8 types of Vitamin C compared – which one is right for your skin?


Vitamin C is an incredibly powerful skincare ingredient, yet there are so many different forms. Ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate…what’s the difference, and which one should you choose?

Author: Jenny Wu
Jenny Wu

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  1. Lisa says:

    I am so thankful I came across this site. It was so thorough and informative. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!

    Have you tried Tatcha’s 20% vitamin c? Wasn’t sure what your thoughts were on that. Thank you.

    • Jenny says:

      Thank you for the kind words Lisa! I haven’t tried the Tatcha vitamin c yet but it does use 2 types of derivatives instead of the standard ascorbic acid. Personally I’m more concerned about the 10% AHAs. Without knowing anything else about the formula that sounds a little strong for everyday use and makes this vitamin c more suitable for applying at night.

      I’m definitely curious as it’s quite different from your typical vitamin c formula, will add it to my list of products to try!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for your candor. Really the only thing I can say I’ve liked about it so far is that its sucked right into my skin and leaves the matte finish. Otherwise in the week I’ve been using it, it’s a bit drying. Otherwise I don’t really have any feelings toward it so I’m thinking it’s a no for me.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Would love to hear your thoughts on the Youth to the People Vitamin C you note you had just started at the writing of this. I have just started it and I love that it disappears instantly into my skin and is matte but not sure if it’s worth the $62 price tag.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Jennifer, for me I didn’t notice any brightening effects or really anything particular as a result. However antioxidants help protect our skin so their purpose is more preventive than reactive, which is why I don’t want to write this serum off as completely useless. Would I pay the full price for this, no, because there are definitely better options out there for my skin type. Hope this helps!

  4. Janine says:

    My favorite Vitamin C is ascorbic acid although it’s also not the most stable form. However, the SkinCeuticals formula C E Ferulic is my absolute holy grail of all time. Ever. Can’t live without it. Not to sound dramatic but the world would come to an end if I couldn’t have it. LOL. The smell is something one needs to get used to but it truly is an outstanding C serum.

    Excellent article and research! Thank you so much!

  5. Amber says:

    I never was really interested in vitamin c, but learning what it actually do for the skin and because I am getting up in the age, I have considered it. However, while choosing which product is best to use, I am concern about the cost. I almost wish there was one that could be used that doesn’t have to break the bank. This article did help, though. If I do decide to splurge, at least I have some idea on what products to look into.

  6. Rosy Ferry says:

    I honestly had no idea that there were so many varieties of vitamin c! This is so informative thank you, hopefully my skin will be in excellent condition soon :)

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog

  7. Mica says:

    This post was so helpful, thank you for sharing! I had no idea that there were so many different types of vitamin C. I got a serum, instead of my normal one they suggested I try one with the added vitamin C and it was TERRIBLE for my skin! I just assumed I’d have to avoid that ingredient, great to know that’s not the case! :)

    Hope you have had a great weekend! We had a quiet one to recover from being unwell last week. Hoping for a quiet week this week too!

    Away From The Blue Blog

  8. Alyssa says:

    This is a very thorough post and I need to bookmark this for reference! :) I love using vitamin c to lessen my dark spots but I haven’t found one yet that doesn’t feel oily or heavy. Does such vit c sreum really exist? :) I just got a Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution as a PR gift, I haven’t started using it yet and base on your short review here, I’m not expecting much now.

    xx Alyssa | STYLE VANITY

  9. Kay (shoesandglitter) says:

    Oh wow hun, this post is incredibly informative!! You’ve done an amazing job and explained everything so well and clearly! :) I am not expert on this stuff at all so it was great to broaden my knowledge a little, so thank you. :) I remember using a Vitamin C cream before and I was surprised that it didn’t do anything, turns out it just reacts with air in a way that makes it more ineffective. Perhaps I need to try a different type! Thanks for sharing lovely xoxo

    Kay
    http://shoesandglitter.com

  10. Excellent post Jenny! I’m just starting to dabble with Vitamin C. I’ve tried Drunk Elephant and Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C. I just recently had a bad reaction to a ferulic + retinol acid combination. So I couldn’t tell if Vitamin C was a problem. I don’t think so because I didn’t have a bad reaction with DE. Overall the two brands were ok. I didn’t see any major benefits, but I want to try some other brands. This post is so helpful as to what to try.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

  11. That’s such a great and informative post! I need to focus more on Vitamin C, I’ve completely removed it from my skincare but I want to add it so badly. I was thinking about going back to Klairs Vit C since it’s perfect for sensitive skin, right now I keep using Korres Wild Rose Oil as the only source of Vitamin, it’s also delicate but I might try Oskia one day :)

  12. Thank you for the lesson in Vitamin C. This is such a great post and so well broken down for everyone to understand. I love using Vitamin C products because I love how they brightens up my skin. I should try some of the ones you mentioned here. x

    Ann-Marie | http://facetocurls.com/

  13. You always come through with the knowledge Jenny, love your skincare posts. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect Vitamin C product and this is the second time tonight that I’ve seen a blog post on Lixr, it feels like a sign haha. OMG, I found the Wishtrend Vitamin C pretty meh too which was unfortunate as I had really high hopes for it! Learned a lot from reading this, thank you! xx
    Coco Bella Blog

  14. Gabrielle says:

    Oh my gosh, I’m absolutely blown away by your knowledge – I feel as though you’re a living encyclopaedia on all things skincare related, SO impressive! I hadn’t realised there were so many different types of Vitamin C; truly, this is the first I’m hearing of it!

