28 Best Vitamin C Serums 2022 For a Brighter Complexion
Whether you’re dealing with hyperpigmentation, skin dullness, dark marks, or sagging skin, seeking out the best vitamin C serum can help address all of the above. For many of us, the antioxidant has become a mainstay in a thoughtful beauty regimen. “I look at vitamin C as that little black dress in your closet. It’s definitely one of those things you must have. It works to boost circulation, amplify the skin’s complexion, and stimulate collagen production,” founder of Dermasaa and in-house esthetician at Brooklyn Face & Eye Samantha Mims tells Vogue.
For those reasons, Mims has a few go-tos that she recommends to her clients: Epi.logic’s Daily Dose Serum, Skin Regimen’s 15.0 Vitamin C Booster, and the Solavedi Organics Rx Remedy. “Each treatment serum is developed to address concerns associated with aging,” she notes. Mims adds that there’s not necessarily a right or wrong way when it comes to applying the serum– what’s more important is what you do afterwards. “Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from environmental factors such as pollution and UV light. So whether you’re deciding to use your serum in the morning, evening, or both, it’s important you’re following up with a layer of broad spectrum sunscreen daily.” Celebrity esthetician Vanessa Marc, of Vanessa Marc Spa—who counts Jasmine Tookes, Alton Mason, and Justine Skye as clients—recommends Teami Blends Vitamin C Serum because “it has hibiscus and vitamin C in it. This product is all natural which makes it vegan, plant-based, and cruelty free.”
As for Dr. Paula Bourelly, a dermatologist at Olney Dermatology Associates, she recommends products with ingredients like arbutin and ubiquinone, as they both have “brightening properties which help to lighten brown spots, and as antioxidants the ascorbic acid and tocopherol add another layer of defense to traditional sunscreens.” Replenix Vitamin C Pro Collagen Serum is her favorite product to recommend to her patients who struggle with hyperpigmentation issues like melasma and freckling. She suggests using it in the morning before applying SPF 30 or higher.
Here, 28 options to help you find the best vitamin C serum to give your skin the radiance boost it deserves.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid
“Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is the gold standard and works well for those with dry skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama. This vitamin C serum delivers environmental protection, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, improves firmness, and brightens.
La Roche-Posay 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum
“La Roche-Posay’s 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum is an affordable option that leaves skin protected and radiant without irritation,” says Hartman. While the price is alluring, what truly sets this apart is its cocktail of pure vitamin C paired with salicylic acid and neurosensine to refine skin texture and tone on the face and neck without harming sensitive skin.
iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus
This iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus delivers skin protection, as well as treatment of acne, rosacea, contact dermatitis, and insect bites through time-released vitamin C and a blend of botanicals.
Beauty Stat Universal C Skin Refiner
Founded by cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson, this serum contains vitamin C in its purest form, with a unique patented formula of stable 20% pure vitamin C and stable epigallocatechin gallate, which is a skin-aiding ingredient found in green tea. The two ingredients work well together to prevent signs of aging, alongside squalane for moisture and tartaric acid which helps the skin absorb product more easily. New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss is a fan of the formula too because “it is a patented version of stabilized 20% L Ascorbic Acid (or vitamin C) that does not oxidize,” though she recommends approaching it with caution because of the high concentration.
Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster
This serum contains 15% pure vitamin C, offering distinctly brighter skin on uneven tones while also dispelling signs of aging.
True Botanicals Vitamin C Booster
Wave goodbye to dark spots and dull skin when you incorporate True Botanical’s booster. Powered by vitamin C and ferulic acid, this works to support skin cell turnover and keep skin healthy. Just mix some of the powder with your favorite water-based serum or moisturizer.
Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Collagen Protecting & Brightening Serum
This cruelty-free and vegan serum has a non-irritating form of Vitamin C paired with tri-peptides which work together to protect collagen from damage.
Isdin Isdinceutics Flavo-C Ultraglican Ampoules
“Although primarily a vitamin C product, the hyaluronic acid in this serum adds to its appeal,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King. “The sealed tinted glass ampules protect the vitamin C from exposure to air and light. And the addition of hyaluronic acid and proteoglicans makes the formulation very hydrating. The texture is light and the subtle fragrance is clean and refreshing.”
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum
This serum, which targets fine lines and elasticity, is packed with fruit enzymes which help to firm and brighten the skin. Even more, this is a top-pick amongst Vogue editors too.
Hyper Skin Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum
Hyper Skin is a brand “hyper-focused on treating the needs of people of color,” says founder Desiree Verdejo. The line’s debut product, Hyper Clear, helps to heal hyperpigmentation while simultaneously enhancing glow with its blend of vitamin C, vitamin E, kojic acid, hyaluronic acid, turmeric, and bearberry.
Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
A mix of antioxidants helps this serum brighten and tighten the skin. Other notable ingredients include konjac root (an Asian flower that helps soften and smooth the skin), plant-derived ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, and vitamins C and E.
Olehenriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum
Packed with 15% vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, this serum delivers an instant brightening, firming, and plumping boost, while reducing dark spots, pores, and wrinkles.
PCA Skin C-Quench Antioxidant Serum
Lilac leaf stem cell extract, resveratrol, glutathione, L-ascorbic acid, vitamin E, and ergothioneine all work together to prevent inflammation, cellular oxidation, and increase hydration in this PCA Skin serum.
