5 Best Vitamin C Serums for Face (Buying Guide)

Finding the best vitamin C serum for face is a bit tricky since there are so many products out there.

But it’s so totally worth it!

I have a vast experience with serums. It started when I was 25 and I’ve gone through many different ones since then.

best vitamin c serum for face

I think I’m totally qualified in directing you towards the best vitamin C serum for your face.

When you find the perfect serum is like discovering a secret formula that makes your whole life complete.

And you start wondering how could you have gone through life without that tiny bottle by your side.

I’m waxing poetic about a skin care product but you’ll see for yourself why I talk like this.

I’m still amazed by the many benefits brought by a good vitamin C serum.

Top 5 Best Vitamin C Serums for Face

I’ve chosen 4 moderately priced serums and one that I would buy only in my dreams.

In those dreams I can also afford fillers and laser treatments and anything else that I might need later in life to keep my skin looking young and effortlessly radiant.

4 of them are all skin care products that I can afford.

It’s a normal amount that you should spend on a best vitamin C serum.

After all,

I still need a good eye cream, a very good sunscreen, a great moisturizer, and acne treatments because why not.

The order in which I apply each product are:

  • eye cream always with my ring fingers because they apply the least pressure and this is the most sensitive area on our body
  • acne treatment
  • serum
  • moisturizer with SPF at least 30, I opt for the ones with SPF 50 in the summer because my skin reddens easily and SPF 30 during the rest of the year

Don’t forget about your neck area either.

1. TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum

The TruSkin Naturals is a very affordable impressively good Vit. C serum.

It contains a derivative of vitamin C, called Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP).

It has 20% vitamin C, just the perfect percentage.

It’s an impressive vitamin C derivative that has not only shown the common benefits that an antioxidant brings to the skin but it is also regarded as a good ingredient for fighting and preventing acne.

I’ve read a lot of info on SAP, all there is available at the moment since this is a newer derivative and it made me so eager to recommend the TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum.

It’s so totally worth it and affordable!

The rest of the ingredients sound just as good:

  • organic aloe vera
  • vitamin E
  • and hyaluronic acid

It’s paraben-free, it contains the synthetic preservative Phenoxyethanol, and fragrance-free.

Also, this serum is 98% natural and 72% organic.

It just as good as it sounds and a perfect Vit C serum from my point of view.

There are two options:

  • 1 fl oz (30 ml)
  • and 2 fl oz (60 ml), which is a size rarely found when it comes to Vit. C serums, if you buy this one you save a bit of money

Since it contains SAP, which is a stable form of Vit. C that won’t oxidize and go bad in a couple of months, then you are safe to buy the 2 oz option.

2. Skinceuticals C E Ferulic

Why am I choosing the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic as one of my recommendations for the best vitamin C serum?

It’s a very good skin care product.

There’s no doubt about that.

But it’s 10 times more expensive than most of the serums that are on the market at the moment.

Yes, you read that right.

10x more expensive, that’s definitely not a typo.

As always,

The first question that popes in my mind is “Why?” and then “Is it actually worth all that impressive amount of money?”

Let’s see.

Obviously, since I don’t have that kind of money lying around and it’s an amount that I only consider spending on clothes, I already have my answer.

But my answer is not your answer. I’ll let you reach your own conclusions.

I’ve chosen to include the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic because it intrigues me in all the good ways if I forget about the price tag.

It excites me and makes me dream about it.

And it’s recommended by top dermatologists.

Those are good enough reasons for delving a little deeper.

Besides the vitamin C as an oxidant, the Skinceuticals has two more: vitamin E and ferulic acid.

The composition is made of:

  • 15% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid)
  • 1% vitamin E (alpha tocopherol)
  • and 0.5% ferulic acid

A combination of vitamin C with vitamin E and ferulic acid, increases the effectiveness of the serum eight-fold.

The bottle contains 1 fluid oz (30 ml).

The impressive thing is that the serum remains active for at least 72 hours.

It’s paraben-free and fragrance-free but it has Phenoxyethanol in its list of ingredients, a synthetic preservative.

It’s easily absorbed by the skin.

3. Dr. Brenner Vitamin C Serum

If you want the 10 times less expensive alternative to the above product, then there you have it.

I know, it’s incredible!

This serum from Dr. Brenner is amazing.

It contains:

  • 20% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid)
  • 1% vitamin E (alpha tocopherol)
  • 1% Hyaluronic Acid (Sodium Hyaluronate)
  • and 0.5% ferulic acid


It has a very high concentration of vitamin C in the desired pure form.

Besides that, it contains two other antioxidants: vitamin E and ferulic acid.

Not only that, but it also has some hyaluronic acid. The HA retains the moisture in the body and keeps collagen synthesis up.

It’s already found in our bodies so you know it’s good for you. It’s a desired ingredient for fighting wrinkles and keeping fine lines from turning into permanent wrinkles.

