boots ingredients vitamin c serum review

Have you heard? Boots is the latest brand to launch a The Ordinary-style budget skincare line all based on science and actives that work. The name? Boots Ingredients (not that original, but straight to the point).

It won’t be the last either. The Ordinary and all the other brands they inspired (I’m looking at you, The Inkey List) are literally flying off the shelves.

You either adapt or are left behind, know what I mean? I’m glad Boots decided to adapt. But how does their line compare to other popular alternatives?

I’m testing a few products to find out. First on the list is the Boots Ingredients Vitamin C Serum:

What’s In Boots Ingredients Vitamin C Serum?


Don’t get scared by the long, complicated name. This is the Vitamin C form in Boots Ingredients Vitamin C Serum.

Here’s the deal: L-Ascorbic Acid, the pure form of Vitamin C, is an antiaging superstar. Studies show it can:

But it’s highly unstable and goes bad within a few short weeks. That’s where 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid comes in.

3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid is a derivative made with Vitamin C and an ethyl group bound to the third carbon position. Translation: it’s very stable and lasts longer than L-Ascorbic Acid.

But stability isn’t the only thing that matters here. For a Vitamin C derivative to work, it needs to penetrate skin and convert into L-Ascorbic Acid. Can 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid do that?

The manufacturer swears it can. They say it penetrates skin, turns into L-Ascorbic Acid, and does everything L-Ascorbic Acid does, from boosting collagen to fading away dark spots.

What about independent studies? They’re so few, they can only support a couple of claims:

The verdict? 3-O-Ehyl Ascorbic Acid is a promising, but not fully proven, form of Vitamin C. At this point, I’d recommend it only to women who wants to fade away dark spots but can’t tolerate L-Ascorbic Acid.

Related: Types Of Vitamin C: Which One Is Right For You?


Glycerin is a moisture magnet. For real.

The technical term is humectant. It means it acts like a magnet, attracting water from the environment into your skin and binding it there.

The more hydrating your skin is, the softer and suppler it becomes.

Related: Why Is Glycerin In All My Skincare Products?


Lightweight, fast-absorbing gel.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

In the morning, after cleansing.

boots ingredients vitamin c serum

Performance & Personal Opinion

Boots Ingredients Vitamin C Serum has a lightweight, refreshing texture that sinks in quickly into my skin. It doesn’t feel sticky, tacky, or greasy on.

The first thing I noticed is the extra bout of moisture it adds to my skin. Now that winter’s still in full swing, my skin is happy to have that little more hydration to withstand the cold and stay softer all day long.

But what about the Vitamin C? Does that do anything? I can’t say I’ve noticed any big changes in my skin. I don’t have any dark spots to fade (3-O-Ehyl Ascorbic Acid’s specialty) and nothing can boost collagen in a month. These things take time.

But my skin is brighter and has a healthy glow. If you need help in this department, and your skin can’t tolerate L-Ascorbic Acid, this one may very well be worth a try.

Who Is This For?

Sensitive skin with dark spots.

Who Is This Not For?

Everyone else. If your skin can tolerate L-Ascorbic Acid and you don’t mind using it up quickly, that’s still the best option for anti-aging.


Boots Ingredients Vitamin C Serum comes in a sleek white and black bottle with a pump applicator. It looks sleek, but I have two problems with it:

  1. The pump applicator releases too much product. Every. Single. Time.
  2. The first time I tried to take the cap off, I removed the pump with it too. The cap was screwed on that tightly! Once I finally managed to unscrew it, I never had this issue again.

I totally get it Boots has to cut corners somewhere to keep the price this low. But they cut a bit too much this time…

Does Boots Ingredients Vitamin C Serum Live Up To Its Claims?

Skin looks brighter. True.
Skin feels smoother. Again, true.
Gives skin a refreshing boost. Yep.

Price & Availability

£6.00 at Boots

Do You Need It?

Boots Ingredients Vitamin C Serum uses 3-O-Ehyl Ascorbic Acid, a form of Vitamin C that’s still too new (read: not fully tested) to make it fall into the “must need” category. But if you have sensitive skin with hyperpigmentation, it may be worth a try.


Dupes & Alternatives


Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Peg-12 Dimethicone, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Ppg-26-Buteth- 26, Sodium Citrate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Chlorphenesin, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Bisabolol, Disodium Edta, Maltodextrin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate