Antioxidants are easily one of the most integral parts of anyone’s skincare regimen. Typically applied in the morning, they are your skin’s first line of defense against free radical damage caused by the sun and pollution; think of them like badass bouncers that help keep trouble out.
If there’s one bouncer to rule them all, many skincare experts argue that it has to be vitamin C. Not only is vitamin C one of the most potent available, it also works overtime to brighten your skin and works in tandem with your SPF to improve its sun protecting powers. To help you incorporate this wonder ingredient into your regimen, we’re showcasing the best budget-friendly vitamin C products on the market.
The Ordinary has a massive portfolio of vitamin C products, which is even further proof of how important an ingredient it is. This one combines 23% super-fine l-ascorbic acid powder with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid. With consistent use, you’ll notice a brighter, firmer, more even-toned complexion.
Double down on vitamin C with this mighty duo from Ole Henriksen. The set includes two of the brand’s bestselling products: the C-Rush Vitamin C Gel Moisturizer, a lightweight hydrator you can apply all over; and the Banana Bright Eye Cream, a nourishing cream infused with vitamin C (inspired by MUA fave, banana powder).
If you haven’t yet met the Good Molecules brand, now’s the time. Founded by a handful of beauty veterans, it aims to provide all the skincare essentials without the fuss and at affordable price points. The Niacinamide Brightening Toner combines both vitamin B3 and vitamin C to nourish, strengthen, protect, and brighten your complexion.
Though vitamin C is most often applied in the morning due to its antioxidant properties, some products — like this one from Derma E — are formulated for nighttime use. Overnight, vitamin C and rooibos work their restorative, brightening powers while probiotics nourish and reset your skin’s microbiome.
Founded by biochemist and skincare guru Dr. Hannah Sivak, this powerful 20% vitamin C serum works to brighten, protect, and refine your skin’s texture. It’s best when used as a treatment once or twice a week, and is ideal for normal, oily, or combo skin versus dry or sensitive skin types.
For a quick and juicy pick-me-up that doubles as a #treatyourself moment, opt for one of Rael’s Vitamin C Sheet Masks. The masks are made from soft bamboo yarn that hug your face without slipping off and are infused with skin-nourishing botanical extracts from pomegranate, fig, and mulberry.
7. CosRx Triple C Lightning Liquid, $27
Soko Glam’s Charlotte Cho collaborated with K-Beauty brand CosRx in 2017 to create this megawatt of a vitamin C serum. Don’t be alarmed by the name, it is designed to attack hyperpigmentation and effectively lighten brown spots and acne scars! Since the product was created, it’s consistently been a bestseller on the website, and sells out regularly (largely because they’re made in small batches to ensure high quality). Triple C Lightning Liquid contains 20.5% vitamin C and 72% black chokeberry, which helps stabilize the vitamin C while nourishing your skin and brightening.
A handful of ultra-pricy vitamin C masks exist, but Yes To offers a budget-friendly option that delivers, too. This one’s a mud-based mask, which means it helps zap excess oil production, tighten pores, and deep cleanse your skin. It’s also infused with grapefruit and vitamin C to help brighten, protect, and nourish.
When Versed launched at Target earlier this year, the skincare community collectively let out a cheer. The brand prides itself on high-performance, budget-friendly, cleanly formulated products that work. Found the Light – one of Versed’s best sellers – is a fine powder infused with vitamin C that you can incorporate into any of your favorite products, including cleansers, toners, masks, and creams. We love a multitasking product!
The next time you put together a Glossier order, go ahead and throw a bottle of Super Glow into your cart. This vitamin C and magnesium serum is a gentle, highly effective formulation that quickly soaks into skin to work its brightening, skin-protecting magic.
Which of these products intrigues you most? Let us know in the comment section below!