There’s also a pure hyaluronic acid serum from Dr. Brenner, if you’re interested.

With this best vitamin C serum, your skin will be protected from sun damage and pollution, while being hydrated and stimulating collagen and elastin production.


Don’t forget to use a moisturizer and sunscreen before leaving the house, no matter the season.

It’s paraben-free, it contains Phenoxyethanol, which is a synthetic preservative.

It’s also fragrance-free.

There’s not much else you can ask for.

But there is one more thing: it has the perfect 3.2 pH to make it as effective as it can get.

Dr. Brenner acknowledges that the SkinCeuticals have helped develop this formula of pure vitamin C with vitamin E and ferulic acid.

The bottle is the typical dark color that you can expect from good serums and it measures the typical 1 oz (30 ml).

I’m so excited to let you know about this really cheap serum that’s so impressive.

4. Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum

The Image Skincare serum is definitely a bit unusual.

You’ll see what I mean if you compare the review for this one with my other best vitamin C serum reviews.

I actually like this one a lot, very much.

It’s a bit atypical, which is very good.

You can find so many serums that have the same ingredients, only the brand differs but otherwise they’re all copies of each other.

That’s not the case with the Image Skincare serum.


It doesn’t look like your typical serum, there’s no dark color bottle.

This one looks more like an eye cream.


The list of ingredients is surprising and that’s what matters:

  • Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate
  • Ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid as it is also know
  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP)
  • Ascorbyl palmitate
  • vitamin E
  • and hyaluronic acid

Other ingredients include grape seed extract, algae extract, and green tea.

As you can see, there are a lot of forms of vitamin C, a lot of derivatives.

That’s what surprising about this serum and it’s why I’m so excited about including it among my selection of the best vitamin C serums.

It’s perfect for all skin types, whether you’re acne prone, have dry skin, sensitive skin, or you are post-treatment or you have sun-damaged skin.

It’s best to use this serum or your preferred vitamin C serum to avoid having sun-damaged skin or skin affected by pollution or dry skin.


The tube measures 1.7 fl oz (50 ml) instead of the typical 1 fl oz.

It’s a bit expensive but a very good product, you would be totally satisfied with it.

Image Skincare has an entire line constructed around vitamin C and it’s extended benefits.

There’s a facial cleanser, a repair cream with ceramids for irritated and dry skin, an intense moisturizer, an eye recovery gel, and even an enzyme mask for rosacea-prone skin.

All these skin care products are just as good as this serum, Image Skincare is definitely a brand that takes skin care seriously.

5. COUI Super C serum

The COUI Super C serum is actually great for those with sensitive skin.

It covers all the important aspects that are expected from the best vitamin C serum:

  • protection from sun damage and from pollution
  • stimulating collagen production
  • adding plumpness to the skin
  • brightening of the skin
  • diminishing acne scars

It has a high concentration of 20% vitamin C.

Some of the ingredients are:

  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP) a Vit. C derivative
  • epidermal growth factor (EGF), which is an ingredient that none of the above skincare product has, whose role is in synthesizing new collagen growth and it has interesting healing and cell regeneration properties so it’s definitely great for scars healing
  • hydrolyzed collagen
  • marine kelp for its intense hydrating effects
  • hyaluronic acid

The COUI Super C serum is definitely amazing and it has a pretty affordable price!

Types of Vitamin C Serums for Face

Types of serumsIt sounds a bit weird to explain the obvious differences between Vit C. serums as types of Vit. C serums but for lack of a better way of putting it, I’m going to stick to that.

It basically comes down to

  • whether the serum contains L-ascorbic acid
  • or whether it’s based on a derivative

There are many good vitamin C derivatives that deliver the same benefits as the L-ascorbic acid so there’s nothing to worry about.

Either type is good as long as you pay attention to the other ingredients that are listed on the bottle.

When it comes to these derivatives there’s a lot of chemistry involved but I’ll try to sum up everything from you.


I’ll sum up many many pages in a few sentences because we’re all interested in how good these derivatives are good for our skin not on the complicated explanations on why they’re so good.

Let’s see which are the most frequent used vitamin C derivatives:

  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP) it is a bit less potent than L-ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C), it’s water-soluble and it is especially known for its skin brightening benefits
  • Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP) is a relatively new derivative of vitamin C so not a lot is known about this particular one but it’s a stable water-soluble form of vitamin C and besides being an antioxidant and bringing all those benefits, the SAP has also shown a real talent in preventing and treating acne. It’s also more stable than MAP and other derivatives.
  • Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is oil-soluble (which should help it to better penetrate the skin), unlike the pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and it’s very effective in combination with other derivatives and retinol, those combinations offer enhanced effectiveness in stimulating collagen production and overall protecting the skin from sun damage and the environment. It’s an impressive derivative because it’s lipid-soluble and it can penetrate the dermis for stimulating collagen production
  • Ascorbyl palmitate is another lipid-soluble Vit. C derivative, which means that it penetrates the skin more easily where it can deliver the benefits of using this vitamin and its amazing anti-aging and skin protection abilities

The serums that contain L-ascorbic acid must have a ph of around 2.0 to 3.0, that’s the ideal number.

