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Best Vitamin C Serums 2020 – Vitamin C Serum Buying Guide

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Vitamin C Serum, a powerful antioxidant, is the secret behind those fresh, youthful, glowing faces that most women have lately. 

You must have heard about this Holy Grail of Skin Care and the miracles it does to the skin. The potent serum brightens, heals, hydrates, firms up, and protects the skin.

However, not all vitamin C serums are made equal and there are many factors to consider before buying one. Some factors like the type, ingredients, concentration, and even the packaging of the serum, determine the benefits you will get.

This guide is here to help you understand these factors, so you can choose the best vitamin C serum for your needs. 

It considers questions to ask before buying a C serum, its benefits, and carefully reviews a list of 6 of the best C serums in the market.

 

Best Vitamin C serums 2020

Best Overall
Best Anti-Aging
Best Organic
Best For Acne & Dark Spots
Best For Dry Skin
Best For Men

#1 No B.S. Vitamin C Serum

Best Overall

Best Overall  

No B.S brand advocates for clean formulas that work.  This serum contains a perfect blend of ingredients that make a potent Vitamin C Serum. This includes 20%  pure vitamin C and vitamin E. 

Besides, it contains hyaluronic acid and ferulic acid which are great ingredients for hydration and improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and spots. 

Other ingredients include the Gotukola which helps with inflammatory conditions like dermatitis and protects skin cells.  This antioxidant works together with the green tea extracts to soothe your skin to give you relief. 

With such powerful ingredients, No BS C serum works to banish acne scars, prevents premature skin aging, evens complexion, and brightens up the skin. 

This vegan C serum is safe as well and doesn’t use phthalates, sulfates, parabens, or any toxic petrochemicals, and artificial fragrances. It’s also Gluten-free making it safe to use for any skin type and all ages.

As such, we found it to be the best overall vitamin C Serum with the perfect blend of ingredients and benefits.

Features: 

  • 20% Vitamin C face serum
  • Made in America
  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegan and charitable
  • Contains Vitamin C and E, Hyaluronic Acid, Ferulic Acid, Gotu Kola, and Green Tea

#2 Serumtologie Vitamin C serum

Best Anti-Aging

Best Anti-Aging 

If you aim to maintain a fresh youthful glow then the Serumtologie Vitamin C serum is your go-to. This serum comes loaded with Vitamin c in the form of Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a very stable form of vitamin C that doesn’t irritate the skin.

 Vitamin C comes at a high concentration of 22% which is the most effective concentration for best results. This, coupled with the vitamin E and ferulic acid combines to provide anti-oxidant benefits needed by your skin to fight sun damage.

The Antioxidants penetrate deep into the skin to protect it by neutralizing free radicals that are stimulated by ultraviolet light and other harmful environmental elements. Giving you a long-lasting glow and youthful skin. 

This product comes highly recommended by dermatologists as an everyday anti-aging treatment for all skin types. It is100% vegan and is largely made from natural and organic products. This makes it the best anti-aging serum we found.

Features: 

  • 22% vitamin C concentration
  • Contains Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
  • Free of harmful fillers like glycols, parabens, and fragrances

#3 Asterwood Naturals Vitamin C serum

Best Organic

Best Organic 

Using the best of organic ingredients, we found this to be the best organic C serum in the market. 

 The Asterwood Naturals Vitamin C serum combines four natural ingredients to give you smooth and youthful skin. The main ingredients are matrixyl 3000, Argireline Peptide, vitamin C serum, and a bonus ingredient, Organic Hyaluronic Acid. 

The matrixyl 3000,  Argireline Peptide work together to slow down the signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines. The two ingredients promote the production of collagen a protein structure in various connective tissues in the body that has many benefits. 

One of them is to improve the skin’s health by reducing wrinkles and dryness. Argireline Peptide also is known as natural botox helps firm up the face and reduce visible fine lines or wrinkles. 

This particular brand contains a non-irritating, stable form of vitamin C known as MAP. It’s a powerful antioxidant that is naturally stable and has a great PH which is skin-friendly.  

Besides, Asterwood natural C serum contains no fragrances, oils, parabens, or sulfates, making it a rather safe choice for the face.

Features: 

  • Contains MAP Vitamin C
  • Handcrafted in the USA
  • Refundable
  • Free of harmful ingredients

#4 Tea Tree Clear Skin Serum

Best For Acne & Dark Spots

Best For Acne & Dark Spots

Tea Tree Clear Skin Serum combines the best ingredients to fight against acne. This serum contains Vitamin C, Retinol, Niacinamide, Salicylic, and Hyaluronic acid puls tea tree essential oil. 

