Glass picks the best 9 Vitamin C serums available now

SOME skincare ingredients are so effective that once you’ve tried them, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. This is how I (and many others) feel about vitamin C. This powerhouse ingredient is quickly becoming a staple of the beauty industry, as more and more brands hop onto the bandwagon in the hopes of creating the next must-have brightening product on the market.

Vitamin C is a true multi-tasker; it’s a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect against the free radical damage that occurs to our skin throughout the day. In turn, this slows down collagen breakdown, discouraging wrinkles and sagging. It has unparalleled brightening abilities and is particularly excellent at evening skin-tone and treating UV photodamage.

A major benefit, it improves the efficacy of your SPF (which you must be wearing!). Some things to take note of – vitamin C, (in particular L-Ascorbic Acid, it’s most researched form) is notoriously unstable and degrades when exposed to oxygen and sunlight. Store it in a dark, cool cupboard or even the fridge for maximum lifespan. Oxidised product can actually be harmful for your skin, so if the product turns dark orange it’s probably time to repurchase. If you’re anything like me, you’ll use it up so quickly it won’t get the chance.


Glossier Super Glow

£24 for 30ml at Glossier

The internet-borne brand beloved by Gen Z and Millennials alike, Glossier can at times get accused of being style over substance. Not so the case when it comes to their Super Collection of serums, relaunched no less – Super Glow is formulated with magnesium as well as Vitamin C to visibly energise skin, whilst its milky emulsion texture provides a soothing counter to the sometimes irritating clear-gel consistencies of other offerings. It’s one of the lowest-priced Vitamin C serums on the market and a great gateway product for anyone looking to wet their feet in the proverbial Vitamin C pool.


Goldfaden MD Brightening Elixir

£72 for 30ml at Space NK

I originally tried this product a few years ago, unaware of the signature smell that goes along with vitamin C serums (kind of like hot dog water). Faintly disturbed, I stopped using it. Picking up a fresh bottle now, I’m kicking myself for having given up on it in the first place. With ferulic acid and vitamin B + E the formula is soothing and reduces redness whilst minimising fine lines. Plus, contrary to the bad-rap vitamin C serum’s get for their short shelf life, a quick test of my old product confirmed that it hadn’t oxidised – a major bonus and quite a feat of formulation.


La Roche Posay Pure Vitamin C10 Serum

£38 for 30ml at Lookfantastic

One of my favourite brands on this list because of its French pharmacy roots, La Roche-Posay’s Pure Vitamin C10 Serum is a unique offering from the brand, specially formulated for sensitive skin. One of their most expensive products, the serum boasts the addition of salicylic acid, gently exfoliating away dead skin cells to aid vitamin C’s radiance-boosting properties. An especially great choice for anyone with easily irritated skin.


Skinceuticals C E Ferulic

£140 for 30ml at Skinceuticals

What is there to say about this product that hasn’t already been said a thousand times? The shining beacon of excellence in the overcrowded vitamin C market, Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is undoubtedly the industry’s favourite, and for good reason. Scientifically tested and proven within an inch of its life, the vitamin E and ferulic acid-enhanced formula has a much-deserved cult following despite a hefty price tag. It’s the most fast-absorbing, non-greasy and effective formula I’ve tried yet, and when I finished the bottle, I almost shed a tear. And yes, it does smell like hot-dog water.


Lixirskin Vitamin C Paste 

£32 for 50ml at Lixirskin

What I love about Lixirskin’s Vitamin C Paste is that it feels like a Sunday afternoon pamper-day indulgence. Designed to be smoothed over damp skin after cleansing and left for a few minutes before rinsing off, I happily slather it on and leave it for a full day of wandering around the house and let it work its magic. It’s a brightening fix that doubles as an at-home facial, and while I wouldn’t have time to use it on a weekday (sleep over skincare!), I always look forward to it as a weekend treat.


Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

£67 for 30ml at Cult Beauty

Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma is another vitamin C serum beloved by its users. Thanks to its solid-white packaging there’s no chance of the serum being oxidised too quickly by UV rays, and the resulting glow you get from gently patting it into your skin will have people thinking you’ve spent a week on holiday. My hardy skin felt a little tingle at times when applying this, so beware those with sensitive skin as it’s a potent formula. Although it has “day” in the name, I use this product both in the morning and the evening.


Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Brightening Serum

£59 for 30ml at Perricone MD

Perricone MD has long been one of my all-time favourite brands. I maintain that their Photo-Brightening Moisturiser is the best on the market. Their Vitamin C Ester Brightening Serum meanwhile is equally effective; straightforward but powerful, it delivers a potent dose of vitamin C enriched with ferulic acid which brightens and tightens. An added bonus, there’s no tell-tale hot-dog water smell so commonly associated with vitamin c serums. Especially considering the price, it’s an excellent option.


Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster 

£46 for 20ml at Paula’s Choice

There are few skincare brands out there more formula-focused, knowledgeable or trustworthy than Paula’s Choice. This in mind, their C15 Super Booster is excellently made. With 15 per cent vitamin C plus vitamin E and ferulic acid, it’s a product that quite simply does what it says on the tin. It brightens, tightens and protects against free radical damage. Use by dispensing a few drops into your moisturiser for a gentler effect or apply straight to skin after cleansing. Plus, it’s gentle enough to be used on the under-eye area, so no need for a separate brightening eye product.


Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème

£32 for 15ml at Boots

One of my favourite vitamin C products isn’t a serum at all, but an eye-cream. Why do I include it in this lineup of serums? Because it’s just that good! I apply this twice a day to my under-eye area and around my orbital bone and notice an instant brightening effect that lasts. It’s ultimately no match for my genetically passed-down maroon under-eye circles, but it helps me to feel awake and provides a bright boost most eye creams can’t.

by Thomas Marrington