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The Best Vitamin C Skincare Products

Favorite Vitamin C Skin Care Products to fight aging and dark spots

One of my favorite multi-purpose skincare ingredients is Vitamin C (learn more about how Vitamin C works in skincare here). In a nut shell, while you likely think of Vitamin C whenever you drink a glass of orange juice, you should also be including it in your skincare routine.

Vitamin C does it all, from encouraging your skin to create more collagen and elastin (and therefore helping to reverse signs of aging), evening out skin tone by improving hyperpigmentation and even preventing skin damage by inactivating free radicals (aka, it’s a pretty great antioxidant). As an added bonus, Vitamin C is pregnancy safe, so if you are pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant, or nursing you can safely include Vitamin C products in your skincare routine.

Vitamin C products used to have a lot of problems such as causing irritation to being easily inactivated, they were also expensive. Over the last few years skincare brands have fixed many of those issues. Vitamin C serums no longer irritate the skin, you’re likely to find Vitamin C as an active ingredient in gentle moisturizers. Stabilizers have also come a long way, and your expensive skin care product is much less likely to inactivate itself once you’ve opened it. And best of all, you can find Vitamin C at all price points!

I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite Vitamin C skincare products for this post. I’m focusing on products that prominently feature Vitamin C, rather than those that just happen to have a low concentration of Vitamin C in a long list of active ingredients.

7/16/2019 Update: Note I’m updating this list as I’ve tried quite a few Vitamin C serums since this went live, and have some new favorites to share!

The Best Vitamin C Skincare Products

1. Volition Beauty Strawberry-C Serum
Hands down, this is my favorite serum (read a full review here). It is very gentle on my sensitive skin, sinks in quickly, and I can even use it under makeup without issues.
Pregnancy and nursing safe

2. Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective
I did an entire review and update series on my results using Clearly Corrective when it was first released. It helped my melasma a lot! It can leave a little residue on my skin, so I use it only at night.
This is ok for nursing but not pregnancy (due to Salicylic Acid)

Alternative: Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate
One of my go-to Vitamin C products, you only need a small amount and it is easy to layer with other products.
Safe for pregnancy and nursing

3. Dermalogica Age Smart Multivitamin Power Serum
I really love that there are so many active ingredients in this cream, it has retinoids as well. I take it with me when I travel, it’s 1 product for my retinoid and vitamin C. However, it can be irritating if you have sensitive skin.
Not safe for pregnancy due to the retinoid, and many recommend avoiding that during nursing as well.

4. Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder
If you want to add Vitamin C to your skincare routine but aren’t quite ready to swap out any products, you can add a bit of this powder (really) to your favorite product instead. Instant Vitamin C!
Safe for nursing but not pregnancy (due to Licorice Root)

5. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
I just finished using an entire bottle of this serum. It isn’t irritating and works great under makeup.
Safe for nursing but not pregnancy (due to Licorice Root)

6. Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum
This serum has a lot of hydration with hyaluronic acid in it as well. It has Rosehip Oil, a “natural” alternative to retinoids in skincare (it’s considered pregnancy safe).
Safe for pregnancy and nursing

7. AvΓ©ne A-OXitive Antioxidant Defense Serum
Super gentle, this is a great option if your skin is easily irritated.
Safe for pregnancy and nursing

8. Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum Brightening Skin Corrector
This is the cheapest of the options here, but it is still worth checking out! You only need a small amount and it pairs well with other products.
Safe for pregnancy and nursing

9. OleHenricksen Truth Serum
This has long been a best selling Vitamin C serum for a reason. It smells like oranges, works for every skin type and won’t irritate your skin.
Safe for pregnancy and nursing

Photos by Max, rawpixel and Charisse Kenion on Unsplash
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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

Leave a Comment


  1. 10.28.18
    Aisha said:

    Have recently been seeing lots of hype around Vitamin C products! Kiehl’s one sounds amazing.

  2. 11.14.18
    Trisha said:

    Very helpful article. I decided to include more products with vitamin c to my daily routine, but I am not sure how many products and for how long I should use. Right now I am using Virginic products; vitamin c face serum and body cream. I really love them. The body butter works perfectly on my dry skin and It’s smells amazing. And the serum I usually mix it with lotion when I put on. It energizes my skin and smoothes surface of it. It helps skin hydrate. So after few weeks I see huge change, but….is it good to use vitamin c products all the time? Is it good for every weather?

    • 11.14.18
      15mins said:

      Yes, good all the time and every weather! You might want to try applying the serum first and then moisturizer, it will kind of “seal in” that serum, it could be interfering with each other a tad.

      • 11.15.18
        Trisha said:

        omg thank you so much <3 My mum told me that too much vitamin c is not good for your health, because I will be very pale. Thank you πŸ˜‰

  3. 5.15.19
    jamie said:

    Hello. πŸ™‚ would u be able to recommend a lotion with vit c to use on body not just face? i have dark spots all over my body due to eczema. I am currently breastfeeding. Thank u

    • 5.15.19
      15mins said:

      Unfortunately those are post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, they’ll resolve with time but you can’t reverse them any faster. I don’t know of any vitamin C body specific products, I’m sorry!

      • 5.16.19
        jamie said:

        thank u for the response πŸ™‚

  4. 6.11.19
    Stacy Ridenour said:

    Are all the above mentioned products pregnancy safe? I know you mentioned vitamin C is in general, but just making sure none of the products had extras in them that would deem them unsafe. Thanks πŸ™‚

  5. 8.7.19
    Amy in StL said:

    The Ole Henrickson was incredibly irritating to my skin! My dermatologist said it almost looked like a mild chemical burn. I’ve since found Vitamin C products that I can use, but because of this product I avoided Vitamin C for a long time.

    • 8.7.19
      15mins said:

      I think it depends on the person. The Ole Henrickson is super popular, and my skin (despite sensitivity due to rosacea) tolerates it just fine.

  6. 1.31.21
    OANA said:

    Hi doctor,

    Could you tell me please if this Vitamin C serum from Hello body is safe in pregnancy?

    Aqua (Water), 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate.

    Thank you very much !

    • 1.31.21
      Christine said:

      Looks ok for both pregnancy and nursing