4 Reasons Why Making Your Own Vitamin C Serum Is NOT A Good Idea

by Gio
4 reasons why you should not make a DIY vitamin C serum

“How can I make my own DIY vitamin C serum, Gio? I’m tired of spending a fortune on products that go bad before I have time to finish the bottle.”

I hear ya. Vitamin C is a skincare superhero with plenty of anti-aging superpowers. Studies show it:

But it’s finicky AF. Goes bad quickly. Costs a pretty penny. Making your own can save you a lot of money, time and hassle…

Or not?

Here’s the deal: L-Ascorbic Acid (the pure form of Vitamin C) is one of the trickiest ingredients to formulate with. You can’t just add a sprinkle of vitamin C powder to your moisturiser and expect it to work. It’s more complicated than that.

Here’s why I think a DIY vitamin C serum isn’t the answer for most people:

1. Wrong Carrier = No Antioxidant Properties

A lot of DIY recipes tell you to dissolve either vitamin C tablets or L-ascorbic acid (the pure form of vitamin C) powder in water. That’s useless.

Watching those vitamin C crystals dissolve is so satisfying and makes you think it’s working. But when you apply the mixture on your skin, vitamin C recrystallizes. Crystallized vitamin C can’t penetrate skin. And if it can’t do that, it won’t work as an antioxidant.

You could fix this by using a carrier that enhances penetration. Alcohol is the most common, but it’s drying for some people. Propylene glycol or glycerin are much better choices. But they too have their limitations.

This solution (l-ascorbic acid + glycerin or propylene glycol) would be water-soluble. That means it won’t be able to penetrate the lipid-based barrier of your skin very well.

It’s true that L-Ascorbic Acid won’t dissolve in oil, so you’re kinda stuck with a water-based solution and all its limitation. That’s why it’s important to choose a carrier that enhances penetration.

Making your own DIY Vitamin C serum isn’t just about mixing some powder with water. You need to mix them in a way that gives Vitamin C the best chance of success.

Related: Is Alcohol In Skincare Good Or Bad?

tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate vitamin C derivative

2. Wrong Ph = Irritated Skin

If you think getting the carrier right is tricky, wait till you hear this.

Because L-Ascorbic Acid is acidic, it penetrates skin better at an acidic ph (lower than 3.5). When mixed with water at a 5% concentration, L-Ascorbic Acid has a pH between 2.2 and 2.5. That means it’ll work well, right?

Not exactly. The skin’s natural pH is around 5.5 or 6.5. Using a product with a pH too low can irritate it and dry it out. That’s why most commercially available vitamins C serum are formulated at a pH between 2.8 and 3.4.

That’s low enough for vitamin C to work, but not so low to cause irritations (unless your skin is super sensitive). A homemade vitamin C serum is more likely to have a pH that’s too low and that can cause irritations.

If you decide to go down this route, have pH strips at the ready to check the pH of your serum.

Related: What The Heck Is The Acid Mantle And How Do You Repair It?

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3. Wrong Storage System = Quick Spoilage

L-Ascorbic Acid is highly unstable. It oxidises, and loses a bit of its effectiveness, every time it’s exposed to light, heat, and air. You’ll notice when your vitamin C serum has gone bad. It turns a brown.

If you want your DIY vitamin C serum to last more than a couple of days, you need to stabilise it. You can do this in two ways:

You’ve guessed it, both solutions are hard to implement at home. The best you can realistically do is make a small batch, pour it into an opaque, airtight container, and store it in the refrigerator. Even then, it won’t last you more than 3/4 days.

Are you willing to make a new batch that often? If the answer is not, a DIY vitamin C serum isn’t for you.

Related: How To Store Your Homemade Skincare Products

types of vitamin c used in skincare

4. Fewer Ingredients = Fewer Benefits

Most DIY vitamin C serums are pretty simple. L-abscorbic acid. Water. Glycerin. Done.

That’s cool. But not enough. I prefer my vitamin C serums to come packed with other antioxidants. Why?

Antioxidants work better together than alone. Studies show that pairing vitamin C with ferulic acid and vitamin E, for example, makes each antioxidant more effective and doubles photoprotection.

Sure, you can buy a bunch of antioxidants for your DIY vitamin C serum. But every ingredient you use adds a new layer of complexity to the mix. It changes the pH, may clump or just be unstable.

Related: 5 Things You Need To Know About Antioxidants

What If You’re Doing Everything Right?

Are you a DIY fanatic who loves to spend hours learning the chemistry behind homemade skincare products and wiling to splurge on a few pieces of equipment?

Great! It’ll take you some trial and error, but you can make a DIY vitamin C serum that works. Just be aware you’ll have to make a new batch every few days.

Just want to follow a random recipe online because you’d think it’d be fun? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but making your own DIY Vitamin C serum is more complicated than that. A lot of recipes you’ll find on Google or Pinterest just don’t work.

If you’re not willing to invest the time and money to make DIY skincare products the right way, do your skin a favour and buy a serum from the shops. You don’t want to buy a bottle of vitamin C, pH strips and co only to find out you can’t be bothered to mix a new batch every few days.

One more thing: how do you know your DIY vitamin C serum works? It’s difficult enough for professionals to assess how well antioxidants work. How can you tell at home?

It may just be the brightening effect is due to the acidic exfoliation vitamin C gives you. But its collagen-boosting properties? You can’t assess them at home.

Antioxidants are preventative. So if your vitamin C serum doesn’t work, you won’t find out straight away. Heck, you may be applying something for 10 years only to discover it didn’t help that much!

drunk elephant c-firma day serum

What Are The Best Vitamin C Serums?

The Bottom Line

There are many skincare products you scan easily made at home. A vitamin C serum ain’t one of them. If you’re not willing to spend the time and effort to do it right, don’t bother.

Have you ever tried to make your own DIY vitamin C serum? Share your experience in the comments below.

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Angelita June 1, 2017 - 3:58 am

Hmm, not sure I completely agree with your theory. A lot of people make their own Vitamin C serums and I think it’s a brilliant idea.. The ones you buy are very expensive and you can make your own very very inexpensively. I think it’s a matter of experimentation. You can always make a fresh batch once a week. As long as you keep iit in a dark bottle so it won’t de-stabilize you should be fine. Try different percentages and see what works best for you. I think the homemade version is healthier with less additives and also fresher. I bought Vitamin C serum that really did very little for me and now I am ready to make my own!

Gio June 3, 2017 - 2:50 pm

Angelita, thanks for your comment. Again, I’ll tell what I told the others. It is a brilliant idea if you have the time and will to learn how to do it properly and make a new batch every week. Most people don’t want that. They want the convenience of making a vitamin C by mixing two ingredients together and have the mixture last for a year. It doesn’t work like that. It’s also true that most store bought vitamin C serums don’t work. Often, vitamin C is there just for show. But when you find a good one, you’ll know it last you for a few months, the ph is right etc. Again, it depends on what you’re looking for.

Valerie November 30, 2017 - 9:22 pm

Totally agree with you. And how Can I tell my serum formulation is working? Real simple!!! The before and after pictures! Seriously tired of people like this thinking they can make formulations magically that are more effective and scare mongering anyone who prefers to be frugal and prep their own.

