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17 Best Anti-Aging Vitamin C Serums for 2018 and 2019

Vitamin C Serum

For maximum benefit, vitamin C should be applied directly to the skin in a serum that will allow it to penetrate effectively. This vitamin protects your skin against sun damage and can even provide protection against skin cancer if used regularly.

You'll want to look for a serum that contains 15-20 percent Vitamin C along with the companion ingredients Vitamin E and hyaluronic acid. There are a number of reasons why vitamin C is the main ingredient in many anti-aging products for your skin, and here are some of the top benefits of this natural healing substance.

Antioxidant Protection Vitamin C

Oxidative stress is caused when molecules called free radicals 'steal' electrons from the lipids and proteins that make up healthy tissues. This can cause a chain reaction that damages the skin, but oxidative stress can be halted with the use of antioxidants.

These molecules can lose electrons yet remain stable, keeping unstable free radicals from scavenging healthy skin. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is a major cause of oxidative stress, and vitamin C also helps deflect those rays.

Collagen Production

Using a vitamin C serum can increase the collagen production in your skin. Collagen is the connective tissue beneath the skin that gives it a plump, healthy appearance. Young skin has plenty of collagen but, as we age, the collagen thins, and this can lead to the appearance of wrinkles. One way to smooth wrinkles is to add nutrients that will help facial collagen regenerate.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

A serum that contains vitamins C and E has extensive anti-inflammatory properties because vitamin C is able to regenerate vitamin E, giving it more potency. These two vitamins also work together to maintain collagen in the skin.

Inflammation is the body's natural response to damaged tissues, and the inflammation reaction consists of increased blood supply to the area and the deployment of scavenger cells that remove damaged tissue. However, if inflammation continues for too long, it can damage healthy skin as well.

Fading of Dark Spots

Regular application of vitamin C products to your skin can fade hyperpigmentation spots on your face, neck, and hands. Vitamin E is also effective at fading these blemishes, so a serum that contains both of these substances can make a noticeable difference.

Darker areas of the skin can form because of age, sun damage, and acne scars. Regardless of the source, all of these types of hyperpigmentation will respond to treatment. The antioxidant properties of beauty products that include these vitamins can also prevent further damage to the skin.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E provides a moisture barrier and enhances the effects of vitamin C. Like vitamin C, it contains antioxidants and helps protect your skin from environmental damage. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce skin redness and itching caused by dryness.

Antioxidant Protection

Vitamin E can absorb some of the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun that would otherwise damage your skin. Oxidative stress from those UV rays is a major threat to aging skin. Together, vitamins C and E are a strong defense against UV rays and even DNA damage.

Premature Aging Barrier

Also known as a-tocopherol, vitamin E is one of the main organic compounds, along with vitamin C, that defends skin against premature signs of aging. It protects the tissues from excess thinning and drying from the effects of UV rays.

Moisture Retention

The reason vitamin E is so helpful for retaining moisture in your skin is that it's lipophilic or attracted to fat molecules. It will gather at the natural fat layer of your skin and cause it to look fuller and firmer, and this can minimize fine wrinkles.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a lubricating fluid that helps keep skin full and plump and promotes collagen production. Don't be put off by the name since hyaluronic acid (HA) is just a carbohydrate that retains moisture in the skin and adds to its fullness.

As a natural substance in the human body, it also helps skin absorb vitamin C, which makes it an essential component in an effective serum. Skin becomes softer and its elasticity is improved with regular applications of a serum that contains HA.

More health and beauty benefits of hyaluronic acid.

  • Essential for cell growth and renewal
  • Slows collagen loss
  • Binds with water for hydration
  • Minimizes wrinkles

How to Choose a Vitamin C Serum

A high-quality vitamin C serum will also contain vitamin E and hyaluronic acid. There are different formulas on the market, and the most important thing to look for in your serum is an adequate amount of all three ingredients. You'll also want to check out any additional ingredients in the serum to make sure they're beneficial.