Sunday Riley CEO 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum
This serum prevents aging in all of its forms: sensitivity, dehydration, dullness, uneven skin tone, and wrinkles, and replaces it with a radiant, glowing complexion thanks to vitamin C, phytosterols complex to soothe sensitive skin, and saccharide isomerate extrace that regulates pore size.
InnBeauty Project Slushy Serum Moisturizer
“Innbeauty’s Slushy is vegan and contains hyaluronic acid and bakuchiol and vitamin C. The texture is super fun—slushy is a perfect description,” says King, who thinks highly of the retinol-alternative. “Bakuchiol seems to be activating the genes that regulate collagen and elastin production—the same ones retinol activates. And it doesn’t seem to irritate and redden skin the way retinol often does, so it appears to be a gentler option.”
Klaris Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop
K-beauty brand Klaris’s Freshly Juiced Vitamin C serum has garnered positive reviews for its ability to transform bumpy, dull skin. Powered by the powerhouse antioxidant, centella asiatica extract, and yuja fruit extract, this serum is gentle and suitable for sensitive skin.
Plantkos Phyto Triple C Serum
According to King, the Plantkos Phyto Triple C Serum “contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate, as well as three forms of vitamin C: amla, a plant-based form of vitamin C; tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, an oil-soluble form of vitamin C; and 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid. [It] also contains sunflower seed oil and shea butter to support the skin barrier and lock in moisture.”
Mara Sea Vitamin C Serum
Mara’s serum is supercharged with all sorts of vitamin C: 15% THD Ascorbate, to be exact, along with 14 vitamin C-rich fruit extracts and marine botanicals. The addition of infused algae aids in firming and brightening, while adaptogens soothe sensitivity.
Obagi Medical Professional-C Serum 20%
Packed with antioxidants and 20% L-ascorbic acid, the Obagi Medical Professional-C Serum works overtime to minimize fine lines and protect the skin from damage. And due to the featured hyaluronic acid, it won’t dry out your skin either.
Revision Skincare C+ Correcting Complex 30%
If you’re looking for brighter, more even toned skin, consider adding the Revision Skincare C+ Correcting Complex to your beauty routine. Using the brand’s MelaPATH technology, this is meant to deliver antioxidant benefits, protect against free radicals, and support your skin’s production of vitamins C and E.
Pai Stabilised Vitamin C 20% Brightening Booster
Pai’s vitamin C is formulated as an oil—that way even sensitive skin types can experience its brightening and skin tone-evening benefits. The antioxidant is sourced from corn, and stabilized for slow release for high-impact wear.
Heraux Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum
According to Hartman, the “Heraux Molecular Anti-inflammaging Serum contains a specialized ingredient called HX-1 that acts as a guardian against stress molecules and shields stem cells from the harmful effects of oxidative stress and inflammaging. It also has vitamin C to provide antioxidant support, protect the skin from environmental aggressors, and promote a brighter, more even skin tone.” He adds that “the texture is silky, lightweight, has a pleasant light fragrance and absorbs into [his] skin quickly.”
Biopelle XCP Brightening Serum
“This serum brightens skin complexion and prevents the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers in skin, which keeps wrinkles and fine lines at bay,” says board certified dermatologist, Dr. Adeline Kikam, DO, FAAD. “I also love that it has phytic acid as well to fight hyperpigmentation which brown skin like mine is very prone to. I love using it as part of my melasma treatment plan, and patients love it because they see results.”
Peach & Lily Transparen-C Pro Spot Treatment
Aesthetician Lily Njoroge recommends this serum for acne-prone clients and those for whom irritation is a concern. “It’s the first vitamin C serum I’ve found that I would recommend for acneic skin,” she says, “because it has oils high in linoleic acid such as sunflower seed oil, and this makes it helpful at reducing inflammation.”
Allies of Skin 35% Vitamin C Perfecting Serum
“Do not be fooled by the name as it is a combination of ethylated ascorbic acid as well as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate,” explains Idriss. “The ethylated L-ascorbic [in this serum] is a pure form of vitamin C and one of the most proven forms. The tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is the stable oil soluble form of vitamin C that also penetrates your skin to help brighten and provide radical protection.” Essentially, this serum works to protect your skin from stress, pollution, and even lack of sleep.
Omorovicza Daily Vitamin C
Those who prefer more of a milky formula should consider Omorovicza’s Daily Vitamin C. With Hungarian thermal water, glycerin, and niacinamide, expect lasting hydration along with brightening and boosting elasticity.
Avya Skincare Anti-Aging Power Serum
Avya Skincare was created by co-founders Deepika Vyas and Tanuj Nakra, MD with the skin needs of people of color in mind. Their Anti-Aging Power Serum is a one-stop-shop for improving the skin’s surface. It’s filled with Avya’s signature ingredients: hyaluronic acid for hydration; Vitamin C for brightening, collagen boosting, and free radical prevention, and Niacinamide to reduce pore size.
The Nue Co. Topical – C
The Nue Co.’s powder is powered by a super blend of l-ascorbic acid, ferulic acid, tapioca starch, colloidal oatmeal, and aloe vera to protect against free radical damage, address hyperpigmentation, and fade fine lines. It can be mixed with your moisturizer or water to apply with ease.