The 7 best vitamin C serums

Ayesha Muttucumaru 1 February 2018

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The best vitamin C serums

When it comes to skincare ingredients, there are many that fall short of the hype surrounding them. Vitamin C  isn’t one of them. Considered a great all-rounder, it’s the potent antioxidant that’s anti-inflammatory and effective at improving uneven skin tone too. Demand for the vitamin is sky high - in fact, there’s been a whopping 3370% hike in saves for the term, ‘vitamin C serum’ on Pinterest , revealing just how essential this brightening antioxidant skin-fuel has become to our skincare regimes.

A must-have in anyone’s beauty arsenal for helping fend off free radicals and prevent loss of elasticity and the appearance of wrinkles, serums are the best form of delivery due to their higher concentrations of active ingredients. Airtight bottles, pumps or single-use packaging will preserve the integrity of your product better than pots or jars and (as a word of caution) if you’re new to the active, start off at a lower percentage to keep irritation to a minimum.

Which ones deliver? Here are our favourites in order of concentration.

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Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate, £49.50 for 50ml

Strength: 12.5%

A souped up version of the original bestseller, this new addition surpasses its predecessor in terms of both potency and performance. Increasing its vitamin C concentration to 12.5% (10.5% L-Ascorbic acid and 2% ascorbyl glucoside), it also contains small sized fragmented hyaluronic acid  and glycerin (a humectant) to improve skin’s ability to attract and hold onto moisture. Formulated to improve fine lines, radiance and skin texture too, it’s delicately citrusy scented and fast absorbing too.

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Sunday Riley CEO Rapid Flash Brightening Serum, £70 for 30ml

Strength: 15%

With a slightly richer texture that’ll appeal to dry and combination skin types in particular, this serum’s 15% concentration of THD ascorbate proves effective in improving mild cases of uneven skin tone and tackling dullness too. Its inclusion of hydrating squalane  also provides a useful surge of moisture to leave skin smoother and plumper too.

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Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector, £21 for 10ml

Strength: 15%

Formulated without perfume or silicone, this silky textured serum sinks into skin quickly, with zero sticky residue left behind. Also containing soothing maritime pine extract, glycerin, fragmented hyaluronic acid  to deeply hydrate and the brand’s signature strengthening Mineralizing Thermal Water, it delivers on its claim to help skin appear brighter and smoother in just 10 days. Particularly handy if skin’s showing the effects of a particularly stressful period.

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Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, £129 for 30ml

Strength: 15%

Ferulic acid and vitamin E are particularly effective at helping enhance the protective and brightening effects of vitamin C and this super serum contains all three to provide a triple threat of antioxidants. Helping improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it’s the most expensive in our edit but its effects are far-reaching (plus, a little goes a long way too).

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Exuviance AF Vitamin C20 Serum Capsules, £59

Strength: 20%

This pick’s individual single-use capsules makes it stand out from the crowd. Containing 20% L-Ascorbic acid and Aminofil, the brand’s skin firming amino acid compound, it helps improve both skin texture and tone over time. It’s also fragrance and oil-free and each capsule contains a surprisingly large amount to amply cover face, neck and décolleté.

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The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, £4.90

Strength: 23%

This is a favourite budget serum  of ours. Containing a water-free suspension of L-Ascorbic acid powder, it has a slightly grainy texture which takes a bit of getting used to. However, it’s more stable as result and its incorporation of hyaluronic acid  and squalane  provides a well-balanced dose of hydration too.

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DCL C Scape High Potency Night Booster 30, £108 for 30ml

Strength: 30%

The heavyweight in our edit, this supercharged serum contains a sizeable 30% serving of L-Ascorbic acid alongside skin barrier -boosting essential fatty acids and other goodies to help even out skin tone and improve fine lines and wrinkles. Not for the faint-hearted, it’s a gritty-textured night time treatment that gives skin a glow-boost and, after a good few months of use, can provide noticeable improvements to areas of pigmentation too.

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