Gio December 3, 2017 - 7:08 pm

Valerie, before and after pictures aren’t always reliable. What if you’ve made any other changes to your skincare routine/lifestyle and that’s the real cause of the change? Anyway, making your own Vit C serum isn’t necessarily frugal as you need to buy your own equipment. Plus, the time you spend every few days to make a new batch. If you’re ok with that and managed to find a recipe that really works, kudos to you. 🙂

Lynette January 14, 2018 - 3:39 am

I agree! Been making my own serum of Laa, Hyal Acid, Preserv., Rosehip Seed Oil, for four years now. After using it for about 6 months I begun to notice my mild chloasma was fading, and after a year, it was gone. I used Mad Hippie and Paula’s, and prefer my own. I make an ounce, costing me about $9 for each bottle I make, it lasts about 8 to 10 days, so about three bottles a month costs $27, the good thing about it is that bottle is being used on my arms, chest neck and face twice daily.

Gio January 19, 2018 - 2:17 pm

Lynette, glad you’ve found a recipe that works so well for you. I have to admit, though, I wouldn’t have the patience to make it every 8 days!

Sherri Bell March 21, 2018 - 6:43 pm

Hi Lynette, what is your DIY receipe? I would like to make my own as well. If these companies would’nt charge an arm and a leg and give you maximum active ingredients people would not be trying to make there own.

Priya April 8, 2018 - 9:13 pm

Hi Lynette could you please share your diy recipe for vitamin c serum? I’d be very thankful to you

Lynette July 14, 2018 - 10:57 pm

=L ascorbic acid ( I make mine a 20% formula, started with 10%)
=Filtered water
=Ferulic Acid (solvent Dipropylene Glycol )
=Polysorbate 80 (emulsifier) I buy from lotioncrafters don’t worry about %s in their description of product they tell you, you can’t beat their packaging and service)
=Hyaluronic acid 1%
=Vitamin E (not capsules, natural mixed )
=Saffron Seed Extract
=Fision (helps to slightly tighten)
=Xanthan Gum Clear ( to slightly thicken, it’s still going to be slightly runny, but not bad, if you make it too thick you clog your dropper or pump) it takes about several weeks to tweak your serum where the PH is exactly right for you, but I will tell you I used to have a brown melasma patch on my left cheek, and six months after I was using this faithfully, it was drastically lighter, a year later it was gone, of course I use sunscreen, as well.

JA September 11, 2018 - 8:11 am

Lynette, are you saying to use equal parts of all ingredients?

Ciara June 9, 2018 - 4:49 pm

I’d like to know the recipe as well. I’d take the time to make it as often as needed.

Keyo January 19, 2018 - 9:26 am

Well, i’m not too comfortable with your theory. If you’re trying to sell a product, then simply go ahead and sell the product. What you shdn’t do is try to convince people not to make their own vitc serum at home. I only just started using my own mixture of vitc serum. It’s not even up to 5 days, and i can clearly see visible changes. My skin is clearer, brighter, more youthful and supple. And i didn’t even add vit E to it. Just a mixture of distilled water and vitc powder. My skin is highly sensitive. But this is working for me. ??

Gio January 19, 2018 - 2:12 pm

Keyo, I’m not trying to sell products. I’m trying to inform people about what it really takes to make your own Vitamin C serum. Everything I’ve mentioned above is science, not my opinion. I’m glad your Vitamin C serum is working well for you. But you’ve mentioned you only use Vitamin C and water, which means you’d have to make the mixture almost daily. Wouldn’t you want to know that in advance? You’d be surprised for how many people that is a deal breaker.

Valeria March 24, 2018 - 5:23 am

So my questiom to the writer of the article is, if glycerin makes it water soluble than what makes it oil soluble to penetrate through the epidermis? And how to determine the ph level one is using?

Gio March 30, 2018 - 6:55 pm

Valeria, I’d use a form of Vitamin C that’s oil soluble and measure the ph with ph strips.

Suzanne March 21, 2019 - 3:38 pm

So then, you’re saying not to use l-ascorbic acid on skin? That has nothing to do with choice of solvents or formulation, though – ? And LAA for all its problems is the one form of vitamin C that does have a fair amount of research indicating it might do some good things when used topically, esp when it comes to collagen production.

Gio March 29, 2019 - 2:50 pm

Suzanne, no I’m not saying not to use LAA. I use it too. I was just pointing out that if you want vitamin C to penetrate real deep into the skin, you may be better off with an oil-soluble derivative.

Angela shaw May 1, 2018 - 3:25 pm

My vit c serum seems to oxidise on my face. It seem so to tune my foundation orange as the day goes on. Is this normal ? Anything I can do to stop it happening ?

Suzanne March 21, 2019 - 6:23 pm

Late reply, but: it’s common but it does point to degradation and could be problematic for skin. You can try doing what I do, apply at night/after dark, water-wash face gently in the morning and apply moisturier & a broadspectrum (European) sunscreen, and see if that helps. Be extra-extra about sunscreen. I haven’t experienced discoloration as of yet (and am extremely pale, so it should be visible on me – I’m hoping dearly this means it’s not degrading on my skin in these ways).

There’s a chance I’m just not getting much effect. But I figure there’s also a chance that a little bit LAA is penetrating below the very top layer (stratum corneum) where it’s more protected from oxygen, but still gives a little UV-protection.

I also make my LAA toner at around 5-10%, not higher, in part because I’ve been reading about these issues with vitamin C degrading (not just through oxidizing; it can actually turn into the self-tanner erythrulose o.O) on skin, and it’s pretty worrysome. So going for lower end of possibly-effective spectrum.

Gwen June 12, 2017 - 3:25 am

What do you think of Vitamin C products from Deciem (The Ordinary)? I just ordered their ascorbyl glucoside solution (12%), because it is so cheap I thought I’d try it. It has no vitamin E or Ferulic acid. I’m thinking of simply following it up with a drop of plain vitamin E oil. Any idea if that would increase its effectiveness?

I have used Paula’s Choice C15 booster (C, E, and Ferulic) and liked it, but just thought this might be fun to try too, especially to avoid the castor oil that is in the PC one, which I think might be a little too much for my acne-prone skin.

Thanks! Love your site!

Gio June 17, 2017 - 11:26 am

Gwen, yes, that would help. You don’t need to have vitamins C and E in the same product, but it helps to use them together. Paula has many antioxidant serums that have ferulic acid too, so you could use one of those after The Ordinary serum, too.

tina wilson June 14, 2017 - 5:21 pm

I make my own C serum, B3, serum and hyloronic acid and have been for 5 years. The correct PH sticks and measurements work just fine at getting the right ingredients. I mix mine every other day in a dark glass vial. I have no wrinkles, clear skin, no age spots and very birthing but compliments. If someone takes the time to learn the proper way. This is fantastic. I don’t do mine because of price. I do out because it doesn’t hurt my skin and keeps my skin flawless.

Gio June 17, 2017 - 12:22 pm

Tina, I’m glad you’ve found something that works well for you. I agree, you can do it if you take the time to learn the proper way. But I think most people are like me, we don’t want to have to mix it every day!

Marie July 9, 2017 - 7:52 pm

@Tina How did you make your B3 serum if you dont mind telling ?

Sharon Kenny July 11, 2017 - 8:52 pm

Hi Tina, I am interested in the way you make your Vit C serum, Vit B3, serum and Hyaluronic Acid, are you able to share?

kavita saroha October 20, 2017 - 7:45 am

Tina Wilson can you plz tell us how you made these serum

Ernestine December 31, 2017 - 4:24 am

Could you please share your serum recipe with me.

Jeannette January 9, 2018 - 10:44 pm

Hi Tina Wilson
I am also interested in hearing how you make your Vit C/B3 Serum with Hylorinic Acid.
I would greatly appreciate if you could email me. Thank you Tina!!

