I know I’m late to the game, but for some reason vitamin C only recently came on my radar. Sure I’d heard about exfoliating, retinol, hyaluronic acid, etc. and was incorporating them into my routine, but it’s only been in the past year or so that I’ve been fully turned on to vitamin C’s benefits. Turns out, I was missing out on a lot.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects against free radical damage and environmental stressors (which can lead to dullness and aging), evens skin tone and lightens spots and scarring, and promotes collagen production.

Estheticians suggest using it along with other antioxidants like vitamin E and ferulic acid, which can boost its efficacy. When incorporating into your routine, it’s good to keep in mind that vitamin C doesn’t play well with retinol (it can make it unstable and less likely to penetrate the skin), benzoyl peroxide (which can oxidize it), and other acids (may cause excessive irritation). You can use it every day, or if you use a retinol, alternate it by applying every other day or vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night. Most skin types tolerate it well, but if you have extremely sensitive skin, you may want to skip. And as always, be sure to talk with your dermatologist if you’re concerned.

image: aesop

Some application tips:

  • Use it in the right order – If your vitamin C treatment is a serum, use after cleansing or toning and before moisturizing. If it’s in your moisturizer, use it as your last step.
  • Use vitamin C in the morning – you can totally use at night, but you’ll get the most benefit from applying in the morning. Because it heals sun damage and protects against UV radiation, you’ll have an extra layer of protection with a morning application.
  • Pick the right concentration – If you have sensitive skin, look for something around 5%. If you have more extensive issues you can handle higher concentrations.
  • More is not better – It’s just more expensive in the long run. A small amount goes a long ways, but be sure to use regularly for best results.
  • If the product changes color, toss! – Oxidized vitamin C tends to lose it’s power. It can vary in color from colorless, to straw colored to pale orange. If it’s turned brown it might be time to toss.

Our vitamin C packed picks include an eye serum, non toxic options, a face oil and more! However you like your skincare delivered, there’s a little something for everyone.

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum

This serum has won beauty awards, and the favor of editors and dermatologists alike for good reason. You’ll love it for its ability to fight fine lines and wrinkles while dramatically lightening sun damage and dark spots. The formula contains complementing antioxidants like vitamin E and ferulic, which help increase the efficacy of vitamin C. It’s on the pricier side, but a couple small drops go a long ways.

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil

I have a friend who swears by this face oil for fading acne scars and giving brighter, firmer and more glowy skin. Users have reported seeing a drastic difference and a just-got-a-facial-level-glow in just one week!

L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensive Vitamin C Serum

Our drugstore gem of the group, this serum gets rid of dullness gently, and effectively reduces discoloration. It has a waterless formula and an airtight UV blocking tube to prevent oxidation of the formula and keep it in its most effective state.

Fitglow Vita Active Serum (Non-toxic Option)

Green beauty products can sometimes be less than effective/or you have to use them for a long time to see any results. This formula is different. It’s one of the best ones I’ve tried and my current personal favorite. I’ve noticed a dramatic difference in sun damage and scars fading. The serum’s formula also works to increases collagen production and improve elasticity, leaving you with clear, smooth, and radiant skin.

Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream (Non-toxic Option)

This power-packed nontoxic formula contains five different forms of vitamin C, a handful of antioxidants, coenzyme Q10 and a peptide blend, making it amazing for under-eye brightening and firming. Besides actually working well, the air-tight packaging and natural formula are major pluses.




  1. 1
    Katherine Fluor | May 20, 2020 at 11:00 am

    Love these tips and recos, Hannah! I have been applying mine at night but will now switch to morning to help give me that added layer of UV protection – genius! Thanks for always sharing your tried and true beauty wisdom with us 🙂 xo!

  2. 2
    Suruchi Avasthi | May 20, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    LOVE the CEO Glow – it’s not too heavy like some other oils can be and I swear it makes your skin just look so bright an glowy!

  3. 3
    Candice | May 20, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    Such good VitC education –thank you!

  4. 4
    Maria Munoz | May 26, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Vitamin C is my go-to for a bright complexion. Thanks for sharing these options!

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Kristen Kilpatrick