Looking for the best drugstore vitamin c serums that can give you radiant glowing skin? Here are the top ones under $30!
Vitamin C serums have officially conquered the
world beauty industry!
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help with skin damage and aging by reducing the appearance of wrinkles, age spots, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C serums are also known to improve skin texture and give it a more radiant appearance over time. And people have seen genuine results from vitamin C products, which is why the hype is real.
But, there are just so many options of vitamin C serums for every type of skin, budget, and concern that it gets overwhelming to find the best match for you.
And even though some people would be okay with paying $166 for a skincare product, I have to admit; it’s just ridiculous for me when I can find beautiful serums at the drugstore that work almost the same.
So here is a list of the best drugstore vitamin C serums in the market that are just magical!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my Disclosure Policy.
best drugstore vitamin c serums for 2022
1. ceraVe vitamin c serum + hyaluronic acid
CeraVe is an amazing brand for sensitive skin. And this skin-renewing vitamin C serum is a pretty affordable pick for anyone who wants the benefits of vitamin C but doesn’t want the risk of irritation. This is formulated with 10% L-ascorbic acid, the purest form of vitamin C, to help brighten the complexion and promote a more even skin tone, along with hyaluronic acid for that plump, hydrated texture, and three essential ceramides to help replenish the skin’s moisture barrier.
It is a fragrance-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic, and allergy-tested formula that is the safest for all skin types. I believe this is one of the best drugstore vitamin C serums that actually work.
But the only problem with this is that it oxidized quickly (even when they say their packaging prevents that) because ascorbic acid is not a very stable form of vitamin C. So it lasts only two maximum of 3 months.
The main sign of vitamin C getting oxidized is that it turns yellow to orange and then brown when it gets in contact with oxygen or light. You can also protect it from oxidizing by keeping it in a refrigerator.
Overall, I’m totally for this CeraVe vitamin C serum just because of its lightweight texture and how smooth, hydrated and radiant my skin feels, exactly how it should feel with a good vitamin C serum.
2. TruSkin Vitamin C Serum
This serum is a powerful mix of vitamin C, organic aloe vera, botanical hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E that helps illuminate the skin and gives a little anti-aging effect by improving the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Fighting hyperpigmentation and boosting collagen production are other benefits that this gem delivers.
A true best-seller on Amazon, this TruSkin vitamin C serum has whopping 95,000 glowing reviews! I don’t think I have ever seen a skincare product with these high ratings. They do say something about the product, right?
My opinion of this serum is that it has a lightweight, quick-absorbing formula, a stable derivative of pure vitamin C, and a few good ingredients that hydrate the skin well. But, still, it works really slow in giving that radiance, that true glow for which we are buying vitamin C. But then, for $20, there’s not much loose, considering some people are crazy about this serum.
It is a nice serum with healthy ingredients and does work, but quite slowly, and does not have strong anti-aging properties.
3. the ordinary ascorbic acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%
Honestly, this is a magic product for beginners. It is a beautiful combination of eight percent ascorbic acid, the purest form of vitamin C and two percent alpha arbutin that can help brighten the skin, lighten dark spots, give you glowing skin, and reduce multiple signs of aging.
This serum is water-free, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free which are all things right. It has just 3 ingredients, Propanediol, Ascorbic Acid, Alpha-Arbutin, which is impressive because nothing would trigger sensitive skin types.
That being said, it is a little bit oily because of the natural tendency of vitamin C, so it takes about 30-50 seconds to seep into the skin. Also, it feels pretty sticky after being absorbed and not very comfortable, but then again, the pure form of vitamin C has this property naturally in it. The stickiness goes away or becomes comfier after applying a nice moisturizer over it.
I personally love The Ordinary’s vitamin C serum because it’s potent, non-irritating, extremely affordable, and highly effective. I had this huge dark spot from acne, and this serum was able to lighten that within two weeks of consistent use. I mean, it wasn’t a big difference, but it does work. Since it’s not very concentrated, I think 6-8 weeks would be the perfect time frame to judge the product from.