Priya April 8, 2018 - 9:17 pm

Hi Tina would you like to share the recipes for your serums? I’d be so so thankful

Barb Anderson June 8, 2018 - 4:57 pm

Hi Tina, Would love to try your recipe as well.

Jenny June 17, 2017 - 3:53 am

Hi! Thank you for your insight. I agree with you. In doing my own research in DIY VC serums I found many that just had a few ingredients. I finally stumbled across a recipe that seemed to come from a brilliant mind, so I gathered all the ingredients in a wish list on Amazon before seeing your article. I have to say I felt a little deflated but also thankful. I wonder if you would be willing to take a look at this article and recipe regarding their VC serum and recipe and let me know what your opinion is. You may have already come across it in your research but the article has been updated… I really feel this could be a good recipe if followed accurately.

I appreciate your opinion, here is the link, if you would be so kind:

Thank you!

Gio June 17, 2017 - 12:54 pm

Jenny, thanks for the link. This is one of the most complete DIY VC recipes I’ve found. I think that, if you follow every step correctly, it may stand a chance of working. But, as the author said, it takes quite a bit of time and money to do it the right way.

Ellen July 8, 2017 - 6:22 am

I think you’re selling a lot of women short. Baking is chemistry. So is lots of cooking. Anyone who can learn to bake well can mix up a serum properly, with the right ingredients, and following instructions. I’ve been doing mine every week, and it only takes a few minutes. I think I could improve it, though.

I’m 64, have very oily skin, very few wrinkles and large pores. I have a genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos, which causes a defect in a person’s collagen. There are several varieties, and they don’t know which genes are involved in which type, and which precise collagen, and how… . But I know I have the type that makes me very limber, and makes my skin tend to sag. My poor, beautiful mother had a turkey neck in her early 40s. I didn’t get mine until the last year or two. But I’m hoping help with collagen might help it firm up a bit. Of course, it might not help at all, due to the genetic problem.

My skin is not sensitive — although it is fair, freckled, and burns — probably because I’ve been using homemade salicylic acid toner and cleanser for a long time. That’s for the very, very oily skin.

I have the pH sticks and a gram scale, I know how to adjust the pH, and I would love to have Tina Wilson’s recipe, if she would like to share it. I’m not sure from her post if her serum is one serum with C and B3, or if there are two serums. And I did see a conversation somewhere about another form of vitamin C being much better for a serum than the L-ascorbic acid. Can’t remember what it was, but it wouldn’t be hard to find.

Would alcohol help? Alcohol does not bother my skin. So I can happily add that, or add witch hazel with alcohol. I’ve been trying to get a 50% C solution with water, and that’s been okay for my skin. I also use the C serum on my hands, where I would love to see some age spots go away…. I do have propylene glycol, if that would help. Glycerin is much too oily for my skin, and I never use it in anything.

And I suppose the best question would be what would increase the absorbability of the C into the skin? Would the ferulic acid help there? And how much ferulic acid should one use, percentage-wise? I know that it is important to get the carriers that will carry the products into the skin. Any help in that area would be great.

And for someone like me, buying it is out of the question. I was forced to retire early due to bad health, my husband is an unemployed painter, and we don’t really have the money we need to eat (and I have lots of food allergies). So expensive serums… Forget it. I make the salicylic acid toner to save money, and it isn’t that expensive. So I’ll keep plugging along and hope for the best.

Gio July 15, 2017 - 10:15 am

Ellen, I’ve never meant to sell women short. I just want them to be fully informed about what they’re getting themselves into. You can’t compare DIY skincare with cooking. Cooking isn’t an exact science. Even if you add more of an ingredient or less of another, chances are, it’ll still come out good. Not perfect, but good. But if you get the carrier wrong, or the wrong form of vitamin C or make any other mistake, your DIY serums won’t work as well.

Please, do not use alcohol. That is too drying and irritating to your skin. Yes, it would help with absorption, but it isn’t worth the risks.

These days, you can find cheap vitamin C serums. The Ordinary has four that cost around 10 bucks. Skin Active makes one that’s around $15.00. It’s not that expensive and you’re guaranteed results.

Claire July 14, 2018 - 4:52 am

You cant compare cooking with baking. Cooking is not the same thing as baking. Just like a good vitamin c serum, a good cake NEEDS a scale. And of course if you use the wrong type of flour your cake will not come out right! It does seem like you are selling women short, unfortunately. Do your own research, get all the equipment you need and then you can make a great DIY vitamin C serum.

Gio July 21, 2018 - 8:28 pm

Claire, I’m sorry you feel I am selling women short. I am not. I am fully aware that if you’re determined to learn, you will. I just think that too many DIYers happily spend hours making products, researching the ingredients, buying the equipment etc to forget what a big investment, both in terms of time and money, it is. Most people I know aren’t willing to go to such great lengths and they deserve to know it because they mix vitamin C with a bit of water.

Irene July 14, 2017 - 8:17 am

Hello. Thank you for your posting!
What about mixing a pure vitamin c powder into some lotion or essence that I use?
Do you think it will give the same results?
I am deciding on whether to buy a vitamin c powder for mixing or just one of the vc serums that you recommend.
Thanks again!

Gio July 15, 2017 - 11:20 am

Irene, like I said many times, you can’t just pour some vitamin C powder in your lotion and expect it to work. You need to ensure it will be delivered into your skin deep enough to work. You’re much better off buying a ready-made serum. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, The Ordinary makes some good ones at cheap prices.

Timilla July 25, 2017 - 9:08 am

Hi Gio, thanks for this arcticle, I’m just about to make my first vitC serum but became a tad disheartened. When I look at the INCI of a professional serum I can’t identify the carrier(s) that make the difference compared to a home-made serum. Could you name a few that help absorb vitC into the deeper layers of the skin?

Gio July 28, 2017 - 5:56 pm

Timilla, I didn’t mean to dishearten you. I just people should have all the facts before making their own DIY beauty products. If you want to make your own Vit C serum, I recommend you check out labmuffin for the recipe. But you will have to make a little investment initially for the right equipment.

Kat August 18, 2017 - 7:52 pm

There are lots of women making great DIY serums as we can’t all afford the expensive ones you are suggesting. IT is not hard to do with a little research and effort. Ph strips and a scale are essential. As for recipes Skin Care Talk and Essential Day Spa are full of them. Your article is alarmist and makes people lose hope, perhaps temper that a bit ?

Gio August 19, 2017 - 9:43 pm

Kat, thank you for your feedback. As you’ve probably guessed, the proliferation of poor DIY resources online is a huge pet peeve of mine. If only everyone got theirs from the two websites you’ve mentioned, maybe I wouldn’t have felt the need to write it. Maybe I got a bit too carried away but I feel very strongly than making your own vitamin C serum is harder than most people think. In any case, I am in the process of revamping a few old blog posts. Will make sure I update this one too and will take this feedback into consideration.

Camooooooo September 7, 2017 - 9:23 pm

Hahhhaha i make mine everyweek and you know the product is working if it dries your skin afterwards
Ive actually read the papers and found that vitamin c lab grade vitamin c wont or have no effect on skin .i how ever just made mine from plants and freeze it quickly to prevent spoilate freezing will kill 15 percent of the vitamin c while blanchig will kil 25 percent of .I never use citrus and lemons because they are phototoxic as of rightnow testing is positive i do how ever use oils after since oils dont affect ph level . I make small batches but enough that i can cover my entire body for 1 week ive manage to get rid of a little sag on my tigh and belly so im kinda happy

Gio September 8, 2017 - 9:16 pm

Camooo, well done for taking the time to do your research. If everyone did, there wouldn’t be so many fake recipes of vitamin C serums online.

