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Best vitamin C serum

Which vitamin C serum is best?

Vitamin C serums are an excellent way to boost the health of your skin and tackle things such as dark spots and duller complexions. There are a few things you must know so that you don't buy any old bottles, namely the concentration and form of vitamin C included. It also doesn't hurt to know the other ingredients that are commonly included.

The best Vitamin C serum is the Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum. It's got all the vitamin C you need with none of the nasty additives that can sneak into lesser bottles.

What to know before you buy a vitamin C serum

Vitamin C benefits

Thanks to multiple studies, Vitamin C is known to have many benefits for skin health, according to the National Library of Medicine. These benefits can include:

  • Counteracting free radicals that damage your skin cells and cause wrinkles, rough skin and a loss of elasticity.
  • Preventing and repairing skin damage, such as dullness and dark spots caused by an excess of ultraviolet rays.
  • Increasing collagen production to help your skin look younger and healthier and even make it glow.
  • Reducing inflammation caused by sunburns, acne and irregular capillaries.

Vitamin C forms

Serums can use one or more of several types of vitamin C:

  • Ascorbic acid is the most commonly used, yet it's also the most prone to oxidation, which lessens its benefits. As such, this form's serums need to be packaged and stored properly. It can also irritate dry and sensitive skin.
  • Ascorbyl palmitate is less irritating to dry and sensitive skin and can help with acne-related skin conditions. However, its collagen production is low.
  • Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is good for tackling dark spots and increasing your collagen production, plus it isn't rough on sensitive skin. However, it can take longer for its effects to become noticeable.
  • Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is similar to magnesium ascorbyl phosphate in that it takes time for its effects to be noticeable, and it's not harsh on sensitive skin. However, it isn't as effective as handling dark spots.


Vitamin C serums typically come in 1- or 2-ounce bottles. These should last for a few weeks of daily treatments.

What to look for in a quality vitamin C serum


The vitamin C in vitamin C serums comes in different concentrations. Most are 10% to 20%.

Other commonly included ingredients are general health boosters like herbal extracts, vitamin E and moisturizers, such as hyaluronic acid and aloe vera. If you want to mix your vitamin C serum with other serums and health care products, it's best to get a bottle that's as close to pure vitamin C as possible.


The best vitamin C serums are colorless. In fact, you can tell when a colorless serum has gone bad if it begins to yellow from oxidation.


Some vitamin C serums have added fragrances to make applying it more pleasant. However, added fragrances are more likely to irritate your skin and cause redness, which is especially hard on those with sensitive skin. As such, if you want a serum with added fragrance, you should buy the smallest bottle or try to find a sample size to check if it will cause discomfort.


The best vitamin C serum containers use colored bottles to block out the light to delay or prevent oxidation. They should also have a clear expiration date.

How much you can expect to spend on a vitamin C serum

Low-end and small-quantity serums typically cost less than $20 with better and larger ones costing $20-$50. The best and biggest bottles can cost $300 or more.

Vitamin C serum FAQ

Can I use a vitamin C serum with makeup?

A. Yes, as long as you apply the serum lightly and give it time to dry and be absorbed, you should be able to apply any of your usual makeup.

Are vitamin C serums safe to use on skin conditions?

A. Yes, they're safe for use on most skin conditions, including common ones like acne. That said, if your condition is severe, you should consult your dermatologist before beginning a vitamin C regimen.

What's the best vitamin C serum to buy?

Top vitamin C serum

Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum

What you need to know: This is among the best serums, yet it has a low price tag.

What you'll love: This serum mixes hyaluronic acid, green tea and provitamin B5 with its high concentration of vitamin C to be even more helpful for your skin. It contains no parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, gluten, soy or genetically modified ingredients, plus it's vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

What you should consider: A few customers had issues with it drying their skin and suggested using a moisturizer after applying the serum. Others had issues with the pump.

Where to buy: Sold by iHerb and Ulta Beauty

Top vitamin C serum for the money

Asutra Vitamin C Serum

What you need to know: This is perfect for testing vitamin C serums out before committing to better and bigger bottles.

What you'll love: It has a 20% concentration of vitamin C, and it's vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. Additionally, it doesn't contain parabens, sulfates or added fragrances. It includes a 50-page illustrated e-book that covers topics such as common myths and foods to avoid. It includes hyaluronic acid.

What you should consider: Some customers found this serum to have too low of a concentration to see noticeable effects. Others found their skin feeling sticky after use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and iHerb

Worth checking out

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

What you need to know: This serum comes from a well-respected brand.

What you'll love: On top of the vitamin C are hyaluronic and ferulic acids plus vitamin E to increase your antioxidants and decrease your wrinkles and discoloration. A portion of all proceeds goes to nonprofits, such as the Whole Planet Foundation, and it isn't tested on animals.

What you should consider: Some purchasers found it felt too slimy and left their faces feeling sticky. Others didn't find it as effective as they hoped it would be.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, iHerb and Ulta Beauty

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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