Vitamin C is one of the greatest ingredients of beauty and should play a key role in your skin care routine now and always.
The powerful vitamin, or ascorbic acid – one of its best-known derivatives – is an antioxidant that can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, pigmentation, redness, and brighten your skin over time.
A typical concentration of vitamin C found in beauty products tends to be around 10-15 percent.
However, if you are just starting out or for those with sensitive skin, you should choose products with a lower concentration before you build up your tolerance and switch to a higher dose. Don’t underestimate the power of the lower percentages as research suggests you can still benefit from lower concentrations.
Skin consultant Dr Justine Kluk emphasizes its importance, “Vitamin C, sunscreen and retinol or retinoids (the prescription form of vitamin A) form the backbone of many long-term skin care plans for my patients.”
You should also pay special attention to how you store vitamin C. Choose serums in an opaque, airtight bottle and keep the cap airtight to prevent vitamin C from oxidizing and turning brown – if that happens, it’s time to throw it out and start over new.
For a fast track to a fresher, firmer and more radiant complexion, here’s how to incorporate it into your skincare routine.
SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic
A beauty editor’s favorite and endorsed by several peer-reviewed scientific journals, CE Ferulic by SkinCeuticals is a luxurious and powerful formula containing a powerful blend of antioxidants.
The best vitamin C products contain multiple antioxidants that work together, and the combination of ferulic acid, vitamin E, and vitamin C in this formula is hard to beat.
Yes, it’s expensive, but it actually brightens your skin, lightens dark spots and reduces fine lines. You only need a pea-sized amount of the product for your entire face, too, and the bottle should last six to eight months.
It’s also very light and absorbs easily, so you can layer makeup on top without it feeling too cakey.
Buy Now £145.00, Skinceuticals
Murad Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum 30ml
Glow in a bottle. We swear by this serum from Murad for its megawatt radiance effect. The supercharged face serum also counteracts the effects of free radicals such as pollution and UV light, reduces hyperpigmentation and evens out skin tone.
It uses a combination of vitamin C with glycolic acid – the latter buffs away dead skin to maximize the former to penetrate deeper and maximize the brightening effect. The innovative housing has two chambers with an internal air-free space to deliver the precise dose and ensure the product’s potency.
Buy Now £74.00 Look Amazing
Lumene Nordic-C Glow Boost Essence Serum
This magical vitamin C-based serum leaves skin feeling instantly silky smooth and glowing from within. From Nordic brand Lumene, it is powered by natural ingredients with an antioxidant-rich formula from Wild Arctic Cloudberry, Pure Arctic Water, two types of hyaluronic acid and, of course, vitamin C.
Buy Now £23.90, FeelUnique
Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Face Primer
As a retailer of vitamin C in skin care, it is difficult to choose just one product from Ole Henriksen’s extensive range. You will immediately notice the frequency of the powerful ingredient in the products, taking a leading role in the beloved Banana Bright and Truth serums as well as the Eye Creme and Primer.
Buy Now £24.00, Boots
PSA SKIN Light Up Vitamin C and E Flash Brightening Mask
Get your Vitamin C skin care fix in mask form with a brightening hit delivered when you need it. How, do we hear you cry? With PSA Skin, the younger—and more affordable—sister to the beauty editor’s favorite Allies of Skin brand (whose Vitamin C serum also deserves your attention).
Apply the thick formula after cleansing and leave on for five minutes. Rinse and prepare for a serious glow. The product combines nourishing hyaluronic acid, 2 percent collagen-boosting vitamin E, antimicrobial grape seed oil and 11 percent antioxidant L-ascorbic acid (a form of vitamin C), which also reduces the appearance of discoloration and scarring.
Buy Now £31.00, looks amazing
The ink list Vitamin C serum
With a no-nonsense approach to skin care, The Inkey List is available with clear, simple products at affordable prices. With vitamin C at its center, this serum can be a godsend for those who are usually irritated by the ingredient. It packs a powerful antioxidant punch, brightening and smoothing your skin as it goes. The formula also has collagen-boosting properties, so your skin will look plump and youthful.
Buy Now £8.49, Cult Beauty
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
When Drunk Elephant arrived from across the pond, beauty fans everywhere lined up to get their hands on the iconic skincare label that includes this powerful vitamin C-based product.
C-Firma has anti-aging properties and is designed to brighten, plump and hydrate your skin. Specifically targeting uneven skin tones, 15 percent ascorbic acid will brighten your skin while minimizing pores.
If you have particularly dry skin and want to try one of the best in Vitamin C skincare, this is well worth the money.
Buy Now £66.00, Space NK
LIXIRSKIN Vitamin C Paste
Housed in minimalist packaging, LIXIRSKIN Vitamin C paste is a mask that packs a punch. The wash-off treatment has a paste-like consistency (the clue is in the name) over a traditional cream where a little goes a long way. Containing a concentration of 10 percent ascorbic acid, rub a pea-sized amount into your hands to warm the formula and apply all over your face. Leave for a few minutes for brighter and firmer skin.