Denetra February 7, 2018 - 2:39 am

Please list your reference.

Gio February 11, 2018 - 10:08 am

Denetra, I’ve listed several references throughout the article. 🙂

Bettie Stilletto September 13, 2017 - 9:34 am

You really underestimate people. That’s such basic, obvious information. I don’t know any DIY C recipe that involves dumping L-ascorbic acid in water.. “Well done for finding your information online..” Patronizing.
It’s not that difficult to find out the basics of Vitamin C and most know it’s volatile when it comes to light and air.
If you showed some examples perhaps it would be more convincing, but it looks like you’re battling a straw man.
Lots of us have brains, and degrees in chemistry, are critical thinkers, we just don’t assume other’s don’t.
And if someone does post a serum or cream that won’t work, someone else always adds a correction.

Gio September 17, 2017 - 9:31 am

Bettie, for the umpteenth time, this post isn’t aimed at the DIY community. I know you guys know your stuff, are doing your research and are calling out BS. This is for the average consumer who finds a random recipe on Pinterest telling them to pour some vitamin C powder into their moisturiser expecting miracles. It doesn’t work that way.

I know that for a DIY fanatic this is very difficult to imagine, but most people DON’T want to take the time to learn how to create DIY products, learn about the chemistry behind it or buy the necessary equipment. They just want the easy fix and that never works.

Oana April 9, 2018 - 12:06 pm

I was going to just dump some ascorbic acid into a bit of moisturiser 🙁 so I didn’t take this article as patronising. I simply just assumed that it would work and it would have been an experiment, nothing more. I certainly don’t have the time to make a fresh batch ever so often.
I’ll just stick to drinking my high dose vit c and work from the inside – out and just but a good, no-poo moisturiser.

Gio April 14, 2018 - 8:26 am

Oana, glad this article helped you. Making an effective vitamin c product is more complicated than pouring ascorbic acid into your moisturiser unfortunately. 🙁

Claire July 14, 2018 - 4:57 am

If you are tired of correcting the DIY community by telling them the post isn’t aimed at them, perhaps change the title to something less clickbait-y? Maybe something like “Making Vitamin C Serum Isn’t As Easy as You Think,” because your current title with the text does seem patronizing.

Gio July 21, 2018 - 8:23 pm

Claire, I don’t think the title is clickbait-y at all. It’s an article about 4 reasons why making your vitamin C serum isn’t a good idea for most people and the title reflects that. Even if I changed it, I doubt I would get less grief for it. People would still say that they were hoping I’d offer tips to help them make their own DIY vitamin C serums more easily.

At the end of the day, it’s not a matter of title, it’s a matter of beliefs. If I were looking for DIY recipes, I wouldn’t look at an article that tells me it’s not a good idea. If I did, it’s because I’d feel my personal beliefs were thrown into question and rejected. Some people simply can’t tolerate that others have a different opinion.

We don’t have to agree and you certainly don’t have to follow my recommendations but we should respect each other viewpoints and have a constructive conversation. It’s the fact we can’t have that that I find tiring.

Mariz September 16, 2017 - 4:36 am

I heard and read some articles that fresh aloe vera gel can delay the signs of aging and helps the skin to rejuvenate. Aloe vera contains active components with its properties like vitamin a, c & e. In my opinion only, it is better to try herbal like this than to experiment on your own, as emphasize that only certified chemist can formulate the right mixture of the serum that can apply to skin to avoid risk to damaging on it.

Gio September 17, 2017 - 8:29 am

Maria, aloe vera has some anti aging properties but most of the plant is made of water. Something like rosehip oil, a natural source of retinol, works best against the signs of aging. 🙂

John P September 19, 2017 - 9:46 pm

Nice article, pretty much covers most of the common DIY mistakes. I think it would be more complete if you wrote something about incompatibilities. I find this is a pretty common mistake, not only with ascorbic acid but with DIY in general. Just because it looks like everything dissolved and the product is uniform it doesn’t mean that every ingredient plays the role it should be playing. People into DIY should be careful about incompatibilities especially if they use ”fancy” expensive ingredients because there is a good chance they are wasting their money on ingredients that get ”cancelled out” by the whole formula. I have seen some ”Frankenstein formulas” with a ton of active ingredients that the mere length of the recipe made me cringe, let alone the incompatibilities.

Gio September 23, 2017 - 3:01 pm

John, thanks for your comments. I agree, so many ingredients don’t get along with one another, yet they’re grouped together in the same DIY recipe. I may write a future post about it.

VItamin C Serum Fan October 4, 2017 - 8:51 pm

I used to DIY, and even have a YouTube video about how to make your own Vitamin C E Ferulic Acid Serum. It takes planning and getting all the different ingredients together, plus I wasn’t too sure if it was the best way to go. I decided to start my own brand (Bombshell Bathtime) and get it manufactured for me with what I wanted in the serum. So now I have my own Vitamin C E Ferulic with Hyaluronic Acid serum with 17% L-Ascorbic Acid and pH 2.6-2.9. It’s very potent, so sensitive skin types may have to use a little at a time, but for my acne prone and oily skin, it’s been great for fading my acne scars and evening out my skin tone. I only launched it on Amazon around 3 months ago, but it’s got great reviews so far.

Gio October 6, 2017 - 9:07 pm

Vitamin C Serum Fan, thanks for sharing your story. I agree that making your own Vitamin C serum takes a lot of planning, you have to consider so many things. I think it’s great that when you found something that works, you decided to share it.

Hunter October 8, 2017 - 3:03 am

Hmmm….I mix my own vitamin C & E and the hyperpigmentation around my lower cheek is no more.

Gio October 14, 2017 - 10:21 am

Hunter, glad it works for you. 🙂

Barbara October 8, 2017 - 5:00 pm

Wow, such traffic on this topic. I agree with what you´re saying. I´ve actually wanted to make my own Vitamin C serum. But after two weeks of research I decided that it´s more complicated than I thought and may not be as affective. In fact, since we are kind of mixing certain CHEMICALS, it may also end up being harmful for my skin if I use too much of something. Also, I didn´t want just a Vitamin C serum. I wanted something with Vitamin E, which researching on it alone makes me realize there are more than one ways to obtain Vitamin E. In any case, my conclusion, even before reading this article, was to shop around for another option in the market. Thank you for posting your recommendations!

Gio October 14, 2017 - 10:23 am

Barbara, thanks for your support. This is exactly my point. Once you start researching the topic, you realise there are too many things to take into consideration. If you love the idea of making your own products, all that research and hard work will be a lot of fun for you. But most of us would rather someone else did all the work so we can just buy something that works and be done with it!

Glenn Dexter October 10, 2017 - 2:23 pm

Its easy to sell someone else’s product. I have to ask if you get a commission for steering people to the products you’ve promoted. Please be honest. IKt is possible to make your own serum. I’ve done it for years and now its routine to make a batch every 4 or 5 days. Why not give the DIY’s a lesson on the proper way to make it. How do we know the marketed products do what they say? How do we know they don’t have additives to stabilize the products that we’d prefer to avoid? Just playing Devil’s Advocate.

Gio October 14, 2017 - 11:02 am

Glenn, I’ve already mentioned that I use affiliate links and if you buy the products I suggest, yes, I get a small commission. We’re literally talking cents here. I barely made $5 from this post since it’s been up. I make no secret that I’m using affiliate links. I state it in my disclaimer. Bloggers need to make a living and promoting other people’s products is one of the easiest ways to do it. By easiest I mean easy to set up and implement, not easy to make money from. You need to promote technology products or holiday packages to be able to pay your rent from affiliate marketing. So no, I’m NOT steering people towards these products so that I can make a quick buck.

