Vitamin C is underrated. Many people only know about its radiance-boosting abilities, but that’s the tip of the iceberg. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps boost collagen, prevent brown spots, and even reverse photo-damage. It doesn’t mess around when it comes to enhancing and protecting our skin.
The most common form of vitamin C found in skincare is ascorbic acid – also known as L-ascorbic acid; this form works wonders in everyone’s skincare routine, no matter skin type, gender, or age. It’s proven to make skin look younger, firmer, and even skin tone, as well as defend skin from further damage.
If you don’t have a vitamin C product in your routine, I highly recommend you have a re-think. I’ve rounded up three of my favourites for every budget when you realise your skin’s missing out!
Vitamin C: The Need To Knows
1. Vitamin C is best used in your AM routine as it protects against damage from free radicals. Pair it with an SPF for a double defence! Find our favourites here.
2. Avoid using vitamin C with acids as they may cause irritation and avoid pairing it with retinol as it can make vitamin C unstable.
3. Vitamin C works well with other antioxidants including vitamin E and ferulic acid; these ingredients help boost vitamin C’s efficacy.
4. The more expensive a vitamin C product is doesn’t reflect how good it is, or how strong the formula is.
5. You shouldn’t always go for the highest strength vitamin C product; formulas higher than 20% can irritate your skin, which is why they’re best suited to someone who’s built a tolerance to it.
Best Vitamin C Product Under £10
Best if: Your skin is used to vitamin C, you have oily skin, or you want to correct dark spots.
If you’re on a budget, there’s no better brand to browse than The Ordinary. Their prices are purse-friendly, and their formulas are top-notch. One of their best-sellers is the Vitamin C Suspension 30%, which is one of the most potent vitamin C formulas they offer, and that we stock on Escentual.
The treatment contains 30% pure L-Ascorbic Acid, suspended in silicone; there’s no water inside which means the formula stays completely stable. The silicone gives a smooth finish on the skin (a great match for oily skin types), which feels like a mattifying primer. Due to its strength, skin should be eased into this formula (increase frequency over time), or if you experience excessive tingling it can be diluted with a serum.
Best Vitamin C Product Under £20
Best if: You want fast results, you’ve never tried vitamin C before, or have a dry or sensitive skin type.
The 10% Pure Vitamin C Booster won the Escentual team over last October. In just seven days, it improved my skin’s texture and tone – see my results for yourself here.
If you’re looking for results fast, perhaps for a special event, you can’t go wrong with this serum. The formula contains 10% pure L-ascorbic Acid, alongside antioxidant licochalcone, and low molecular hyaluronic acid; this added duo helps to alleviate any redness and irritation caused by the vitamin C and boost the skin’s hydration.
Unlike The Ordinary, this does contain water. However, the serum comes in a shake and press tube, which allows you to activate the formula when you’re ready to use it – genius!
See the results of the Vitamin C Booster for yourself in these before and after photos.
Best Vitamin C Product Under £70
Best if: You have moderate dark spots/dullness or prefer a water-based texture.
If you want a more long-term vitamin C product in your routine, and prefer water-based formulas, the Intensive Vitamine Gel-Cream is ideal for you. The gel-cream has not one but two stable derivatives of vitamin C! The formula contains a 2% vitamin C precursor called Ascorbyl Glucoside. Not only does this precursor keep the vitamin C stable in water, but it also penetrates deeper into the skin, and it’s obtained in a more natural process, thanks to biotechnology.
The texture is very different from the others I have chosen. A cooling gel-cream, it feels gorgeous on the skin, which I think a dry/dehydrated skin type will adore. I can’t ignore the packaging either; it exudes luxury and feels heavy – it isn’t one for travel, but it’ll look divine on any dressing table I promise you that.