Best Vitamin C Serums for 2018 and 2019

eldivia vitamin c serum

1. Eldivia Vitamin C Serum

20% Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Botanical Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Other Ingredients:

Aloe Vera – soothes and heals skin

MSM – keratin and collagen production

Jojoba Oil – anti-inflammatory, retains moisture

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free (LeapingBunny.org Certified)

100% Money Back Guarantee

This is an affordable serum with a healthy 20 percent vitamin C content, and it also includes vitamin E and HA. There's no information about the percentages of vitamin E and HA in the formula, but the other ingredients have moisture retaining, anti-inflammatory and healing properties. The addition of MSM for collagen production is a plus. LeapingBunny.org certified, unlike others.

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating: 4.3 Stars

serumtologie vitamin c serum

2. Serumtologie Vitamin C Serum

22% Vitamin C

1% Vitamin E

Botanical Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Other ingredients:

Ferulic Acid - antioxidant

Salicylic Acid – antiseptic and exfoliant

Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) – anti-inflammatory, retains moisture

Vitamin A (Retinol) – exfoliant, collagen production

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free

100% Money Back Guarantee

This serum is pricier, and it has a 22 percent vitamin C content. Vitamin E is listed at 1 percent, and there's no information about the percentage of HA. The addition of salicylic acid and retinol make this a good formulation for those who are acne-prone. Retinol for collagen production is a bonus.

1.15 Ounces

Amazon Rating: 4.2 Stars

nieuw vitamin c serum

3. Nieuw Beauty Vitamin C Serum

20% Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Botanical Hyaluronic Acid (HA) 

Other ingredients:

Ferulic Acid – antioxidant

MSM – keratin and collagen production

Jojoba Oil – anti-inflammatory, retains moisture

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free

This formula contains 20 percent vitamin C with no information about the percentages of vitamin E and HA. Ferulic acid adds oxidative protection. Jojoba oil for moisture and MSM for collagen production are also welcome additions to the serum.

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 4.9 Stars

heladerm vitamin c serum

4. Heladerm Vitamin C Serum 

Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Other ingredients:

Aloe Vera – soothes and heals skin

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free

100% Money Back Guarantee

This serum has the highest price of those in the review. No percentages are given for any of the ingredients, although feedback for the formula is positive. The addition of aloe vera is a plus because of its skin healing properties.

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 4.6 Stars

kleem organics vitamin c serum

5. Kleem Organics Vitamin C Serum

25% Vitamin C

Vitamin E

10% Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Other ingredients:

Jojoba Oil – anti-inflammatory, retains moisture

Aloe Vera – soothes and heals skin

Ferulic Acid – antioxidant

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free

100% Money Back Guarantee

The jojoba oil and aloe vera in this formulation are soothing ingredients, and the addition of ferulic acid gives it an oxidative boost. A vitamin C content of 25 percent could make skin more sensitive, so be sure and use sunscreen with this serum.

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 4.3 Stars

dr brenner vitamin c serum

6. Dr. Brenner C Vitamin C Serum

20% Vitamin C

1% Vitamin E

1% Hyaluronic Acid (HA) 

Other ingredients:

.5% Ferulic Acid – antioxidant 

Natural Ingredients: No information

Cruelty-Free: No information

100% Money Back Guarantee

This serum has a beneficial level of vitamin C at 20 percent along with ferulic acid as an antioxidant. It could use more hyaluronic acid in the formula along with detailed information about the manufacturing process. However, the product has good reviews and a high rating. 

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 4.7 Stars

mad hippie vitamin c serum

7. Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Other ingredients:

Ferulic acid - antioxidant

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free

100% Money Back Guarantee

This all-natural serum garnered the Environmental Working Group’s highest Skin Deep score of 1. No information is given regarding the concentrations of vitamin C, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid in this serum. However, the manufacturers of this serum take great pride in the fact that their product is all-natural, cruelty-free, vegan, and GMO-free.