If you have a lot of products in your beauty kit already and don’t really need another serum, this is an excellent product to get the quick benefits of vitamin C without splurging too much.
Buy Now £25.60 Look Amazing
Sunday Riley CEO Rapid Flash Brightening Serum
Cult brand Sunday Riley’s CEO Brightening Serum is designed as a fast-acting solution for dull and tired skin.
The sumptuous cream may feel thick upon application, but it absorbs quickly, leaving your skin looking fuller with just a single pump. Containing a derivative of vitamin C, tetrahexyldecylascorbate, the formula helps fight unevenness, hyperpigmentation and reduces pore size. It also has a lovely orangey scent and is a knockout product for very dull skin and long flights.
Buy Now £70.00, Space NK
The usual vitamin C suspension 23% + HA spheres 2% 30ml
Offering results without a hefty price tag, The Ordinary is loved for its purse-friendly prices, but don’t underestimate the power of the formula. The product has a slightly gritty, exfoliating texture due to the L-ascorbic acid powder and is designed to be the last step in your beauty routine. The grainy texture isn’t for everyone, but the price tag might convince you otherwise.
Buy Now £6.00, Beauty Bay
Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster
Expect noticeable results when you start using this Paula’s Choice Vitamin C booster. The product contains highly concentrated 15 per cent pure vitamin C and should be applied after the cleanser and toner as a solo treatment or mixed in with the moisturiser. It has many of the same ingredients as the best from SkinCeuticals and will certainly be an excellent addition to anyone’s beauty routine.
Buy Now £49.00, Cult Beauty
Biossance Squalane and Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum 30ml
Biossance is known for its distinctive use of squalane, a powerful ingredient that mimics the moisturizing oils found naturally in the body. This must-have serum is souped up with the addition of a white shiitake mushroom blend to tackle dark spots and correct discoloration. The vitamin C does its part to give a radiant complexion.
Buy Now £48.00, Cult Beauty
Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Daily Brightening & Exfoliating Peel
Perricone MD adds a new innovation to its range of science-backed skin care products. This no-rinse peel puts vitamin C front and center for that post-holiday glow. It also acts as a gentle exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and even out texture, but remains gentle enough to be used every day. The blend also consists of AHAs such as glycolic acid and PHA, including five fruit-derived extracts.
Buy Now £59.00, FeelUnique
Trilogy Vitamin C Ceramide night cream
While you’re getting your eight hours of restorative sleep, lather on this night cream from Trilogy and maximize the antioxidant goodness of its star ingredient. The brand has put vitamin C front and center with radiance-promoting kakadu plum. This ingredient is further enriched with ceramides and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration, as well as the brand’s signature rosehip seed oil, jojoba oil and cocoa seed butter for moisturizing and rich nourishment. Continuous use will give you a brighter tone, less tired skin and a more even complexion.
Buy Now £29.96, Cosmetify
Kate Somerville +Retinol Vitamin C Moisturizer
When it comes to powerful ingredients, Kate Somerville has packed this product with two of the most sought after. First and foremost is the anti-ageing star that is retinol – a vitamin A derivative whose toning and fine line-minimizing effects have been very well documented. Then you have ascorbic acid, a pure form of vitamin C that provides a radiance boost that few others can compare to.
Due to the active nature of the ingredients, you should see the effect right away, but to avoid irritation or overloading your skin, start applying every other night and work up.
Buy Now £84.00 Kate Somerville
Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C + Ferulic Dark Spot Serum
This supercharged serum from K Beauty’s favorite Glow Recipe tackles texture, tone and clarity. The South Korean-born brand uses fruit and fruit-derived ingredients as a brand signature. It is guava that takes a leading role in this product, which is combined with some seriously buzzy components. The cocktail includes anti-aging vitamin A, glow boosting vitamin C, free radical fighting ferulic acid, nourishing vitamin E and refreshing acids to give you smooth and glowing skin with minimization of hyperpigmentation.
The pastel pink hue may not give the impression that this is a hard-working and efficient product, but you’d be wrong to judge a book by its cover.
Buy Now £41.00, Cult Beauty
Dermalogica Circular Hydration Serum
From the indecisive weather to masks, it’s no wonder our skin constantly feels dry and dehydrated. Enter Dermalogica’s latest launch designed to pack critical hydration back into our parched skin. Circular Hydration Serum is designed to replenish lost moisture with hyaluronic acid in the heart. There’s also algae extract and polyglutamic acid to boost the moisturizing benefits and plant-derived sugars and a blend of amino acids to provide long-lasting moisture.
Buy Now £55.00, Space NK
Our top choice goes to SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic for its patented formula and proven results. It is an industry leader for a reason and a highly effective vitamin C product.