Vitamin C Miracle Ingredient for Brighter Skin

Vitamin C:
The Miracle Ingredient for Brighter Skin

Just about every skin type can benefit from a daily treatment of vitamin C. The antioxidant’s brightening, firming, smoothing, and nourishing effects make skin noticeably more glowing after even just a few uses. Whether you’re blemish-prone or dry or you want to preserve the gorgeous complexion you already have, adding vitamin C to your routine will give you both instant and long-term results.

Vitamin C (it also appears as ascorbic acid in ingredient lists) is well-studied in terms of its effects on skin, whether applied topically or taken orally. Like all antioxidants, it can help limit the formation of free radicals in skin caused by everything from UV rays to pollution, it can support existing collagen, and it even has some sun-protective qualities. Because it’s mildly exfoliating, it can help soften the look of dark spots, even skin tone, and brighten and plump skin so that lines appear less visible. Many of us have noticed a change in clarity and glow in our skin after using it for even just a few days. It’s not uncommon to find vitamin C and exfoliating acids, like alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, citric) and salicylic acid, used together in formulas, as the combination can really retexturize skin. (If you have sensitive skin, err on the side of caution when you’re using any exfoliating acids, though vitamin C is generally well-tolerated.) Vitamin C in foods—oranges, kiwis, kale, broccoli, and many more—and in supplements like GOOPGLOW can also make an enormous difference in terms of skin health.

Whether you’re blemish-prone or dry, have skin that abruptly oscillates between the two, or want to keep your skin as gorgeous as it already is, vitamin C will serve you well. The formulas below all have vitamin C, work for morning and night, are beautifully clean and nontoxic, and leave you looking impossibly glowy and that much more well-rested.

9 of Our Favorite Vitamin C Skin-Care Products

  1. 1


    Shake this vitamin C powder into a serum or a moisturizer or simply pat it onto skin with a few drops of water (water activates it, so it’s preserved at full strength until it comes into contact with moisture). Our coworkers and friends commented on how much brighter and how much more recharged our skin looked once we started using this.

  2. True Botanicals Vitamin C Booster
    True Botanicals
    Vitamin C Booster
    goop , $90
  1. 2


    Vitamin C can of course work from the inside out, too. This antioxidant superpowder—it combines vitamin C with other incredible antioxidants, like vitamin E, CoQ10, lutein, and zeaxanthin—is designed to reduce the effects of free radicals, UV rays, and pollution to give you brilliantly glowy skin. It tastes citrusy and refreshing first thing in the morning.

  2. goop Beauty GOOPGLOW Morning Skin Superpowder
    goop Beauty
    goop, $60
  1. 3


    Vitamin C and AHAs can really complement each other. Since both are exfoliating—vitamin C more mildly so—formulas that contain a blend of the two can help skin look smoother, more supple, and brighter. In the case of the GOOPGLOW Overnight Peel, 15% glycolic acid is the workhorse, boosting cellular turnover and retexturizing, while vitamin C and other extracts help refine skin and add glow.

  2. goop Beauty GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic Overnight Glow Peel
    goop Beauty
    GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic
    Overnight Glow Peel

    goop, $125
  1. 4


    Mixed with other clarifying and detoxifying ingredients, like clays and charcoal, that work by drawing out impurities and absorbing oil, grime, and anything else that clogs pores, vitamin C makes an excellent mask. This one adds some physical exfoliation to the benefits of flower extracts and invigorating spices you’re also getting.

  2. For Glow:

    De Mamiel Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate
    De Mamiel
    Brightening Cleanse
    & Exfoliate

    goop, $70
  1. 5


    A daily cleanser made with an alpha hydroxy acid and salicylic acid as well as vitamin C, this is the ultimate for targeting blemishes, excess oil, uneven skin tone, and clogged pores. Use it every morning (and night, if you’re especially oily) for firm, radiant, smooth skin.

  2. For Oily/Normal Skin:

    Dr. Barbara Sturm Enzyme Cleanser
    Dr. Barbara Sturm
    Enzyme Cleanser
    goop, $75
  1. 6


    Essences are water-soluble treatments that help deliver moisture, nutrients, and antioxidants using different pathways in skin than oil-soluble products, like face oil, do. This one from Vintner’s Daughter is overflowing with goodness: vitamin C, clarifying apple cider vinegar, pre- and probiotics, and hyaluronic acid. Pat it onto damp skin after cleansing and before applying any other nourishing and moisturizing treatments.

  2. For All Skin Types:

    Vintner’s Daughter Active Treatment Essence
    Vintner’s Daughter
    Active Treatment Essence
    goop, $225



Potent concentrations of active ingredients—these two both contain vitamin C to help smooth pores and boost radiance—are what make serums so incredible for targeting a variety of skin issues, from breakouts and dark spots to dryness.

  1. To Calm/Even Skin Tone:

    The Organic Pharmacy Stabilised Vitamin C Serum
    The Organic Pharmacy
    Stabilised Vitamin C Serum
    goop, $65
  2. To Boost Hydration:

    Kypris Antioxidant Dew
    Antioxidant Dew
    goop, $90
  1. 8


    Dry skin is compromised skin (think of the cracks and fissures that emerge when your skin is chapped), which means it’s more susceptible to lines, wrinkles, and irritation. All skin needs moisture, and the best way to get it is from deeply soothing, emollient formulas enriched with antioxidants and nourishing botanicals to keep skin firm, healthy, and supple.

  2. Eye Balm
    for Day and Night:

    Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Line Filling Eye Balm
    Alpyn Beauty
    Line-Filling Eye Balm

    goop, $62
  1. BONUS:

    Made with amla-berry extract (an ingredient that has been prized in Ayurveda for centuries for its ability to help support healthy skin and hair) and sea-buckthorn-seed oil, both natural sources of vitamin C, this luxuriously rich balm is for skin, body, hair, hands, lips, anywhere. Warm it between your hands to soften the solid formula so that it melts into skin.

  2. 8 Faces Boundless Solid Oil
    8 Faces
    Boundless Solid Oil
    goop, $88
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