Vitamin C is usually taken to strengthen the immune system. But did you know that it also does wonders to your skin? Vitamin C serums are receiving all the claps and raves from the skincare world nowadays. Why? Simply because it lightens the skin and reduces wrinkles. Plus, it caters to all skin types. It's a wonderful product that will solve and prevent your skin woes.
We've compiled a list of the best vitamin C serums from brands like Garnier, Kiehl's, and Olay. If you're having a hard time choosing which vitamin serum to get depending on the concentration and other factors, you can read the buying guide—with comments and tips from Dr. Mara Evangelista-Huber. Find the perfect vitamin C serum that will get you glowing skin with a youthful complexion!
Dr. Mara Padilla Evangelista-Huber is a board-certified dermatologist, a dermatopathologist (a specialist who diagnoses skin under a microscope) trained in the University of California San Francisco, with a Masters in Clinical Trials from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is particularly interested in skincare because, other than being a dermatologist, her research background encourages her to filter through the skincare hype. She enjoys looking through available medical evidence to provide evidence-based recommendations and loves busting common skincare myths in her social medial profiles. Dr. Huber practices at Levana Dermatology Clinic, Eastwood Avenue, Quezon City. She offers teleconsultation services as well.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
Table of Contents
Vitamin C serums are full of free radical-fighting antioxidants that help in the regeneration of skin cells and the reparation of damaged ones. They also have skin-healing properties that accelerate the production of collagen and promote skin elasticity. In addition, vitamin C serums are brightening agents that hinder hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Vitamin C has multiple beneficial effects. First, it is a powerful antioxidant that protects us from free radicals or substances that can damage our skin cells and cause premature skin aging. It also has photoprotective effects, shielding us against the damaging effects of the sun’s rays on skin, including wrinkles, dark spots, rough skin texture, and many more.
Vitamin C can also increase collagen production, keeping skin plump and improving skin elasticity and texture. Lastly, it inhibits tyrosinase, a key enzyme in the production of melanin (the pigment responsible for our skin color), making it helpful for fading hyperpigmentation and brightening overall skin tone.
Not all vitamin C serums are created equally. The strength or concentration of vitamin C acid varies per brand so it is vital to know the best percentage for your skin type. In this section, you will know if a higher or lower concentration would benefit you more.
For people who have normal skin or specific skin concerns such as dark spots and wrinkles, the best concentration to opt for is anywhere 10% to 20%. Higher concentration means better and quicker effects, but a bottle usually costs a lot more.
Ascorbic acid is most effective between 10-20%. There is a much higher risk of irritation (with no meaningful improvement in benefit) in concentrations > 20%.
While vitamin C is relatively safe for all skin types, a higher concentration could be irritating for those who have sensitive skin. With that, beginners may opt for a 3% to 5% concentration to introduce the serum to their skin. Once your skin is used to it, you may gradually try going for a higher one. Just like you would with any product, always remember to do a patch test first to see if it’s safe for your skin.
Those with sensitive skin may want to start closer to 5%.
Although vitamin C alone is proven to be beneficial, adding it with other ingredients makes the formula more potent and powerful. For instance, vitamin E, niacinamide, and galactomyces have antioxidant properties while alpha hydroxy acid or AHA like glycolic acid aids in exfoliation. Sea buckthorn water and collagen reduce signs of aging like wrinkles, lines, and sagging skin.
If you have acne-prone skin, try a vitamin C serum with salicylic acid to zap existing zits and fight future breakouts. Ingredients like ceramide, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, glycerin, and sodium hyaluronate help the skin maintain its elasticity and keeps it moisturized. In order to further lighten and brighten the skin, consider a vitamin C serum with phyto-luminescent extract.
Ingredients that work best with vitamin C are those that complement its effects and increase its stability. Vitamin E and ferulic acid increase the anti-oxidant effects of L-Ascorbic Acid and increase its stability.
The presence of other beneficial ingredients like green tea (anti-oxidant) and hyaluronic acid (humectant/hydrating ingredient) is also a plus! Using sunscreen is always an excellent idea as both sunscreens and vitamin C aim to protect against the harmful rays of the sun.
To ensure that you are only putting the good ingredients in your body, read the product labels to check if there are any added parabens and fragrances. Avoid ingredients such as methylparaben, ethylparaben, phenoxyethanol, glyceryl caprylate, parfum, and fragrance as these may irritate your skin.
