15 Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serums for Beautifully Bright Skin

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Drugstore Vitamin C Serums for Beautifully Bright Skin

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Whether you are a skincare enthusiast or someone remotely interested in skincare, you have likely heard about the undying craze for vitamin C serums. And we are here to add fuel to this fire with our handpicked recommendations of the best drugstore vitamin C serums.

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant with multiple benefits for human health. For many years, cosmetic formulators and scientists have been studying its efficacy as a topical treatment. While consuming vitamin C can help your skin repair from within, its topical application, particularly in the form of serums, has garnered attention too. You only need to invest in one good vitamin C serum to combat a whole load of skin issues. It prevents oxidative stress, protects against photodamage, promotes collagen production, reduces hyperpigmentation, soothes inflammation, enhances cell renewal, and fades fine lines and wrinkles (1). No wonder it is recommended by dermatologists as a must-have in your skincare routine.

From budget-friendly to high-end, the market is flooded with vitamin C serums. So, we took it upon ourselves to find the top-rated drugstore vitamin C serums for you that bring all the benefits without burning a hole in your wallet. Read more to know more!

Our top picks

Best Dermatologist Recommended

15 Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serums for an Affordable Glow

For supple and hydrated skin that glows like a light bulb, get your hands on the best drugstore vitamin C serum with hyaluronic acid from TruSkin. Its formula is infused with the star ingredient, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a gentle yet effective form of vitamin C. It also consists of other key ingredients, including aloe vera, witch hazel, vitamin E, amino acids, jojoba oil, and botanical hyaluronic acid, which soothe the skin and strengthen the skin barrier. Our team discovered through using this product that it is quite effective on dark circles and under-eye bags.

Pros

  • Diminishes dark spots
  • Makes skin soft
  • Imparts radiant glow
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Evens out skin tone
  • Improves overall appearance of skin

  • 2

    Best for Sensitive Skin

    CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum



    CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum

  • Finding the ideal skincare products for sensitive skin is a tough task, but you can trust this immensely popular vitamin C serum from CeraVe. It is formulated with 10% L-ascorbic acid which visibly makes your skin soft, supple, smooth, and glowing. That’s not all, it also comprises three types of ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which strengthen the skin barrier and help retain moisture, making it the best drugstore vitamin C serum for sensitive skin. After putting it to the test, we observed that it repairs damaged skin with regular use.

    Pros

    • Easy to use
    • Absorbs quickly
    • Comfortable on skin
    • Fades out dark spots
    • Gives glowy skin
    • Fragrance-free
    • Non-comedogenic

    Cons

    • Dispensing the serum may feel troublesome
    • Runny texture

  • 3

    Best for Brightening

    Tree of Life Vitamin C Serum



    Tree of Life Vitamin C Serum

  • Try out the best drugstore vitamin C serum from Tree of Life without burning a hole in your wallet. It will be a game changer in your skincare routine whether or not you are a vitamin C novice. It shows remarkable transformation with consistent use. The lightening of hyperpigmentation and overall brightening of skin becomes apparent within the first few uses. Based on our firsthand experience, this serum has several anti-aging benefits and acts as a shield against free radical damage.

    Pros

    • Lightweight texture
    • Non-greasy
    • Hydrating formula
    • Makes skin soft
    • Prevents signs of premature aging
    • Gives youthful glow
    • Good value for money

  • 4

    Best Overall

    SeoulCeuticals Day Glow Serum



    SeoulCeuticals Day Glow Serum

  • Take home some K-beauty secrets with this vitamin C serum from SeoulCeuticals for healthier and younger-looking skin. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants with active ingredients like sodium ascorbyl phosphate, Centella Asiatica, vitamin E, aloe vera, ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, and arginine, to name a few. This serum will not only protect your skin against environmental stressors but also the potential damage caused by blue light, making it the best drugstore serum with vitamin C. When we trialed this product, we found it felt a little sticky initially but the feeling dissipated, especially when followed by a moisturizer.

    Pros

    • Easy to use
    • Goes on smooth
    • Pleasant smell
    • Improves skin elasticity
    • Brightens skin tone
    • Vegan
    • Cruelty-free

  • 5

    Best Anti-aging

    InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum



    InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum

  • Investing in an anti-aging serum makes sense when you are in your 20s. So, here we are with the best budget vitamin C serum that will take care of all your anti-aging needs. With antioxidant-rich ingredients including sodium ascorbyl phosphate, hyaluronic acid, ferulic acid, sea buckthorn oil, licorice, and Centella Asiatica, to name a few, this serum will leave you with rejuvenated skin. After conducting experiments with it, we discovered that it is highly effective in fading out the pesky brown patches left due to melasma.