1.02 Ounces

Amazon Rating 4.3 Stars

pure biology vitamin c serum

 

8. Pure Biology Vitamin C Serum

30% Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Other ingredients:

Jojoba Oil – anti-inflammatory, retains moisture

Aloe Vera – soothes and heals skin 

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free

100% Money Back Guarantee

This serum is highly-rated on Amazon, and at 30 percent, it has a significantly higher vitamin C concentration than most competitors. Nearly all of the ingredients in this Pure Biology serum are natural, and this facial serum is cruelty-free. This serum also contains a naturally-derived substance called Fision WrinkleFix, which supposedly has anti-wrinkle properties.

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 4.7 Stars

skinceuticals ce ferulic

9. SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum

15% Vitamin C

1% Vitamin E

Other ingredients:

0.5% Ferulic acid - antioxidant

Natural Ingredients

At 4.1 stars, the Amazon rating for this serum is slightly lower than the average of the other serums in this list. In addition, not much information is given on this product; it’s unclear whether this SkinCeuticals serum is cruelty-free. However, it is made in the USA, and information on the concentrations of vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid is listed clearly on the package. Keep in mind that this serum does not contain hyaluronic acid, which could result in reduced effectiveness, and this SkinCeuticals product costs nearly $200, which makes it far more expensive than products that contain the same ingredients.

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 4.1 Stars

obagi vitamin c serum

10. Obagi Vitamin C Serum

20% Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

This Obagi serum is high-end, but it’s anything but all-natural. Ingredients like ethoxydiglycol, sorbitol, and calcium hydroxide raise eyebrows, and this serum also contains “fragrance,” which is an umbrella term that can be used to hide all sorts of toxic ingredients. This serum is pricey, and instead of normal hyaluronic acid, it contains sodium hyaluronate, which is the salt form of this ingredient.

Cruelty-Free

100% Money Back Guarantee

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 3.8 Stars

mario badescu vitamin c serum

11. Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum

7.5% Vitamin C

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) 

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free: No information

Curiously, this vitamin C serum does not contain vitamin E, and it only contains 7.5 percent vitamin C, which won’t be enough to achieve the results you’re looking for. Mario Badescu does not provide much information about this product, and this serum’s Amazon rating is disturbingly low. However, it does contain collagen, which may plump up your skin; if this collagen is derived from animal sources, vegans may have a problem with this serum. Price-wise, this Mario Badescu cosmetic is reasonable.

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 3.6 Stars

truskin vitamin c serum

12. TruSkin Vitamin C Serum

20% Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Other ingredients:

Aloe Vera – soothes and heals skin

MSM – keratin and collagen production

Jojoba Oil – anti-inflammatory, retains moisture

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free

100% Money Back Guarantee 

This affordable vitamin C serum hits almost all of the high points that are expected from a top-tier serum. While no information on the concentration of other ingredients is given, this product is advertised as containing 20 percent vitamin C, and it is cruelty-free. Plus, this serum comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee.

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 4.2 Stars

lilyana vitamin c serum

13. LilyAna Naturals Vitamin C Serum

20% Vitamin C

Vitamin E

5% Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Other ingredients:

Jojoba Oil – anti-inflammatory, retains moisture

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free

100% Money Back Guarantee

While this serum contains lots of information on its active ingredients, it also contains a couple of synthetic ingredients that might give some consumers pause. This LilyAna Naturals product is beloved by customers, and it has adequate concentrations of vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. In addition, this serum is advertised as being vegan-friendly. 

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 4.3 Stars

amara vitamin c serum

14. Amara Beauty Vitamin C Serum 

20% Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Other ingredients:

Aloe Vera – soothes and heals skin

Jojoba Oil – anti-inflammatory, retains moisture

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free

100% Money Back Guarantee

This product is labeled as being all-natural, paraben free, dye-free, and fragrance-free. In addition, it is vegan and cruelty-free, and it is offered at a low price. It contains a proprietary form of vitamin C called STAY-C 50, which is advertised as being “uniquely stable and bio-available.”

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 4.3 Stars

m3 vitamin c serum

15. M3 Naturals Vitamin C Serum

20% Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Other ingredients:

Aloe Vera – soothes and heals skin

MSM – keratin and collagen production

Jojoba Oil – anti-inflammatory, retains moisture

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free

With 20 percent vitamin C and plenty of other additional ingredients that will help your face shine, this M3 Naturals product stands out as an affordable and all-natural serum. However, no information is provided on a money-back guarantee for this product, and this serum is priced so low that concerns about inferior ingredients are understandable. 

