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When antioxidants are concerned, vitamin C is the first one that comes to mind. We all know how antioxidants fight free radicals and treat the damage they cause. But no other antioxidant turns on the switch and lights up a bulb that brings about a certain luminosity in your complexion. If you think this is an exaggeration, try a vitamin C serum for a week and watch your skin turn up the radiance you never knew it had. The best vitamin C creams and moisturizers give the same results only with a different texture.
Vitamin C is a fascinating antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, stimulates collagen formation, and inhibits melanin production.
What does it all mean? It means that vitamin C is the ultimate ingredient when it comes to dealing with hyperpigmentation, dark spots, acne scars, wrinkles, and dullness.
We love products in serum form. But when you want to moisturize your face or your under-eye area, serums lack the necessary emollience to lock in moisture. And that’s where vitamin C creams and moisturizers come in.
Whether you’re going for a vitamin C gel or a cream moisturizer with a thicker texture, there’s one for everyone and every skin type. Not sure how to pick one? We’ve got you!
How To Choose a Vitamin C Moisturizer
As much as it’s effective in reducing skin discolorations, vitamin C is sort of a wild card. You’ll find this amazing ingredient under the name ‘ascorbic acid’ or ‘l-ascorbic acid’ in your skincare products.
But because vitamin C can be irritating for sensitive skin and can be unstable, there are vitamin C derivatives. They’re equally effective but less irritating.
Some of them are magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. So don’t think less of the product if you see that it’s made with derivatives as opposed to pure ascorbic acid.
In fact, if you have sensitive skin, go for the derivatives. But here’s the dilemma. Most vitamin C moisturizers made with derivatives are usually scented, citrus-scented, to be more specific.
Though they’re not heavy or bad, they can be problematic for sensitive skin. So you’re going to have to choose your battles.
Additionally, gel-based or whipped vitamin C moisturizers tend to be lighter and less likely to cause congestion. Try these types of textures if you have oily and acne-prone skin.
For people with mature skin and dry skin, you can try thicker textures, which are more emollient and better at preventing water loss.
The Best Vitamin C Moisturizers
Whether you’re dealing with hyperpigmentation or dullness, below are the best vitamin C creams and moisturizers to achieve glowing skin.
1. Ole Henriksen C-Rush Vitamin C Gel Moisturizer
This gel cream uses three forms of vitamin C to target the visible signs of aging, discolorations, and lack of radiance. It’s also enhanced with vitamin C-rich citrus fruit extracts for full-blown antioxidant protection with a heavenly smell. Hyaluronic acid replenishes the skin while nourishing jojoba extract helps lock in moisture.
The gel texture makes the moisturizer an amazing one for dehydrated skin as well. The cream has a peachy tint to it and a dewy finish that instantly freshens up the complexion and brightens up the skin. Though it’s not matte, it’s light enough for oily, acne-prone skin. Because of the light texture, you don’t have to worry about a greasy look or a sticky feel.
Type of Vitamin C: Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, 3-O-Ethyl ascorbic acid, ascorbic acid. Key Benefits: Hydrates, reduces signs of aging, illuminates. Texture: Gel Suitable For: All skin types. Size: 1.7 oz
2. Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Brightening Rich Hydration Moisturizer
Another brightening daily moisturizer packed with stable vitamin C is this one by Sunday Riley. The light cream has squalane, jojoba extract, and sweet almond oil that give the formula its rich and skin-softening texture. It also has a combination of skin soothers like chamomile and green tea.
The vitamin C cream absorbs easily and leaves an amazing silky feel on the skin. The brightening effects are instantly visible. The orange-farm-smelling moisturizer plumps up the skin and reduces the look of wrinkles. And it’s perfect for reducing dark spots, evening out the skin tone, fading discolorations, and boosting radiance on dry skin.
Type of Vitamin C: Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate 5%. Key Benefits: Brightens, targets discolorations without irritaiıon. Texture: Cream Suitable For: All skin types. Size: 1.7 oz
3. Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Vitamin C Bright & Plump Moisturizer
This one is a more targeted and concentrated formula. It has a vitamin C derivative with a concentration of 10% and vitamin E of 3%. And it has another potent antioxidant, ferulic acid, in 2%. Ferulic acid is a free radical scavenger on its own. But it also maximizes the effects of vitamins C and E. The high concentration is ideal for targeting stubborn hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and acne scars.
In addition to hydration-boosting hyaluronic acid, the cream contains collagen to repair very dry skin and increase its suppleness. And to add to the skin-clearing effects of vitamin C, the cream also has turmeric to brighten up the skin. The whole thing is amazing for plumping up the skin, diminishing wrinkles, and targeting scarring and pigmentation. Despite the ingredients, the cream is not heavy at all.
Type of Vitamin C: Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate 10%. Key Benefits: Repairs free radical damage, fades hyperpigmentation and wrinkles. Texture: Cream Suitable For: All skin types. Size: 1.7 oz
4. La Roche Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Cream
We’ve mentioned that vitamin C derivatives tend to be gentler on the skin. The problem with that is it’s really difficult to find a vitamin C cream suitable for sensitive skin both ingredient-wise and formulation-wise. This one is oil-free. In that sense, it’s great for oily, acne-prone, and combination skin types too.