The combination of these ingredients helps fight acne, soothe irritated skin, unclog pores, and brighten the face by fading dark spots.

This is why we found this serum to be the best for acne and dark spots.

Not only does this serum help fight acne but it also acts as a powerful antioxidant that boosts collagen production to help repair and plump up the skin. Hyaluronic Acid hydrates the skin and helps alleviate premature aging. 

The Salicylic Acid and Tea Tree Essential Oil work together to fight acne for clear, smooth, and happy skin. 

Because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, the Tea Tree Essential Oil treats acne by providing relief to inflammation, redness, nor swelling caused by acne.

 The Salicylic acid, on the other hand, acts as a peeling agent. It helps cell turnover to reveal fresh, brighter new skin. These properties make it suitable to treat conditions like dandruff, seborrhea, and even psoriasis. 

 

Features: 

  • Contains Vitamin C, Retinol, Niacinamide, Salicylic, and Hyaluronic acid plus tea tree essential oil
  • Formulated In the USA 
  • Made in FDA Registered Laboratory
  •  90-day return policy

#5 Paula's Choice Serum with Vitamin C

Best For Dry Skin

Best For Dry Skin  

If you have dry skin then you should try Paula’s Choice Serum with Vitamin C. The serum contains Brightening and hydrating antioxidants derived from plants and vitamins. This combination of ingredients works to restore moisture to sun-damaged dry skin and helps rejuvenate the skin. 

This serum contains stabilized vitamin C, Ferulic Acid, and peptides that help hydrate the skin while fighting free radicals to improve the skin’s health.

With Paula’s Serum, there is a visible improvement of fine lines and wrinkles through the firming-up of the skin. 

Paula is known for her no-fluff policy, as such the product is devoid of any extra and unnecessary ingredients and certainly free of fragrance, parabens, and harmful chemicals. 

Features: 

  • Contains plant- and vitamin-derived antioxidants
  • Silky serum with stabilized Vitamin C & peptides
  • Natural & certified organic ingredients

#6 Brickell Men's Vitamin C Serum

Best For Dry Skin

Best For Men  

Brickell Men’s Vitamin C Serum is made with men in mind. Its use of naturally powerful ingredients makes it a potent serum to keep men’s skin youthful and firm. 

This C serum is a popular choice for men, featuring in publications such as GQ and Men’s health.

The ingredient lineup consists of all Natural & Certified Organic ingredients, ranging from Plant Stem Cells that help protect against sun damage and prevent wrinkles from MSM. 

MSM reduces inflammation while hyaluronic acid and green tea help fight acne and prevents the skin from premature aging. 

These natural ingredients are easily absorbed into the skin for quick results. The anti-aging face serum for men boosts collagen production to repair damaged skin cells, hydrate the skin, and reduce skin inflammation. This helps clear acne and restore a youthful glow on your skin. 

Features:

  • All Natural & Certified Organic ingredients
  • Night Serum
  • Contains plant stem cells, Hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, Green tea, and MSM

Vitamin C serum Buying Guide

Questions to Ask When Shopping for Vitamin C serums:

Vitamin C serums are the latest buzz in the skincare world. The benefits of this serum are well documented.

 But not every vitamin C serum is formulated well. This potent powerhouse of serum has many sensitive ingredients that must be balanced and combined well to achieve the right results.

 In this section, we look at factors that make up the right vitamin c serum for you. Hopefully, these will help you pick the best serum for you

1- What Do You Need The Vitamin C serum For?

  • Aging skin:

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free-radicals. Free radicals are created by unstable oxygen molecules that bear an uneven number of electrons, so it goes stealing electrons from other healthy molecules, causing your skin damage.

This process is what is known as oxidative stress, it leads to premature skin aging and can lead to conditions such as skin cancer.

 Vitamin C is a stable molecule that lends it’s electrons to unstable oxygen molecules, therefore, neutralizing free radicals.

Vitamin C also boosts collagen production, which helps keep your skin looking supple and young.

 

  • Oily Skin:

Vitamin C is vital for healing damaged skin. It fights acne and helps reduce inflammation caused by acne.

Vitamin C also helps speed up the exfoliation rate, giving you a youthful complexion. One of the greatest benefits of Vitamin C serum is its ability to control hyperpigmentation and produce a balanced skin tone.

 It fights this problem and also helps curb its future development. When looking for C serums, look for something non-greasy, which also contains Hyaluronic acid for the best results.

  • Acne Scars:

Vitamin C serum is essential at removing acne scars. It helps increase fibroblast cells that produce collagen. Increased collagen fills up depressed skin caused by acne scars. Hence repairing the skin and making it look more youthful and fresh.

At the same time, vitamin C helps brighten up dark spots caused by a previous acne bout.

