Updated June 29, 2019 by Gabrielle Taylor

The 10 Best Vitamin C Serums

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Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 9 times since it was first published in December of 2017. When it comes to skincare, vitamin C is one of the most effective ingredients you can add to your routine. This powerful antioxidant naturally brightens and firms, promotes collagen production to fight wrinkles and fine lines, and can even boost your sunscreen's protection against damage from harmful UV rays. It's also a great treatment for hyperpigmentation and dark spots. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best vitamin c serum on Amazon.

10. DermaDoctor Kakadu

9. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum

8. Klairs Freshly Juiced

7. Cellex-C Advanced

6. Obagi Professional

5. iS Clinical Pro-Heal

4. Mad Hippie

3. Sunday Riley C.E.O.

2. SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic

1. Drunk Elephant C-Firma

Special Honors

Tatcha Violet-C This lightweight serum combines two different vitamin C derivatives: one that starts working right away to fight aging and promote cell turnover, and another that's longer lasting to protect against UV damage. It also contains mild AHAs from seven fruits to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells, along with Japanese angelica root to treat hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and acne scars. tatcha.com

Volition Strawberry-C With an ingredient list that sounds good enough to eat, this brightening formula includes strawberry fruit and seed extract, Kakadu plum, and cucumber water to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while reducing redness and excess oil. It also boosts hydration with hyaluronic acid. volitionbeauty.com

Dermalogica Age Smart BioLumin-C Using a super-stable form of vitamin C mixed with wrinkle-fighting palmitoyl tripeptide-5, this serum delivers results faster than many others. It also contains lactic acid to exfoliate and stimulate collagen production, plus chia seed oil and sophora japonica flower extract to hydrate and calm stressed skin. dermalogica.com

Editor's Notes

June 25, 2019:

First and foremost, it's important to note that vitamin C serums are formulated at a low pH and can cause irritation and flaking at first, especially in higher concentrations. It's a good idea to start with a serum that has a lower percentage of vitamin C and work your way up to the stronger stuff, especially if you have sensitive skin. Also remember that in order to see the best possible results, wearing sunscreen daily is a must.

That being said, vitamin C is an incredibly beneficial ingredient that can help to both prevent and repair damage from the sun and other environmental stressors. If you're looking to treat existing issues, like hyperpigmentation and dark spots, you'll likely get the best results with a serum that has a 10-15% concentration. Both Drunk Elephant C-Firma and SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic combine 15% l-ascorbic acid with ferulic acid and vitamin E, which help to enhance vitamin C's effectiveness. Drunk Elephant's formula also includes fruit enzymes for exfoliation, and it has a pH of 3.3 - 3.5, which makes it less irritating than many other high-concentration serums. Sunday Riley C.E.O. is another 15% formula that uses a highly stable and oil-soluble form of vitamin C to penetrate deep into skin. It also contains a phytosterol complex to reduce redness and saccharide isomerate to strengthen your moisture barrier and minimize the appearance of pores.

If you're on a budget, Mad Hippie is an affordable option made entirely with natural ingredients. It uses a stabilized form of vitamin C to reduce the risk of oxidation, plus konjac root to soften and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump. Klairs Freshly Juiced is also inexpensive and quite gentle, making it a good choice for those with sensitive skin or who are new to vitamin C. With a concentration of 5%, it's great as a preventative anti-aging treatment, but may not be strong enough to treat hyperpigmentation or acne scars.

Gabrielle Taylor
Last updated on June 29, 2019 by Gabrielle Taylor

Originally from a tiny town in Virginia, Gabrielle moved to Los Angeles for a marketing internship at a well-known Hollywood public relations firm and was shocked to find that she loves the West Coast. She spent two years as a writer and editor for a large DIY/tutorial startup, where she wrote extensively about technology, security, lifestyle, and home improvement. A self-professed skincare nerd, she’s well-versed in numerous ingredients and methods, including both Western and Asian products. She is an avid home cook who has whiled away thousands of hours cooking and obsessively researching all things related to food and food science. Her time in the kitchen has also had the curious side effect of making her an expert at fending off attempted food thievery by her lazy boxer dog.

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