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Given the mess that was the last 12 months, we'll take any excuse for celebration that comes our way. A mama bear and her cubs successfully cross a road? Unleash the balloons and break out the champagne. So when it comes to celebrating National Vitamin C Day, we'll overlook the holiday's corporate origins in favor of paying some good old-fashioned love to the serums that make a difference.
For full transparency, the day was created by skincare brand SkinCeuticals. Yet considering the jaw-dropping success of the potion that started it all — the brand's C E Ferulic serum — and the tens of thousands of shopper raves that mount in Amazon's vitamin C serum selection, there's no better time to highlight the products that reveal brighter, firmer skin like the flick of a light switch.
For some bar-setting, the Skinceuticals original uses 15 percent l-ascorbic acid to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and restore skin's firmness. According to the brand, vitamin E and ferulic acid join the vitamin C to help reduce the environmental damage that UV rays and pollution inflict on skin by up to 41 percent.
Buy It! Skinceuticals C E Ferulic With 15% L-Ascorbic Acid, $166; skinceuticals.com
If you can afford it, it doesn't get higher quality than the patented formula, which one shopper in their 60s calls the "best skincare decision of my life." If you can't, the good news is that there are plenty, and we mean plenty, of spectacular vitamin C options on Amazon. Keep reading for the best-reviewed serums the site has to offer, all under $30.
You may or may not have heard of TruSkin, but the brand’s skincare continually dominates the Amazon charts. Its vitamin C formula is Amazon’s best-selling face serum and the recipient of over 44,000 five-star ratings. Nearly 10,000 people left reviews to go with their sparkling ratings, among them quotes like “best $20 ever spent,” “saved my skin,” and “the loose skin and wrinkles around my eyes are gone.” The serum is paraben and phthalate-free, instead relying on vitamin E, jojoba oil, witch hazel, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C (in sodium ascorbyl phosphate form) to get results.
Buy It! $19.99 (Orig. $29.99); amazon.com
Next most reviewed is Eva Naturals’ amended vitamin C serum, which follows TruSkin’s in the Amazon serum rankings. The cruelty-free serum goes a step beyond traditional vitamin C-focused formulas with added salicylic acid, niacinamide, retinol, and hyaluronic acid, all of which combine to make over 21,000 Amazon shoppers very happy.
One person reports that they were “amazed by the fast results” they saw within a week of use, their dark brown acne scars by and large erased. Licensed estheticians write that it makes their skin clearer and smoother than they’ve seen in years; sensitive, oily, and acne-prone situations are left blackhead-free, and fine lines turned “hardly noticeable.”
Buy It! $14.95; amazon.com
Éclat’s organic antioxidant serum comes in strong, pairing 15,000+ five-star Amazon ratings with a tempting price of $6.98. Shoppers say the value is unmatched, since it “significantly reduces” fine lines around their eyes and forehead while brightening their skin with 20 percent vitamin C. And thanks to the appetizing price, shoppers say they use it on their neck, chest, and hands — no hoarding it for specific spots and wrinkles here.
Buy It! $6.98; amazon.com
If you’d rather stick with a well-known drugstore brand, CeraVe’s affordable vitamin C serum uses 10 percent vitamin C for a gentle, yet effective formula made for sensitive skin. The universally beloved brand built its reputation (and name) around ceramides, skin-conditioning agents that “restore the skin's protective barrier and lock in moisture all day,” per CeraVe. With three ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and soothing vitamin B5, the serum won “Best Brightening Serum” in People’s 2019 beauty awards — and 10,000+ five-star ratings confirm that it’s as excellent as ever.
Buy It! $18.84; amazon.com
Just a few dollars higher on the price scale and with a review count to rival Éclat’s, Tree of Life’s vitamin C serum goes for $10.95. Over 15,000 Amazon reviewers awarded it five stars, and it has a more gel-like consistency for people who prefer thicker moisture. Glycerin and aloe support the vitamin C quotient, while jojoba oil adds a hydrating angle. The formula is 100 percent vegan and has earned almost 300 glowing reviews from people seeking dark spot relief and smaller pores in as little as three days.
Buy It! $10.95; amazon.com
This under-$20 serum is Amazon famous, owing to its exceptional work on fine lines and dark marks. Shoppers call it a “must buy” for the way it zaps sunspots, pores, and wrinkles out of existence, with major results apparent in two weeks. Sensitive skin tolerates it with ease, and the clarity it creates has people thrilled: “I’ve never used a face product that I loved this much.”
Buy It! $17.78; amazon.com
This K-beauty find features a formula uncannily similar to Skinceuticals’ all-star, including ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E to anti-age. The main difference is that Skinceuticals’ uses 15 percent l-ascorbic acid, while SeoulCeuticals’ relies on a 20 percent sodium ascorbyl phosphate form of vitamin C. But according to 6,000+ happy reviewers, it gets the job done. An esthetician in the comments says that the formula feels “exquisite,” and has improved their skin’s brightness, texture, and elasticity so well, they now skip concealer. Shopper photos support the almost-unreal results and need to be seen to be believed.
Buy It! $16.99; amazon.com
On top of being a beauty editor favorite, Vichy's formula is as high-performing as you can get for less than $30. Shoppers draw comparisons to products astronomically more expensive, some writing that the serum "does miracles" for their complexion.
The formula's 15 percent pure ascorbic acid, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E make for a mix of hydration and antioxidants so potent, shoppers say acnes scars lighten, wrinkles smooth, and skin brightens before their eyes. Best of all, the thin liquid is fast-absorbing enough to penetrate without slowing down your morning routine.
Buy It! $28.50; amazon.com
Bliss’ cheery orange bottle has statistics to back up its cult status: One bottle of the serum sells every 15 seconds, according to the brand. On top of the namesake ingredient, the liquid includes tri-peptides to firm skin and amp up collagen, licorice root to compound vitamin C’s brightening power, and hydrating squalane, vitamin E, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid to make it the most well-rounded formula of the bunch.
Shoppers say it easily gets rid of frown lines, makes skin radiant, and negates the need for makeup. “I've noticed a huge difference in my forehead lines and the brightness of my skin after using this for about one month,” one 45-year-old shopper wrote. “I'm hooked.”
Buy It! $21.44; amazon.com
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