UPDATE: this article was originally written in 2015 (updated in 2017) and since many of these Vitamin C serums are no longer available, I have an updated article here: 

The best Vitamin C serum & why I have changed my mind!

*this post was updated in 2017

Today I have the best Vitamin C serums for you and I also share with you  the difference of L-Ascorbic Acid and Sodium Ascorbate and tell you which one is more effective! A good Vitamin C serum is essential in your anti aging skin care routine! It is the best antioxidant to reverse brown spots and achieve a more even skin tone. I also apply it always on my decollete and on the back of my hands. If you are above 30, I highly recommend to use a Vitamin C serum every morning (no need to use it in the night, as Vitamin C needs sunlight to be "active").

I´ll explain more why Vitamin C serum is important in this video:

I tried 10 different Vitamin C serums and today I will compare them and tell you which Vitamin C serums are the best!

Here is how I evaluated my winner:
  1. Does the product contain 20 % Vitamin C?
  2. Is the product reasonably priced?
  3. Does the packaging provides stability of the product (meaning that no light get´s into the package because that will destroy the active Vitamin C!). It was very interesting to see that Paula´choice uses a clear glass dropper for the Resist C15 Serum because she is very good in evaluating other companies (in her Beautypedia data bank) and ranks them bad if they use a clear packaging. Double standards?
  4. What is the consistency (gel, cream, liquid, oil) is personal preference but a liquid is preferable as it is the easiest way to apply and does not intervene with other products in your skin care routine. 
  5. Does the product have a scent? The scent is also personal preference. While I do love some citrus scent- this has no saying if it is a "good" Vitamin C serum as Vitamin C has naturally (ironically) no scent to it. You can find in the list below, if the product has a scent but I did not to choose this point for my ranking.  
  6. Does the product contain other beneficial (anti aging) ingredients. This is also personal preference as you might react bad to some ingredients, have allergies etc. Hyaluronic Acid or Ferulic Acid are ingredients that plump the skin and are favorable in my opinion.
Here is my rank list, starting with place 10 and moving down to place 1- my winner!

prices in chart above from 2015

This post was updated in April 2017 to include new Vitamin C serums that I have tried, reflect new prices and I removed products that are no longer available and added some research. See below.

What is the difference of L-Ascorbic Acid and Sodium Ascorbate and which one is more effective?

I have gotten many comments and questions regarding the difference of L-Ascorbic Acid and Sodium Ascorbate since first publishing this post. L-Ascorbic Acid is the chemical name for Vitamin C. Sodium Ascorbate on the other hand is a (one of many) mineral salt of Ascorbic Acid. 

So which one is better (more effective)? While many suggests that L-Ascorbic Acid is the better choice, I  found literally no scientific evidence for that. I also have not found one scientific study about the topical application of either forms of Vitamin C on skin- any studies that I found where about the effectiveness when taking Vitamin C orally. When taken orally, the basic properties and health benefits of sodium ascorbate are virtually identical with Ascorbic Acid. So, I am assuming that the same applies if applied topically.

But here is a difference: Sodium Ascorbate is milder than Ascorbic Acid as it is buffered and has less acidity. This could mean that Sodium Ascorbate might be the better choice for sensitive skin. Less Acidity means also: less exfoliation (so in that regard: yes: L-Ascorbic Acid seems more effective). On the other hand it can also mean that L-Ascorbic Acid can result in more irritation (for those with sensitive skin). 

Sodium Ascorbate is also know to be much more stable than L-Ascorbic Acid. While L-Ascorbic Acid can get milky and unusable within 1-3 month, Sodium Ascorbate can be stable for up to 24 month! 

You see: it isn´t that easy to say which one is better! Both have pros and cons- my personal overall verdict is: no matter which one you choose, you certainly do something good for your skin!  I added which form of Vitamin C the serums include below in my list.

Let´s sum it up!

L-Ascorbic Acid: more acidic therefore better exfoliation, however can be more irritating for sensitive skin. Expires within 1-3 month.

Sodium Ascorbate: less acidic therefore less exfoliation, better suitable for sensitive skin. Very stable for up to 24 month.

(water based and doesn´t interfere with makeup)

(cream/oil based and you can use them as a moisturizer under your makeup)


MY WINNER: belitae Vitamin C Serum

So there you have it: the belitae Vitamin C Serum is my absolute winner! It does contain 20 % Vitamin C, it is reasonably priced ($14.99), comes in an elegant dark blue glass dropper in an easy to apply liquid, has no scent and contains also plumping Hyaluronic Acid!

Check out also my YouTube video!

I also have a recipe to make your own Vitamin C serum! Click below!

Disclaimer: Contains Affiliate linksRead my full disclosure.