9 of the Best Vitamin C Serums for a Brighter, More Radiant Complexion

By Tara | Updated: 23/01/2024

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 8 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: 8 Products Reviewed

SkinCeuticals – C E Ferulic Serum

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum
$236.00
Google Review Rating:
4.6
Buy from Adore Beauty Buy from MYER
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Loved by derms and beauty editors, it’s easily considered the best vitamin C serum on the market.

The serum contains 15% L-ascorbic acid, which is a potent form of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the skin from damaging free radicals, which can cause premature aging. It also helps brighten the skin and improve its overall texture.

Supporting vitamin C is 1 % alpha-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E. It’s an unadulterated form of vitamin E so it’s a potent antioxidant that complements and enhances the effects of vitamin C. It helps to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier so the skin looks plump and hydrated.

Benefits:

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%
$22.50
Google Review Rating:
4.4
Buy from MYER Buy from The Ordinary
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

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 the 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.

Benefits

Mad Hippie, Vitamin C Serum

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
$35.69

(price at time of publish)

Google Review Rating:
4.5
Buy from iHerb
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

The Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum is an antioxidant-packed serum that brightens and smooths the appearance of the skin. Made with konjac root, ferulic acid, and hyaluronic acid, this vegan and cruelty-free serum is perfect for those looking for a more natural beauty routine.

With over 13,500 reviews on iherb, this top-rated vitamin c serum is a must-have for anyone looking to achieve radiant, glowy skin.

Sunday Riley C.E.O 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum
$119.29
Google Review Rating:
4.3
Buy from Amazon Buy from Mecca
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
03/02/2024 10:25 am GMT

The C.E.O 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum by Sunday Riley is a highly effective serum that uses a stable and oil-soluble form of vitamin C called THD ascorbate to provide powerful anti-aging benefits. Along with vitamin C, the serum also contains a Phytosterols complex that helps minimise redness and inflammation, resulting in a brighter and more radiant complexion.

The lightweight cream formula has a subtle citrus scent and absorbs well into the skin without feeling sticky or tacky. However, due to the inclusion of glycolic acid, it may be too harsh for sensitive skin types.

The product is free of sulphates, parabens, gluten, phthalates, and fragrances, and is vegetarian.

REN Clean Skincare Glow Daily Vitamin C Gel Cream

REN Clean Skincare Glow Daily Vitamin C Gel Cream
$79.20
Google Review Rating:
4.7
Buy from Cult Beauty Buy from Mecca
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Ren Clean Skincare’s Glow Daily Vitamin C Gel Cream is a lightweight, oil-free vitamin C, that is gentle to your skin and gentle to the planet.

The gel-cream formula is infused with a potent form of vitamin C called ascorbyl glucoside, which is known for its ability to brighten the complexion and reduce the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation. The cream also contains magnesium to help boost the skin’s radiance and improve its overall health and Tara Pod Extract to reduce redness and soothe the skin.

The formula is non-greasy and quickly absorbs into the skin, leaving it hydrated, soft and glowing.

It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and is vegan and cruelty-free.

Tribe Skincare Brightening Vitamin C Serum

Tribe Skincare Brightening Vitamin C Serum
$68.00

50ml

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

The Brightening Vitamin C Serum from an Australian skincare brand, Tribe is a gentle yet effective skincare product that is designed to cater to sensitive skin types. The serum has a lightweight texture that absorbs well into the skin, leaving no tacky residue, and has a pleasant, subtle citrus scent.

The formula is enriched with Vitamin C, which helps to give the skin a healthy glow, reduce the appearance of wrinkles by boosting the skin’s natural collagen, and lighten pigmentation. The addition of Niacinamide helps to even out the skin tone and protect against sun damage, while antioxidants work to prevent premature aging.

Regular use of this serum can help to leave the skin feeling brighter, more radiant, and healthier overall.

Interested in learning more about this brand? Check out my Tribe Skincare review here.

OLE HENRIKSEN – Truth Serum

OLE HENRIKSEN - Truth Serum
$75.00
Google Review Rating:
4.4
Buy from Sephora Buy from THE ICONIC
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Truth Serum by Ole Henriksen is like popping a daily multivitamin for your face.

From the get-go, Ole Henriksen has been a staunch believer in 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 of 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.

Benefits

Drunk Elephant – C-Firma™ Day Serum

C-Firma™ Fresh Day Serum - Drunk Elephant
Google Review Rating:
4.2
Buy from Mecca Buy from Catch
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

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 cells 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.

Benefits

ALPHA-H – Vitamin C With Grape Seed Serum

Alpha-H Vitamin C Serum with 10% Ethyl Ascorbic Acid
$84.95

25ml

Buy from Alpha-H
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

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.

Benefits

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 from sensitive to acne-prone skin 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.

Related Read: 18 of the Best Brightening Serums for the Ultimate ‘Glow Up’

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 To Choose a 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 per cent.

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 skincare, 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 known for its hydrating properties, 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.

We hope our comparison guide has helped make your decision easier.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Tara Lusk is the founder and creator of Beauty Space
Tara Lusk is a Sydney-based beauty enthusiast and the founder of Beauty Space. She launched the blog in 2018 to showcase the best beauty and skincare brands emerging from Australia, while also providing insider tips and tricks for hair and skincare. With a focus on tried-and-true products, Tara puts the latest cult products to the test to separate hype from substance.

1 Comments

  1. i can use in my face every day just vitamin C on am and pm ? for not use moisturizing cream

What are your thoughts?

Just fill out the fields below and share your comment. Your email address will not be published.