Best Vitamin C Serum – 5 Top-Rated Skincare Products

Last Updated: December 15, 2020

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant ingredient that can be found in many best-selling skincare products thanks to its efficacy in treating many skin concerns.

What are the benefits of Vitamin C for the skin?

Okay, so you’re sold on this wonder ingredient. One look online and you will see there are so many Vitamin C products that come in all different forms. So how do you know which one is right for you?

With that in mind, we have rounded up 5 amazing products to determine the best Vitamin C Serum.

Read on to find out what makes it a powerhouse skincare ingredient.

Best Vitamin C Serum Australia: 5 Products Reviewed

SkinCeuticals – C E Ferulic Serum

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum
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SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic has developed cult status amongst those in the beauty community thanks to its efficacy and patented formulation. It is easily considered one of the best vitamin c serums in the market which is why we are kicking off our roundup with this super serum.

L-ascorbic acid and alpha tocopherol are the key ingredients of this anti-ageing serum from SkinCeuticals. It’s a great product when you need a little pick me up or when your skin has been feeling lacklustre.

The 15 per cent L-ascorbic acid fights free radicals that contribute to that haggard look. It visibly improves the appearance of your complexion and you only need a few drops each time to see effects.

Supporting vitamin C is 1 per cent alpha tocopherol or vitamin E. It’s an unadulterated form of vitamin E so it’s a potent antioxidant that enhances the effects of vitamin C. It strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier so skin looks plump and hydrated.

Ferulic acid is an antioxidant that stabilizes vitamin C and has anti-ageing benefits.

Though the SkinCeuticals serum is lightweight, it’s also has a bit of tackiness. The sticky feel goes away after the product sinks into the skin.

The vitamin C serum is stored in a dark brown dropper bottle that distributes the right amount of product. The sealed packaging helps to prevent the degradation of the actives in the serum.

With regular use, this serum will keep your skin glowy and refine texture and dark spots. That being said, it’s quite an expensive purchase but it may be worth the investment if you’re after a serious glow-up.

Pros

Cons

OLE HENRIKSEN – Truth Serum

OLE HENRIKSEN - Truth Serum
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One of the best serums to get in Australia is the Truth Serum by Ole Henriksen. It’s like popping a daily multivitamin for your face.

From the get-go, Ole Henriksen has been a staunch believer of the power of vitamin C. The serum contains a combination of sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) and calcium ascorbate. Some experts say this is a more stable form of vitamin C compared to L-ascorbic acid.

While the percentage isn’t indicated, it’s quite low, making this the best serum to buy if you have sensitive skin or aren’t sure if your skin will tolerate it.

The serum also contains collagen, orange and green tea extracts, and aloe juice. This will calm down hyperpigmentation and boost skin elasticity. It contains hydrating ingredients and stimulates the production of collagen, leaving you with smoother and more radiant skin.

The Ole Henriksen serum has a refreshing citrus scent that makes putting it on the face a real treat. It comes in a slightly opaque glass bottle with a pump for easy dispensing. Application is a breeze and there are no pesky waiting periods.

A disadvantage with this serum is the form of vitamin C it uses. Derivatives are less powerful than L-ascorbic acid but if the goal is to avoid irritation and slowly build up a tolerance, it’s a great starter product. I also wish they disclosed the exact concentration of vitamin C in the serum but it’s still an effective product, nonetheless.

Pros

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Drunk Elephant – C-Firma™ Day Serum

Say hello to brighter days with the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum! Yes, you read that right–this is a vitamin C serum for daytime use. While I preach about using your restorative and active ingredients at night, vitamin C is actually best used during the day. It supports sunscreen and amplifies its protective benefits. This vitamin C serum helps block UV exposure and fend off pollutants and free radicals.

The main ingredient is 15 per cent L-ascorbic acid which is an anti-ageing workhorse. It brightens, firms and protects the skin. Working together with vitamin C is pumpkin ferment and pomegranate extract which refine pores and slough off dead skin cell so you get a more even skin tone.

Drunk Elephant also added Indian gooseberry to reduce the signs of ageing caused by stress (a skincare benefit we all need nowadays). The Day Serum is as much of a corrective brightener as it is a preventive vitamin c serum.

The effects last 72 hours after you apply it. It’s like a tonic for the face because it visibly wakes up a tired-looking face while preventing lines and wrinkles.

The Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum is stored in the cutest of bottles. The packaging is functional, too, since it’s tightly sealed to keep the serum from oxidizing.

In terms of texture, it’s a lightweight oil-type serum. It does feel a bit sticky at first but that fades away the more you work it into your face.

While this isn’t as pricey as the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum, it’s still quite a steep investment. You should also take note that this serum has a divisive scent. It doesn’t smell like a fragrant or perfumey serum so it might irritate a sensitive nose.

Pros

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ALPHA-H – Vitamin C With Grape Seed Serum

Alpha-H Vitamin C
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Alpha-H has formulated of the best Vitamin C serums for those with sensitive skin.

It’s made in Australia and is vegan and cruelty-free. The Alpha-H serum contains ethyl ascorbic acid. Supporting it are liquorice extract, hyaluronic acid and grape seed extract. This antioxidant blend boosts skin radiance, increases elasticity and protects the skin from oxidative damage.

The ethyl ascorbic acid stimulates collagen production so skin looks more youthful and smooth. Liquorice reduces the formation of melanin and grape seed extract boosts the serum’s antioxidant effects.

Hyaluronic acid draws water into the skin and minimizes potential irritation caused by vitamin C. Your skin will look firmer and the appearance of pores will be minimized.

The serum is very easy to use and absorbs quickly into the skin. It leaves a velvety feeling after application and makeup sits on top of the serum quite well since the formula is water-based.