I don’t just pick random products to promote. I use the latest scientific studies to figure out what ingredients really work and what products use them as they should. That’s why I don’t promote many expensive department store brands like LaMer or Chanel. If I used their affiliate links, my commissions would be higher but these products don’t work and I’m not gonna scam people into buying them.

Why don’t I teach people how to make their own vitamin C serum instead? Because as I’ve stated numerous times, this is NOT a DIY blog and NEVER will be. I am a beauty science nerd who first got interested in the science of skincare because I wanted to be able to pick the best products from the shelves. Now I am using my experience to help others do the same.

I have dabbled into DYI skincare for a while. I’ve found a few recipes online and made a batch but I quickly realised that most of these recipes didn’t work. The ingredients often simply stayed on the surface of my skin instead of penetrating it and even when they worked, I found it too time consuming to have to collect everything I needed to make them and create a new batch every few days. I wrote this post for people like me who stumble onto a recipe online and think DIY products are fine and easy to make only to end up with something that doesn’t work and a lot of time wasted. Yes, they can learn how to make effective products if they put in the time and effort but I couldn’t be bothered and I know other women feel the same. DIY is a lot of work and not everyone is willing to do it.

If you want to learn to create your own DIY products, there are resources on the web that can help. This blog isn’t one of them.

kavita saroha October 20, 2017 - 7:40 am

I am 23 years old and from harayana India . I have oily and acne proven skin . I used medicine and products which is suggested by my dermatologist from last one year. But still I hv acne marks so which serum is best for me which help in removing my acne marks

Gio October 28, 2017 - 2:37 pm

Kavita, do you mean dark spots left behind by pimples? I’d try glycolic acid for that.

Ms V November 6, 2017 - 8:13 pm

In my opinion, I think the title and your explanation of why you can’t Do It yourself is what’s ticking people off. I think that if it was explained that the individual should do their research before trying the DIY serums because it is not as simple as you think.
Most people who are into DIY like myself understand the time, measuring and trial and error that occurs when your doing it yourself.
In your article you state
“WHAT IF I’M DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT? Sorry, but I doubt that’s possible.”
and that even the companies that make the serums get it wrong and they may not work.
It sounds like your saying you’ll never figure it out and what ever your making is wrong so buy these product that I just said may not work and you won’t find out for years.
In my OPINION, if the title said Reasons why research is needed for DIY serums it would have gotten a better reception. Telling a very large portion of society (DIYer) that they are doing it wrong ….. but not explaining how to do it right —– Oh because we can’t do it right, because even the chemist get it wrong sometimes… is not going to come off as helpful.
I do appreciate the information on PH, Acids and ratios. I do feel that this article is good for people that don’t know mixing these chemicals together is harder than it appears and DIY is not always easy… it’s actually hard work to do it yourself.
Thanks for the Info.

Gio November 26, 2017 - 12:30 pm

Mrs V, thanks for your feedback. I had no intention of upsetting the DIY community. In fact, I was so focused on explaining to non-DIYers how complicated DIY can be that I never realised how many DIYers would be reading this post!

I’ve been thinking for a while now that I should tweak this post a little. Keep the overall message of how complex it is to make your own Vit C serum, but in a less harsh way.

I’m glad you’ve found some of this information useful, though. I just have to give it a proper think how to reword it to emphasise that. I don’t want to be too hasty and make things worse!

Lisa November 23, 2017 - 7:54 pm

I’m trying to reconcile why you say it takes 10 years to see a difference for anti-aging properties of a c serum, and the experts who make these serums say it only takes 8 to 12 weeks?

Gio December 3, 2017 - 7:42 pm

Lisa, it depends on what properties of vitamin C you’re talking about. You should see a luminous glow within a few days and a reduction in dark spots within a few weeks.

But when it comes to its antioxidant properties, it can take years to see results. Antioxidants prevent wrinkles so you’ll know this really kept them away when 10 years down the line you have fewer wrinkles than a woman your age usually has.

Meredith November 24, 2017 - 6:49 pm

The comments on this make me laugh. DIYers don’t seem to realize not everyone wants to make their own products (I’ve tried and inevitably spend MORE money trying to make a cheaper product). And making a batch every 4 or 5 days? Who has time for that? I’ve also noticed a whiff of conspiracy theory in some of the comments, as in “how can we trust the companies to tell us the truth about their products.” Frankly, I have more trust in labs with quality control and a reputation on the line than internet gleaned chemistry skills. Granted, I don’t trust marketing, but marketing is different than ingredients, which is why your blog is so helpful in sifting through the evidence base.

Gio November 26, 2017 - 2:09 pm

`Meredith, thanks for your support. That’s exactly what I was trying to convey. It’s so easy these days to find random recipes online and think they’re the solution to all your problems. But a lot of these recipes don’t work and those that do require more time, money and commitment than a lot of us are willing to invest.

Rpg December 21, 2017 - 5:59 am

Gino, I would like to thank you for your article because frankly, in numerous articles I’ve read, and YouTube videos I’ve watched now about diy vitamin C serums, this is the only one I’ve even run across that addresses the ph issue. Only reason I was considering making my own is because the numerous, and rather expensive serums I’ve tried, not only seem ineffective, but discolor rapidly, like within a matter of weeks, and that’s aside from the ones that arrive discolored. The problem may lie in ordering from Amazon, because I picked up some ph strips, and my current vitamin c serum tested at 7! Thanks again!

Gio December 23, 2017 - 7:31 pm

RPG, my pleasure. Glad you found the article useful. I would be wary of buying skincare from Amazon. Some are sold directly by the brands and are legit but others are resellers that sell old stock so you may get a dud. These days, I prefer to use Vitamin C derivates. They may not be as effective as pure Vitamin C but at least they don’t discolour as quickly!

jeff thompson December 21, 2017 - 11:06 pm

if VITC is not stable in water then how can Orange Juice at the store keep the Vit C stable in those large clear containers?

Gio December 23, 2017 - 6:50 pm

Jeff, Vitamin C doesn’t go bad the second it’s exposed to water and light. They just speed up the oxidation process. As a rule, it’s best to buy juice in opaque containers and, even then, you’d want to drink it all within a week. The longer it’s been on the shelf and the longer it stays open in the fridge, the sooner the Vitamin C content decreases.

Eli December 25, 2017 - 10:30 am

Great post Gio. The patience you show some of these women is impressive. I would not put up with junk science anecdotal nonsense. Better you than me…

And for all the responses who claim they are DIY queens, let’s see some photos ladies. Because I’m a black don’t crack girl and some of y’all like to think you are getting results because that’s what you want to see. Maybe you need a more objective eye about your results because I see a lot of people who make their own products are the same people who don’t use sunscreen every day so y’all have no credibility from jump. And Vitamin C doesn’t get rid of cellulite. My gosh some of you people live in a fantasy world.

Gio December 31, 2017 - 9:00 am

Eli, thanks. Unfortunately, there’s so much misinformation online, it’s difficult to know what to believe these days. It’s especially tricky with things like skincare because there are a lot of things that could influence your results and make you think your DIY serum is more effective than it actually is. I hope this post helps people to at least see how complex making your own Vitamin C serum is.

I don’t care if you make your own Vitamin C serum but do wear sunscreen!! Thanks for the remainder.