All-inclusive, I like the formula, ingredients, texture, and that it actually works for what it says. You can also try using niacinamide for better and faster results.
4. timeless 20% vitamin c + ferulic acid
Another amazingggg, very hyped drugstore vitamin C serum has to be this one from Timeless Skincare. It has 20% vitamin C, which is very strong (medium percentage would be 10%), along with ferulic acid and vitamin E. Ferulic acid is an important ingredient that not only deals with hyperpigmentation, discoloration and promotes healthy skin but also stabilizes vitamin C and slows down the oxidization process.
I love it even more because of its airt-tight pump that minimizes the amount of oxygen getting in contact with vitamin C; hence I can use this product for a much longer time than most of the vitamin C serums on the market.
It gives such a nice instant glow boost to the skin and brilliantly makes the skin brighter and dark spots fade. At this point, this seriously is one of the best drugstore vitamin C serums you’ll get.
Not only this, it is a lightweight, non-greasy formula that absorbs within seconds and transparently in the skin, along with being chemical-free, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free, which is the cherry on the cake!
You’ll not go wrong with this one, but don’t try it if you are just a beginner at the vitamin C game. 20% is a lot and may irritate the skin if this is your first time with it.
5. LilyAna Naturals Vitamin C Serum
And their vitamin C serum has gone through a major transformation from what it was a few years ago. It was insanely drying and irritating before, but that is not the case anymore.
If you have never heard of LilyAna Naturals, it is a highly-effective, clean skincare brand that delivers visible results. They are free of parabens, phthalates, SLS, SLES, and gluten, have no artificial fragrances and colors, and are never tested on animals.
This drugstore vitamin C serum is jam-packed with highly potent 20% vitamin C to help visibly revitalize and boost dull, tired, lackluster skin and encourage healthy collagen and skin elasticity, vitamin E, Aloe Leaf Juice, MSM, Wild Geranium, and Dandelion Extracts; as well as Jojoba Oil and 5% Botanical Hyaluronic Acid, which helps encourage moisture retention in the skin.
This is a lightweight, quick-absorbing, non-comedogenic (means it won’t clog your pores and cause acne) formula which is gentle enough for sensitive skin yet powerful enough to deliver real improvement to skin’s appearance.
If it adds, it has over 11,000 reviews on Amazon, which is so much more than many bigger brands’ serums.
6. The Inkey list 15% Vitamin C + EGF Brightening Serum
Another great drugstore vitamin c serum has to be from The inkey list’s 15% vitamin C serum. It is a highly stable vitamin C serum with 15% Ascorbyl Glucoside, i.e., a derivative of vitamin C, which is known to brighten the appearance of your skin and protect it from environmental stressors. It also has 1% Epitensive, which is a plant-derived Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) that can support natural elasticity and skin health.
Now, it’s a very lightweight watery formula which I love as it does not feel sticky or tacky like most of the drugstore vitamin C serums, which is great. But on the other hand, it’s not a very ‘instant results’ kind of product. What I mean is, you’ll have to consistently use this product for about 3 months to really see a major difference in your skin, even when it is 15% vitamin C (which my impatient ass is not a fan of).
But then, skincare products do take time to show tangible results. And this does leave the skin a lot healthier and glowing after all! For $15, what more can you ask for?
7. Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum
Oh my god, if you can spend a little more on vitamin C or want QUICK results, you are going to love this! It’s a highly effective potent serum with 15% pure vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E that helps address uneven skin tone and helps fight against signs of skin aging.
People have seen astonishing results and massive differences in hyperpigmentation and dark spots just within 10 days. Your skin will become so much brighter and clearer that you’ll love it.
It comes in a small bottle which lasts up to 1 month only, has a weird smell which is absolutely normal, a sticky feeling that goes away, and has a light yellow or amber color when you’ll first open it (which most people think is because it has already oxidized but oh no-no).