The ones with derivatives like SAP should have an ideal ph of 7.0.

Benefits of Using Vitamin C Serums for Face

benefits of vitamin c serums for face

I’m still amazed by the many benefits brought by a good vitamin C serum.

I’ve experienced so many.

I don’t have pigmentation problems but other than I’ve seen how my facial skin has looked for so many years and I couldn’t be happier.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant.

Let’s see what you can expect:

  • it protects against both UVB and UVA rays
  • brightened skin
  • protection against the environment
  • it fights pigmentation and dullness, it can be combined with other agents like soy and liquorice for a better depigmenting effect
  • it provides protection against city pollution
  • it also protects the skin against certain types of radiation (like infrared) that the sunscreen can’t
  • freshening and brightening effect
  • more even skin tone
  • reduction in collagen breakdown and increased collagen production
  • tighter firmer skin

UVB rays are responsible for causing skin cancer since they attack the superficial layers of the skin, while UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, causing skin aging and wrinkling by destroying collagen and elastin.

It is highly important to combine your vitamin C serum with a sunscreen to make a shield against any harmful factors.

I also started using it for my acne scars.

It has healing properties and it has definitely helped my skin with it healing process.

Time is always a factor when it comes to scars but before using a serum I have spent plenty of money on creams that were made specifically for healing skin and fading scars and it always seemed that they made my breakouts even worse.


In combination with the Aztec Indian clay mask used once a week, those two have really done wonders for my scars, many have faded and are long gone.


I add vitamin E and vitamin A to my argan oil, which has been my sole moisturizer for many years now.

Those antioxidants combined have made my skin look healthy, plump, and without many fine lines around the eyes.

Smokers have also been found to have low levels of vitamin C in the dermis so you should definitely take notice of that.

When You Should Apply Your Best Vitamin C Serum

The natural conclusion is that you should definitely apply a vitamin C serum before leaving the house.

But don’t forget about sunscreen.

A combination of sunscreen and the best vitamin C serum is guaranteed to keep your skin safe from sun damage and pollution.

You should never skip it as part of your morning routine.

A vitamin C serum should be part of your night routine but don’t rely solely on it.


You can opt to use vitamin C in the morning and in the evening you can choose a stronger ingredient for fighting wrinkles.

I’m talking about vitamin A or retinol, which increases collage production, bolsters skin elasticity, and lightens spots caused by sun exposure.

Tips for Choosing the Best Vitamin C Serum for Face

Tip 1: Look for pure L-ascorbic acid

The most important aspect when shopping for the best vitamin C serum obviously refers to the main ingredients.

People should always look for pure L-ascorbic acid.

The percentage is important too: higher percentages of 15% or 20% are the numbers to look for.

Tip 2: The alternative to pure L-ascorbic acid

There are derivatives used instead of the pure L-ascorbic acid.

Even if they are derivatives, they are just as good.

They still preserve the antioxidant properties that make vitamin C serum so popular around the globe and so recommended by all specialists.

They are amazing and you can be completely sure that even if you don’t get a serum that contains pure Vit. C you’re still going to enjoy the same benefits, just delivered by a derivative.

Tip 3: Make sure you have a quality product

There’s a very simple way in which you can easily tell if you have the right product or not.

It’s best on the color of the serum.


The liquid should be a very pale yellow. And there shouldn’t be any smell, it’s nearly odorless.

When it’s exposed to heat and light, the oxidation kicks in, which in time turns the very pale yellow liquid into a darker yellow and ultimately orange.

That’s why the bottle is colored.

It’s also recommended to store your serums in a cool and dry place, usually the fridge is the most frequent storage place.

In the bathroom there’s always a variance in temperature and humidity, which can decrease the benefits of this skin care product and they can alter the concentration levels.

Tip 4: Shelf life

Once the bottle is opened, it would be best to use it within 3 months.

Considering that the bottles measure 1 fluid oz (30 ml), I even doubt that a serum will last that long. Not if you’re applying it twice daily.

Don’t longer use it if the color reaches a dark brown.

Is Vitamin C Serum Good for Acne?

That’s a frequent question from people suffering from breakouts and it’s one I understand perfectly.

After all,

It’s what I also wondered when I first considered buying my first bottle.

Can Vitamin C serum give you pimples?

If it’s the right one with the right ingredients, then it won’t give you pimples.

It’s all about checking out the ingredients.

It has actually helped with my breakouts and my acne scars have definitely faded.

I also have sensitive skin and I haven’t suffered from any irritation, either.

Final Thoughts


There are many skin care products out there, some even cost reasonable prices.

Others, are outrageously expensive but they’re fantastically good, too.

I’ve tried to share with you everything I know on this subject, hopefully I was able to help you with finding the best vitamin C serum for you.