Tricia December 31, 2017 - 10:20 pm

The whole point of a post like this is to be informative. The fact that your post evoked so much emotion & banter is great. It just made the thread that much more informative. Thanks for your incites & welcoming other opinions. I found this very helpful. Wishing you a prosperous 2018:)
Happy New Year ~

Gio January 19, 2018 - 4:22 pm

Tricia, thank you! Glad you found it informative.

Tricia December 31, 2017 - 10:31 pm

I just wanted to add another amazing serum. Is Clinical makes a couple different vitamin c serums that are highly effective & gentle. All of their products are amazing. They are pricey, but you definitely get what you pay for. Always make sure to purchase products directly from the manufacturer or an authorized reseller. Authorized resellers are always listed on manufacturer websites. There are so many replicas out there that are sometimes very convincing. Unregulated products are often contaminated & contain toxic additives. These can disfigure you or even kill you (dramatic, but true). It is not worth the risk to save a few bucks. Whether you spend a lot or a little just do your research. Safety is #1. Best to all reading this:)

Gio January 19, 2018 - 4:21 pm

Tricia, thanks for the recommendation and the warning. Couldn’t agree with you more. 🙂

Meg January 31, 2018 - 4:31 am

You’ve just inspired this pharmacy student to start utilizing her formulations/pharmaceutics/extemporaneous compounding knowledge 😉
(The comments on this post are amusing, it appears as though many people have taken offence to the fact that it isn’t just pH and the presence of water that determines the stability, compatibility, and delivery of a product)

Gio February 2, 2018 - 4:26 pm

Meg, glad I’ve inspired you. 😉

Carol February 24, 2018 - 1:23 pm

I use a combination of 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder from Resurrection and 4 teaspoons of jojoba oil and make a mask that I make and use once a week. I use this to exfoliate my skin and I scrub it with a facial brush. Then, I wash my face with the Mad Hippie Vitamin C facial wash and apply the Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum. Finally, I use my daily moisturizer. Please share your opinion about this.

Gio March 2, 2018 - 5:52 pm

Carol, I think this may be a bit too much vitamin C for your skin. How’s it working for you? If the Mad Hippie serum works well for you, I’d just stick to that,

Jessica March 6, 2018 - 2:26 pm

I just ordered a 20 g jar of 100% L-Ascorbic Acid powder. Do you have any thoughts on this product? The label instructs the user to “[m]ix a small amount with other treatments in the palm of your hand and apply to face in the AM or the PM.” Presumably, the daily mixing would ameliorate some concerns about instability/breakdown. But it also introduces new variables: potentially too high concentration, too low concentration, or a mixing method that would render the product innefective. The Ordinary includes this disclaimer: “Do not mix with Niacinamide or EUK 134.” Other than that, do you have any thoughts on how to use this product in a way that is safe and that maximimzes absortion? Or do you think that is even possible at all?

Jessica March 6, 2018 - 2:27 pm

Just to clarify, I’m talking about the L-Ascorbic Acid Powder form the Ordinary.

Gio March 16, 2018 - 4:30 pm

Jessica, I don’t think it’s impossible but, as you pointed out, there are a few things to keep in mind. L-Ascorbic Acid doesn’t penetrate skin on its own so you need a good delivery system. You would also need to experiment to find out how much you need. They say “small amount” but if you use a little too much, L-Ascorbic Acid could easily irritate your skin.

Ann March 9, 2018 - 7:48 am

Oh how I love your website!! One quick question. How much vitamin c can our skin absorb by simple rubbing a lime on our face and leaving it there for 5 minutes? I do this occasionally. Does it work? Thank u!!

Gio March 16, 2018 - 6:53 pm

Ann, very little. I’m afraid this is the least effective way to get your dose of vitamin C. Plus, the fragrant components of limes can irritate your skin. I would stop, if I were you!

Baljinder March 10, 2018 - 2:13 pm

I read lots comments but still in fix ..Plz someone tell me wt is right way to make vitamin C serum. I really need it

Gio March 16, 2018 - 7:55 pm

Baljinder, check out labmuffin.com. Michelle has a recipe that can help you.

Beth March 11, 2018 - 3:24 pm

I had wanted to make my own VitC based on a You Tuber’s suggestion. I really appreciate your article and I also love this article that your reader recommended http://www.holysnails.com/2015/07/adventures-in-diy-vitamin-c-e-ferulic.html. I personally wouldn’t have the patience to do all this, but can see where DIY can be an option. I am just now running out of Timeless Vit C+E+Ferulic Acid and will either repurchase or try a different one, maybe Mad Hippie… The Ordinary’s has very mixed reviews. Thank you for providing the facts – it’s not as easy as it might appear to make a truly effective Vit C serum! New to your site…

Gio March 16, 2018 - 8:25 pm

Beth, glad this article helped you. That’s exactly why I wrote it. If after knowing all this, you still want to go ahead and make your own vitamin C serum, go ahead. But I would hate for my readers to buy the ingredients etc and discover halfway through it that it’s not as easy as it sounds or that it doesn’t work because they used a dodgy recipe.

Elizabeth March 16, 2018 - 3:41 pm

what do you think of the recipe here (https://labmuffin.com/easy-5-minute-diy-vitamin-c-serum-recipe/) ? I don’t mind remaking a very small amount every week

Gio March 18, 2018 - 9:27 am

Elizabeth, Michelle from Labmuffin is one of the very few people I trust to give you a good DIY Vitamin C serum recipe. If you don’t mind remaking it so often and follow the recipe to a T, go ahead. 🙂

Erin April 10, 2018 - 10:54 am

I’ve been wanting to try Michelle’s DIY recipe out for a while now. I don’t know if I have the time, really, but I have the science skills to be able to do it no problem. Most vitamin C serums I’ve tried out have been a disaster & I’ve wasted too much money on the things. I’m starting to think my skin doesn’t want anything to do with the most effective, high impact formulas – it wants the simplest, or it’s going to freak out.

Gio April 14, 2018 - 8:31 am

Erin, sorry to hear you’ve had so many problems with vitamin C serums! They’re tricky to make, aren’t they? Have you considered a derivative? Maybe the pure form of vitamin c may be too harsh for your skin. In any case, if you want to give it another go, do use Michelle’s recipe. It’s very detailed and walks you through all the potential pitfalls and how to get around them.

Roz April 8, 2018 - 5:40 am

just one question, does this vitamin C serum, made or bought also help reverse lines on your face?

Gio April 14, 2018 - 8:13 am

Roz, vitamin C has more of a preventative action on lines. If you want to reverse, your best bet is a retinoid.

Gio April 19, 2018 - 2:57 pm Reply
Amélie April 8, 2018 - 2:37 pm

This article was very interesting and well written. I think you are absolutely right, a lot of people thinks it’s easy to play with chemistry, but it’s not. There is a lot of things to consider and I doubt everybody understand everything behind cosmetic sciences. I don’t think people carry a pH-meter around or titration apparatus. How can someone guarantee safety, synergy with the skin, reliability or repeatability? Thank god it’s only vitamin C. Anyway, thank you! (I’m sorry if I made spelling mistake, I’m french).

Gio April 14, 2018 - 8:18 am

Amélie, thanks for your comment. I believe some people do go the extra mile and try to learn skincare chemistry but so many think it’s just a matter of mixing two ingredients together because that’s what their grandmas did. 🙁

Your English is great. 😉

Roz April 14, 2018 - 4:56 pm

Thank you your answer. Any thoughts on a good reliable retinoid?

Gio May 4, 2018 - 7:57 pm

Roz, are you wearing sunscreen? Vitamin C oxidises in the presence of light.

Vee April 23, 2018 - 11:30 am

Very informative. Well explained.