But even though it’s made with pure ascorbic acid, it contains soothing madecassoside, a compound found in Centella Asiatica, aka cica. So it keeps irritation at bay and makes the vitamin C cream tolerable for sensitive skin too. If you have very sensitive skin though, it’s wiser to slowly incorporate it into your skincare routine.
Type of Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid. Key Benefits: Evens skin tone, softens wrinkles. Texture: Cream Suitable For: All skin types especially acne-prone, sensitive. Size: 1.3 oz
5. Belif Aqua Bomb Brightening Vitamin C Cream
This one has an incredibly pleasing texture. It’s gel but it’s not oil-free. So it has the perfect balance where you can hydrate the skin, and boost radiance without clogging pores or smothering skin with a heavy feel.
Besides vitamin C, it packs other antioxidants like vitamin E, lady’s mantle, and a blend of botanicals to nourish the skin. And it has hyaluronic acid in different molecular weights to ensure maximum hydration. The nicely scented formula leaves the skin dewy, healthy, and bouncy.
Type of Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid. Key Benefits: Hydrates, nourishes, illuminates. Texture: Gel Suitable For: All skin types. Size: 1.69 oz
6. Kate Somerville +Retinol Vitamin C Moisturizer
This one contains retinol and is perfect for those times when you want to add vitamin C into your evening skincare routine. Using a retinol product and a different product with vitamin C can increase skin sensitivity. And it can make the skin prone to sunburn. But this one was formulated with that in mind. The powerful duo is perfect for thorough skin rejuvenation, making this one an amazing anti-aging vitamin C cream for wrinkles.
With retinol’s intense skin-transforming powers, you get to retexturize the skin at night and reverse wrinkles and lines. Besides reducing texture on mature skin, retinol is also effective in eliminating pigmentation, acne, and acne scars. And with the added benefits of vitamin C, the night cream reveals brighter, smoother, and healthier skin. The added hyaluronic acid makes sure your skin bathes in hydration throughout the night.
Type of Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid. Key Benefits: Stimulates collagen production, improves skin texture and tone. Texture: Cream Suitable For: Normal, dry skin. Size: 1.7 oz
Related: How to Use Retinol For Best Results
7. Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C Moisturizer
This is one is a drugstore vitamin C face cream to brighten the skin and fire up collagen production. The vegan cream delivers vitamin C with a softening base made with shea butter. And to increase the brightening effects, it has niacinamide as well as turmeric extract.
Besides boosting hydration with ceramides, the daily vitamin C moisturizer also has signal peptides to stimulate collagen production. Last but not least, it also packs green tea for its antioxidant and skin-soothing benefits. It’s an amazing moisturizer to reduce hyperpigmentation while targeting signs of aging.
Type of Vitamin C: 3-O-Ethyl ascorbic acid. Key Benefits: Moisturizes, brightens, stimulates collagen production. Texture: Cream Suitable For: All skin types. Size: 1.7 oz
8. Fresh Vitamin C Glow Moisturizer
If you want to diversify your choice of antioxidants, this one comes with additional vitamins. The daily moisturizer has vitamin C to clear up the complexion. It has vitamin E for added antioxidant benefits. And it has vitamin B5 to increase moisture.
The formula also contains glucosyl hesperidin, which is believed to increase circulation to revitalize and energize the skin. The moisturizer plumps up the skin and infuses it with a blend of vitamins for long-lasting skincare benefits as well as instant luminosity. It’s an incredible antioxidant bundle to fight dullness, lack of radiance, and uneven skin tone.
Type of Vitamin C: Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate. Key Benefits: Moisturizes, boosts radiance, energizes complexion. Texture: Cream Suitable For: All skin types. Size: 1.6 oz
9. The Inkey List Vitamin B, C, and E Moisturizer
And speaking of multivitamins, this one comes with different vitamins and is in a ridiculously affordable price range. Besides vitamin C, it has vitamin E to enhance the antioxidant effects. And it has vitamin B3 (niacinamide) to boost radiance and support the skin barrier.
In addition to hyaluronic acid, it has vitamin B5 for its hydrating and soothing benefits. The cream brightens the skin and prevents dehydration and makes the skin more resilient. That way, your skin is better able to fight against external skin aggressors. This is one of the best affordable vitamin C creams that multi-tasks without putting a dent in your wallet.
Type of Vitamin C: Sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate. Key Benefits: Protects from free radicals, moisturizes. Texture: Cream Suitable For: Normal, dry skin. Size: 1.7 oz
So these are some of the best vitamin C creams and moisturizers. This ingredient is overall great for tackling skin discolorations.
But one type of discoloration can be difficult to deal with. And that is dark circles under the eyes. If you’re dealing with dark circles, you can try vitamin C eye creams to reduce their appearance.
Read Next: The Best Glycolic Acid Creams & Lotions