    Have a fabulous week ahead Jenny :)

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

  15. i like this, thanks for sharing. I never knew there were different types of vitamin c
    The Glossychic

  16. Jenny, this post is amazing! Thank you so much for breaking this down in such a helpful and insightful way. I have also tried several Vit C skincare products and not understood why my skin seems to dislike some of them. I have sensitive skin and didn’t even realise that this could be part of the problem. I have been using the Emma Hardie Vit C serum which I know now contains Ascorbyl Glucoside (thanks to you!) and that’s why it seems to be working for me. Definitely going to make a note of that xx

    Violethollow.com

  17. Jenny, kudos to YOU for writing such an excellent post! I must admit that I typically shy away from Vit C. I don’t know why, but at some point in my life I developed intolerance to all things Vit C, food included. I had a severe food poisoning prior to that and my skin went from normal to dry and sensitive (it still is). I still get itchy or red when I try new Vit C skincare, but your post made it so much easier for me to understand the difference. I hope I can find a good Vit C line that won’t irritate my skin, because if the formula is right, there are so many benefits! Thank you so much for sharing this xx

  18. I have found this so useful. I really want to try Lixir overall. Shame this particular one doesn’t smell so good but like you said the results make up for it x

    franklyflawless.com

  19. Esnath Moyo says:

    I love the fact that you truly break it down, your
    reviews are thorough yet simple enough for everyone to understand. I loved this I am finding that Vitamin is also an ingredient/product I am struggling with, I end up just compromising on experience of application because I love it so much.
    You have given me a few choices to consider here thanks Jenny x
    Esnath @ prettypeachblossom.com

  20. Shireen says:

    What an amazing list, Jenny and yes, I read through everything! The only product that I have tried in your list was Ole Henrikssen Truth Serum which did nothing for my skin. I do plan to purchase the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drops in the future. Btw, do you use Vitamin C in the day time? I’ve read about it reacting to the sun so best use it during the day but under high SPF of course.

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

    • Jenny says:

      Yep, I use it during the daytime since it can help protect against UV damage. I know some people actually only use vitamin c during the day for this reason, that way they can use retinol or an aha at night without worrying about irritating the skin. I think as long as you have on adequate SPF you don’t have to worry about the vitamin c reacting negatively!

  21. This is pretty helpful dear
    I never knew there’s such different vitamin c for diff types of skin

    Much Love,
    Jane | The Bandwagon Chic

  22. Cat L says:

    Such an informative post, Jenny. I think i’ve only tried the AA form of VItamin C. My favorite serums being the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic and the Kiehl’s Vit C Concentrate. I really like how they brighten up my complexion and I use them several times a week. Will have to try some of the ones you mention in your post.

    ~ Cat L.
    http://www.CatsDailyLiving.com

  23. This is such a comprehensive breakdown on the different types of Vitamin C. You have tried many products Jenny! I only got back into using vitamin C at the end of last year and I was quite encouraged by the difference in my skin. I’ve found Ascorbic Acid works best for me and I’m a real fan of using it in powder form in the AM and combining it with vitamin E to up the efficacy of both. We definitely feel the same about the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel :)

  24. Sam Hodgett says:

    I love this post, it was so informative and well-done! Once summer hits I do want to incorporate more potent versions of vitamin c serums underneath my sunscreen in my morning routine. I’ve actually had my eye on the Peter Thomas Roth one along with the Clinique daily boosters

    Sam Hodgett || Beauty & Lifestyle Bits

  25. A very helpful post!

    I keep wondering what they did to the klairs serum, at first I thought they had just used a different kind of Vitamin C, but as they didn´t, I am a little at loss. Well, as long as it works…

    And wow, you tried a ton of different products!

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

  26. Sakuranko says:

    I use Tiam Vitamin C and works pretty well on my skin. Thanks for this super useful informative and detailed post.

  27. As always Jenny, you manage to break down complex skincare jargons and uses into something that I can understand and immediately use! Thank you <3 I've always kind of flip-flopped on Vitamin C mostly because it didn't feel like they worked for me; glad to know I can narrow down my search now!

    Stephanie | theFantasia.com

  28. Elise says:

    This is such an amazing post!! I never knew any of this! I must now try the perfect one for my skin, hope it clears everything right up!
    Elise | http://www.elisebythepiece.com

  29. lavinya royes says:

    Whoa, I had to read this twice just so I understood everything. You really know your stuff! I’ve had the Ordinary ATIP product on my wishlist for a while, now I KNOW for sure I have to get it! Thanks – x

    Lavinya Royes – Fashion & Lifestyle Blog

  30. Rebecca | beautylifebecca says:

    I had no idea vitamin c did so much and how many different types there are out there. This is so much info and Ive learnt so much :) x

    http://www.beautylifebecca.co.uk

  31. Olga Olis says:

    I love all of this info!!! I never really knew there are so many different forms of vitamin C! Such an amazingly useful post!

    Love,
    Olga from Myme

  32. I totally need to save this post for later! I used Vitamin C a lot year ago, this year I barely use it.

  33. Kelli K. says:

    I have oily, acne prone skin and I also haven’t had much luck with Vitamin C products. Thanks for this post, I may just try them again.