Introducing new purchase prices tested by the editors of The Kit, the Shop Smart Guide. The idea is simple: each month, The Kit editors exhaustively test items in desert island categories – not the exciting but fleeting trends of the season, but the evergreen essentials you’re most likely to buy now and wear or use forever. We’re talking about mascara, jeans, retinol serum, lipstick, white sneakers, etc. Our hope is that Shop Smart helps you achieve that mythical shopping ideal: buy less but buy better. Here, our guide to black turtlenecks.
My feelings for the vitamin C serum are the same as for the coffee: I can’t start my day without it. It’s the first step in my morning skin routine and an essential step, protecting my face by repelling free radicals. These nefarious molecules break down our cells and lead to premature aging, causing wrinkles, dark spots, and sagging. The bad news: they’re all around us, emitted by UV rays, air pollution, smog, cigarette smoke… The good: trusty vitamin C can help stave off damage.
And that’s just the beginning. In addition to preventing the signs of aging, it can also correct them, unify our complexion and amplify our radiance. It has even been shown to promote the synthesis of collagen, which makes the complexion smoother and more taut.
It’s no wonder almost every dermatologist tells you it should be a crucial part of any regimen, along with daily sunscreen and nightly retinol — the holy trinity of skincare, if you will. But there is a catch. Vitamin C is very unstable and therefore tends to oxidize quite quickly, which means that within weeks an expensive serum can be rendered useless. Not cool.
So because A) I want you to benefit from all the magic of this ingredient and B) I don’t want you to waste your money, I’ve applied (and applied and applied) every formula I could get my hands on. . It took a while, but I finally have a verdict. Here are the best vitamin C serums in my opinion.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Vitamin C Day Serum, $103, sephora.ca SHOP HERE
The winner: drunk elephant
The cost: $103
Concentration: 15 percent
The article: If this serum was your classmate, you would find him very annoying because he would constantly raise his hand to give answers and be praised by teachers for being a model student. Luckily, it’s a serum and the fact that it’s perfect is exactly why you’ll love it. Research has shown that the ideal concentration for vitamin C is between 10 and 20. This one is right in the middle, with 15% l-ascorbic acid (the purest form of vitamin C), which makes it potent but still tolerable for most skin types. types. Studies have also shown that vitamin C’s ability to fight free radicals is even greater when combined with vitamin E and ferulic acid. This type mixes the two sidekicks, along with fruit enzymes to dissolve dead cells and refine pores.
Now for that stability issue. For optimal performance, the product is made up of two parts designed to be mixed just before using it for the first time. This ensures that the formula will stay fresh longer. I told you everything was fine. Apply it to a clean, dry face in the morning (don’t forget your neck and chest, too) and within weeks you’ll notice firmer, more even skin and a glow that won’t stop. I predict at least one person will comment on how beautiful you are, if not more. It is so good.
Goop Goopglow 20% Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid Glow Serum, $165, sephora.ca SHOP HERE
Best Extra Strength Vitamin C Serum: goop
The cost: $165
Concentration: 20 percent
The article: Opinions may vary on Goop, but one thing is certain: the brand makes excellent skincare. This serum here is a great example. It has a whopping 20% concentration of l-ascorbic acid and boy does it work. In an independent study, 90% of participants said their skin was brighter and smoother after four weeks. I can certainly vouch for this, having observed marked improvements in both the tone and texture of my skin. Like the Drunk Elephant serum, it consists of a vitamin C powder and a liquid serum base, which you mix yourself for maximum potency. Sometimes a serum sits on a warehouse or store shelf for months before it gets into your hands, which means the vitamin C can start to break down before you even start using it. . Mixing it yourself prevents this.
Another bonus: this formula is enriched with superstar humectant hyaluronic acid. Three molecular weights, to be exact, which allows the ingredient to draw water into different layers of the skin, plumping it from within. Combined with vitamin C, it will leave your face plump and shiny. Who wouldn’t want that, right? Now for the cons. There’s the price, of course, a little higher than our winner, although it contains more vitamin C. It’s also important to note that if your skin had no problem handling a 15% concentration , you should be able to go to 20%, but if you’re quite sensitive or reactive, it may be too much.