    Pros

    • Lightweight formula
    • Smells nice
    • Makes skin smooth
    • Absorbs quickly
    • Has smooth consistency
    • Fades post-acne spots
    • Makes skin plump

    Cons

    • Not suitable for acne-prone skin

  • 6

    Best Dermatologist Recommended

    Vichy Laboratories LiftActiv Supreme Vitamin C Serum



    Vichy Laboratories LiftActiv Supreme Vitamin C Serum

  • This vitamin C serum from Vichy Laboratories is one of a kind with its incredible formulation. It has active vitamin C in the form of 15% L-ascorbic acid, vitamin E, and pine polyphenols, which work together to shield your skin against the environmental stressors that it might face daily. This amber-colored lightweight serum is the best drugstore vitamin C serum dermatologist recommended. Our investigation demonstrated that it has a watery consistency that is easy to apply, but it may not be for sensitive skin types.

    Pros

    • Good quality
    • Lightens dark spots
    • Brightens complexion
    • Hydrating
    • Hypoallergenic
    • Fragrance-free
    • Makes skin tone even

    Cons

    • Some may not like the smell
    • Applicator may feel tricky to use

  • 7

    Best for Acne-prone Skin

    La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Serum



    La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Serum

  • When we talk about drugstore vitamin C serums, we cannot help but talk about the cult favorite La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Serum. It comes packed with the goodness of 10 percent vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid along with salicylic acid, and neurosensine, which is an amino acid found in our skin. It effectively fights off the free radical damage to give you soft, supple, and younger-looking skin. As indicated by our tests, it will brighten your complexion without breaking you out.

    Pros

    • Feels light on skin
    • Hydrating
    • Smells good
    • Non-sticky
    • Improves skin texture
    • Value for money
    • Dermatologist approved

  • 8

    Best for Beginners

    Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop



    Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

  • Get compliments for your glowing complexion wherever you go only with this drugstore vitamin C serum from Dear Klairs, a K-beauty marvel. It is formulated with 5% L-ascorbic acid, which may not feel a lot, but trust us, it is not so. While this serum is quite gentle on the skin, making it appropriate for beginners, it has quite some compelling results. Through our practical knowledge, we suggest using it consistently in your AM skincare routine for optimal results.

    Pros

    • Hydrating formula
    • Plumps skin
    • Helps regenerate skin cells
    • Makes skin soft
    • Little goes a long way
    • Smoothes skin texture
    • Good value for money

  • 9

    Best Splurge

    Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair 20% Vitamin C Serum



    Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair 20% Vitamin C Serum

  • You don’t need 5 different serums but only one good drugstore vitamin C serum to get the skin of your dreams. The Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Serum is true to its name and results in a brighter and smoother complexion within the first week of its use. This serum is one-of-a-kind and comes in the form of capsules. Each capsule contains the exact amount of serum you will need for a one-time application. Our findings show that it is a super lightweight serum that gets absorbed quickly into the skin.

    Pros

    • Easy to use
    • Reduces pore size
    • Evens out skin tone
    • Controls acne
    • Non-comedogenic formula
    • Alcohol-free

    Cons

    • Not suitable for sensitive skin
    • Not beginner-friendly

  • 10

    Best for Oily Skin

    RoC Multi Correxion Revive + Glow Daily Serum



    RoC Multi Correxion Revive + Glow Daily Serum

  • Tighten and brighten your facial skin with the best drugstore vitamin C serum for oily skin from RoC. This is a multi-tasking serum formulated with 10% ethyl ascorbic acid, which is a highly stable form of vitamin C. That’s not all. It is an incredible blend of many antioxidant-rich and hydrating ingredients with some skin-loving peptides, which enhance the efficacy of this serum. We have found from using this product that it is a wonderful anti-aging serum that reduces fine lines and restores the elasticity of the skin with regular use.

    Pros

    • Lightweight
    • Smells nice
    • Moisturizing formula
    • Makes skin smooth
    • Brightens complexion
    • Softens skin

  • 11

    artnaturals Vitamin C Serum



    artnaturals Vitamin C Serum

  • Sometimes the secrets behind a flawless complexion come from nature. That’s what this top rated drugstore vitamin C serum from artnaturals does. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants that come mostly from the botanical extracts used in its formulation. The key ingredients include vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, jojoba oil, horsetail, dandelion, and geranium. This serum restores the skin’s health and reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation, imparting a youthful glow. Our research indicates that it works rather effectively on age spots and crow’s feet.