That being said, it is dermatologically tested, allergy tested, and a paraben-free, non-greasy, clean formula that is all green ticks.
8. jumiso All Day Vitamin Brightening Serum
You may not have heard about this brand or product much since it’s Korean, but trust me, Jumiso’s all day vitamins serum is one of the highly effective and potent vitamin serums you must try if you want a brighter, clearer, and healthier skin complexion overall.
This is not exclusively a vitamin C serum; in fact, it has vitamin A, B, C, D, E, and K, along with other antioxidants like sea buckthorn, glycerine, niacinamide, licorice, and so many more beautiful ingredients for your skin that are just as much potent
It is a water-free, vegan, alcohol-free, non-sticky formula that actually works in treating acne, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation without tingling the skin. This serum gives a boost of multivitamins to the skin, and the end result is everything that a normal drugstore vitamin C serum can do. You just have to give it 4-6 weeks to show real improvement in the skin.
9. The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% +HA Spheres 2%
One serum that has become increasingly popular in recent years is The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension. It is a water-free, silicone-free suspension that contains 23% L-Ascorbic Acid, which is a form of vitamin C that is known to be effective in brightening the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This suspension also contains 2% Hyaluronic Acid, to hydrate the skin simultaneously.
I have been using this product for about two weeks now, and I have definitely noticed a difference in my skin. My skin looks brighter and more radiant, and I feel like it has helped to reduce the appearance of some of my fine lines and wrinkles. I would definitely recommend this product to anyone who is looking for a high-quality vitamin C suspension!
I have tried and tested many other The ordinary products for acne scars, and I’m telling you, if you’re struggling, you need to check that out.
And if you don’t know how to layer the ordinary products, here’s your fuss free guide!
10. L’Oreal Paris Skincare 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum
Super similar to the CeraVe vitamin C serum in terms of packaging and concentration, Loreal’s 10% pure vitamin C serum is another great option on the best drugstore vitamin c serum list.
It is a silicone-based, dermatologically-validated serum that helps improve skin’s radiance, brighten dark spots, and help neutralize free radicals that may lead to visible signs of aging, hence, reducing wrinkles. Not only this, it is an ultra-lightweight, fragrance-free Formula that does not clog pores and is free of parabens, mineral oils, and synthetic dyes, which get all the green ticks from me.
The brand actually claims that in just one week, your skin will appear brighter and more youthful, and by the end of 4 weeks, wrinkles, dark spots, and pores will be visibly reduced, which I believe is true. Also, this serum has a slight warmth when applied, which, as I have mentioned above, is quite common for vitamin C serums.
All in all, I like this serum’s potency and stability, along with its metal tube packaging for slowing down the oxidization process.
11. no7 Radiance+ 15% Vitamin C Serum
Here’s another strong, effective, yet drugstore vitamin C serum from No7 that instantly brightens transforms, and energizes tired, dull skin to give a dewy, youthful-looking glow.
It does have a tacky, sticky feeling to it, and your skin may feel tight (especially for dry skin) after applying, but I found that once it absorbs and dries into the skin, it doesn’t feel that uncomfortable and after using a moisturizer, your skin will perfectly be alright.
It sure helps disappear dark spots and acne marks within 4-5 weeks of consistent use.
However, it also has an added citrus fragrance, which is not a very healthy thing to add to skincare products. The scent is not overpowering, and it didn’t irritate my skin either, but I just do not like fragranced products. Why do they do that?
12. dear klairs Freshly Juiced pure vitamin C serum
This serum from Dear klairs has been in the spotlight for years now for different reasons. Many reviewers are big fans of this; however, I, along with some other people, have mixed reviews about it. So let’s talk about this drugstore vitamin C serum from K-beauty!
