The Best Vitamin C Cleansers to Clean and Brighten Your Skin

Best Vitamin C Cleansers

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Active ingredients like vitamin C used to be found only in a fancy face serum. Today, we have vitamin C cleansers and face washes! But it all makes sense because incorporating one active ingredient into several skincare products makes your routine more targeted.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant used in skincare. It’s known to neutralize free radicals and reduce hyperpigmentation and signs of aging. It also stimulates collagen production, brightens skin, and reduces discolorations.

Vitamin C cleansers and face washes enhance your skincare routine and help you better target signs of aging, discolorations, and hyperpigmentation. If you’re ready to brighten your skin while cleansing it, below are the best vitamin C cleansers to get started.

How to Choose a Vitamin C Cleanser

Your Skin Concerns

Most vitamin C face washes and facial cleansers are formulated to target hyperpigmentation. If your major skin concern is hyperpigmentation, dark spots, or acne scars, look for other brighteners in your cleanser such as niacinamide, and licorice extract.

If your major concern is wrinkles or signs of aging, look for other potent anti-agers in your cleanser such as green tea, and vitamin E.

Your Skin Type

At the end of the day, this is a facial cleanser you’re going to use twice daily. So the type of cleanser has to be suitable for your skin type.

Gel-based cleansers usually work for most skin types whereas creamy cleansers tend to work better for people with dry skin. Foaming and lathering cleansers are better for people with oily and acne-prone skin.

Type of Vitamin C

Cleansers usually contain vitamin C derivatives instead of pure ascorbic acid. Some of the names you’ll see are sodium ascorbyl phosphate or ascorbyl palmitate. Vitamin C derivatives are gentler than pure ascorbic acid.

So if you have sensitive skin, go for vitamin C cleansers made with vitamin C derivatives to avoid irritation. Remember, only l-ascorbic acid or ascorbic acid is the pure form of vitamin C.

Best Vitamin C Cleansers

Whether you want to tackle hyperpigmentation, aging, or acne, below are the best vitamin C cleansers and face washes.

1. Murad Essential-C Cleanser

Murad Essential-C Cleanser - Best Vitamin C Cleanser

Pros
Non-stripping
Reduces dark spots
Smells fresh
Rich in antioxidants

This is an antioxidant-packed cleanser! The formula contains vitamin C in addition to vitamins E and A to amplify the effects. The combo is great for addressing free radical damage. Soothing allantoin and vitamin B5 are added into the mix to avoid irritation too. The gel cleanser removes makeup and dirt and helps to fade away dark spots with every wash. Murad also has a vitamin C toner you can pair with your cleanser for a potent anti-pigmentation routine.

Type of Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate
Other Ingredients: Vitamin B5, vitamin E, vitamin A
Skin Type: Dry, combination, oily
Size: 6.75 oz
Good To Know: Paraben-free, cruelty-free

2. Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser

Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser - Best Vitamin C Cleanser

Pros
Non-drying formula
Leaves skin super soft
Suitable for sensitive skin

In addition to vitamin C, this gel cleanser also has vitamin-rich botanicals to detoxify the skin while infusing it with antioxidants. It’s brimming with leafy green extracts, which alone are all antioxidant powerhouses to help neutralize free radical damage on the skin. The formula is gentle, vegan, alcohol-free, and one of the best vitamin C cleansers any skin type can use. And it doesn’t strip the skin. On the contrary, it leaves it super soft and radiant. I have rosacea and my skin loves it!

Type of Vitamin C: Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate
Other Ingredients: Green tea, vitamin E, vitamin B5, aloe
Skin Type: All skin types
Size: 8 oz/237 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

3. Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C

Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C - Best Vitamin C Cleanser

Pros
Fresh vitamin C
Pure ascorbic acid
Helps with textured skin

Powder cleansers are the most potent form of cleansing in terms of texture. They are purifying because of the fewer additives. These are single-use vitamin C powder cleansers. The powder form makes it easier to accommodate pure vitamin C without sacrificing stability. This means that you get the most benefits! The powder foams up and removes any trace of makeup and dirt from the skin. If you have oily/combination skin, you’re going to love this type of cleansing.

Type of Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid
Other Ingredients: N/A
Skin Type: All
Size: 28 counts of single-use packets
Good To Know: Paraben-free

4. Dermadoctor Kakadu C Brightening Daily Cleanser

Dermadoctor Kakadu C Brightening Daily Cleanser, Toner, & Make-Up Remover - Best Vitamin C Cleanser

Pros
Multi-purpose formula
Exfoliates and brightens
No tight feeling

This is an amazing anti-aging cleanser and the formula is clean as a whistle! No fragrance, no SLS -nothing to irritate or dry the skin! It’s a foaming cleanser with a gel texture. And just like the rest of the collection, it’s powered by vitamin C and Kakadu plum extract. Kakadu plum is chock full of vitamin C as well. Moreover, the cleanser contains gentle alpha-hydroxy acids like lactic acid and malic acid. These give you chemical exfoliation and remove dead skin cells. As a result, you get smoother, brighter, and clearer skin.

