Picking the best Vitamin C serum for your skin will help your complexion look brighter and fresher while also protecting your skin from harmful pollutants.
"As one of the most potent antioxidants for the skin, vitamin C has multiple benefits", says Medical Doctor and Dermatologist Dr Elif Benar, who has over 10 years of experience in medical aesthetics. "They include fading liver spots and skin hyperpigmentation, brightening the skin, and helping to increase collage production for an overall healthier complexion." She continues, "In addition, Vitamin C's anti-pigmentary and brightening effect on your skin will help you with discoloration problems such as hyperpigmentation caused by acne."
In some ways, incorporating an antioxidant like Vitamin C is almost as important as using the best sunscreen for your face. You can use the ingredient in a myriad of ways, including the best facial oils, but for us, serums are the best ways of targeting skin concerns. The light, liquid formulas sink in deeply into your skin, and they’re often more concentrated and potent than your day cream.
What to consider when looking for the best Vitamin C serum
Why you can trust GoodTo. Our experienced Consumer Editor & parent reviewers spend hours testing products to help you make the best choice. Find out how we test and review products.
- Star rating: Our in-house star-rating system is based on peer reviews. They’ve tried and tested the best Vitamin C serums and awarded stars based on factors such as product quality, ease of use, customer feedback, awards and value for money. Products that have received a 5 star status are rare and considered exceptional, going above and beyond our reviewer’s expectations.
- Active ingredients: Lots of brands shout about their products having ingredients like Vitamin C within them but when you really get into the details, sometimes the concentration of the ingredient is miniscule. We always ensure to pick the most hardworking products, so we're looking for percentages between 3-20% when we pick the best Vitamin C serum options. Dr Benar says, "Most vitamin C serums start at around 5% concentration; the higher the concentration of active vitamin C will give you a more powerful result."
- Packaging: The way Vitamin C is packaged is more important than other serums. The reason being that Vit C is a famously unstable active ingredient. Too much exposure to sunlight or oxygen can cause the product to become less effective, or even altogether unusable. You won't find any big tubs or jars here. We've picked cleverly packaged, ideally airtight containers to ensure you're getting the best use out of your best Vitamin C serum.
- Cruelty-free: More and more beauty brands have realised that testing on animals is not a humane or sustainable practice. We’re keen to select products from brands that follow this ethos.
Best Vitamin C serum for your skin type 2022
1. OLE HENRIKSEN BANANA BRIGHT VITAMIN C SERUM
Our expert review:
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Out of all the Vitamin C serums we tried, this comes up trumps, for a few different reasons. The 15% concentration means it's potent enough to make a real difference to dull skin without causing irritation, and it uses PHAs, a gentle form of exfoliating acids to speed up the brightening process.
Beauty editor Stephanie Maylor is a huge fan, calling this the best Vitamin C serum in her collection. "My love for this serum starts with the texture - it's juicy and silky, with a faint orange fragrance that makes me think of Calippos on a hot day. The real selling points are in the results. It makes my skin look less like it's surviving on a few hours sleep, more like I've had a child-free weekend at a spa. It's made with 15% vitamin C and poly-hydroxy acids that provide a gentle exfoliating action to slosh away dead skin cells, leaving behind a more rested, brighter-looking complexion." That's us sold.
2. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
Our expert review:
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
This buy is often at the top of many lists of the best Vitamin C serums - and for good reason! The brand was one of the first to harness the power of antioxidants into a potent serum, and it's much-loved by beauty editors, dermatologists and celebrities. It's especially good for treating mature skin concerns like age spots and pigmentation, as Senior Beauty writer Emma North has witnessed.
"For me, this is the undisputed champion of the vitamin C world." She continues, "It significantly reduces my pigmentation from years of sun worshiping and gives a healthy glow that you simply can't replicate with makeup. It's expensive but I feel the cost is justified by the results you see. Make it a part of your DIY anti ageing facial and you'll see real results within days."
The only downside is the price, which is extremely high. If your budget won't stretch to this luxury buy, don't panic. You don't need to spend a lot to get the best Vitamin C serums, which leads us to...