First of all, it is just 5% pure vitamin C serum which is great for beginners to start with since it won’t feel irritating or tingling on the skin. Then, it is jam-packed with many skin-loving essential oils and Centella Asiatica Extract, a brilliant ingredient to help calm and soothe the skin. It has a very lightweight oily texture that is non-comedogenic, and the clear packaging makes it easy for a beginner to know when the serum has oxidized.
There are some serious cons to it as well. Starting with the ingredients, it has 46 ingredients in this tiny bottle. Yes, forty-six! Even though they say all of them are safe and healthy, it would need just one ingredient to worsen a person’s skin, especially sensitive skin types. Lots of essential oils are also a no-no. Coming to its packaging, transparent packaging will obviously fasten the oxidization process, so keeping it in a cool, dry place would be as important as buying it.
In sum, I’m still confused and won’t recommend it to sensitive skin types at all, but if you are normal to combination, this won’t hurt you and is definitely worth a try because it is a potent and vitamin rich serum after all.
I gifted this to my dear friend a while ago, and she loves it for her oily skin. She says it’s gentle and gives an instant brightening effect.
13. Versed Stroke of Brilliance Brightening Serum
If you fear that vitamin C serums can make your skin feel oily, smelly funky, or make the skin tingle, then this Versed brightening serum is your best bet. It is a lightweight, non-tacky, clean serum that helps firm, hydrate, and strengthen skin with amazing ingredients like licorice extracts and niacinamide.
Yes, you can safely use vitamin C and niacinamide together, don’t worry.
It has a yellow-colored, gel-type texture that feels insanely comfortable and instantly brightens up the skin.
The only thing that bothers me a bit is that it literally has 0.5% vitamin C in it; I mean, can that much percentage even work? I don’t know that, but it still is a brilliant brightening serum that does what it says and is quite affordable.
other drugstore vitamin C Serums to consider
14. Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
This is a beautiful, natural glow-getter serum packed with a stable form of vitamin C – Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, ferulic acid, vitamin E, and Hyaluronic acid. You’ll be happy to know that it is all-natural, vegan, and cruelty-free as well.
It is indeed one of the better vitamin C serums in the market.
15. RoC Multi Correxion Vitamin C Serum
Featuring a beautiful mix of vitamin C and energizing nonapeptides, it helps to make dull, tired skin look younger-looking while combatting visible signs of environmental stress.
They say that most of their customers had visibly brighter, tighter skin in 4 weeks, and there were very minimum cases of irritation, which is a good thing.
16. maelove glow maker
An honest answer to your everyday dull skin problems, this serum actually gives a gorgeous glow after using it consistently.
It is a potent mix of vitamins C (15% L-ascorbic acid), E, and Ferulic Acid for superb antioxidant protection, Hyaluronic Acid for long-lasting hydration, and a proprietary botanical blend (Vitis Vinifera, Aloe, Aurantium Dulcis & Magnolia) for extra nourishment and easy makeup application.
17. Eva Naturals Vitamin C Serum
With more than 42,000 reviews on Amazon, this drugstore vitamin C serum is loaded with antioxidants, 2% Retinol, 3.5% Niacinamide, 5% Hyaluronic Acid, 2% Salicylic Acid, 10% MSM, 20% Vitamin C.
Vitamin C serums are a great way to get your daily dose of glow, which has many benefits for the skin.
Some people use it as a lightning agent to help with hyperpigmentation. Others use it to help with aging skin and wrinkles. And some use it because it helps boost collagen production in the skin.
The best drugstore vitamin C serum is hard to find since there are so many options on the market today. There are also many different uses for these serums, so you have to be careful when choosing one that will work best for you.
So, what drugstore vitamin C serums have you added to the cart?
related articles to best drugstore vitamin c serum
- 13 BEST Drugstore Acne Scar Products That’ll Definitely Help
- 10 Best The Ordinary Products For Acne Scars That Are Magical
- 16 Genius Drugstore Makeup Dupes Of Luxury Brands
- 10 Literally The Best Drugstore Cleansing Balms
- 9 Best Drugstore Cleansing Oils That Work Like Magic