2019's 5 BEST VITAMIN C Serums On the Market

We sorted through hundreds of vitamin C serum products to narrow down the top ones to test. These are the best vitamin C serums to try now.


Vitamin C serums are seemingly everywhere and for good reason—this powerhouse antioxidant and skin brightener is one of the most effective skincare ingredients out there. But vitamin C is notoriously fickle. It can degrade and lose its potency over time or when exposed to light and heat.

 

Our team of researchers and testers researched and tried hundreds of vitamin C serums on the market to find the best of the best. Testers looked at various factors, including company ethics, quality, efficacy, results and value. They also looked for the most effective forms of vitamin C and other anti-aging ingredients. These “Top 5” best vitamin C serums stood out.

#2

4.5

SkinCeuticals

#3

4.3

SkinMedica

#4

3.9

Clarins

#5

3.5

Obagi

4.8

  • Effectiveness : 9.7/10

  • Expert's Rate : 9.9/10

  • Customer's Rate (1578 Votes) : 9.8/10

Out of all the products researched and tested, NourishMax vitamin C, B, E and ferulic acid serum impressed our experts with its innovative ingredient complex. In addition to vitamin C, this potent serum contains vitamins B and E, botanical antioxidants. This custom blend of ingredients fights wrinkles, sagging, lost firmness and more to support the appearance of younger-looking skin.

Our testers and researchers also loved the multi-antioxidant benefits of NourishMax. It helps to ward off free radicals and protect against the damaging effects of daily exposure to pollutants and UV radiation. Its beautiful, lightweight texture layers smoothly under sunscreen, making it easy to add an antioxidant boost every day.

Plus, NourishMax vitamin C serum contains a highly potent, 20 percent concentration of ascorbic acid (That’s more than some of its competitors). This unique form of vitamin C is further stabilized by the addition of ferulic acid, so the serum stays fresh and active.

Testers also appreciated that NourishMax combines clinical ingredients like vitamin C with botanical extracts known to brighten and protect the skin. It offers the best of both worlds for users looking for an effective vitamin C serum with natural ingredients.

NourishMax PROS

Comprehensive and high quality natural formula with clinically proven ingredients to fight various signs of aging

Supports skin elasticity and reduces the look of fine lines, wrinkles, uneven texture and signs of photodamage

A concentration of 20% ascorbic acid helps to resist degradation for long-lasting stability and potency

Provides antioxidant protection to help neutralize the effects of free radicals

Helps to revitalize and rejuvenate dull, damaged skin

Powerful brightening agents target the appearance of darkness, discoloration and age spots

Hydrates the skin and helps offset the potential for irritation

Free of parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrance and harmful, unnecessary chemicals

Clinically tested and developed by chemists to meet the highest standards

Made in the USA in an FDA-registered and cGMP-compliant facility

Cruelty free and vegan formula

The company offers free worldwide shipping, along with a 30-day money-back guarantee

Affordable, comes in 30ml and 60ml—one of the largest bottles available among other

NourishMax CONS

Currently available to purchase on the company’s website only, and not in stores or on Amazon

High product demand may create out-of-stock issues

#2

4.5

  • Effectiveness : 8.7/10

  • Expert's Rate : 8.5/10

  • Customer's Rate (785 Votes) : 8.6/10

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

C E Ferulic serum is one of SkinCeuticals’ most popular products, with a loyal following of aestheticians and dermatologists. Its patented formula provides environmental defense, brightens the skin and helps to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

C E Ferulic serum is a clinically tested, award-winning formula with many positive reviews online. Along with vitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid, it also contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin.

However, this SkinCeuticals serum contains only 15% L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C). This is less than our top pick. It also skips retinol and botanicals. And at the steep price of $166 per ounce, this cost-prohibitive option is not accessible to all users.

