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13 Best Vitamin C Serums of 2023 for Glowing Skin

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When you hear the word “vitamin,” it’s not uncommon to immediately think of nutritious food. And healthy foods like fruits and veggies can deliver lots of nutrients (especially important when you’re deficient in certain vitamins). But vitamins can also give your skin a radiant boost when they’re included in skincare products like moisturizers and serums.

Vitamin C is the perfect example, as it provides many skin-related benefits. It can protect your skin from the sun and free radicals, brighten and even out your skin tone, and leave you with a healthy glow. 

Ready to get your glow? We’ve hunted down the best vitamin C serums to add to your beauty routine.

Best vitamin C serum overview

How we chose the best vitamin C serums

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including skin type recommendations, benefits, and more, to create a short list of the top vitamin C serums. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best vitamin C serum for each category.

Our picks for the best vitamin C serums

Best overall
Beautycounter All Bright C Serum

What we love

  • Brightens skin
  • Evens tone
  • Adds a glowy finish

What we don’t love

  • Expensive

Our pick for the best vitamin C serum is Beautycounter All Bright C Serum. It brightens skin thanks to two forms of vitamin C and has antioxidants that combine to leave you with a fresh, glowy look. It also evens out skin tone and will give you a younger appearance overall. No waiting around for this serum to dry, either, because the formula is designed to absorb quickly.

Though it’s a more expensive option, the many benefits are worth the price. And taking advantage of the subscription option can help bring the cost down a bit.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Brightens, evens tone, offers a glowy finish | Use: 1-2 pumps, morning | Size: 1 fl oz

Best budget
L’Oreal Paris Revitalift 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum

What we love

  • Affordable
  • Free of fragrance
  • Lightweight feel

What we don’t love

  • May not work as fast as brand claims
  • May feel oily

L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Vitamin C Serum brightens skin and reduces the look of wrinkles, all while giving your skin a more even tone and a bit of a glow to top it off. Though some reviewers feel the serum is a bit oily, it’s lightweight and doesn’t contain fragrance. 

The brand claims skin can look brighter within a week, but reviewers have noted these results can vary. However, even if it takes a bit longer than one week to work, these powerful benefits are a fabulous find for under $20. You’ll only need about a dime’s worth of product, so it’ll last for a while, too.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Wrinkle-reducing, evens skin tone, offers a glowy finish, brightens | Use: Dime-size, morning and evening | Size: 1 oz

Best drugstore
Olay Vitamin C + Peptide 24

What we love

  • Evening or morning use
  • Lightweight formula
  • Easily found at drugstore chains

What we don’t love

  • Citrus scent may not appeal to all
  • May feel sticky

This is the best vitamin C serum to be found at most local drugstore chains, like Walgreens or Target. It brings in brightening benefits along with a boost of moisture to keep skin nice and hydrated. Though Olay doesn’t specify exactly how much you should use, you can choose to use it either in the morning or the evening. 

It does contain fragrance, and the citrusy smell may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Additionally, a few reviewers noted it could feel sticky after applying, so it’s a good idea to start with just a bit and work your way up to more product if needed.

Skin type: Normal, oily, dry | Benefits: Brightening, hydrating | Use: Evening or morning | Size: 1.3 oz

Best undereye
Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester CCC + Ferulic Brightening Under-Eye Cream

What we love

  • Reduces bags and dark circles
  • Firms undereye skin
  • Brightens

What we don’t love

  • Expensive
  • Only for undereyes

Though this cream will add one step to your skincare routine, it’s such a treat for that delicate undereye area. It’s ideal for reducing undereye bags, dark circles, and puffiness. It works to firm the skin near your eyes while also brightening for a beautiful finish. 

It’s not meant to be used on your entire face, which means the price tag is a little high for such a specific usage. The brand doesn’t give specifics on how much serum to use, so start with a bit and work your way up.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Reduces dark circles, evens texture, brightens, reduces puffiness, firms | Use: Morning and evening | Size: 0.5 fl oz

Best for sensitive skin
First Aid Beauty 10% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

What we love

  • Twist-to-close packaging
  • Can use on face and neck
  • Brightens and firms skin

What we don’t love

  • May feel sticky
  • Small product size

This serum is designed to offer both brightening and firming benefits without the drawback of clogged pores or irritation that might occur with other vitamin C serums. The brand notes that the serum is good for sensitive skin, so reach for this product if your skin tends to get irritated easily.

Give yourself an extra minute or two to apply the serum and let it absorb, as it may feel sticky at first. Use it in the morning on your face and neck, then twist the product closed to protect all that vitamin C goodness. Use about a coin’s worth of product, which will help this smaller jar last a bit longer.