The Inkey List 15% Vitamin C & EGF Brightening Serum, $19, sephora.ca SHOP HERE
Best Affordable Vitamin C Serum: The list of keys
The cost: $19
Concentration: 15 percent
The article: At less than $20, this serum really impresses. Its star ingredient is ascorbyl glucoside, a vitamin C derivative that has been combined with a sugar. This makes it more stable and also effective at a more neutral pH, which means there is less chance of irritation. (In contrast, products containing l-ascorbic acid are best formulated at a pH between 2.5 and 3.5, which is acidic.) But here’s the interesting part: once the ascorbyl glucose is absorbed through the skin, an enzyme converts it into l-ascorbic. acid, this pure and powerful form of vitamin C. So you get all these benefits: protection against harmful free radicals, increased radiance, more even complexion… As a bonus, this bottle also contains an epidermal growth factor d of plant origin (EGF) which is intended to promote elasticity.
Although it made my skin clear and healthy, I will say that I didn’t find it to be the best performer of the bunch. Also, the water-like formula absorbs quickly, which I liked, but the brand still advises waiting about 10 minutes before applying other products on top to give the skin cells enough time to respond to EGF. It can be a bit of a hassle on busy mornings, but overall it’s great value for money.
SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF, $198, skinceuticals.ca SHOP HERE
Best Vitamin C Serum for Oily or Combination Skin: SkinCeuticals
The cost: $198
Concentration: 10 percent
The article: SkinCeuticals practically wrote the book on vitamin C serums. Well, it wasn’t a book, but rather a patent. The brand’s founder, dermatologist Dr. Sheldon Pinnell, was the first to patent a stable form of vitamin C proven in peer-reviewed research to penetrate the skin and improve its antioxidant protection. This knowledge has been bottled into SkinCeuticals’ most famous product, CE Ferulic, which contains l-ascorbic acid along with vitamin E and ferulic acid to help boost its anti-inflammatory power. free radicals. It’s a really great serum, but it’s best suited for dry or normal skin, as it can be a little too heavy for those who are more prone to oil.
That’s where this sibling serum comes in. It also relies on l-ascorbic acid and ferulic acid, but replaces the potentially clogging vitamin E with another antioxidant called phloretin. Once absorbed, the elixir remains effective for at least 72 hours, protecting the skin from environmental aggressions. It also works wonders in stopping discoloration and diminishing the appearance of lines, all without ever feeling greasy or sticky. If you have oily or combination skin, this one is for you.
Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Skin Brightening Concealer, $46, vichy.ca SHOP HERE
Best Vitamin C Serum for Sensitive Skin: Gingham
The cost: $46
Concentration: 15 percent
The article: Marie Kondo would approve of this serum: it only focuses on the things you need and gets rid of all the things you don’t, including the fragrance. Tested on sensitive skin, the formula consists of 11 ingredients, a number considered low in the industry. (For reference, the Drunk Elephant serum has over 30 and the Goop over 20, while the Inkey list has 13. SkinCeuticals is the only one with fewer ingredients, at eight.) As any sensitive person knows, fewer ingredients means less chance of developing a reaction. A moisture-boosting vitamin E plaster is also helpful in this regard; hyaluronic acid, which has been fragmented to better penetrate the surface of the skin; and volcanic water from Vichy, France, clinically proven to strengthen the skin barrier. This means that while l-ascorbic acid is doing its job, protecting you against free radicals, firming and brightening, your skin is also soothed.
Some reviewers have complained about the smell, but I really didn’t mind that because I personally prefer to deal with the natural smell of an ingredient rather than having a scent-laden product to try and cover it up. If you have ever used serums containing l-ascorbic acid, this will not shock you. Also, I have to admit that at first I ranked the small size of the bottle in the cons column, but then realized it was intentionally small to preserve efficiency and get around the whole problem of oxidation. The concentrate is actually meant to be used for 30 days, but even in as little as 10 days you can spot a brighter, even skin tone. :
When you make a purchase through the links in this article, we may earn a small commission. Our journalism is independent and uninfluenced by advertising. Learn more.