Looking for Stable Vitamin C? Try One of These Innovative Delivery Systems

Looking for Stable Vitamin C? Try One of These Innovative Delivery Systems featured image

When looking for a stable vitamin C skin-care product, you should not only consider the formula, but also the packaging. Though brands are constantly innovating and finding new ways to maximize the brightening ingredient’s efficacy, instability is often still an issue. When vitamin C oxidizes, it is no longer beneficial to the skin. These skin-care products go beyond the standard bottle to deliver vitamin C in a different way. The result? Enhanced freshness and stability, and brighter, better-looking skin.

Why Vitamin C Is Notorious for Instability in Skin Care

“L-ascorbic acid is pretty unstable and breaks down into inactive dehydroascorbic acid when it’s ionized,” explains cosmetic chemist Michelle Wong, founder of Lab Muffin Beauty Science. “This happens faster in water, at a high pH—more alkaline—and when it’s exposed to light and oxygen. The decomposition reaction is also called oxidation because oxygen is usually involved. This means your product gets less effective over time, and how quickly this happens depends on the formula. When L-ascorbic acid breaks down, it turns yellow, then orange, and then brown. So, you can usually get a visual idea of how active your vitamin C is.”

To combat this issue, some beauty brands are thinking outside the box, creating new ways for us to optimize the benefits of vitamin C in our daily routines. Some of these innovative products allow the user to become the cosmetic chemist from the comfort of their own bathroom. And, several of them are first-of-their-kind innovations. Read on to see which stable vitamin C products we’ve tested and recommend.

Vitamin C Products That Prioritize Stability

1 / 10

Exponent Beauty Brightening Boost Vitamin C Pro System ($188)

This unique, patented system delivers precision-dose vitamin C and hyaluronic acid serums at their peak potency. This intro set comes with 45 doses of Active Powder (vitamin C) and 90 doses of the brand’s Hyaluronic Acid Hydrator, and and the formula is safe for sensitive skin. Push and twist to lock the Active Powder jar in place and dispense the powder and Hydrator, and then mix them with your finger to create a fresh serum.

Vitamin C: 10-percent L-ascorbic acid

Benefits: Brightening and hydrating while combating fine lines and wrinkles

Other Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid

BUY NOW – $188

2 / 10

AlumierMD EverActive C&E + Peptide ($195)

This product comes with three serums, and each one provides a one-month supply. You activate your formula the night before you want to start using it, so be sure to plan ahead. Vitamin C crystals are actually stored in the cap, and using an innovative press cap technology, they are mixed into the serum when you press down on the cap firmly with your hand. Then you shake it up, swap the cap for the dropper, and wait until morning. This reduces oxidation and ensures the vitamin C is pure, efficacious and fresh.

Vitamin C: 15-percent L-ascorbic acid (USP grade)

Benefits: Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and strengthens and brightens skin

Other Key Ingredients: Vitamin E and MATRIXYL Synthe’6 peptide

BUY NOW – $195

3 / 10

OPULUS Beauty Labs Activator and Vitamin C Concentrate ($274)

A former NewBeauty Award winner, this is like having your own personal beauty lab in your bathroom. To create the serum, mix two Opoules (the little squares that look like white chocolate) and half a teaspoon of water in the Activator. It uses a thermal blending process to mix and heat the serum simultaneously, as heat boosts the absorption of the formula into the skin.

Vitamin C: 20-percent L-ascorbic acid

Benefits: Brightening, hydrating and firming

Other Key Ingredients: Ferulic acid, acetyl zingerone and naringin

BUY NOW – $274

4 / 10

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum ($79)

The brand redesigned its beloved C-Firma a few years ago to maximize its potency and freshness. Now, you mix the liquid serum (small bottle) into the powder base (large bottle) and then shake it up to dissolve all the powder before using it.

