Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin C is a holy grail for improving skin’s tone, texture, and hydration. For any beauty or skincare enthusiast, it’s an essential ingredient to look out for. Along with helping to reduce signs of aging and protect you from the damaging free radicals of UV rays, vitamin C puts in the work to brighten dark spots brought on by hyperpigmentation and acne scars, resulting in a glowing complexion that would give JLo a run for her money.
Vitamin C is infused into a myriad of skincare products (such as moisturizers, eye creams, and face masks), but you’ll find best results when using it in a serum. That’s because serums often contain a way more concentrated version of the ingredient that allows it to work harder and penetrate the skin better. A little goes a long way with vitamin C—even serums containing low concentrations (under 1 percent) still deliver antioxidant protection and skin benefits.
However, not all vitamin C serums are created equal. Vitamin C is an unstable molecule that breaks down and loses potency when exposed to light and oxygen, so when shopping around, you want to look for a serum packaged in an opaque bottle. Bonus points if the packaging comes in an air-tight pump dispenser. Options that have additional antioxidants in it, like vitamin E and ferulic acid, are also worth keeping an eye out for since they help stabilize the vitamin C and are loaded with additional skin benefits. Finally, take note of the type of vitamin C in each serum. There are serval versions (including sodium ascorbyl phosphate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate), but the most potent version is L-ascorbic acid.
To help you weed out the endless options, scroll ahead for our edit of the 12 best vitamin C serums that will take your complexion to new levels of luminosity.