliver moisture deep into the pores. Other skin boosting ingredients that work well with Vitamin C includes phloretin and ferulic acid. Other formulas may come with skin soothing ingredients like green tea extract and rosehip. Our top choices all contain potent ingredients other than just Vitamin C
All of the serums we selected are packaged in air tight amber glass bottles with a dropper. This is the ideal way to store vitamin c serum since it may oxidate when exposed to oxygen. Liquids in vials do require you to be more careful since they can break if you drop them on a hard surface. One solution to the oxidation issue is to purchase empty vials in which to decant you serum into. This way, you’re not constantly opening and closing the big bottle. The most ideal place to store Vitamin C serum for optimum freshness is in the fridge. A Vitamin C powder like Philosphy’s Turbo Booster C will require you to mix it with your moisturizer but won’t oxidize as rapidly since it’s not technically mixed until you add a moisturizing base.
A topical vitamin c serum with high levels of ascorbic acid may be too strong for those with sensitive skin. If your skin is sensitive you may want to start off with a more milder solution such as Ole Henriksen Truth Serum. It may take some time for skin to adjust to a product with strong levels of vit C, especially in the beginning. If your skin is sensitive you may want to start off by applying the serum just every other day or every few days. Gradually work up to where you can apply it once day.
Pricing can vary greatly; the most touted antioxidant vitamin c serum from Skinceuticals is on the pricey/high-end side while other brands such as Cosmetic Skin Solutions offer more affordable pricing. Then you have brands like Ole Henriksen and Philosophy with prices that are more in the middle. The vitamin c serum you’ll choose will most likely depend on your budget and needs. If you want a product that has been featured in scientific studies and clinical test you may want to pay extra for Skinceuticals. On the other hand, some of the more affordable brands also have excellent reviews on Amazon. The best vitamin C serum for your skin will depend on your needs and budget.
The two most common delivery systems in the best vitamin c serums are L-ascorbic acid and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP). L-Ascorbic is more potent due to the low PH level and offers superior skin penetrating abilities but irritation may be an issue for those with sensitive skin. Like L-Ascorbic acid, MAP is a derivative that has been studied extensively and proven to be stable with numerous skin care benefits. Another option is THDA (Tetrahexydecyl Ascorbate) which is oil soluble and stable Vitamin C Ester with potent antioxidant capabilities. There are many different vitamin c serum formulas available and everyone’s skin is different; one person’s skin may react well to one product while another may end up with irritation. You may have to experiment in order to find the best vitamin c serum that works for you.
Topical Vitamin C Serum Comparison Chart