Parabens are preservatives used to control the growth of microbes in skincare products and prolong a product’s shelf life. These compounds are safe in the amounts found in skincare products. I recommend avoidance of parabens only in those with a known allergy or sensitivity to it.
The same is true for fragrance in products. Although fragrance may cause skin reactions in some individuals, it does not affect the majority of people. It is best avoided in individuals with underlying skin conditions (e.g., skin asthma and other types of eczema) and those with allergy or sensitivity to it. Otherwise, it remains a personal choice.
A vitamin C serum that is in a clear bottle does not reap the same benefits as one that’s in a tinted dark bottle stored in a cool, dry place. Vitamin C is usually colorless to yellow, and when exposed to sunlight, its color changes and the formula becomes unstable. This change may be harmful to the skin so when you see that your serum has changed its color, know that it is already time to toss it.
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Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum
Vitamin C Serum that Protects Your Skin from Pollution and Sunlight
Vitamin C Serum
Natural, Organic, and Filipino-Made Moisturizing Vitamin C Serum
C-Firma™ Day Serum
Your Daytime, Long-Wearing Vitamin C Serum
Some by Mi
Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Serum
Low Concentration Serum for Beginners
Peter Thomas Roth
Potent-C Power Serum
Combat Early Signs of Aging in Just 7 Days
Light Complete Vitamin C Serum (For Dark Spots)
Eradicate Dark Spots in 3 Days With 30X Vitamin C
Fade & Brighten Vitamin C 10% + Niacinamide Youth Elixir Serum
An All-Natural and Budget-Friendly Vitamin C Serum for Sensitive Skin
Pure Vitamin C 21.5% Advanced Serum
High Concentration Serum for Maximum Results
Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate
A Potent Serum That Combats Wrinkles and Age Lines
Vitamin C Serum
Skin-Perfecting Serum for a Non-Greasy Glow
Pollution and UV light can damage the skin, accelerate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and darken spots even more. This vitamin C serum from Murad boasts its potent formula of gold-stabilized vitamin C combined with glycolic acid and phyto-luminescent extract which makes it easily absorbed by the skin.
Its main ingredients all work together to help you get smoother, radiant, and youthful skin. It is also formulated without any artificial colors, fragrances, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, gluten, and animal-derived ingredients. Therefore, it is guaranteed safe for all skin types - balanced, oily, combination, dry, or sensitive.
Bid bye to acne scars, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles, and say hello to a renewed, younger and revitalized skin! This vitamin C serum will erase most, if not all, of your skin worries with its natural and organic ingredients that include 18% ethyl ascorbic acid, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, vitamin E, and AHA.
By applying this serum religiously in the AM and PM after cleansing, your skin will be healthy, radiant, and moisturized in no time! However, since the concentration is 18%, those who have sensitive skin may experience minor irritation. If your skin is still adjusting, keep the application at a maximum of 3 times per week before switching back to once to twice a day.
Reviewers rave about this product because they immediately saw results after a few days of using this product. One reviewer mentioned that it's a cheaper alternative to high-end brands and it delivers the same result. It's a steal for the price!
Level up your AM routine with the C-Firma™ Day Serum from Drunk Elephant that is guaranteed to make your skin look fresher, smoohther, firmer, more hydrated, and even! This product packs a punch of antioxidants that will aid in mending the skin damage, stress, and aging, brought about by harmful UV rays and free radicals.
The C-Firma™ formulation stays active on the skin for up to 72 hours so it won't budge even if you rub or wash it off. Now that's what you call value for money! Drunk Elephant states that this serum only uses pure 15% L-ascorbic acid, best used fresh so although it might be tempting, stocking bottles may not be a good idea!
To achieve quick and substantial results, high concentration serums are ideal. But for beginners who want to transition slowly and test if it works on you, try this vitamin C serum from Some by Mi, which has a 3% concentration. All you need is one drop of this vitamin C serum in your morning skincare routine and another for the evening to achieve a healthy glass-skin glow.
Aside from vitamin C, this serum includes 75% galactomyces ferment filtrate, a by-product of fermented sake, mostly used in Japanese and Korean skincare and cosmetic products because of its ability to smoothen, whiten, and moisturize the skin to remove wrinkles and lines.
This serum features 20% vitamin C in the form of tetrahexyldecyl (THD) ascorbate, which is said to be 50x more powerful and can easily penetrate the skin compared to L-ascorbic acid. Even if this has a high concentration, it is fragrance-free and non-irritating.
