*updated in 2022

Today I have the best Vitamin C serums for you and I also explain to 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 tried so many different Vitamin C serums and today I will tell you which Vitamin C serums are the best!

Here is what was important to me:
  1. Does the product contain 15-20 % Vitamin C?
  2. Is the product reasonably priced?
  3. Does the packaging provide stability of the product (meaning that no light get´s into the package because that will destroy the active Vitamin C!).
  4. What is the consistency (gel, cream, liquid, oil)? I prefer a water based serum because it does not intervene with my skin care/ or makeup routine. 
  5. What other beneficial ingredients does the serum contain? (I love if Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E are included.)

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 known 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.


1. MAELOVE The Glow Maker Antioxidant Serum with Vitamin C + E Ferulic $32.95 (contains 15% Vitamin C/ L-ascorbic acid.)

Psst! This is a great dupe for the popular Skinceuticals Vitamin C serum!

2. InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid & Ferulic Acid $17.97 // Amazon
(contains 20% Vitamin C/Sodium Ascorbic Phosphate)

Aqua, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Cassia Angustifolia Seed Extract, Globularia Cordifolia Callus Culture Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Punica Granatum Extract, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Algae Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Ferulic Acid, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Centella Asiatica Extract, Equisetum Arvense Extract, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Extract, Geranium Maculatum Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

3. Amara Beauty Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E $17.05 // Amazon
(contains 20% Vitamin C/Sodium Ascorbic Phosphate)

Deionized Water, Aloe Vera Juice, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Dimethyl Sulfone (MSM), Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide (Botanical Hyaluronic Acid), Witch Hazel, Carbomer, (2s)-2-Amino-5-guanidinopentanoic Acid, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Jojoba Oil*, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Gotu Kola Extract*, Horsetail Plant Extract, Wild Geranium Extract, Dandelion Extract*, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin. 

4. SKIN DEVA Vitamin C Serum with Vitamin E Plus Ferulic Acid $19.99 // Amazon
(contains 20% Vitamin C/L-ascorbic acid)

Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L- Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Vitamin E, Polysorbate 80, Panthenol, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Benzylalcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid.

5. Paula's Choice BOOST C15 Super Booster with Vitamin E & Ferulic Acid $49.40 // Amazon
(contains 15% Vitamin C/L-Ascorbic Acid)

Water (Aqua), Ascorbic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Ethoxydiglycol, Glycerin, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Pentylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate, Lecithin, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Bisabolol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Propyl Gallate, Sodium Gluconate, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

6. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid Vitamin C Serum $169 // Skinstore
(contains 15% Vitamin C/L-ascorbic acid.)

I wanted to include this all time bestselling Vitamin C serum, however, it is on my last place due to the high price. If you can afford it though, it is a fantastic choice!

Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Alpha Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Ferulic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate.


I also have a DIY recipe to make your own Vitamin C serum (however, this one is not stable for long!)

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