Skin type: Normal, combination, sensitive | Benefits: Brightens, evens texture, firms | Use: Coin-size, morning | Size: 1.7 fl oz

Best powder
Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder

What we love

  • Perfect for travelers
  • Anti-aging benefits
  • Protects skin

What we don’t love

  • Needs to be mixed
  • Expensive

This powder serum is perfect for frequent travelers. It needs to be mixed with a moisturizer, but it won’t take up your allotment of liquids if you’re a carry-on-only type. 

Though it’s slightly more expensive than other options, it offers powerful anti-aging benefits and even protects skin against things like pollution. The powder comes in sustainable packaging and is made with clean ingredients like aloe and camellia oleifera leaf juice, so it’s a nice way to go a little greener with your skincare routine.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Anti-aging | Use: 0.5-1 scoop, morning | Size: 0.25 oz

Best hydrating
Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream

What we love

  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Anti-aging
  • Moisturizing

What we don’t love

  • Not ideal for oily skin
  • Not everyone will love the feel of it

We know this pick is a cream and not a serum, but when it comes to hydration, Sunday Riley’s product is especially great for gently moisturizing sensitive skin alongside some amazing anti-aging perks with it. Plus, you’ll get some brightening benefits — and the cream doesn’t have any sulfates, parabens, gluten, soy, and fragrance.

Keep in mind that this is a thicker cream, which may not work as well for everyone, especially those with oily skin. The brand doesn’t specify how much product to use, so start with just a dab and use what feels best on your skin.

Skin type: Sensitive | Benefits: Hydrating, brightening, anti-aging | Use: Morning and evening | Size: 0.5 oz

Best with SPF
Supergoop! Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40 Serum

What we love

  • Hydrates skin
  • Offers sun protection
  • Reduces dark spots

What we don’t love

  • Needs to be applied 15 minutes before going out
  • Uses 2-3 pumps at a time

If you’re looking for a multitasking vitamin C serum, check out this option that protects your skin from the sun. Use it during the day, but give it about 15 minutes before heading out to allow it time to work. Then, enjoy its hydrating qualities and its ability to reduce the appearance of any dark spots. 

You’ll want to use two or three pumps each time, which tends to use up the product a little faster. But the sun protection and multiple skin-boosting benefits are an excellent trade-off.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Brightens, reduces dark spots, sun protection, hydrates | Use: 2-3 pumps, daytime | Size: 1 fl oz

Best for lips
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

What we love

  • Works overnight
  • Hydrates lips
  • Firms and softens lips

What we don’t love

  • Unclear exactly how much to use
  • Adds an extra skincare step

Want softer, more moisturized lips overnight? Use this mask and leave it on overnight to let it work its magic. Slather on a fairly heavy amount (especially if your lips feel quite dry), then wipe the mask away when you wake up.

Sure, adding a lip mask is one extra thing to remember during your skincare routine, but the mask firms and hydrates lips for up to eight hours. And let’s face it: Soft, moisturized lips are a wonderful thing to wake up to in the morning.

Skin type: Normal, dry | Benefits: Hydrating, softening, firming | Use: Overnight | Size: 0.70 oz

Best naturally-delivered
Herbivore NOVA 15% Vitamin C + Turmeric Brightening Serum

What we love

  • Recyclable glass bottle
  • Multiple skin benefits
  • See results in 7 days

What we don’t love

  • No specific directions on morning vs. evening
  • Pump isn’t recyclable

If you want a vitamin C serum that incorporates a few more natural ingredients, this may be the best option. It harnesses the power of turmeric for a more even skin tone, while Kakadu plum offers up brightening power. The vitamin C reduces dark spots and hyperpigmentation, so you’ll get plenty of beauty benefits from one serum. 

We love that the glass bottle is recyclable, although the pump itself isn’t. Choose whether to use this in the morning or in the evening, and layer on one or two pumps before your moisturizer. According to the brand, you could notice brighter skin in just one week.

Skin type: All | Benefits: Brightening, improves hyperpigmentation, offers a glowy finish, evens skin tone | Use: 1-2 pumps, morning or evening | Size: 1 fl oz

Best lightweight
Kat Burki Vitamin C Intensive Face Cream

What we love

  • Longer-lasting vitamin C
  • Brightens and firms
  • Repairs skin

What we don’t love

  • Pricey
  • May not be ideal for dry skin

Made with encapsulated vitamin C, this cream is designed to keep this crucial vitamin effective for a longer period of time. Reishi mushrooms step in to deliver a glow while the brand’s KB5 complex fights inflammation. The cream also brightens, firms, and even repairs your skin. All those amazing benefits definitely help offset the higher price.

The brand doesn’t mention dry skin in its recommendations, so you may want to use caution if your skin is dehydrated. However, if you have combination skin, give this a go for its many benefits, including a glowing finish.

