What Are The Best Vitamin C Serums With Vitamin E And Ferulic Acid?

by Gio

the best vitamin C serums with vitamin E and ferulic acid

What are the best vitamin C serums?

Vitamin C is an antiaging superstar that fights wrinkles, boosts collagen and brightens the complexion – when used right.

Like all divas, vitamin C is finicky AF. If the pH is too high, it won’t work. If the pH is too low, it will irritate skin. If it’s used alone or is housed in a see-through packaging, it’ll go bad quickly…

No wonder most brands don’t bother using it – or worse, put just a drop of vitamin C in their lotions and potions to trick you into thinking you’re using an antiaging serum… and then you wonder why it doesn’t work!

So what makes a good vitamin C serum?

My criteria:

Instead, I don’t care about price. Sure, I love a good bargain like everyone else but vitamin C is one of the few skincare products I’m willing to pay more for.

In my book, something’s worth it if it works and vitamin C works, ya know what I mean? But if you’re on a budget, fret not. There are good vitamin C serums that don’t break the bank out there. Phew!

So, what are the best vitamin C serums? Here are my fave picks:

Best Luxury Vitamin C Serum: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($166.00)

Skinceuticals CE Ferulic is one of the most duped skincare products of all time. You totally don’t need to get the original version. I’m sharing options below that provide the same benefits for less than half the price. But it was the first serum to combine vitamin C (ascorbic acid) with its BFFs vitamin E and ferulic acid and I want to give it credit for that. Its lightweight texture is suitable for all skin types, bar maybe sensitive (high doses of vitamin C can irritate your skin).

Available at: Dermstore and Skinstore

Related: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Ferulic Acid

Best Vitamin C Serum For Dry Skin: Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster ($49.00)

Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster features the same winning combination as Skinceuticals CE Ferulic – that’s 15% ascorbic acid, 1% vitamin E and 0.5% ferulic acid – at a similar pH… and a fraction of the cost. Plus, it’s loaded with humectants that attract and bind water to the skin to soften its texture and brighten the complexion. It’s also my fave dupe for Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. Now it’s winter, my dryish skin really appreciates the little moisture boost.

Available at:  Feel Unique, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice

Related: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic VS Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster: Which One Is Better?

Best Vitamin C Serum For Antiaging: Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($80.00)

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum has a slightly sticky texture that can feel too heavy on oily skin. But if you can put up with it, it’s totally worth it. Like other Skinceuticals Ce Ferulic dupes, it has the right combo of ascorbic acid, vitamin E and ferulic acid at an effective pH that can deliver vitamin C into the skin, fight free radicals and fade away dark spots. But it’s also loaded with antioxidants, like green tea and licorice extract, to prevent wrinkles. Plus, hyaluronic acid to hydrate and marula oil to moisturize. P.S. The gold hue is due to the anti-irritants in the formula. It’s not a sign vitamin C has already gone bad!

Available at: Cult BeautySephora and SpaceNK

Related: Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum Full Review

Best Vitamin C Serum For Sensitive Skin: Paula’s Choice Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum ($38.00)

Ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) is the most effective form of vitamin C, but it’s also the most irritating. If you have sensitive skin, you’re better with a derivative of vitamin C. Paula’s Choice Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum has two: magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, an oil-soluble derivative that penetrates skin better than other forms of vitamin C (yes, including ascorbic acid!). Plus, it’s loaded with every antioxidants you can think of to help you fight premature wrinkles.

Available at: DermstoreFeel Unique, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice

Related: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic VS Paula’s Choice Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum: Which One Is Better?

Best Vitamin C Serum For Oily Skin: Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum ($33.99)

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum uses a derivate of vitamin C, too. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate, to be exact. It’s a stable form of vitamin C that’s better known for its ability to treat acne. But it still fights wrinkles, brightens the complexion and all those things vitamin C it’s supposed to do. It still has vitamin E and ferulic acid to make vitamin C even more effective. And it has its fair share of antioxidants to prevent even more wrinkles. It’s suitable for all skin type, but oily skin will like it the most.

Available at: Anthropologie, iHerb and Ulta

Related: Is Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate The Best Vitamin C Derivative?

Shop Best Vitamin C Serums

What are the best vitamin C serums in your opinion? Share your fave picks in the comments below.