If you apply 1 to 2 pumps of the serum twice a day, your skin will appear younger in just 7 days. Its formula is also boosted with two kinds of antioxidants: 3% vitamin E and 2% ferulic acid which both dynamically work to further enhance the benefits of vitamin C, especially in their anti-aging properties.
All these ingredients combined provide a rich and powerful serum that addresses wrinkles and fine lines, lightens dark spots, and boosts skin elasticity in just 7 days!
Dealing with acne is definitely a chore. After the acne pops, the struggle doesn't end there because dark spots and acne scars appear and take time to heal. Well, we've got good news for you. Garnier's Light Complete Vitamin C Serum specifically targets and fades stubborn dark spots in just 3 days.
With continued use of this product, your skin will become lighter and spotless. The serum has 30X the power of vitamin C and is quick-absorbing to penetrate the skin deeply, so you will see visible results in a jiff. Best of all, this is suitable for all skin types, especially for those with sensitive skin.
This vitamin C serum from Be Organic will lead you straight to the fountain of youth. With the infusion of niacinamide and hyaluronic acid into vitamin C, your skin will become super hydrated. It can also fade age and dark spots, smoothen out fine lines and wrinkles, aid in collagen production for a youthful glow, and counter the aging process.
Its 10% concentration may be potent, but it is all-natural and does not contain any synthetic fillers, so it is safe for all skin types. For acne-prone skin, this serum is beneficial as its antioxidant properties can reduce pores, manage oil production, and diminish inflammation and redness to ward off breakouts.
Deliver a boost of hydration to your skin without the sticky feeling, even out complexion, and eliminate dead skin cells all the same time with this highly-concentrated 21.5% vitamin c serum. This product also includes sea buckthorn water, an ingredient known for its hydrating, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties.
One reviewer of this product mentioned that this is her "holy grail" serum and that she always goes back to it even after trying more expensive ones. Do take note that since this serum has a high concentration, it is highly likely that you will feel a stinging sensation once applied to the face.
Kiehl's has been one of the leading skincare companies since 1851 because they give you concrete solutions to your skin problems. If your skin is dull and starting to develop age lines, you need a boost of vitamin C to bring out the radiance. It features immediately visible improvements in skin texture with its 12.5% concentration combined with hyaluronic acid.
With continued use of this product, deep-set wrinkles and lines will be decreased, the skin will become firm and supple, and pores will be minimized and smoother. Compared to other serums, this has a lotion-like texture that many like, especially those with dry skin.
This vitamin C serum from Mario Badescu features its 7.5% concentration combined with sodium hyaluronate, and collagen that will help your skin achieve a brighter complexion, improved texture, boosted radiance, and an everlasting glow.
It is recommended to be used at night when your skin has fewer products on it so you can ensure maximum absorption for optimal benefits. Most reviewers of this vitamin C serum love that their skin immediately had a glow to it even if they have been using it for only a few days.
They say that their skin's texture has greatly improved and it has a "non-greasy" glow. However, this is not advisable for people who have sensitive and acne-prone skin because of the lavender and fragrance content.
Below, Dr. Mara answers some of the most asked questions online!
Applying vitamin C serum can be done either in the morning or the evening. Consistency is key, so it’s best to apply the serum at a time you believe is practical and sustainable for you.
While some Vitamin C formulations require once-daily applications, others with lower concentrations may be used twice daily. Follow the directions on the product label.
Individuals vary in their skin types and tolerance. That being said, there is always a potential for reactions when multiple potentially irritating active ingredients are used in the same routine, e.g., alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, vitamin A derivatives (e.g., retinoids, retinol), benzoyl peroxide, etc.
When using other potentially irritating actives in your skincare routine, it is a good idea to use them at different times to decrease the chance of developing skin reactions, i.e., using Vitamin C during the day, then tretinoin at night.
How to take care of your Vitamin C serum:
Caring for your skin is a form of self-love that's why it's important to acquire the essential products for every step of your skincare routine. If you're puzzled, not knowing where to start your search, you're in luck! Browse our other articles for the top 10 list and buying guide for facial sunscreens, clay masks, and face moisturisers for oily skin.
Author: I Honda
Re-editor: Patricia Catimpo
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
No. 1: Murad | Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum
No. 2: Wildleaf | Vitamin C Serum
No. 3: Drunk Elephant | C-Firma™ Day Serum | 28ml
No. 4: Some by Mi | Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Serum
No. 5: Peter Thomas Roth | Potent-C Power Serum
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When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
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