Skin type: Normal, combination, sensitive | Benefits: Moisturizing, offers a glowy finish, anti-inflammatory, brightening, firming, repairs skin | Use: Small amount, morning and evening | Size: 1.7 oz

Best for dark spots
Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

What we love

  • Reduces and prevents dark spots
  • Brightens skin
  • Free of fragrance

What we don’t love

  • Scent may not appeal to everyone
  • Part of a 9-step system

This vitamin C serum offers brightening power and includes shiitake mushrooms that can lessen the appearance of dark spots. After continued use, it even helps prevent new dark spots from forming. 

While it’s free of fragrance, the ingredients themselves do carry a scent. You’ll want to use the serum both morning and night. Take note that the serum is one element of a nine-part skincare routine recommended by the brand. However, the brand doesn’t indicate that you’ll need to use all nine steps to get the best results, so feel free to buy this on its own.

Skin type: Normal, dry, combination, oily | Benefits: Brightens, reduces and prevents dark spots | Use: 2-3 pumps, morning and evening | Size: 1 oz

Best glow
Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

What we love

  • Provides a glowing finish
  • Brightens skin
  • Evens skin tone

What we don’t love

  • Need to start slowly with sensitive skin

Looking for a radiant glow even when you didn’t get a good night’s sleep? This serum is the best vitamin C serum to get that glowing, dewy look. The brand’s study claims that 97% of people who used the serum saw less hyperpigmentation and noticed their skin looked “more radiant.” It works to brighten skin and even out your skin tone. It’s great for a variety of skin types and is designed to lighten dark spots, too.

It’s important to know that those with sensitive skin need to start by using the serum three or four days a week, then work up to the recommended twice-per-day usage. Some reviewers have reported the pump doesn’t last, so pump gently.

Skin type: Normal, dry, combination, oily | Benefits: Brightens, offers a glowy finish, evens skin tone | Use: 1-2 pumps, morning and evening | Size: 1 oz

Maxing out the benefits of vitamin C serums

Vitamin C packs plenty of powerful punches in terms of beauty and skin benefits. Finding the right vitamin C serum is a matter of checking out ingredients and comparing their benefits to what your skin needs. We like Beautycounter’s All Bright C Serum for its brightening power. It also creates a more even skin tone and leaves behind a glowing finish, so it’s our pick for the best vitamin C serum overall. 

How to pick the right vitamin C serum for you

When choosing the right vitamin C serum, consider what skin type you have. Be sure to research what ingredients might work best for you, think about your skincare routine, and determine your specific skincare needs before shopping. 

Skin type

  • Dry. Choosing gentler forms of vitamin C with additional moisturizing ingredients.
  • Oily. If you’ve got oily skin, vitamin C serums might feel a little too heavy, so you may want to reach for a lightweight serum. Vitamin C can help reduce dark spots and the appearance of acne scars, so it’s great for oily skin.
  • Sensitive. People with sensitive skin will want to avoid L-ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C. It might bring on redness or dry skin, so you may want to choose products with other forms of vitamin C, like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, instead.


  • L-ascorbic acid. This is one of the most active types of vitamin C, and there’s a ton of research on it, so it’s a go-to form.
  • Vitamin E. Serums with vitamin E could help with inflammation, plus they offer some sun protection, which is a great pairing for serums containing vitamin C.
  • Antioxidants. Vitamin C protects the skin against damage from free radicals. Serums with vitamin C are an excellent way to add a protective layer to your skin.
  • SPF. Protecting your skin from the sun is important. Vitamin C offers a bit of protection against sun damage, but you may want to use something with SPF to keep your skin from absorbing UVA and UVB rays.


Having vitamin C in skincare products can be beneficial in many ways. However, you should be selective about where you store skincare items that contain this powerhouse ingredient. 

Light can actually damage vitamin C, so it’s best to store skincare products with vitamin C in a dark spot, like a cupboard or closet. You’ll also want to be sure to keep air out of your products as much as possible, as that can cause damage to the product as well. Closing products tightly and storing them in a dark area can preserve vitamin C and help ensure it stays active, so your skin can reap all its wonderful benefits.


What’s the top-rated vitamin C serum? 

In terms of satisfied customers, it’s pretty impressive that Beautycounter’s All Bright C Serum boasts a 4.9-star rating from over 8,700 reviews. Its multiple benefits, like brighter glowing skin, and its top ratings make it our pick for the best vitamin C serum overall. 

How do I choose the best vitamin C serum?

Choosing the best vitamin C serum means considering your skin type as well as the type of vitamin C in your serum. Depending on your skincare needs, you might also want to choose a serum that helps fight acne, brings anti-aging benefits, or adds an extra splash of moisture if you have dry skin, for example. 

What’s the best vitamin C serum for glowing skin?

If you want glowing skin, the best vitamin C serum comes from Glow Recipe. Its Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum is designed to give every skin type a beautiful, dewy glow while lightening dark spots and even preventing future ones from forming.