The best anti-aging vitamin C serums for every budget — starting at $17

The best skin-brightening, anti-aging vitamin C serums for every budget. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle)

Of all the skin care products to choose from, vitamin C serums are a favorite among those looking for skin-brightening, anti-aging benefits.

Whether you’re a former sun tanning lover with dark spots and fine lines or hoping to fade acne scars and hyperpigmentation, vitamin C could be your answer. The powerful antioxidant neutralizes free radicals (which we generate when we’re exposed to things like pollution, smoking, stress and UV rays), which can damage cells and slow down collagen production.

The market is inundated with a slew of vitamin C serums, and not all are created equal. So we’ve taken a closer look at ingredient labels and combed through reviews to find some of the best formulas around. Ahead, shop the best vitamin C serums that go above and beyond, at every price point.

PCA Skin C-Quench Antioxidant Serum

PCA Skin C-Quench Antioxidant Serum. (Photo: Dermstore)

This powerful formula goes above and beyond by using a blend of antioxidants (including vitamin C), hyaluronic acid and stem cell extracts to minimize fine lines and wrinkles while brightening and hydrating the skin. One Dermstore reviewer says, “At first I had stubborn sun damage that this product evened out within the first month of using. Now I don’t feel embarrassed about my skin or have anything to hide.”

Another explains, “As an active duty soldier, I spend a lot of time in harsh environments that have a negative impact on my skin. Although I wear sunscreen every day, about two months ago I started noticing a lot of dryness, discoloration and sunspots appearing on my face. PCA was recommended to me by my mom. Although it is expensive, it is worth the investment because it gives results and a little goes a long way. I noticed within about two weeks my skin was looking significantly brighter and had a glow … Anytime I go outside I also apply the 30 SPF sunscreen. I will definitely be purchasing this again!”

Shop it: $87, dermstore.com

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. (Photo: Sephora)

Made specifically for daytime use, Drunk Elephant’s serum contains 15 percent L-ascorbic acid, one percent vitamin E and one-half percent ferulic acid. C-Firma has a reservoir effect so it’s active on the skin for up to 72 hours and is also made with pumpkin ferment extract and pomegranate extract to gently dissolve dead skin cells and boost radiance. 

I have combination acne prone skin with a lot of redness and scarring. I can’t believe how well this has toned my skin. It is way less inflamed and irritated and my scarring and uneven texture is noticeably better since I started using this,” says a Sephora reviewer. 

Shop it: $80, sephora.com

Kiehl’s Since 1851 Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate

Kiehl’s Since 1851 Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate. (Photo: Nordstrom)

If you have skin on the dry side or prefer a more lotion-like texture, this concentrate is your answer. The longtime favorite of skin care aficionados is clinically proven to improve skin’s texture and radiance while minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. It’s made with 12.5 percent vitamin C and glycerin, a humectant that helps skin retain its moisture.

I have been using this product for 5 months and will never stop! My skin is baby soft, smooth and more elastic,” says one happy customer, who also calls this a “life changer.” Another adds, “If you want one really great basic skin care product for aging skin I would start here.”

Shop it: $22 to $107, nordstrom.com 

InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum

InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum. (Photo: Amazon)

This serum may seem similar to others — it is also made with ferulic and hyaluronic acids — it’s actually made with a naturally-derived version of vitamin C. Formulated with 20 percent sodium ascorbyl phosphate and a blend of natural oils like argan, rosehip and pomegranate, we can’t believe how affordable this top-notch serum is.

“I normally don’t write reviews but I absolutely LOVED this serum, so much so that I felt obligated to publicly endorse it,” explains one Amazon shopper. “Since I started using this serum every day I have noticed a significant difference in the texture and overall tone of my skin. I spend a lot of time in the sun and dark spots are my nemesis. This serum brightens my skin and has helped significantly reduce those nasty dark spots. Additionally, the array of ingredients in this serum work to hydrate my skin and I have been getting closer to that glowy complexion I’ve been striving for.”

Another adds, “I would definitely recommend this product to someone who is looking for using natural ingredients while having amazing skin results.”

