Whenever My Skin Needs a Glow Boost, This Is the One Product I Turn To

You can ask anyone I know—anyone, even my dad, who I’m certain still thinks cold creams are the height of skincare and who uses three-in-one hair, face and bodywash—what my favourite skincare ingredient is, and they will say vitamin C. It’s the game-changer ingredient that has helped me get the skin of my dreams. I struggle with hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, and adding vitamin C into your skincare routine is one of the best ways to tackle both. And the easiest way to add it into your routine without needing to add more steps? A vitamin C moisturiser.

“Vitamin C is a fantastic ingredient to add to your skincare routine,” agrees Bianca Estelle, skin specialist and medical aesthetician. “In fact, it’s one of my favourites. It’s a powerful antioxidant with a multitude of benefits; it encourages collagen production, and it’s great for the prevention of free radical damage. It’s often found in ‘brightening’ formulas, so it’s ideal for targeting uneven skin tone and dull skin, but it also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease acne and inflamed skin.”

It also works really well with most other common skincare ingredients, making it an easy addition to your routine. “Vitamin C also complements and boosts the activity of other antioxidant ingredients such as vitamin E, vitamin A, ferulic acid, resveratrol and glutathione—each one supporting the others’ beneficial activities,” explains David Jack, an aesthetic doctor in London. 

Essentially, this is a wonder ingredient in the skincare world, and the best part is it’s suitable for all skin types, especially if you start with a gentler formula. “This is what makes this ingredient so universal,” says Estelle. “The only thing to mention is that strength varies from product to product, so newbies should be advised to start with a lighter strength before working their way up and only working their way up if necessary.”

Yes, the strength is really key to note in most cases because vitamin C can be quite potent the higher up it is on the ingredients list, so just give the product description a once-over, especially if you have a deeper skin tone. “Darker skin types have larger and more abundant and sensitive pigment cells in the epidermal layer of the skin,” says Jack. “This means that any irritation due to unstable or lower pH forms of vitamin C, or excessively high concentrations of vitamin C (over 20%), can result in an inflammatory response in the skin and overproduction of pigment (melanin) in response to this inflammation.” So if you’re looking to treat hyperpigmentation, using the wrong vitamin C can actually exacerbate this. The thing is, you probably have been using vitamin C at a tolerable level for a while because so many creams include it in the mix as low stable volume. It’s when you are told the percentage that you are really starting to use it as a more potent ingredient.

“Vitamin C can, and should, be used daily on an ongoing basis,” notes Jack. “Just remember to pair with an SPF to ensure you’re getting the full benefits from the ingredient and keeping your skin safe.” So without further ado, here are the best vitamin C moisturisers that I rave about all the time.

Honestly, this is one of the most sumptuous creams you will ever apply. I tried this for over a month, and my skin was radiant. It is rich but easily absorbed and can be used day and night.

With AHAs from grapes and sugar beets, resurfacing ingredients and vitamins C, E and H, this cream will give you the ultimate beauty sleep. It’s perfect for dry and combination skin, but if you have oily skin, there is a less-rich version.

Truly one of the best buys from Charlotte Tilbury—this isn’t called Magic Cream for nothing. Hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, aloe vera, shea butter, frangipani extract, camellia oil, rose-hip oil and the brand’s BioNymph peptide complex all combine to give healthy, nourished-looking skin.

At 23% strength, this vitamin C moisturiser is not for newbies to the ingredient. It works quickly to even out skin tone, and thanks to the hyaluronic acid in the formula, it aids with moisture as well. Use it at night, as the slightly powdery texture doesn’t work well under makeup or SPF.

This cream was actually my first intro to vitamin C, and I haven’t looked back since. It has a light gel-like texture, so it sits while under SPF and makeup.

It’s rare to find a moisturiser that agrees with all skin types, but the texture of this lends itself to wearing alone at night, under face oil or under SPF during the day.

Use this every evening for two weeks, and you’ll notice a difference in the overall radiance and appearance of your skin. At £4, it’s super affordable too.

This SPF is essentially combining three steps of your a.m. skincare routine: vitamin C, moisturiser and sun protection.

This cream, which is perfect for skin on the oilier side, can actually be used day or night despite containing retinol alongside the vitamin C and niacinamide. Make sure you’re diligent with your SPF when using this cream as the mix of these ingredients can leave your skin vulnerable.

With vitamin C and SPF 30, this cream has you covered as the final step of your morning routine. Alongside C, it also contains vitamin E and hyaluronic acid to boost collagen protection and help with retaining moisture, respectively.

The texture of this cream is almost jelly-like, so it feels amazing to apply on a hot morning. Along with the vitamin C in the formula, it also contains aloe leaf and sodium hyaluronate for added calm and hydration.

First, this cream is super affordable and works for most skin types. After a month of consistent use, it makes noticeable fine lines a lot less visible.

The mesh of vitamin C and shea butter makes this cream extremely hydrating and brightening. I have used it day and night but prefer night-time use, as you just need to let it absorb before SPF.

Does your skin get unbearably dry when the seasons change? Same. This cream is a night cap for your complexion to soothe and smooth thanks to the addition of retinol.

A lightweight cream with a heavyweight formula. This contains 11 active ingredients that work to give the skin a firmer-looking and more radiant appearance. Next, the best moisturisers for glowing skin.

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