When it comes to skincare actives, few are as transformative as vitamin C. It brightens the skin, supports collagen and is an effective antioxidant, making vitamin C a logical fit with formulas aimed at improving the look of uneven pigmentation and protecting against damage from external stressors.
For all of these reasons, science-first skincare brand The Ordinary has harnessed its power to create one of the most comprehensive vitamin C lines on the market. “Vitamin C, also known as l-ascorbic acid, is a renowned multifunctional antioxidant that has been used in skincare for many years due to its efficacy in evening out skin tone, and promoting more youthful looking skin,” explains The Ordinary Chief Scientific Officer, Prudvi Kaka.
Each of The Ordinary’s seven vitamin C heroes has a unique strength and boasts a different texture and formula to ensure the best delivery system is deployed. So there really is a product to suit every skin type and target multiple concerns. “Vitamin C is versatile and can be used by a wide range of skin types, which makes it a great ingredient to include in any regimen,” adds Kaka. Better still, each product comes at a brilliantly accessible price, which is in keeping with the brand’s now infamous mission to democratise high-performing skincare.
With all this in mind, we’ve created the ultimate guide to help you pick The Ordinary vitamin C products that are best suited to your needs.
Best all-round: The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside 12% Solution
First a science lesson: ascorbyl glucoside is a water-soluble derivative of vitamin C. Though less potent than l-ascorbic acid, it’s more stable and well tolerated by new users. This serum can be integrated into almost any regimen to help provide antioxidant support and brighten skin.
Best for radiance: The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%
If uneven pigmentation is a concern, look no further than this serum, which combines two of the most powerful brightening agents in skincare: direct vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid) and a high concentration of alpha arbutin. As well as balancing an uneven skin tone, its advanced antioxidant properties also mean that this formula will help protect against environmental stressors. This serum is suitable for all skin types and will leave your complexion with an enviable glow.
Best for hydration: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23%+ HA Spheres
You’re probably already familiar with the hydrating powers of hyaluronic acid. Now imagine combining those humectant molecules, which draw water into the skin, with the antioxidant superpowers of l-ascorbic acid. Expect, brighter, firmer and plumper skin with regular use.
Best for very dry skin: The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% In Vitamin F
The dark horse of vitamin C serums, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate is an oil-soluble derivative of vitamin C that can be used at higher concentrations without causing discomfort. The ascorbic acid in this formula is combined with vitamin F to feed dry skin essential fatty acids that maintain the skin barrier.
Best for overnight brightening: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone
This waterless formula provides skin with a very high 30% concentration of direct l-ascorbic acid that remains stable due to the absence of water in the formula. The addition of very light silicones, which help reduce the tingling sensation upon application, means that this serum glides effortlessly over the skin to target the signs of aging associated with uneven tone. Expect a tingling sensation during the first 1-2 weeks of use until the skin has acclimatised. The formula can also be mixed with other creams and serums if you prefer.
Best antioxidant: The Ordinary Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution
Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid behaves similarly to vitamin C and has the same antioxidant powers. But this indirect form is more stable and allows for faster results than other derivatives – which is precisely what you want when protecting your skin from daily assault by environmental stressors.
Best high-strength: The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder
By mixing this 100% l-ascorbic acid powder in with your regular serum (except those containing niacinamide) you get the most direct concentration of high-strength vitamin C to target signs of ageing associated with uneven tone, pigmentation, dull and slack skin. You may experience a tingling sensation during the first 1-2 weeks as your skin builds up its tolerance.