If you’re after a brighter, healthier-looking glow, vitamin C is your best friend. With brands incorporating the skin-loving ingredient into everything from serums to eye creams, it’s easier than ever to work it into your skincare routine. But despite its popularity, understanding how best to utilize the hero ingredient can be a bit of a minefield. Luckily, we’re here to help.
What is vitamin C?
Put simply, vitamin C is an antioxidant. Meaning that it helps to fight off all the nasty free radicals that can cause damage to the skin. It’s also an essential nutrient required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body, including the skin. But (big but) we can’t produce it on our own. Fruits and veg are a great way to get a hit of the good stuff but for maximum results on the skin, products packing in vitamin C are the way to go.
Yes, vitamin C even comes in cleansing form. If you’re always on the go, Clinique’s Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder is ideal for slipping into your bag. 111 Skin’s Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser targets imperfections while removing impurities (ideal for oily skin types). If you suffer from dry skin, Oskia’s gel-to-oil cleanser leaves skin feeling clean, fresh and smooth.
What are the benefits of vitamin C?
When it comes to the benefits of vitamin C, the list is extensive. To name a few: it can even out skin tone, tackle pigmentation and brighten the skin’s complexion for a lit-from-within glow. Fine lines and wrinkles getting you down? Vitamin C improves collagen levels and supports the skin’s elasticity. To top it all off, it shields the skin from environmental aggressors, including UV rays, pollution and free radicals. Cue the applause.
It’s safe to say, the under-eye area always needs a bit of brightening. Luckily, vitamin C-infused eye creams are here to save the day. If you’re after something anti-ageing, check out Kiehl’s or Augustinus Bader. If dark circles are your main concern, we’re obsessed with Pixi’ +C Vit Undereye Brightener and Origins Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream.
When to start using vitamin C?
Your late teens and early twenties are the perfect years to start incorporating vitamin C into your skincare routine. If you suffer from brown spots, dull skin or redness left behind from blemishes, vitamin C works like magic. Of course, always speak to your dermatologist before using any new skincare ingredients.
Got time to pamper yourself? Grab a face mask. For a serious glow, opt for the Evolve Beauty Organic Beauty Radiant Glow Mask. If hydration is what you’re after, Revive’s Masque De Radiance Brightening Moisture Mask helps to nourish and quench dry skin.
How to use vitamin C
Unlike retinol, vitamin C isn’t super vulnerable to sun exposure, which means you can add it to your daily morning routine (after cleansing and under a high SPF of course). Consistency is key but remember not to mix high concentrations of vitamin C with other acids. This can cause skin irritation and flare-ups. Storing your vitamin C correctly is vital. Never leave it open and always keep it in a dark, dry place (bathroom cupboard or a draw will do).
Hydrate and brighten? Yes, please. If you’re looking for an SPF-infused cream, Medik8’s Daily Radiance Vitamin C helps protect the skin while giving a dose of hydration. Classics like Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream and Origins Ginzing Ultra-Hydrating Energy-Boosting Cream are ideal for day-to-day use. Formulated with retinol and vitamin C, Kate Somerville’s +Retinol Vitamin C Moisturiser firms brightens and nourishes the skin. For the ultimate glow, add a bit of Dr Sebagh Pure Vitamin C Powder to any moisturiser and finish with a layer of the Vitamin C Brightening Primer.
How to pick a vitamin C?
As per everything you put on your skin, there are some things to look out for. Whether you pick a serum, eye cream or moisturiser, make sure it’s the right formula for your skin type. How easily you absorb vitamin C is dependent on its pH level. For normal skin types, a pH of 3.5 is recommended. For sensitive skin, look out for products containing a pH of 5 to 6.
Don’t get too excited. Remember that your skin is new to this ingredient, so start with a low concentration (around 10%) and work your way up.
For sensitive skin types, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s The Good C Vitamin C Serum contains a concentration of 5% that is safe and gentle on the skin. For a bit of oomph, we love Omorovicza’s Daily Vitamin C and 111 Skin’s Vitamin C Brightening Booster. Looking for big results but a little price? Inkey List’s 15% Vitamin C and EGF is your go-to.