    Pros

    • Feels light
    • Watery texture
    • Absorbs quickly
    • Helps reduce fine lines
    • Evens out skin tone
    • Vegan formula
    • Cruelty-free

  • 12

    Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum



    Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

  • When it is said the more the merrier, Mad Hippie took it very seriously and implemented it in this drugstore vitamin C serum for skin. With an impressive blend of antioxidant-rich ingredients, such as vitamin E, ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, konjac root, clary sage, aloe vera, and grapefruit, this award-winning serum takes care of all your skin needs. It features sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable form of vitamin C which is quite effective on discoloration. After trying out this product, we found it to be ideal for beginners.

    Pros

    • Doesn’t clog pores
    • Moisturizing formula
    • Absorbs quickly
    • Smells nice
    • Comfortable on skin

    Cons

    • May not make much difference to skin

  • 13

    DERMA-E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum



    DERMA-E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum

  • Improve your skin’s texture with this budget friendly vitamin C serum from DERMA-E. The key ingredients in this serum include sodium ascorbyl phosphate, hyaluronic acid, and probiotics, which help strengthen the skin barrier and promote overall skin health. Other star ingredients include aloe vera, green tea extracts, vitamin E, fatty acids, and panthenol, known for their skin-soothing properties. Based on our observations, this affordable vitamin C serum essentially protects against free radical damage and is a must-have in your morning skin routine.

    Pros

    • Absorbs quickly
    • Goes on easily
    • Feels moisturizing
    • Makes skin soft
    • Vegan
    • Cruelty-free

    Cons

    • Strong scent
    • Results may be slow

  • 14

    Naturium Vitamin C Complex Serum



    Naturium Vitamin C Complex Serum

  • Suffering from acne can put a toll on your confidence but it doesn’t have to put a toll on your wallet. Get your hands on the best drugstore vitamin C serum for acne prone skin from Naturium which is gentle on your skin but tough on the acne. With potent ingredients like vitamin E and hyaluronic acid, it goes a long way to give a hydrated radiance to your skin. Formulated with micro-encapsulated L-ascorbic acid, it penetrates the deeper layers to give effective results. Drawing from our experience, it improves the appearance of dull skin with consistent use.

    Pros

    • Lightweight
    • Makes skin smoother
    • Doesn’t cause skin irritation
    • Improves uneven skin tone
    • Softens skin
    • Also suitable for sensitive skin
    • Improves overall skin health

    Cons

    • May feel a little sticky after application

  • 15

    Serumtologie Anti-ageing C Serum °22



    Serumtologie Anti-ageing C Serum °22

  • Here’s a one-stop solution for you, if you are interested in beginning your anti-aging regime. This serum is a blend of powerful antioxidants that help prevent oxidative stress and fight against UV damage, making it the best drugstore face serum. It comes packed with the goodness of 22% sodium ascorbyl phosphate, botanical hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, MSM, and ferulic acid to provide you with an all-around daily dose of antioxidant protection. The amino acids improve the overall skin health and make the skin surface smoother. We determined through our tests that it makes skin clear and smoother with consistent application.

    Pros

    • Makes skin soft
    • Improves skin texture
    • Repairs skin damage
    • Protects from sun damage
    • Fades pigmentation
    • Reduces discoloration
    • Fragrance-free
    • Good value for money

    How to Choose the Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum?

    Finding the right vitamin C serum for your skin type and concerns may leave you feeling overwhelmed. This is why you must go through our comprehensive guide to make your shopping experience stress-free. Here are some important aspects that you must consider when purchasing a drugstore vitamin C serum:

    Skin Type:

    The very first step is to consider your skin type, whether you have dry, oily, or combination skin type. You must also consider if you have sensitive skin or are acne-prone. This is because different skin types have different requirements. Age also plays a huge role. A person with mature skin will need a strong yet soothing formula to make it work for their skin.

    Check the Form

    Vitamin C is available in many forms, such as L-ascorbic acid, ethyl ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl glucoside, to name a few. They have different levels of potency and stability. For instance, the Ordinary vitamin C serum comes in two different variants, L-ascorbic acid and ascorbyl glucoside. This means each of these forms will perform differently against your skin. You must opt for the type of vitamin C that suits your skin type and skin concerns in the best manner and is the least irritating for your skin.