 You want to look for vitamin C serums that are light, non-greasy, and which contain acne-fighting ingredients such as retinol or niacinamide. 

Note, however, that niacinamide deactivates vitamin C in its pure form, so it might make your C serum less effective.

  • Fine lines and wrinkles:

By stimulating the production of collagen, vitamin C helps firm up and smooth out fine lines that appear on the face, especially around the eye. Vitamin C also reduces redness, therefore improving discoloration often experienced under the eye. 

Vitamin C also helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles caused by premature aging of the skin due to sun damage. The boost in collagen helps plump up the skin.

  • Dark Spots:

Vitamin C is best known for brightening the skin up. It fades dark spots by inhibiting the excess production of melanin. It also helps heal acne scars, reducing dark spots.

  • Sun Damage

Vitamin C helps fight free radicals which cause skin inflammation resulting in skin damage. While you should still use sunscreen, vitamin C also helps fight against sun damage. If you already have sun damage, nothing will undo it better than a vitamin C serum

  • Dry skin 

Antioxidants help with hydration. They increase moisture retention and help brighten up dull-looking skin. Vitamin C serums, also boost the production of collagen which helps firm up the skin.

 If you have dry skin, you are looking for a vitamin C serum that has moisture increasing ingredients.

2- What Are The Ingredients?

There are various ingredients used to form Vitamin C serums, but the most important ones are the forms of vitamin c and the balancing agents. Here is a list of different ingredients:

  • L-ascorbic acid :

is a form of vitamin C that is highly absorbent. A study done to compare different forms of vitamin c shows that L-ascorbic acid had more absorption rate. When looking for a good vitamin c serum, you want to make sure that this is among the first five ingredients.

  • Concentration level:

Another thing to check is the concentration level of whatever form of vitamin C in your serum. Beginners and people with sensitive skin should use anything between 5 to 8 % of L-ascorbic acid concentration until the skin gets acclimated. However, higher concentrations of 10%-20% give better results.

  • Forms of Vitamin C :

Vitamin C can also come in tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl palmitate. However, when it comes to skin products, you want the best-formulated treatment. 

Most of these other forms of vitamin C are not stable enough and neither do they have as great an absorption rate as L-ascorbic acid.

With that said, however, some experts seem to believe that tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is just as good as L-ascorbic acid if not better.

  • Natural vitamin C:

Other forms of vitamin C are sourced from botanical extracts. So, if you can’t find the chemical names mentioned above in the ingredients list, look for vitamin C producing botanicals. These include rosehip, pomegranate seeds, citrus fruits, sea buckthorn, and amla berries. 

  • Other ingredients:

Vitamin C serums are also combined with other ingredients that help stabilize it and add extra antioxidant power to the serum.

  • Vitamin E:

Vitamin E helps balance vitamin C. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals and has great anti-inflammatory properties. It’s an essential ingredient in cell health and ultimately skin health.

This aids in the maintenance of the skin barrier by strengthening it.

  • Ferulic Acid:

FA helps increase the effectiveness of vitamin C and E in the serum. It is an antioxidant derived from plants and food like oats, rice, and bran. It’s great at scavenging free radicals and helps decrease signs of aging, like fine lines.

Ferulic acid also helps lower Vitamin C’s PH to make it more skin-friendly.

  • Glutathione:

This is another powerful antioxidant that works well with Vitamin C. Lately, it has been gaining momentum for its antioxidant benefits and will soon be in many skincare products.

  • Ingredients to avoid:

Avoid fillers such as propylene and butylene glycol which are classified skin irritants. Avoid alcohol and harsh preservatives such as phenoxyethanol which can enhance eczema.

3- What Do Other People Think Of This Vitamin C serum?

Most C serums are sold online, this creates benefits like the ease of comparison and a wide range of products.

However, when purchasing things online you seldom get to test them before buying. Therefore, the best way to find out if a serum is effective or not is through other user’s feedback.

Check for product reviews to tell whether the C serum you are interested in will perform as advertised or not. 

Reviews vary, and if you are keen enough, you will get reviews that highlight your needs such as how suitable the serum is for particular skin types.

How To Properly Use a Vitamin C serum?

  • Test before use:

As with all other skincare products, it’s prudent to perform a skin test before using any Vitamin C Serum. 

Look for an easily concealable region of the skin to perform a patch test on. Select a small area, apply the serum, and wait for 24 hours to see if it reacts.

  • When to apply:

Vitamin C Serum is best applied after cleansing and setting the face before applying moisturizer.

 The rule of thumb when applying skincare products is to start with the lightest to the heaviest product. Serums with heavier textures can be used to spot treat as opposed to wearing all over the face.