Type of Vitamin C: Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate
Other Ingredients: Lactic acid, malic acid, vitamin E, Kakadu plum
Skin Type: All skin types
Size: 7.1 oz/210 ml
Good To Know: Paraben-free, fragrance-free, cruelty-free

5. Rodial Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser

Rodial Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser - Best Vitamin C Cleanser

Pros
Doubles as an exfoliating cleanser
Multi-benefit brightening cleanser

Similarly, this one is also made with vitamin C as well as exfoliants. While vitamin C brightens the skin, the two alpha-hydroxy acids, namely glycolic and lactic, exfoliate the skin and increase radiance. With lactic acid’s additional hydrating benefits, the daily face wash doesn’t leave the skin dry or tight. You can completely remove any makeup and dirt while improving your skin tone for a brighter look.

Type of Vitamin C: Ethyl ascorbic acid
Other Ingredients: Glycolic acid, lactic acid
Skin Type: Normal, combination, oily
Size: 135 ml

6. One Love Organics Botanical C Body Polish

One Love Organics Botanical C Body Polish - Best Vitamin C Body Wash

Pros
Body smoothing formula
Leaves skin softer
Smells nice

Vitamin C cleansers are not just for your face. They’re for your body as well. This is a vitamin C body scrub and it’s as nourishing as a facial cleansing balm. The sugar scrub exfoliates the body and removes dead skin flakes. The super emollient base moisturizes with shea butter. It smooths your skin with physical exfoliation, nourishes it with rich oils, and reduces dark spots and acne marks with vitamin C.

Type of Vitamin C: Ascorbyl palmitate
Other Ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, shea oil
Skin Type: All skin types
Size: 6 oz
Good To Know: Organic, cruelty-free

7. InstaNatural Vitamin C Cleanser

InstaNatural Vitamin C Cleanser

Pros
Hydrating formula
Gentle
Contains a soothing blend

This has such a skin-hugging base that it turns cleansing into literal skincare. It replenishes with aloe and coconut water and wards off free radicals with its rich formula. In addition to vitamin C, the cleanser has green tea extract for its powerful antioxidant benefits. It’s in gel form and it lightly foams up. Plus, it also soothes the skin with Centella Asiatica and chamomile to avoid disrupting the skin barrier during cleansing.

Type of Vitamin C: Sodium ascorbyl phosphate
Other Ingredients: Green tea, aloe, Centella Asiatica
Skin Type: All skin types
Size: 6.7 oz/200 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

8. Boscia Detoxifying Black Charcoal Cleanser

Boscia Detoxifying Black Charcoal Cleanser - Best Vitamin C Cleanser For Oily Skin

Pros
Minimizes oil
Clears pores
Exfoliating formula

This one is a unique vitamin C face wash. It’s a charcoal cleanser and it feels like a warming charcoal face mask on the skin at first. It comes out black but lathers up into a light foam. Obviously, the charcoal aspect of it makes this one an amazing vitamin C cleanser for oily skin. Because it absorbs oil on the skin and leaves your complexion matte and shine-free. While vitamin C reduces hyperpigmentation, glycolic acid exfoliates the skin and reduces acne.

Type of Vitamin C: Ascorbyl glucoside
Other Ingredients: Charcoal powder, licorice extract, glycolic acid
Skin Type: Combination, oily, acne-prone
Size: 5 oz/150 ml
Good To Know: Fragrance-free, vegan, cruelty-free

9. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water with Vitamin C

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water with Vitamin C - Best Drugstore Vitamin C Cleanser

Pros
Removes makeup thoroughly
Works for all skin types
Gentle formula
Budget-friendly

Micellar cleansers are great for people who don’t wear heavy makeup. As they’re usually no-rinse cleansers, it means that you get the most benefits out of the ingredients as well. But they’re also great as step 1 one of a double cleansing routine if you do wear makeup. This affordable micellar water is made with a vitamin C derivative and it’s suitable for all skin types. It gently wipes away makeup without needing too much rubbing and helps brighten skin.

Type of Vitamin C: Ascorbyl glucoside
Other Ingredients: Glycerin
Skin Type: All skin types
Size: 13.5 oz/400 ml
Good To Know: Fragrance-free

10. TruSkin Vitamin C Face Cleanser

TruSkin Vitamin C Face Cleanser - Best Affordable Vitamin C Face Wash

Pros
Budget-friendly
Anti-bacterial formula

If you’re familiar with their drugstore vitamin C serum, then you’re going to love their cleanser as well. The foaming face wash has vitamins C and E to brighten the skin and provide antioxidant benefits. It also has tea tree oil to reduce acne-causing bacteria and inflammation. Plus, it has olive oil to replenish and aloe to calm the skin. It’s also affordable and the best drugstore vitamin C cleanser for smoother and brighter skin.

Type of Vitamin C: Sodium ascorbyl phosphate
Other Ingredients: Vitamin E, olive oil, rosehip seed oil
Skin Type: All skin types
Size: 5 oz/148 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

So these are some of the best vitamin C cleansers and face washes on the market. My overall recommendation is Youth To The People’s Superfood Cleanser because of the additional antioxidants. It’s also an effective cleanser that leaves the skin pure, and clean, but never dry. Plus, it’s suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin.

FAQs

Read Next: The Best Cleansers To Use With Retinol

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