I wanna know what is called an oil soluble form of vitamin C? (As you told someone in her comment’s reply) Or what to use to make vit C serum penetrate into a deeper level of skin, what natural ingredients can make it oil soluble?

Second question is….how about direct using vitamin C from lemon juice on skin or using it after mixing in home made mask with purely natural ingredients like honey, rice powder, gram flour , milk or yogurt etc.
Does it also need something to make it oil soluble and penetrate into the deeper skin?

I’m suffering from dermal melasma since last 12 years, and I need to use vitamin C all over my body…..and obviously buying vitamin C serum is too expensive for me as it’s a part of my treatment and I’ll need to use it for …I don’t know how long…to heal my skin. I wanted to make DIY Vit C serum, but after reading this now I have changed my mind or I am confused. I don’t even have chemistry background so I am too careful about using chemicals now.

May I know…. if vitamin C powder with water and glycerine makes it water soluble, then what NATURaL ingredient will make it oil soluble? I believe nature has everything that we need and what we have made chemicals for . We just need to find its natural form. Kindly help.

Gio June 8, 2018 - 3:33 pm

Hi, I definitely wouldn’t recommend getting it from lemon or citrus fruits. 1) who knows how much Vitamin C is in there? Depending on how it was grown, the vitamin C level will vary. 2) it wouldn’t penetrate skin anyway. You simply can’t put natural stuff on your skin and expect all its goodies to penetrate the skin’s barrier. 3) citrus fruits like lemons are irritating and can do more harm than good for your skin.

Your best bet would be to use an oil-soluble form of vitamin C, like ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate.

Melissa May 7, 2018 - 1:12 am

I’m glad I stumbled upon this article. I’ve been making and using a DIY LAA Vitamin C serum in water for two years now. I never felt like it did much for me, but I figured maybe it was doing something and I just didn’t notice. The other day I was tired so I just washed my face and went ot bed without applying anything. I woke up and there were less fine lines on my skin and my skin looked a little more glowy. Weird. I”m wondering if the Vitamin C had been dehydrating my skin.

I’ve also noticed some yellowish discoloration above my cheekbones and almost to my undereye area along with some crosshatching texture. I wonder if my DIY Vitamin C caused that. In any case, I’m going to take a break from it because it probably wasn’t doing much of anything at all based on your article and I might slowly try incorporating one of the ones you mentioned.

Thanks again for bringing science to skincare–this was an illuminating read!

Gio May 18, 2018 - 3:31 pm

Melissa, I’m glad you enjoyed the article, even if it didn’t give you the answer you were hoping for. I don’t think your vitamin C serum caused the problem. But you’re right it probably wasn’t doing much of anything or you’d have seen a difference, especially in the brightening or your skin. 🙁 Playing beauty chemist is sadly more difficult than it seems.

Shellowell June 1, 2018 - 1:13 am

Well the theory is so misleading.
I have been making my own skincare products for undereye, depigmentation and vit c serum too. I have been benefited all these months hence i cringed when I read the kind of discouraging words have been put across in this blog.
We should put across theories based only on facts and real life experiences.
And talking about the pains I take to make them every week?
Well DIYs are anytime better and cheaper than spending on exorbitant products after every couple of months. And believe me some of them works far better than pricey ones! DIY Vit C serum is one of those.. cheers!! ?

Gio June 2, 2018 - 2:58 pm

Shellowell, I’m glad DIY skincare works for you but it’s not for everyone. You may have the patience to make a new batch every day but most people don’t want to learn the chemistry of skincare and spend time making products so often. This post is for them. I’m just saying that there’s a lot more to making an effective vitamin C serum than meets the eyes and if you’re not prepared to do it the proper way, better not do it at all.

Marie June 18, 2018 - 1:30 am

You just saved me some money and aggravation, because I was about to buy some L-ascorbic powder from The Ordinary and throw into my squalane or something, which is what The Ordinary suggests you do. Now I think I’ll look into one of their premade serums or the Timeless one.

Other than the powder, The Ordinary only sells a weird suspension and some Vitamin C derivatives that are not the same as L-ascorbic acid powder. Do you have an opinion on any of those formulations? They are:

Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%
Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%
Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%
Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution

I’m also always a little concerned about Timeless because I believe their products are shipped from China and I worry about the stability of the Vitamin C, but I really don’t know what I’m talking about in this area and other people seem happy with the results.

Thank you again for this post and for all your good information and assistance!

Gio June 22, 2018 - 11:18 am

Hi Marie, I think you will find this guide to The Ordinary skincare products interesting. It has my opinion on most of the products you mentioned https://www.beautifulwithbrains.com/guide-ordinary-vitamin-c-products/

Only 2 are not in the guide yet: Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%. This is a good product if you have hyperpigmentation to fade away. Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution is a derivative so it’s not as powerful as L-Ascorbic Acid.

Timeless is a wonderful alternative but if you’re concerned about that (Vitamin C can go bad quickly so there’s the chance you may get an old bottle! Rare but I’ve seen it happen), try Paula’s Choice C15 Booster or Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum.

anna July 24, 2018 - 2:50 am

well, ascorbic acid, some glycerol, baking soda and a few pH strips cost together about 4 dollars…. which is much less than the cheapest of your examples! talking about patience, i personally don’t know anyone impatient enough not to be able to spend 5 minutes every week mixing together 4 ingredients and sticking a piece of paper in it 😀
idk, to me it seems like you hold a pretty strong opinion that doesn’t agree with the rest of the article, for example that DIY serums aren’t as effective because they’re water based, yet you recommend a purely water-based serum in the end…
but i agree with that a lot of recipes found online /”add a tiny dash of baking soda!!”/ or even from manufacturers /…that one who recommends just mixing pure LAA powder with any cream you own/ don’t care about the pH, and leaving something that has a pH of about 2 on your face for a long time can make your skin dry, irritated and can worsen the apperance of any wrinkle there is. still, this is hardly a reason to completely disregard something that’s so easy to make and probably the only diy cosmetic product where you can see it very clearly when it goes bad!

Gio July 28, 2018 - 6:11 pm

Anna, you know one now. I honestly don’t have the patience to spend even 5 minutes on making skincare products. I dabbled in DIY skincare in the past out of curiosity but I could never stick to it. By the time I got all the ingredients, found a good recipe, amassed the equipment etc… It was fun when I was 18 but now that I’m much busier I just prefer to order something online and I have many friends who feel the same.

The point of the article is to point out any potential problems about making your own DIY. Yes, if you’re willing to learn the basics of cosmetic chemistry, you can overcome them and create a good water-based serums. But I prefer to have cosmetic chemists do that for me. 🙂

Elle August 10, 2018 - 7:07 pm

The tone of this is totally obnoxious, and your defensive reactions to each person are off-putting. It would be helpful to accept criticism rather than responding things like, “for the umpteenth time, [I’m not criticizing you; I’m criticizing bad information online].” You should do that, then – address the bad information online, rather than saying, “you could not possibly formulate this right.” The responses of quite a few people demonstrate that, indeed, many folks CAN do just that.

Gio August 16, 2018 - 1:07 pm

Elle, if you read my blog, you’d know this is my style of writing. I tell it like it is and I think that most people really CAN’T. Not because they’re not capable of but because, when they truly learn what it takes, they don’t want to.

LaLa Swann September 6, 2018 - 12:16 am

Skinceuticals was my favorite until I discovered Timeless for much less. Glad you agree!!

Gio September 7, 2018 - 2:40 pm

Lala, it works just as well and it’s so affordable.