Shop it: $17, amazon.com

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. (Photo: Dermstore)

There’s something to be said about tried-and-true classics, like this one from SkinCeuticals. The dermatologist favorite is made with 15 percent L-ascorbic acid, vitamin E and ferulic acid. With over 1,000 Dermstore reviews and a 5-star average among many longtime users, one could argue that the high-end formula catapulted the vitamin C craze.

“I have used this for several years, ever since my dermatologist recommended it. It absorbs quickly, is not sticky, and can be layered with other serums/products. It makes my skin soft, smooth, and glowing. I frequently receive compliments on my complexion. I have tried other products but always return to Skinceuticals CE Ferulic,” says one reviewer. “I’ve been using this product for ten years. I’ve had great results and I make sure I never run out! My advice to younger women is to start early before you notice lines. Prevention pays off,” adds another fan.

Shop it: $166, dermstore.com

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum. (Photo: Amazon)

If you’re looking for an all natural option, this vegan serum fits the bill. Mad Hippie’s wallet-friendly vitamin C serum is formulated with the naturally-derived sodium ascorbyl phosphate and also made with good-for-your-skin ingredients like antioxidants (vitamin E, ferulic acid) and hydrating hyaluronic acid.

“This is like liquid gold for me,” raves one reviewer. “I recommend this to anyone who has sensitive skin like me and is looking to get rid of the dark spots. I’m on my second bottle and I get compliments all the time that my skin looks like it’s glowing.”

Another adds, “Within a week or so, I saw a smoother texture to my skin. By the end of the bottle, my skin definitely looked smoother, brighter, and 3 darker spots on my face (sun damage) were at least 80% lighter.”

Shop it: $28, amazon.com

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil

Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil. (Photo: Dermstore)

Whether you have dry skin or simply favor luxurious face oils, this Vitamin C serum has your name all over it. The quick-absorbing formula is made with pomegranate seed oil, THD ascorbate (an oil-soluble form of the antioxidant) and golden turmeric. Together, the ingredients calm redness, hydrate skin and boost luminosity.

It is fabulous. I’ve been using it for a month and I have noticed that my skin is brighter, it doesn’t make me break out, it helps minimize my forehead lines, and darker pigmentation caused by a recent breakout has disappeared completely. I am in love!” sums up a Dermstore shopper.

Shop it: $80, dermstore.com

TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum

TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum. (Photo: Amazon)

This Amazon bestseller boasts over 6,000 reviewers and a 4-star average rating. At $20, this plant-based formula is also made with the naturally-derived sodium ascorbyl phosphate. Other ingredients like aloe vera, botanical hyaluronic acid, witch hazel and organic jojoba oil round out this Amazon favorite.

“Best $20.00 ever spent!!!” raves one reviewer. “This product is a life-changer. I am 57 years old, so you can imagine how many products I have tried over the years. As I’ve aged, my skin tone has gotten dull, and I’ve searched and searched for something to give me a softer, more refreshed look. I can honestly say that I have finally found it! I have never tried any skin-care product that has given me results like this,” says another. “My skin is clearer, my complexion is better. I want to be specific, the quality of my skin has improved. It is dewey and glowing again. It is healthier looking, smoother, and the fine lines are much less visible. I will be a customer for life because I am so thrilled that I have found something that actually works so well in such a short amount of time. I feel beautiful again, because my skin is beautiful again.”

Shop it: $20, amazon.com

L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Concentrate

L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Vitamin C Concentrate. (Photo: Walmart)

You can’t go wrong with a potent, no-frills drugstore vitamin C like this one. The 10 percent concentrate, which feels like a light gel, is packaged in an air-tight metal tube to increase efficacy and ensure stability and simply put, gets the job done. 

One happy customer says, “I heard a dermatologist speaking about how stable the 10% formulation was due to the airtight packaging. I decided to give this a try and will say that I am pleasantly surprised! The gel formula absorbs easily into the skin and does not pill underneath sunscreen or moisturizer.” 

Another writes, “I’ve never had such good and fast results with any of my high end products. This is by far a revolutionary product. The serum is so smooth on my skin. My skin has more radiance and looks more supple! I love it!”

Shop it: $19, walmart.com

The editors at Yahoo Lifestyle are committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. At times, we may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.

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