We all know that Vitamin C is an essential step in any skincare routine. Not only is it one of the greatest anti-aging ingredients, it also boosts radiance, protect from free-radicals, and helps improve hyperpigmentation.
But with so many options options on the market, it can be hard to figure out the best vitamin C serum for your needs. When choosing a product, you should always take into account your specific skin concerns.
For example: certain Vitamin C serums are great for oily skin, while others are better for acne-prone skin, hyperpigmentation, or sensitive skin. And then, of course, there are products with ingredients that specifically target acne scars and dark spots.
To make things easier, we’ve noted standout picks in each category below. Scroll down for a list of the best vitamin C serums for every budget, and every skin concern.
10 Best Vitamin C Serums
BEST VITAMIN C SERUM FOR ACNE SCARS
Maelove The Glow Maker Anti-Oxidant Serum
I spent some time reading a bunch of reviews and I’m now tempted to buy it myself, even though I have more Vitamin C serums than I know what to do with. (Thankfully I just figured out a new system to organize all of my beauty products.)
The founder of Maelove went to MIT and developed the product with a team of MIT engineers…so you know it’s legit.
BEST VITAMIN C SERUM RECOMMENDED BY DERMATOLOGISTS
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic
I’ve been using this serum for years and it’s the one thing I find myself consistently going back to (unless I’m testing out something new.)
I first heard about it at my dermatologist’s office, which is not all that surprising, as it’s one of the top vitamin c serums recommended by dermatologists.
Initially I was skeptical because of the price, but after seeing SO MANY PEOPLE talk about how it was the best Vitamin C serum on the market, I obviously had to try it.
I think it’s pretty incredible, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who has the money to spend on luxury skincare. One thing you should know about this serum: it does not have a pleasant smell.
It’s almost like a running joke among people who are die-hard CE Ferulic lovers… you basically just accept the strange smell because the product is so good.
Pro Tip: Vitamin C is best used in the morning, while other actives (like retinol) are better to apply at night. This guide to using retinol breaks it all down for you.
BEST VITAMIN C SERUM UNDER $30
Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
It’s a great option for anyone who prefers clean, cruelty-free beauty products—and a far more affordable alternative to Drunk Elephant’s C Firma Day Serum, which is sadly one of our least favorite Drunk Elephant products.
Mad Hippie’s serum features an awesome blend of antioxidants, including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid, and Hyaluronic Acid.
It also comes in at a significantly lower price point compared to other best-selling vitamin c serums, which is an added bonus!
BEST VITAMIN C SERUM FOR ANTI-AGING
Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate
Big fan of this concentrate from Kiehl’s—it’s the product I had been using for about a year before I decided to try Skinceuticals.
What’s different about this one compared to the others is that it’s a thicker texture—almost like a lightweight cream—which I kind of liked.
It has a combination of 10% pure Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which, as we know, is a key ingredient for plumping and hydrating the skin.
I’m convinced that the combination of the Vitamin C and HA helped reduce my smile lines!
BEST VITAMIN C SERUM FOR DISCOLORATION
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum has been long regarded as a favorite in the beauty world, and I absolutely love it.
Great for women who are struggling with dry skin, because it’s also super hydrating.
Another nice thing is that it comes in a $20 mini size, so if you aren’t sure whether you want to commit, I’d go for that one.
BEST VITAMIN C SERUM FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C Serum
A new favorite of mine is this Vitamin C + tri-peptide serum by Bliss. At just $24.99, the price point can’t be beat, and I love the fact that it has a gel-like consistency that doesn’t leave behind a sticky texture on your skin.
It dries super quickly, so you also don’t need to wait before applying your moisturizer and makeup.
Pro Tip: Skincare products are best absorbed when skin is properly exfoliated. Check out this step-by-step guide to exfoliation to ensure you’re doing it properly.
BEST VITAMIN C SERUM FOR DARK SPOTS
Summer Fridays CC Me Serum
Featuring two different versions of Vitamin C, this serum most definitely leaves skin visibly brighter—it faded two stubborn hyperpigmentation spots on my assistant’s cheek.
The formula is vegan and cruelty-free, which is always a bonus. Plus, it’s packed with squalane, which boosts glow and protects against free radicals.
While this multi-tasking serum packs a punch ingredient-wise, it’s still ultra gentle.
Unlike many Vitamin C serums, this one is slippery and scentless.
BEST VITAMIN C SERUM FOR OVER 50
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Vitamin C Power Serum
Peter Thomas Roth’s Vitamin C serum features 20% THD ascorbate—which is a mega-potent, ultra-stable ingredient that’s 50 times more powerful than traditional Vitamin C.
This lightweight serum definitely delivers results-wise, but I’d suggest staying away if you have sensitive skin.
For those of you who can handle it, this serum is jam-packed with antioxidants that help visibly plump and brighten the skin.
It’s especially great for women over 50, as the potent ingredient list helps address fine lines, wrinkles, unevenness, and firmness.
And, while it costs a pretty penny, the product seems to last a lifetime.
Pro Tip: Struggling with acne? Make sure you’re swapping out your wash cloth nightly. Our guide to washing your face properly has more tips!
BEST VITAMIN C SERUM FOR OILY SKIN
Skinceuticals Phloretin CF
The famed CE Ferulic has a lesser-known (but equally powerful) product that’s considered one of the best vitamin c serums for oily skin.
It’s called Phloretin CF and contains many of the same ingredients as CE Ferulic, but doesn’t contain Vitamin E, which can clog pores for those who tend toward oily skin.
BEST VITAMIN C SERUM FOR ACNE-PRONE SKIN
Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum
Sunday Riley makes one of my fave chemical exfoliators—the cult classic Good Genes—so I had to try their Vitamin C serum. It’s lightweight and slightly milky in texture and leaves behind zero stickiness or residue.
The formulation features an extremely stable, oil soluble form of Vitamin C to target visible signs of aging and hyperpigmentation.
It leaves behind a smooth, youthful-looking glow.
How to Use Vitamin C Serum
Need a little assistance with incorporating the serum into your routine once you buy it? This blog post on how to use Vitamin C serum the right way explains everything in detail!
What vitamin C serums have you tried? Are there any on this list that you’d recommend? Leave your favorites in the comments below.
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