Vitamin C: 15-percent L-ascorbic acid

Benefits: Brightening, enzymatic exfoliation, hydrating, and firming

Other Key Ingredients: Ferulic acid and vitamin E

BUY NOW – $79

5 / 10

Elizabeth Arden Vitamin C Ceramide Capsules ($54 for 30 capsules)

Each biodegradable, single-dose capsule contains a lightweight, dry oil serum with vitamin C and ceramides. Not only are the capsules travel-friendly (portion out just what you need for your trip), but they also keep the formula protected from light and air for optimal freshness.

Vitamin C: THD ascorbate

Benefits: Brightening, reduced discoloration, and moisturizing

Other Key Ingredients: Ceramides and clary sage

BUY NOW – $54

6 / 10

RéVive Clarté Vitamin C Brightening Serum ($325)

This cult-classic serum features two chambers to help isolate the vitamin C from the hydrating and skin-soothing serum. When you squeeze it, both chambers release their serums simultaneously, which you then combine in your hand and apply to your skin.

Vitamin C: 15-percent L-ascorbic acid

Benefits: Reduced discoloration (age spots and overall blotchiness) and improved fine lines and wrinkles

Other Key Ingredients: Bio-Renewal proteins, thermal water, sodium hyaluronate 4D, allantoin, and green tea

BUY NOW – $325

7 / 10

Noble Panacea The Exceptional Vitamin C Booster ($160)

This is a four-week antioxidant treatment (it comes with 30 doses) that mixes with your serum. You can also apply it alone because although the vitamin C is highly concentrated at 20 percent, it’s encapsulated within the brand’s patented OSMV (Organic Super Molecular Vessel) for optimal potency, but also micro-dosed, all-day delivery into the skin. It’s so potent, that the brand recommends using it for one month and then giving your skin a one-month break before using it again.

Vitamin C: 20-percent pure L-ascorbic acid

Benefits: Reduced hyperpigmentation and lines and wrinkles, and improved elasticity

Other Key Ingredients: Camu camu, acerola and kakadu plum

BUY NOW – $160

8 / 10

BABOR Power Serum Vitamin C Ampoules ($60)

Get brighter skin in one week with this seven-day supply of ampoules. Shake each ampoule before using to mix the active ingredients. Then you can either use the ampoule opener that’s included with the product to open each ampoule, or wrap a tissue around the neck of the ampoule and snap the top off at the lowered colored ring. Pour the serum into your hand and then apply to your skin. It is most likely too much for just your face, so use the rest on your neck, décolleté and the backs of your hands.

Vitamin C: 20-percent 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid

Benefits: Evens skin tone, boosts collagen production, brightens and hydrates

Other Key Ingredients: Linoleic acid and hyaluronic acid

BUY NOW – $60

9 / 10

Lancôme Rénergie H.C.F. Triple Serum ($145)

This high-tech delivery system incorporates three serums into a triple-chamber bottle (it was the first of its kind) and dispenses all three together with a push of the pump. Then you mix them together in your hand and apply to your skin. This keeps the formula protected from light, air and impurities. It also helps to maintain greater potency and stability than if the ingredients were formulated together within the same chamber.

Vitamin C: 3-0-ethyl-ascorbic acid

Benefits: Reduces dark spots and the appearance of lines and wrinkles, hydrates, and brightens

Other Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and ferulic acid

BUY NOW – $145

10 / 10

The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder ($7)

This is a pure vitamin C in powder form that’s meant to be mixed with other serums, creams or moisturizers in your nighttime routine. We recommend hyaluronic acid and ceramide products. It cannot be mixed with peptides, niacinamide, retinol/retinoids, other direct vitamin C, or alphahydroxy acids. The brand says to expect a “very strong tingling but nonirritating sensation during the first one to two weeks of use” until your skin adjusts. Therefore, you may want to avoid if you have sensitive skin, and always do a patch test first.

Vitamin C: L-ascorbic acid

Benefits: Brightening and evening skin tone

Other Key Ingredients: N/A

BUY NOW – $7

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