 

 

SkinCeuticals PROS

Created by one of the leaders in vitamin C serums

Targets fine lines and wrinkles and helps to protect the skin against environmental damage

Clinically tested formula with positive reviews and recommendations online

Contains L-ascorbic acid, a potent form of vitamin C

The company website features clinical before and after photos

Easy to purchase at popular online retailers, such as Dermstore.com and Skinstore.com, and in-store at shops like Blue Mercury

SkinCeuticals CONS

Contains a lower concentration of vitamin C than some other top vitamin C serums

The formula is missing natural ingredients and some proven anti-agers, like retinol

The company is not cruelty free

Extremely expensive at $166 per ounce

#3

4.3

  • Effectiveness : 8.5/10

  • Expert's Rate : 8.6/10

  • Customer's Rate (409 Votes) : 8.1/10

SkinMedica Vitamin C + E Complex

SkinMedica Vitamin C + E Complex is one of the simpler formulas we researched, with a focus on vitamins C and E. Our testers liked that it contains two forms of vitamin C: ascorbic acid and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. The company states that it delivers this vitamin C to the skin gradually to offer all-day protection.

However, testers also noticed that this serum does not contain ferulic acid. Ferulic acid is widely believed to support the stability and effectiveness of vitamin C formulations. Without it, we have concerns about this formula’s potency and stability.

Also, this serum is not available for sale online, so buying it requires a trip to a dermatologist, aesthetician or plastic surgeon.

 

 

SkinMedica PROS

Contains two forms of vitamin C: ascorbic acid and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate

Helps to boost the skin’s brightness and improve the appearance of texture and tone

Releases antioxidants into the skin gradually for long-lasting daily defense

From a professional skincare brand recommended by dermatologists

SkinMedica CONS

Does not contain ferulic acid to help preserve potency

Does not include other proven anti-aging ingredients like retinol

May be difficult to find: SkinMedica products require physician authorization to purchase, so they cannot be purchased online

Return policies may vary based on physician office policies

#4

3.9

  • Effectiveness : 8.1/10

  • Expert's Rate : 8.2/10

  • Customer's Rate (1054 Votes) : 7.7/10

Clarins Double Serum

Testers had high expectations for this serum from Clarins, a historic French beauty brand. Double Serum is one of the brand’s best-selling products, first produced in the early 80s and reformulated multiple times.

Double Serum contains 21 plant extracts, including turmeric, avocado and goji berry and some unique ingredients like the leaf of life plant. The company reports that this serum firms, moisturizes and increases radiance. However, it doesn’t contain the clinical ingredients we like to see in a serum, such as retinol or hyaluronic acid. And it contains artificial fragrance, which we prefer to avoid.

 

 

 

 

Clarins PROS

A top-selling serum from a heralded French beauty brand

Contains 21 plant extracts including turmeric, a potent antioxidant

Contains unique botanicals, like leaf of life and huang qi

Easy to purchase at online beauty retailers like Ulta, Nordstrom and Sephora

Clarins CONS

Does not contain clinical ingredients known to have a dramatic effect on signs of aging

Artificial fragrance is included in the formulation

Some user reviews expressed dissatisfaction after using this product

No money-back guarantee on products purchased through the company’s website

#5

3.5

  • Effectiveness : 8.7/10

  • Expert's Rate : 8.5/10

  • Customer's Rate (785 Votes) : 7.4/10

Obagi Professional-C Serum

Obagi provides limited details about its vitamin C serums online. Professional C-Serum is indicated to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but we weren’t able to find much more information about how the product works or guidance on how to use it.

Professional-C Serum options include formulas with 10, 15 and 20 percent l-ascorbic acid, a powerful form of vitamin C. But we found it difficult to navigate the company’s website and locate information about the product, such as features and benefits, ingredients, expected results and even the price. Without these basic details, testers would not recommend the product.

 

 

 

 

Obagi PROS

A reputable brand sold at doctors’ and dermatologists’ offices

Offers formulas with different percentages of vitamin C for various skin types and concerns

Loyalty program available with purchases made from a physician’s office

Obagi CONS

The company does not make the full ingredient list and comprehensive product information easily accessible on its website

Products cannot be purchased on the Obagi website and may require a special trip to a dermatologist