Your skin will love this stuff.
Photography: Mimi Ritzen Crawford1 of 16
Every time we ask a dermatologist to prescribe a pre-wedding skincare regimen, a vitamin C serum is always in the mix, regardless of skin type. It's one of those tried-and-true ingredients that fades dark spots, helps prevent premature aging, and makes your skin glow like crazy. But the problem, historically, with this seemingly magical ingredient is that it's very unstable, which means that its potency is difficult to maintain. Luckily, skincare companies have become between and better at creating packaging that maintains quality. Now, each time you use your vitamin C serum, you can feel confident that the product works just as well as it did the first time the bottle was opened. That's great news for everyone—especially anyone getting married—because it's easier than ever to get that coveted bridal glow.
Adding a vitamin C serum to your everyday beauty routine couldn't be easier. As a general rule of thumb, apply it each morning after cleansing your skin but before moisturizing. Once you find a product you love (and that's right for your skin), the results will be so noticeable that finding the extra ten seconds apply your serum will be easy. And really, that's all the additional time you need—serums spread easily and absorb quickly, so adding the extra step to your routine won't feel like a chore. One important thing to note? If you're not already wearing a sunscreen every day (you really should be!), it's time to find an SPF you love. Vitamin C can make your skin more suscetable to burning, so it's important to apply a great sunscreen each morning, too. Really not interested in a daily serum? We found a few great masks and powders, too.
Sold on adding vitamin C to your routine? Here, 15 products we're obsessed with now. Whether you're looking to invest in a splurge-worthy serum or test the waters with something a little more affordable, you'll find plenty of options that can work for you here. Use one in the months leading up to your wedding for a gorgeous, glowing complexion.
Photography: Courtesy of Dermstore2 of 16
This serum contains 15 percent vitamin C and peptide growth factors that give you fast anti-aging results. In just a week of using it, we noticed a more even complexion and increased radiance.
iS Clinical Super Serum Advance+, $148, dermstore.com.
Photography: Courtesy of Sephora3 of 16
You can't go wrong with a vitamin C serum that's free of all of the bad ingredients (phthalates, sulfates, parabens, mineral oil) and full of all of the good ones. Along with vitamin C, it has healing vitamin E and enzymes that protect the skin from aging and skin-dulling environmental pollutants. And get this: it also has "a reservoir effect," meaning it stays (and works) on your skin for 72 hours, even after washing your face.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $80, sephora.com.
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Omorovicza works with the Hungarian Lab of Dermatology, which won a Nobel Prize for discovering vitamin C, so you know this product has to be good. It combines two vitamin C sources: antioxidant-rich kiwi berry and sodium ascorbyl phosphate, which is an incredibly stable form of vitamin C. The product also contains moisturizing hyaluronic acid, along with watercress extract, zinc, and niacinamide, which work in tandem to reduce and prevent hyperpigmentation.
Omorovicza Daily Vitamin C, $150, omorovicza.com.
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Skin Design London
This London-based skincare brand isn't as well known in the U.S., but it would benefit us all to get on the bandwagon. Their vitamin C serum contains Kakadu plum—which contains 50 times more vitamin C than an orange—so it really helps to brighten your skin, minimize the appearance of pores, and to give your complexion and overall polished clarity.
Skin Design London C Antioxidant Glow, $125, neimanmarcus.com.
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Photography: Courtesy of Skinceuticals6 of 16
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic has been a dermatologist favorite for years and it's still going strong. The serum's combination of vitamins C and E not only reduce fine lines and wrinkles, but also increases collagen production and neutralizes skin-damaging free radicals.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, $166, skinceuticals.com.
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This is another product that contains both vitamins C and E to help improve pigmentation and prevent future spots from appearing. It contains only the necessary ingredients needed to benefit the skin—a kind of no-frills approach to vitamin C—which is often hard to find.
SkinMedica Vitamin C + E Complex, $102, skinmedica.com.
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If you have sensitive or dry skin, try Obagi's 10 percent vitamin C serum, which contains a gentler concentration of the active ingredient, but will still give you results.
Obagi Professional-C Serum 10%, $85, dermstore.com.
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Those with oily and acneic skin love this product, as it feels really light and sinks into the skin easily. (In fact, along with brightening the skin and fading post-inflammatory red spots, vitamin C actually helps reduce acne, too!)
DermaDoctor Kakadu C 20% Serum, $95, sephora.com.
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The beauty of this product is that it's a powder, so it isn't activated until you mix it with your favorite serum. That means every time you use it, it's as fresh, potent, and effective as it was the first time you opened it.
True Botanicals Vitamin C Booster, $90, truebotanicals.com.
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Photography: Courtesy of Sephora11 of 16
We love this cult-favorite product because it doesn't just contain a highly stable form of vitamin C, but also glycolic acid, which gently exfoliates and helps the product sink deeper into the skin for increased efficacy and a more intense glow.
Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Brightening Serum, $85, sephora.com.
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We may have talked about this one before, but after using it for more than a month, we are truly loving the results. Hyperpigmentation that was creeping up on our cheeks disappeared, redness around our nose has faded, and the quality of our skin just seems better, younger, more resilient, and radiant. In fact, a friend commented that our tester looked like she was 15 years old. (She's 31.)
Joanna Vargas "Rescue" Vitamin-C Serum, $150, nordstrom.com.
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Biossance is a completely plant-derived company that uses sustainable practices to make their products. The most unique aspect of this serum is that it contains squalane, a moisturizing agent that our bodies produce. This means that it will sink right into skin without feeling greasy, adding optimal hydration. We used it in place of a moisturizer, but you may want to add a bit of lotion on top depending on your skin type.
Biossance "Squalane + Vitamin C" Rose Oil, $72, sephora.com.
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This mask contains a variety of crushed citrus fruits—oranges, lemons, clementines—all of which are very high in vitamin C. After we wore it once for 20 minutes (just once, we tell you!) we noticed our complexions looked much brighter. Then we started using it a few times per week and it just got better and better.
Fresh "Vitamin Nectar" Face Mask, $62, sephora.com.
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Although these tiny little paper-thin, individually-packaged squares may not look like much, they each contain a single dose of 100 percent vitamin C. All you have to do is put one in your hand, mix it with three or four drops of water, and then blend it into your face with a serum. Keeping the vitamin C pure and separated from other ingredients until it hits your face ensures that it's really potent, every single time.
Mary Kay "TimeWise" Activating Squares, $24, marykay.com.
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Photography: Courtesy of Sephora16 of 16
Ole Henriksen made his vitamin C serum with his own skincare problems in mind—boosting collagen to eradicate acne scars and even skin tone—so you know it has to work. (And how it does.) It also contains green tea extract, which helps to decrease inflammation and adds an extra dose of age-preventative antioxidants.
Ole Henriksen "Truth" Vitamin-C Serum, $49, sephora.com.