Of all the vitamins and minerals, vitamin C is often hailed as a panacea. You’re cautioned to drink orange juice when you’re sick, and encouraged to take vitamin C supplements to fortify your immune system. The benefits to the systems in your body are countless and obvious, but vitamin C also works wonders for your complexion, and it’s time it gets the attention it deserves.

Ascorbic acid is the most common form of vitamin C found in skincare. It’s an antioxidant, with stellar anti-ageing properties that help brighten and firm your skin by preventing visible collagen loss. Integrating vitamin C into your daytime skincare routine is also highly beneficial as it strengthens your skin’s barrier against UV rays — the number one cause of visible ageing signs. To cap it all off, ascorbic acid also dramatically reduces hyperpigmentation issues, especially those left behind after sun damage or acne scarring.

Vitamin C is a powerhouse ingredient, but it does come with its fair share of issues. It’s a very unstable compound, so proper storage methods have to be considered. Ascorbic acid should be kept in a cool, dark place, with minimal exposure to oxygen. Ideally, storing it in a fridge and securing it tightly after use should prevent oxidisation. Only purchase serums that come stored in dark or opaque vials, as light tends to destabilise ascorbic acid as well. There are stabilised formulas on the market, but those tend to be slightly pricier.

It’s a small effort to reap the multitude of benefits Vitamin C can provide for your skin. Integrate it as a daily serum right after toning your skin, and you’ll steadily be able to see your skin achieving #thatglow.

1
My Signature C-Source

This My Signature serum contains a 20 percent concentration of vitamin C, which is the ideal amount for ascorbic acid to be effective. It is a cost-effective go-to for many, especially with its relative purity of ingredients. Its formulation is highly unstable, though, so do store it with care. Another red flag for those with sensitive skin is the presence of alcohol pretty high up on the ingredients list. If you’ve got normal skin that isn’t prone to breakouts, then the My Signature C-Source is a readily available and effective option to try.

$36. Available at Wishtrend.

2
Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster

The Resist line at Paula’s Choice is loved for its effective formulas chock full with anti-ageing properties. Its C15 serum comes with 15 percent of stabilised vitamin C at a pH of 3, which is ideal for vitamin C to be the most effective. It also contains vitamin E, ferulic acid, and peptides that go deep into the skin to target fine lines and sagging skin.

S$68. Available at Paula’s Choice.

3
Sunday Riley CEO Rapid Flash Brightening Serum

Instead of ascorbic acid, the Sunday Riley CEO Rapid Flash Brightening Serum uses a different strain of vitamin C known as THD ascorbate. It’s the most premium form of vitamin C, being both extremely stable and oil-soluble. It also contains glycolic acid to gently exfoliate the skin, so be sure to use a sunblock after. This serum has a thick, heavier feel on the skin, so be wary of that if you don’t enjoy something too cloying.

S$120. Available at Sephora US.

4
Cosrx Triple C Lightning Liquid

The Triple C Lightning Liquid is created in collaboration with Charlotte Cho of Soko Glam, one of the most popular K-skincare curators on the web. It contains 20.5 percent of pure ascorbic acid, suspended in 72 percent black chokeberry fruit extract, an antioxidant to protect your skin against environmental aggressors, and a stabiliser for the acid. Also, there’s liquorice root extract in the mix, which helps to even out your skin tone and reduce existing pigmentation issues.

S$40. Available on Soko Glam.

5
Skinceuticals CE Ferulic

Think of vitamin E and ferulic acid as the supportive best friends of vitamin C. They’re all great on their own, but together, they form a charged serum with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. There’s 15 percent ascorbic acid in the Skinceuticals formula, and it also comes with sodium hyaluronate. This is a hyaluronic acid derivative with a low molecular weight, allowing it to infuse into the deeper layers of your skin to provide some much needed moisture.

S$274. Available at select Skinceuticals retailers.

Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.