By now, you’ve probably seen the ingredient vitamin C splashed across a range of skincare products. It’s fast become skincare aficionados’ favourite ingredient. If you don’t really understand the hype but suffer from uneven skin tone, rough texture, fine lines, acne scars, general dullness — there’s a good chance that working a vitamin C serum or moisturiser into your regime will solve all your problems, probably.
So what do vitamin C serums do?
When it comes to skincare, we’re so used to just applying products because suddenly it’s the thing to do, without knowing what it’ll actually do for our skin. Vitamin C serums are formulated with a form of vitamin C called L-ascorbic acid, which helps with uneven skin tone and texture, fine lines, acne scarring, pigmentation and dullness. Because it’s highly acidic, it triggers the skin’s regeneration by accelerating the production of collage and elasticin, both of which our skin slowly produces less of as we age. It’s also an antioxidant that helps to protect your skin from external factors like air pollution, free radicals and sun damage.
How often should you be using a vitamin C serum?
As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended to use a vitamin C serum in the morning every other day. Depending on your skin type, you might even be able to use it every day. Applying vitamin C in the morning post-cleanse gives it the best opportunity to absorb into the skin without any kind of barrier. It also protects your skin for the day when you’re typically exposed to more pollution and UV light.
Does vitamin C play well with other skincare ingredients like Retinol?
While vitamin C and retinol can play well together, they can cause irritation and sensitivity, especially if you’re spending the day outdoors in direct sunlight or already have sensitive skin. So to really reap the benefit of both actives, you’re best to alternate them morning and night and always apply an SPF50+ as the final step in your AM routine.
Can’t I just get more vitamin C from my diet?
There’s a huge difference in the way our bodies absorb vitamin C orally and topically. When you consume food or drinks containing vitamin C, very little of it makes it into your system. If you apply it topically, you’re giving your skin the best possible chance to enjoy the benefits.
If you are keen to add a vitamin C serum into your skincare, we recommend looking for one that’s concentration sits between ten and 20%, depending on your skin type. You should also always do a test patch on your skin first.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up a range of vitamin C serums to get you started on your journey.
The Best Vitamin C Serums in Australia
Possibly one of the most popular vitamin C serums on the market, the La Roche-Posay Redermic Vitamin C10 Serum blends stable, pure vitamin C with supportive, effective ingredients that improve the skin’s overall tone and texture. This particular formulation was designed for sensitive skin and targets anti-ageing and anti-pigmentation.
Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum is loaded with 15% vitamin C, 5% PHAs and hyaluronic acid for brighter, bouncier skin. Formulated with three of Ole’s famous glow icons — Vitamin C, exfoliating acids and banana powder-inspired pigments — it instantly brightens the skin while helping to protect it against pollution and reinforcing the skin’s moisture barrier.
Where to buy: Sephora Australia ($98)
The Alpha-H Vitamin C Serum is a highly concentrated serum formulated with 10% Ethyl Ascorbic Acid and hyaluronic acid to improve and brighten the appearance of skin tone and texture. It’s also loaded with hydration powerhouse hyaluronic acid to improve skin elasticity and moisture levels.
If you prefer organic skincare, this gentle vitamin C serum from Kora Organics smooths the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduces the appearance of dark spots and improves overall skin tone and texture. It’s specially formulated with Kora’s ‘Vitamin C Superfruit Complex’, which contains ingredients like certified organic Kakadu plum, acerola cherry, orange and lemon peel, noni, and 12% stabilised ascorbyl glucosides.
While the Skinceuticals Vitamin C serum is the most expensive Vitamin C on our list, it’s also the most popular. Combining 15% Vit C and 1% Vit E with Ferulic Acid, it’s optimised to protect against damaging UVA/UVB rays, helping to prevent premature signs of ageing, and stimulate collagen production.
Where to buy: Adore Beauty ($233)
Aspect Phytostat 9 is an emollient anti-ageing moisturiser formulated for dry and dehydrated skin. It’s a four in one intense moisturiser that adjusts to your skin’s specific need, restoring vital moisture, healing the skin barrier, and fighting visible signs of ageing. This intelligent face cream can be used on all face and neck areas, including around the eyes.
Where to buy: Adore Beauty ($93),
Fight fine lines, wrinkles, and discolouration with asap super c complex. Packed with a stable and efficient form of Vitamin C, this serum brightens skin, minimises hyperpigmentation, and stimulates collagen production.
Where to buy: Adore Beauty (was $105, now $89.10),
Back with a new and improved formula, the Medik8 C-Tetra Lipid Vitamin C Antioxidant Serum is formulated from a 100% stable Vitamin C that remains potent and highly effective until you’ve finished the bottle! Famous for its brightening abilities and suitable for all skin types, this Vitamin C serum will boost and restore radiance, helping even the complexion.
Where to buy: Adore Beauty ($78.20)
This article has been updated since its original publication.