  • Morning or evening or both?

There is an ongoing debate on whether to use Vitamin C serum both in the morning and evening. Some skincare experts recommend using it in the morning, or once a day, especially if it has a higher concentration like 15% or more. 

When starting out it’s best to use your serum fewer times to allow your skin to become acclimated to it. With that said, there are gentle serums that you can use both in the day and at night.

  • Packaging and storage

When purchasing Vitamin C Serum, ensure you check the packaging. Vitamin C degrades upon exposure to light, water, and air. As such, it’s often packaged in airtight tinted or opaque glass bottles.

 If it’s made out of ascorbic acid then it has to come in a dark-tinted glass bottle, plastic bottles can’t hold acids, because they will react. 

Depending on the company, C serums come in dropper, pumps, tubes, and, bottles. Pumps are more sanitary and less time consuming to operate. 

The color of the C serum is very important. C serums come in bright yellow and orange colors, if these colors turn dark orange, golden, or brown, then your C serum has gone bad. 

This happens because of poor storage. When vitamin C comes into contact with air, it oxidizes and turns a darker color, makes sure you store your C serum according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Benefits Of Vitamin C serum?

  • Promotes Collagen Production :

    Collagen is the main structural protein in various connective tissues in the body. It plays a big role in strengthening the skin, providing hydration, and elasticity for the skin. 

    As we age, the body reduces the production of this important protein. Which might lead to dry flaky skin with wrinkles and fine lines.  

    The collagen helps firm the skin to prevent it from sagging, boost wound healing, and reduce fine lines or wrinkles on the skin. 

  • Applying concentrated levels of antioxidant-rich vitamin C will significantly boost the production of collagen in the body which has great benefits for our skin. 

  • Protect the skin from sun damage: 

Vitamin C is an antioxidant meaning that it naturally helps fight against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules in the body that can damage cells causing aging and illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and dangerous other diseases in the body. 

Free radicals can be stimulated by ultraviolet light.

 The Antioxidants rich vitamin C protects the skin by neutralizing these free radicals. This helps protect your skin from harm caused by the sun. It also eliminates premature aging caused by exposure to UV lights. 

  • Fastens healing of sunburns:

    In addition to protecting your face from sun damage, Vitamin C also boosts the healing of sunburns. This is made possible because of the production of Collagen which stimulates wound healing and soothes your sensitive skin by reducing any redness, itching or burning, and other symptoms associated with sunburn.

  • Reduces inflammation:

    Vitamin C causes an anti-inflammatory response in your body and skin.  Preventing redness and sensitivity on the skin. 

    Vitamin C serums can be infused with other formulas to help boost this property.

  •  Agents like Salicylic Acid and Tea Tree Essential Oil are some of the ingredients used commonly to help fight the effects of acne, irritation, and redness. 

  • Speeds up healing :

    This is all thanks to the boost in collagen production that works to fasten the healing of wounds and the production of new skin cells for vibrant young-looking skin. 

  • Evens the skin tone:

    If you suffer from hyperpigmentation, skin blemishes from acne, sunburns, or an overall uneven skin tone then you might want to start using a Vitamin C serum.

    It helps to inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase, which catalyzes melanin production hence helps control pigmentation on the skin. 

    Using a vitamin C serum will definitely improve your skin’s overall complexion, brightening dull skin for a healthy, and more vibrant skin

    Vitamin C does this by brightening hyperpigmentation without interfering with normal skin pigmentation. 

  • Boosts Hydration:

    This is another benefit you stand to gain when using vitamin C. One of the main derivatives of this powerful antioxidant is Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate which has proven to have great hydrating effects on the skin. 

    This agent reduces transepidermal water loss and allows your skin to retain moisture for long periods. 

  • RetainYouthful skin:

    You’re guaranteed to retain youthful skin when using vitamin C. The regeneration of new skin cells helps your skin to always look young and revitalized. 

    It also aids in preventing aging signs like wrinkles and fine lines through the tightening and hydration of the skin.

Conclusion

Now that you know what to look for in a vitamin C serum, it’s benefits, and how to use it, ensure that you take your time to find the best product. 

If you are having trouble deciding on a product, you can check out the list of the best vitamin C serum’s reviewed at the beginning of this guide. This will help point you in the right direction.

One, more thing to note is that although vitamin C is naturally found in some plants and foods that we eat, it’s not advisable to apply pure vitamin C directly on the skin. 

While you might be tempted to do this, remember that Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is an acid and you need a measured concentration to add to the skin. In it’s purest form, the concentration of this acid is 100% and very harsh to the skin. 

That being said, you can use vitamin c powder to create your own homemade serum if you have to absolutely do it.