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9 best vitamin C serums that’ll brighten up even the dullest skin

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. The best Vitamin C serums 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.

9 best vitamin C serums in 2022 to brighten up your complexion with

Formulated with 10.5% L-Ascorbic Acid and renewable 2% Ascorbyl Glucoside plus hyaluronic acid, this potent water-free serum promises to reduce lines and wrinkles while keeping the skin firm over time. The antioxidant vitamin C here penetrates deep beneath the skin’s surface and remains effective in the skin for up to six days, so expect more radiant skin in as little as two weeks.

For those new to the vitamin C game, Glossier’s Super Glow is a stable formulation consisting of 5% Vitamin C derivative and Magnesium PCA to help even tone and improve the appearance of dark spots while replenishing moisture to the skin. Jojoba oil and shea butter also help to nourish the skin, so even the most sensitive of skin won’t be irritated. 

Consider this the nourishment your skin has been craving for years. Caudalie has married its signature grapeseed polyphenols with 4x stabilised Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and other antioxidants in its latest serum to protect the skin against pollution and oxidative stress. It’s also vegan, formulated with 97-percent natural-origin ingredients, and is non-comedogenic — perfect for those with acne-prone skin.

Price
S$68

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.

Price
S$19.82

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.

Price
S$78

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.

Price
S$128

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.

Price
S$223

Vitamin C isn’t the most stable of skincare ingredients, so Drunk Elephant has designed its own version to be mixed right before first use to ensure maximum potency. The C-Firma Fresh Day Serum is packed with a powerful antioxidant complex of 15% l-ascorbic acid, 0.5% ferulic acid, and 1% vitamin E to keep the skin firmer, brighter, and less pigmented. Pumpkin ferment extract is also used here to enzymatically dissolve surface dead skin cells as it hydrates and soothes, allowing the product to penetrate deeper within the skin for better results. 

Price
S$112

Ole Henriksen’s latest skincare saviour combines three Ole Glow ingredients — Vitamin C, exfoliating acids and banana powder-inspired pigments— to brighten and defend the skin against pollution. Here, 15% Vitamin C is met with 5% PHAs, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E to correct uneven skin tone whilst plumping it from within. Banana powder-inspired pigments also illuminates and colour corrects for clearer and brighter skin all day.

Price
S$101
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