Whether your skincare routine consists of a few steps or many, you can benefit from the addition of a serum. Because there is such a wide variety, it can be difficult to find the right one for you. This list will provide you with the information you need to choose the best vitamin C serum for your skin and budget.

Product FAQs

What Exactly Is a Vitamin C Serum?

In the world of skincare, a serum is a product that contains highly concentrated ingredients designed to address specific concerns. A vitamin C serum is one that contains ascorbic acid as its primary active ingredient and is one of few skincare products that can benefit any skin type.

What Are the Benefits of Using Vitamin C on Your Skin?

Throughout history, women have been using vitamin C to improve the condition of their skin, and it is still an ingredient recommended by dermatologists today. Ascorbic acid, another name for vitamin C, is a multitasker, which makes it suitable for women of all ages and skin types.

For women with aging skin, vitamin C serum can help boost collagen production, increasing skin firmness and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. For those without this concern, it can also reduce the appearance of acne scars, repair sun damage, and brighten skin tone for the better overall complexion.

What Do You Need To Remember When Using a Vitamin C Serum?

Even the best vitamin C serum won’t produce the desired effects if you don’t use it properly. To ensure that you get the most from your serum, make sure to keep these rules in mind:

Always cleanse first. For your best vitamin C serum to work correctly, it needs to be applied to clean skin. The natural oils that build up on your skin over the course of the day can prevent your skincare products from properly absorbing, so you should always wash your face before applying your serum. This is especially true if you wear makeup.

Apply before moisturizing. If you’re using multiple skincare products in your routine, it’s important to apply them in the right order. You should apply serums before thicker products like moisturizers and face creams.

Use it sparingly. When it comes to highly concentrated products like vitamin C serums, less is more. You only need to use a few drops to cover your face. Using more than the recommended amount can irritate your skin and cause breakouts.

Store it properly. When exposed to air, ascorbic acid begins to oxidize. When this happens, it becomes less effective. It is best to store your vitamin C serum in a cool, dark place to help keep it fresh. If your vitamin C serum has turned yellow or brown, it is time to replace it.

What Makes a Vitamin C Serum the Best?

There are many things to consider when choosing the best vitamin C serum for your needs. The items in this list are ranked by these factors:


Is this product budget friendly? Is the price reasonable for the volume? Does the performance of the product justify the cost?


Does the product do what it says it will? What do the reviews say? Do others recommend this product?


What is the percentage of vitamin C in the product? What else is in there?
Packaging: Is the product packaged well? Will the packaging keeps the product fresh?
Overall Best Serum: Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

With an InStyle Best Beauty Buys award, over 300 five-star reviews, and a formula that is designed to stay effective for up to 72 hours, this serum was an obvious choice for overall best vitamin C serum. Along with vitamin C, this serum contains vitamin E and a number of plant and fruit extracts to brighten, firm, and smooth skin. It comes in an opaque bottle with a pump to minimize oxidation and keep the product fresh.

Best Vitamin C Serum to Choose From

Top Natural Serum: Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

For women who prefer to use skincare products with natural ingredients, there is Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum. You won’t find any unnatural chemicals in this product. Instead, it includes chamomile, konjac root powder, and grapefruit extract, all of which provide extra benefits to your skin. This serum also uses a more stable form of vitamin C that is less prone to oxidation.

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Top Budget Serum: Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop resized

This serum is easier on the wallet than others on this list and, with a vitamin C concentration of 5%, it’s easier on the skin as well. This low concentration doesn’t mean that the product will be less effective, but it does mean that it is a good choice for those with sensitive skin. The only downside is that the clear bottle may allow the product to oxidize more quickly, so be sure to store it properly.

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Since everyone’s skin is different, it’s possible that one of the top three choices on this list won’t fit your personal needs. Here are a few more choices that may be better suited for you.