    Concentration

    It is important to ascertain what concentration of vitamin C will be ideal for your skin. It is advisable to start low and slow. It means you must start using a drugstore vitamin C serum with the lowest concentration possible and gradually move to higher concentrations depending on your skin’s tolerance.

    Ingredients

    Examine the product label of the vitamin C products for the ingredient list and ensure that it doesn’t contain anything that may cause you allergies or irritation. Look for skin-soothing and antioxidant-rich natural ingredients like aloe vera, vitamin E, vitamin B5, vitamin B3 aka niacinamide, calendula, amino acids, arginine, ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, probiotics, jojoba oil, Centella Asiatica, fatty acids, and licorice root, to name a few. 

    Packaging 

    Choose a vitamin C serum that comes packaged in a dark or opaque bottle to protect against oxidation. A pump or a dropper packaging is preferable as it keeps light and air away.

    Sample

    Try to get samples for the drugstore vitamin C serum you like and perform a patch test before going all in.

    Read User Reviews

    Don’t forget to read customer reviews and feedback to gain some valuable insights into the real-world experiences of people with the same skin type and issues as you.

    Consult a Dermatologist:

    If you have sensitive skin or suffer from serious skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or melasma, you must consult a board-certified dermatologist before trying out a new serum. They will be able to give you personalized recommendations on which vitamin C derivatives at what concentration will suit you best.

    The world can be full of the best drugstore vitamin C serums but the serum that is truly best for you is the one that hydrates, smoothes, brightens, and protects, without causing any irritation. Considering the different preferences and requirements, we have curated this selection with a wide variety of vitamin C forms and concentrations. From packaging to performance, these formulas are worth every penny. Whether you are looking for something that fades your acne scars, minimizes fine lines, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, or simply hydrates and plumps your skin, there is a drugstore vitamin C serum for you. You just have to look! These serums will help you achieve a healthy and happy glow while also reducing the need for excessive skincare products.

    FAQ’s

    At what age should I start using vitamin C serum?

    You can start using a vitamin C serum in your early 20s.

    Can I use vitamin C serum every day?

    Yes, you can use a vitamin C serum every day. Ensure that your skin can tolerate it.

    Should I apply anything before vitamin C serum?

    Apple vitamin C serum on clean and damp skin. Some formulations will require you to apply it on dry skin to avoid irritation. You may use a toner before it or not. It’s your choice.

    Can I use vitamin C serum every morning?

    Yes, you can use vitamin C serum every morning. Dermatologists recommend it in your morning skincare routine as it protects against free radicals and UV-induced damage.

    Can a 21-year-old use vitamin C serum?

    Yes, you can use vitamin C serum at 21 years of age.

    What is the best vitamin C serum recommended by a dermatologist for beginners?

    The Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop is an ideal vitamin C serum for beginners that is recommended by dermatologists.

    Should I use retinol or vitamin C?

    Both have their respective benefits. But, as a rule of thumb, if you want brighter skin, opt for vitamin C and if you wish to combat fine lines and wrinkles, go for retinol.

    Can beginners use 15% vitamin C serum?

    It will depend on your skin’s tolerance and the formulation of the vitamin C serum. Typically, 5% to 10% is considered more appropriate for beginners.

    Is a vitamin C serum suitable for all skin types?

    Yes, vitamin C serum is suitable for all skin types.

    Are there any potential side effects or risks of using vitamin C serums?

    If not used correctly, it may cause redness, inflammation, flaking, or peeling of skin.

    How long does it take to see results from using a vitamin C serum?

    It takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see results from using a vitamin C serum.

    Can I use a drugstore vitamin C serum if I have sensitive skin?

    Yes, you can use a drugstore vitamin C serum if you have sensitive skin.

    Why Trust Pinkvilla

    Anoushka, the author, is a skincare enthusiast who loves her collection of face serums. She is well aware of the benefits of vitamin C and wants you all to make the most out of your skincare without breaking the bank. So, she curated this list with her top recommendations of the best drugstore vitamin C serums. Her all-time favorite is the La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Serum.

    Our product experts study the specifications of every product we suggest and try them out to bring what’s proven to be worthy of your money, time, and energy. We also have subject matter experts from various fields like Fashion, Skincare, Haircare, Home Decor, and Health & Fitness onboard to make sure our suggestions are credible and trustworthy. You can trust Select to be your faithful shopping guide for all the right reasons!

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    Author BIO

    Anoushka is certified in Professional Skincare and is a Mass Media (Journalism) graduate from Mumbai University. As a More



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