Maya September 8, 2018 - 12:50 pm

ahm.. NO!! really blatantly misguiding article in the tone of “don’t make your own for cheap… buy a product and put money in someone’s pocket instead” I’ve been making my own for 2 years and it’s amazing aand effective (better than bought one that went bed after 3 weeks, money wasted) and so much more affordable, crazy cheap! How many and what ingredients you put in depends on how stable it will be, all people need to do is read up what main products are and figure out which work for them best. it can be simple or complex mix. I don’t like many fillers because they don’t suit my skin so I make a simple batch of filtered water and L-ascorbic acid powder every sunday and it’s always perfect and fresh. ferulic acid and glycerol clog my pores, vitamin e breaks me out.. so they are just fillers I don’t need… they act as preservatives and prolong seru but I make fresh all the time so it’s not necessery. L-ascorbic acid is the only ingredient that actually does main work! everyone can make it fresh at home it’s not rocket science and it’s cheapest serum to make and it takes 10min to dissolve it completely, measure ph, add baking soda when needed for correct ph and that’s it! the only reason it’s so expensive when you buy it is because it’s hard to make it stable for production, storage, shipping and than at least 3 months use because vit c is unstable. so they have to put in all this other extra shit in it. so please don’t deceive people! if you want to sell a serum at least be honest about it, people are educated and informed today…

Gio September 15, 2018 - 9:20 am

Maya, your comment exactly proves my point. “all people need to do is read up what main products are and figure out which work for them best.” How? This can be a long process of trial and error, following a recipe with filler ingredients only to realise they break you out, buying pH strips and measuring it, educating yourself on what needs and needs not be in the serum when there are 10 conflicting sources online. It’s obvious that you’ve done your research and know what you’re talking about, but that doesn’t mean everyone is like you. A lot of people turn to DIY so they won’t have to try to figure out which one of the 100 vit C serum on the shelves really works and save some bucks. And then they discover they have to educate themselves on ingredients and the basic chemistry of DIY cosmetics, and buy the equipment, ingredients etc…

If you’re into DIY, you’ll love doing that stuff. If you just want something cheap and convenient that works, the mere thought of spending all that time and effort is gonna put you off. For those women, buying a serum in a store is the best option.

Maya September 21, 2018 - 5:44 pm

it’s not long or complicated… you put in glycerin or vit E, it breaks you out, you don’t put it in again. the end. and if in doubt just use the most minimalistic recipe – vitC + pure water, with no fillers to break you out, and that’s that. buying ph strips is as easy as buying some milk. you are really over-complicating things in my opinion. I don’t understand how you can claim buying overpriced unstable serum is more convenient than mixing two simple ingredients together for cheep price. the reason it makes me mad is because you are deterring people from doing something really simple and instead convincing them buying something expensive and unstable is better option, and no offence but I have a feeling you are selling it too, or at least advertising for someone. if I am wrong about that part I apologize…

Gio September 27, 2018 - 2:03 pm

Maya, as I’ve already mentioned, I use affiliate links in this post, from which I made literally pennies. No one has paid me to sponsored this and I’m not selling my own vitamin C products or have an ecommerce skincare shop.

Simply, what’s simple for one person can be complicated for another. Personally, when I do my skincare in the morning, I just want to reach for a product to put on my skin, not spend even a minute making my own mix. If you use the simplest recipe, you’ll have to make the serum every single day or so. And that’s if you’re ok with just the basic recipe. It’s a known fact that vitamin C works better with vitamin E and ferulic acid. And maybe you want to add preservatives to make it last longer. Any of these things can alter the ph, give you an irritation or something.

All I’m saying is, know yourself. Are you willing to spend time at the beginning to experiment and learn how to do it right, and then keep up making the recipe regularly? If so, go ahead. But if, when you read that you’re like, “Naaaa, too much hassle,” buy it in stores. These days vitamin C serums are as low as $10 and can save you a lot of time every week making a new batch.

Sophia September 12, 2018 - 12:53 pm

What are your thoughts on using the liquid from raw whole milk to get rid of hyperpigmentation ? Since there is supposed to be lactic acid and all . But I don’t see results after using it for more than a month now. Waste of time and effort ?

Gio September 13, 2018 - 4:45 pm

Sophia, I’m afraid it is a waste of time and effort. Lactic acid has only a very mild effect on hyperpigmentation and I doubt there’s enough in raw milk to do the job.

Sophia September 14, 2018 - 12:16 am

Can you tell me what you would recommend then please?

Gio September 15, 2018 - 10:01 am

Sophia, check out this post for alternatives that work: https://www.beautifulwithbrains.com/battle-skin-lighteners-alternative-hydroquinone/

Hydroquinone and arbutin are particularly effective.

Katrina November 11, 2018 - 3:17 pm

Hi! You talked about vitamin C, but what about vitamin A and B? Would those be any easier to diy? As you can guess, I’m part of that “too lazy to do my research” crowd AND a diy amateur so…I would really appreciate it if you can just hand these answers to meXD

Gio November 23, 2018 - 10:07 am

Katrina, the thing with antioxidants is that they’re all very unstable molecules. Vitamin C more than the most but vitamin A can be finicky as well. Vitamin E is easier to formulate with but I wouldn’t use it alone. You need other antioxidants to reap the full benefits.

Daniel November 24, 2018 - 4:23 pm

Nothing is impossible

Gio December 9, 2018 - 9:06 am

Daniel, I agree. 😉

Lisa Spady January 2, 2019 - 3:02 pm

Thank you for your blog. I was about to try making my own serum but like you I don’t really have the patience to gather equipment and pay for ingredients I may never master using. I really appreciate your blog and found your tone factually not disparaging. I am very appreciative of a scientific approach. Everyone’s skin and health is so different it is nice to just have facts to balance out so much other information that is much more casually supported. I am encouraged to know there might be an effective DIY recipe I can try if I get motivated but I was really encouraged to hear some cheaper option suggested and have an overview of the products. THANK YOU!

Gio January 12, 2019 - 11:32 am

Lisa, thank you for your support. I’m glad you found this post useful. I think there is a place in skincare both for DIY and store-bought products. People make DIY sound easy but if you want an effective product, there are so many things to think about. Likewise, buying products from stores is convenient but not all brands bother to make a good vitamin C serum. Every approach has its pros and cons and it’s all about having all the facts so that you can make the best decision for yourself.

Emma January 23, 2019 - 3:06 am

I think you are correct, however it also seems that there is a risk of getting products that have been sitting in warehouses and shelves, so with a cheap diy recipe that you do every week it seems it would work out better for some of us with time but no budget.
What do you think about using Pure Synergy Pure Radiance C 100% Natural Vitamin C instead of ascorbic acid in labmuffin recipe?


Gio January 24, 2019 - 9:03 pm

Emma, I think it’s important to know the pros and cons of each choice, so you can make the one that’s right for you.

I don’t like getting vitamin C from natural extracts because you can never be sure if they contain enough vitamin C. It depends on how they were cultivated, climate, soil etc. When it’s made up in a lab you know exactly what dose you’re getting.

Emma January 27, 2019 - 12:38 pm

Thank you Gio! Makes sense! It’s just that these days you don’t know who to trust…

Gio February 8, 2019 - 4:15 pm

Emma, I hear ya! So much marketing nonsense around. That’s why I like to look at skincare from a scientific approach. Puts all those claims into perspective. 🙂

Favour March 6, 2019 - 2:54 pm

Pls how can one know about the ph..

Gio March 8, 2019 - 5:01 pm

Favour, you mean the pH of homemade vitamin C serum? pH strips are your best bet.

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