The serum is stored in a beautiful neutral-coloured dropper bottle that shields it from light and oxygen exposure. It’s a great lightweight serum that’s gentle enough for those with sensitive skin.

Pros

Cons

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%
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If you’re looking to score a great vitamin C serum on a budget, look no further than The Ordinary. DECIEM’s famous no-frills skincare line has taken the world by storm years back. They have multiple vitamin C products but this one is a fan favourite.

The Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% contains the aforementioned ascorbyl glucoside, a form of vitamin C. Though it’s not as potent as L-ascorbic acid, the vitamin C derivative ascorbyl glucoside is nothing to shrug at. Its water-soluble quality makes it a more stable alternative to L-ascorbic acid. The texture of the serum has a light, pleasant feel.

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside serum brightens the skin within a few weeks of use. The complexion becomes more even and skin texture more refined. It helps turn back the clock by reducing and preventing the telltale signs of ageing.

As a plus, the serum has a skin smoothening effect. If you’re struggling with uneven skin tone or redness, this serum would do the trick to take your complexion from lacklustre to radiant.

The Ordinary serum is fragrance-free and stored in a dark glass bottle for easy application and longer shelf life. Some users say the serum doesn’t layer well with other products. It tends to pill, especially during cold months. It also takes a while to absorb into the skin, which may be frustrating if you’re in a rush.

Pros

Cons

A Vitamin C Serum Buying Guide: All You Need to Know

What is vitamin C?

Ascorbic acid or vitamin C is a powerful, acidic antioxidant that stimulates the skin to regenerate and heal itself. It fades hyperpigmentation and soothes inflammation. It also defends the skin from harmful free radicals and boosts collagen.

You’ll often see this power ingredient infused in serums, moisturisers, cleansers and even in powder form. It’s adaptable enough to be worked into different formulas and concentrations. The most effective topical form of vitamin C, though, is called L-Ascorbic acid.

Why should you use a vitamin C serum?

Vitamin C in skincare isn’t a new thing actually but it has gained popularity, especially with a renewed interest in all things skin and beauty. It’s as much of a skin anti-ageing product as it is a complexion-enhancing ingredient.

Vitamin C helps boost vitamin E production. These 2 vitamins protect the skin from photo-ageing caused by free radicals and sun exposure. It stimulates the skin to produce collagen and resurface the outer layers. In a sense, it is an exfoliant because it encourages faster cell turnover. Dark spots become fainter, as a result. That’s why it gives users a much sought after glow.

Vitamin C also preserves the skin’s collagen reserves, resulting in a more refined skin texture and a reduction in the signs of ageing. With every use, your skin will look plumper and firmer. It’s like turning back the clock.

Who should use vitamin C serums?

Vitamin C covers a wide range of skincare concerns so all skin types can benefit from it. It can be used as a preventative measure for young people while for people concerned about ageing, it can treat fine lines and wrinkles.

It is particularly beneficial for people struggling with hyperpigmentation and a dull complexion. Skin that has started showing signs of sun damage will also drink up the effects of a vitamin C serum.

Is it safe to use?

Given its potency, it needs to be introduced slowly into your skincare routine, especially if you have sensitive skin.

The devil is in the details so the thing you should pay attention to is the concentration of vitamin C in a formula.

For sensitive skin types, it’s recommended to start with a baseline of 5 per cent before working your way up. A derivative (meaning something that’s diluted or a non-pure version) or a gentler form of vitamin C like vitamin C ester, could be a good introduction to the product.

Of course, the higher the dose, the better the results will be. If your skin is quite resilient, you could use a serum with between 10 to 20 per cent vitamin C. Definitely start slow and build up your tolerance. Patch test a product to see if there are any adverse reactions.

How do you choose the best vitamin C serum?

Formulation

Firstly, you will want to look out for L-ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C). It’s the most effective form of vitamin C, which is also why it’s the most well-known.

Ideally, L-ascorbic acid should be in the first 5 ingredients on the serum (The order of the ingredients on the label gives you an indication of the percentage of ingredients used).

Concentration

Most skin types can tolerate vitamin C serums at a 10 to 20 percentage.

Those with sensitive skin may want to start with a 10 per cent concentration or lower. If you’re the type of person who likes to go hard on their skin care, keep in mind that a 20% concentration will not necessarily mean more efficacy and has the potential to irritate your skin.

Supporting Ingredients:

Look out for a Vitamin C formulated with ferulic acid and vitamin E. These ingredients enhance the effects of vitamin C.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that stabilises vitamin C and fortifies the skin barrier. While ferulic acid, helps lower the pH level of the ingredient meaning your skin can better absorb it.

Another ingredient that supports or complements vitamin C is hyaluronic acid, which draws water into the skin and prevents moisture loss. It has soothing effects which can act as a buffer to the irritating properties of vitamin C.

Packaging

Vitamin C should not be exposed to light because light makes the actives unstable. Air and heat exposure also degrades vitamin C.

When preserved in serum form, it should come as a clear liquid. It should be stored in a dark bottle to minimise light exposure. The opening should be airtight.

Dropper bottles and air pumps are good carriers for vitamin C. Just remember to store the bottle in a cool and dark place to prolong its life further.

Final Thoughts

These are the best vitamin C serums in Australia, well-loved by beauty editors and skincare aficionados alike.

The most recommended serum on this list is the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic and for good reason. Vitamin E and ferulic are complementary ingredients to L-ascorbic acid. You squeeze out the benefits of vitamin C with this triple threat ingredient list.

The percentage of actives hits that sweet spot of effectiveness and tolerability. It’s stored in a dark bottle to keep the product from going stale.

The serum absorbs into the skin, making it perfect for daytime use. Once you get past that hefty price tag, you’ll love the results you’ll get from this vitamin C serum and become a part of the highly enthusiastic C E Ferulic serum fan club.