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 4.6 Stars

oznaturals vitamin c serum

16. OZNaturals Vitamin C Serum

20% Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) 

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free

This serum is reasonably priced, and it does not contain any harmful additives. However, no information is given regarding whether or not this serum is covered by a money-back guarantee. This OZNaturals serum is sold as part of an overall skin care regimen that includes an exfoliant, and cleanser, and a moisturizer.

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 3.8 Stars

timeless vitamin c serum

17. Timeless Vitamin C Serum

20% Vitamin C

Vitamin E

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Other ingredients:

Ferulic Acid - antioxidant

Natural Ingredients

Cruelty-Free

This vitamin C serum is reasonably priced, but its low star rating on Amazon is cause for concern. In addition, no information about a money-back guarantee is provided. However, this serum contains plenty of vitamin C, and it is made in the USA.

1 Ounce

Amazon Rating 3.6 Stars

Criteria for Vitamin C Serum Selection

Ingredients

All of the formulas we reviewed contained the three basic ingredients that every vitamin C serum should contain:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

 

Not all of the selections list the percentage of vitamin E and HA, and many of the serums have extra ingredients besides the main three. We mentioned some ingredients that have been shown to have healing or moisturizing properties:

  • Aloe Vera – soothes and heals skin
  • MSM – keratin and collagen production
  • Jojoba Oil – anti-inflammatory, retains moisture
  • Ferulic Acid - antioxidant
  • Salicylic Acid – antiseptic and exfoliant
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) – anti-inflammatory, retains moisture
  • Vitamin A (Retinol) – exfoliant, collagen production

 

Almost all of these products advertise 100% money back guarantees; the Nieuw Beauty serum is a notable exception. Most of these serums are advertised as using natural ingredients. Although none of these serums are completely formulated using natural substances, most of them come very close.

Geranium and dandelion extracts were also listed as ingredients for some of these products. Geranium extract has been identified as having antibacterial and healing properties, and dandelion extract is considered to be an antioxidant. However, we didn't include these components in the main ingredient list because there isn't as much research available about their benefits as there is for the other seven ingredients.  

Price and Rating

For this review, we mostly stuck with serums that cost less than $40 since most of the more expensive formulas we researched contained the same ingredients as lower-priced options. Along with quality, value was an important consideration. All of the serums were rated on a scale of 5 points by users, and we made an effort to limit our selections to those with online ratings of 4.2 or higher.

Manufacturing

The serums we reviewed have mostly natural ingredients. Not all of them provide full lists of ingredients, and only Eldivia, Serumtologie, and Nieuw Beauty specify that their hyaluronic acid is plant-based. We gave preference to those products that mentioned being cruelty-free, meaning not tested on animals. With the exception of Dr. Brenner, our selections all advertise that they are cruelty-free.

The Best Vitamin C Serum for You

The first criteria to look for in a vitamin C serum is the presence of at least 15 percent vitamin C, along with vitamin E and hyaluronic acid. Other skin-softening and healing ingredients are a bonus, but these three ingredients are a must for an effective serum. Choose a serum that comes in a dark glass or opaque bottle, since vitamin C reacts to light, making it lose potency.

The best way to be successful in your vitamin C serum regimen is to use it consistently along with other beneficial beauty products like moisturizer and sunscreen. You might be surprised at the difference it makes!


1 comment

  • I tried a various product before and I’ve stumbled upon this trial offer from Cosmedique. I was fortunate enough to read the terms and condition before paying for the shipping cost. To be honest, after trying it for 15 days I notice a difference in my skin and actually loved the product. However, the cost is way out of my budget. I tried sending an email to their support asking for instructions on how to return the product, even though I love it. They offered me a discount to keep the product and they also gave me a discount if I continue with the subscription. I’m just happy I’m one of the few who read the terms first before buying anything online.

    Joanne.D

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