Alison December 19, 2018 - 1:24 pm

I’m surprised Timeless vitamin c isn’t one of your faves. Don’t you find it as effective as the others?

Gio January 6, 2019 - 12:48 pm

Allison, yes I think that’s a wonderful product too but if I were to list all the vitamin C serums I like, this post would be way too long. lol

In the end, Timeless didn’t make the cut because it has a higher dose of vitamin C. That means it’s potentially more effective but also potentially more irritating for sensitive skin.

Barbara January 10, 2019 - 3:56 pm

Gio actually recommends Timeless in one of her older articles (from 1 or 2 years ago). I liked it but felt that it oxidized too quickly.

Ann December 20, 2018 - 12:20 pm

Great article! Do you think vitamin C is necessary daily or could it be applied every other day?. I recall reading somewhere that it was not necessary to apply vitamin c everyday. Thank you

Gio January 6, 2019 - 12:44 pm

Ann, no it’s not necessary to use it every day. Some people like their daily fix, but that’s a personal choice. You can use it less often if you prefer.

Carmen December 21, 2018 - 1:00 pm

Hello Gio, I just recently discovered your blog and I liked it because you seem to know what you are talking about. So I immediately subscribed and enjoyed the newsletter so far.
I am setting up a new skin care regime and wanted to incorporate vitamin C as well. In the meantime I have read a lot about it and found that vitamin C and water are not friends. Hence why several cosmetic brands leave out water to avoid oxidation (for example the Ordinary and Indeed).
So now I am wondering how you came to your choice of best 5 vitamin C products because they do have water in their list of ingredients.
Please your advice and thanks a lot in advance.

Gio January 25, 2019 - 11:52 am

Carmen, thank you for your kind words and support. Means a lot that you subscribed and hope you’re enjoying the newsletter.

I explained my criteria at the beginning of the post. For me, the addition of water is NOT a dealbreaker. Having both vitamin E and Ferulic acid is more important.

It’s true that waterless vitamin C products last longer so if you want to take your time using your serum, it’s true the products I mentioned here won’t fit the bill. And Indeed vitamin C24 cream is a wonderful alternative indeed.

Me, I use my vitamin C serums quickly so they are still effective by the time I run out.

Laura January 8, 2019 - 5:31 pm

Hi! Since I’m a bit on bugdet but still want to get all the benefits of the combination, I purchased The Ordinary Resveratol 3% + Ferulic 3% to mix it with their L-ascorbic powder. Now the serum is water-free and if I remember correctly, no water no ph right? So what about the Vitamin C? Since there are water-free vitamin C products out there, I guess it has to work somehow. It doesn’t dissolve in the serum, is it still as effective or is it better to apply Vitamin C in a waterbased formula first and then the ferulic? I don’t want to make too many steps in the morning…

Gio January 24, 2019 - 6:08 pm

Laura, it will work by trapping vitamin C against the skin. Or you can mix both products with an oil that’ll carry vitamin C through into the skin.

Arc February 8, 2019 - 3:50 pm

In always interested in your thoughts on vitemin C products, because while you convinced me to try the ordinary c serum, I’ve since heard multiple dermatologists saying that, as currently there’s not sufficient clinical evidence that topical vitemin C does anything for skin, beyond acidic exfoliation, they can’t justify spending much money on it.

Gio February 15, 2019 - 1:02 pm

ARC, in my opinion the research on vitamin C, and particularly the studies Skinceuticals carried out when they discovered the combo of vitamin C + vitamin E and ferulic acid, is solid.

The main problem that dermatologists have with vitamin C serums is in the delivery system. The pure form of Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid) is highly unstable, difficult to formulate with and difficult to carry through to the deepest layers of the skin. A lot of vitamin C products out there simply don’t have what it takes to penetrate skin and do what they claim.

A lot of brands are trying to get around the problem by using derivatives. In vitro studies are promising but here dermatologists are right to say we don’t have enough clinical evidence to support their effectiveness.

Vanessa April 15, 2020 - 8:09 pm

Great post! I’ve been using olehendriksen truth serum for a while but thinking about switching it up. I would love to be able to use SKINCEUTICALS but it’s way too expensive. I found another one on the web called Maelove Glow Maker. Have you heard of this product before? If so, what are your thoughts?

Thank you,

Gio May 15, 2020 - 2:24 pm

Vanessa, I love it. It’s a great alternative to Skinceuticals.


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