You can buy this serum in a range of sizes, from 0.5 oz ($20) to 3.4 oz ($128), which can make it easier on your budget. This citrus-scented product contains nourishing aloe juice and orange and green tea extracts as well as collagen and the same stabilized form of vitamin C found in the Mad Hippie serum.

Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%

This unique product is intended to be mixed into your moisturizer. It is made without fragrances, parabens, and phthalates, so it may be a good choice for those with sensitive skin. The bottle is designed specifically to prevent oxidation of vitamin C, ensuring the product stays effective to the last drop. It is one of the pricier items on this list with a 28-day supply (four vials with 0.29 ounces each) costing $76.50.

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-ascorbic Acid

This serum is on the pricier side, costing $166 for a 1 oz bottle. It comes in a tinted bottle with a stopper and is another product designed to be effective for 72 hours. It contains ferulic acid and vitamin E for added antioxidant properties and is recommended for multiple skin types, including sensitive, dry, and normal skin.

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Pro Size Bottle - 55mL
  • Pro Size Bottle - 55 ml- Best Deal! An ultra-powerful antioxidant serum for all skin types.
  • Neutralizes free radicals, shields against UV damage and enhances collagen production. This highly advanced antioxidant...
  • Conditions and brightens the complexion for improved beauty.

Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate

This is another product that allows you to choose the size that’s best for your needs. You can purchase this serum in four sizes that range from 0.5 oz ($22) to 3.4 oz ($104). The smallest size comes in a tube while the rest come in a tinted bottle with a pump to reduce oxidation. It contains 12.5% vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to help moisturize and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

DERMAdoctor Kakadu C

What makes this serum special is the inclusion of Kakadu plum extract. These Australian fruits contain a very high concentration of vitamin C. It also contains ferulic acid and vitamin E, similar to other products on this list. What it does not contain are sulfates, dyes, parabens, or artificial fragrance, so if you prefer products without those ingredients, this is a great choice for you. A 1 oz bottle costs $95, but you can save 10% by signing up for auto-delivery, which is available for every 30, 60, 90, or 120 days.

DERMAdoctor Kakadu C High Potency Evening Oil 20% Vitamin C Ester,...
  • Deeply penetrates to help nourish, hydrate and defend skin
  • A complexion brightening intensive dose of five vitamin c sources
  • It helps protect against oxidative stress

Obagi Professional-C Serums

This highly effective serum is available only through skincare professionals. It is packaged in a tinted bottle with a dropper and comes in three varieties with 10%, 15%, and 20% concentrations, so you can choose the right one for your needs. Obagi offers a loyalty program wherein customers can redeem points for free products.

Obagi Professional C Serum 10%, Vitamin C Facial Serum with...
  • CONCENTRATED VITAMIN C ANTIOXIDANT SERUM RECOMMENDED for dry or sensitive skin. Obagi Professional-C Serum 10% contains...
  • KEY BENEFITS: L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) helps fortify the skin defenses against environmental stressors. Helps...
  • l-ABSORBIC ACID is effective in reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and photoaging of the skin.

SkinMedica Vitamin C+E Complex

Like the previous item, you will need to purchase this product through a skincare professional. This is another product that combines vitamins C and E for improved performance. It comes in a bottle with a pump and costs $102 for a 1 oz bottle. Women of all skin types can use this product.

Comparison Table Information







Drunk Elephant C Firma Day Serum

1 fl oz



Opaque bottle with a pump

Top Natural Serum: Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

1.02 fl oz



Tinted bottle with dropper

​Top Budget Serum: Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop resized

 1.18 fl oz



Clear bottle with dropper

How To Find the Right Vitamin C Serum for You

It can be difficult to choose from such a large variety of products available, but this variety also means you should be able to find a product that is perfect for you. Because everyone is different, it is important that you make sure to buy the best vitamin C serum for your personal skin care needs.

Whether that means a product with natural ingredients, a formula for sensitive skin, or a low price tag, there is a serum for you. With the wide range of serums on the market, any woman can reap the skincare benefits of vitamin C.

Last update on 2021-02-05 at 04:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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