The Ordinary Vitamin C

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Vitamin C does so much goodness for the skin. Fading dark spots, textural irregularities, fighting fine lines, and providing antioxidant support. It’s hard to think of a more perfect ingredient for your AM routine. But, Vitamin C is not one size fits all and there are tons of different formulations you can try. Let’s look at all the Vitamin C products offered by The Ordinary.

The Ordinary Direct Vitamin Cs

The Ordinary’s lineup of Direct Vitamin C products is one of their greatest strengths. These products are going to have a great bang for buck, performing like luxury products with high quality formulations. Direct Vitamin C includes LAA or ELAA. L-ascorbic acid which is pure vitamin C or ethylated l-ascorbic acid which is a highly stabilized, pure form of vitamin C.

The direct Vitamin Cs have a stronger formula and are great for targeting fine lines, hyperpigmentation and signs of aging. They conflict with niacinamide, peptides, direct acids and retinoids whereas derivatives do not.

The Ordinary Vitamin Cs

Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

This serum contains a 23% concentration of L-Ascorbic Acid and is supported with the addition of hyaluronic acid spheres for visible surface hydration.

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How To Use: Ideally used in the PM, after water based serums. Suspensions are recommended for PM use, however this can be used in the AM if it does not cause irritation. This suspension has a high concentration of Vitamin C, aimed to brighten the skin, fight signs of aging, hyperpigmentation and textural irregularities. This has a powder and cream formula so it will feel gritty on the skin and may cause tingling or burning. Tingling is normal, burning is not. Mix it with Natural Moisturizing Factors to dilute the formulation if it’s burning your skin.

Highlights

  • 23% suspension with 2% HA spheres to help absorption. This product is intense but it will do a very great job at targeting fine lines, dark spots and uneven skin texture.
  • Leaves a glowing, radiant complexion after a few uses.
  • The gritty, dry texture is more ideal for oily skin. It can feel drying and irritating on dry skin types.

Use With: Antioxidants and Oils and Hydrators. It can also be used with the Caffeine Solution. Include an SPF into your AM routine if you’re using Vitamin C.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Niacinamide, Peptides, Direct Acids, Retinoids and EUK 134 0.1%.

Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone

How To Use: Ideally used in the PM, after water based serums. Suspensions are recommended for PM use, however this can be used in the AM if it does not cause irritation. This is a Vitamin C suspension in light silicones, giving it smooth and creamy finish. If you don’t like the gritty texture of Vitamin C Suspension 23%, try this product. It’s still an intense formula that may cause tingling but the smooth texture is much more ideal and comfortable. This is an intense formula used to target dark spots, signs of aging and texture.

Highlights

  • Silicone suspension gives this Vitamin C a smooth texture. This is a great alternative for those who don’t like the gritty texture on the Vitamin C 23% Suspension.
  • High potency formulation may cause stinging or tingling. Mix it with Natural Moisturizing Factors if it’s burning your skin. Tingling is normal and should subside as you use it more.
  • Super affordable! Most serums with this high of a percentage of Vitamin C are 8x the price and upwards.

Use With: Antioxidants and Oils and Hydrators. It can also be used with the Caffeine Solution. Include an SPF into your AM routine if you’re using Vitamin C.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Niacinamide, Peptides, Direct Acids, Retinoids and EUK 134 0.1%.

100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder

How To Use: Use this in the PM, as a mix in with other treatments. Use half a scoop of powder with 5-10 drops of an emulsion. The L-Ascorbic Acid powder is cool because it allows you to customize your own treatment! Mix it in with an oil, or Natural Moisturizing Factors and apply to the skin. It’s an intense formula that quickly targets fine lines, dark spots and signs of aging. Do not mix the L-Ascorbic Acid powder with retinoids, direct acids, peptides or EUK. You can mix it with Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% for mega brightening and anti-aging effects.

Highlights

  • This powder provides direct exposure to a high concentration of topical Vitamin C. It may cause irritation so keep that in mind. This is not a product you need to use daily.
  • Allows you to create a custom treatment of topical Vitamin C. However, if you don’t like the gritty texture, this does have that.
  • There aren’t many topical Vitamin C powders on the market and this one is super affordable.

Use With: Mix with antioxidants or Oils and Hydrators. It can also be used with the Caffeine Solution. Include an SPF into your AM routine if you’re using Vitamin C.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Niacinamide, Peptides, Direct Acids, Retinoids and EUK 134 0.1%.

Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%

How To Use: Use this in the AM or PM after water based serums. This serum combines two mega powerful brighteners and antioxidants. Ascorbic acid targets signs of aging, alpha arbutin is great for dark spots. This provides antioxidant support without much stinging or tingling. This is the most gentle of the direct Vitamin Cs and it’s great for your morning routine!

Highlights

  • Combines 2 mega potent and effective antioxidants in one without being too irritating.
  • Water free formula makes it more stabilized. This has a light oily texture, but it is an oil-free formula. Offers light hydration to the skin.
  • Offers moderate potency with moderate irritation. Don’t let the 8% formulation turn you away, this is a very effective serum that is less likely to irritate the skin.

Use With: Antioxidants and Oils and Hydrators. It can also be used with the Caffeine Solution. Include an SPF into your AM routine if you’re using Vitamin C.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Niacinamide, Peptides, Direct Acids, Retinoids and EUK 134 0.1%.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Derivatives

Vitamin C derivatives are less potent than L-ascorbic acid and more stabilized. Vitamin C is notoriously known for being sensitive, meaning it oxidizes and turns darker, becoming less effective. Using a derivative helps to avoid that. Vitamin C derivatives also tend to be gentler, causing less irritation and are good for sensitive skin or those new to Vitamin C.

Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%

How To Use: Use this water based serum in the AM or PM, before oils and creams. A water soluble Vitamin C derivative. It’s less potent than L-Ascorbic acid, but is considered a gold standard of Vitamin C derivatives. Why? High stability and a pleasant, serum texture. The only con is that this is nowhere near as strong as L-Ascorbic acid. But, it still targets texture, signs of aging and hyperpigmentation. This is a good option for those sensitive to Vitamin C and for those starting off.

Highlights

  • Gentle, highly stable formula. This has a very lightweight and comfortable texture on the skin.
  • Good choice for those starting off with Vitamin C or those sensitive to it. You have the flexibility to use in the AM or PM with few conflicts.
  • Ascorbyl Glucoside is considered the gold standard of Vitamin C derivatives.

Use With: Derivatives have much for freedom as to what you can use them with. They can be used with Peptides, More Molecules, Acids, Retinoids, Oils and Hydrators. Include an SPF in your AM routine if you’re using Vitamin C.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Niacinamide products.

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F

How To Use: A light oil solution used in the AM or PM after water based serums. This serum targets texture, dark spots and signs of aging. While it is a highly stabilized formula, it lacks the potency of L-Ascorbic Acid. It’s a great option in the AM for those with sensitive skin or those sensitive to Vitamin C. Those accustomed to Vitamin C may want something stronger.

Highlights

  • Light oil-based formula is good for dry skin. Also provides a radiant glow to the skin.
  • Targets uneven skin tone, signs of aging, textural irregularities.
  • Highly stabilized formula. This means you don’t have to worry about it oxidizing and wasting your serum.

Use With: Derivatives have much for freedom as to what you can use them with. They can be used with Peptides, More Molecules, Acids, Retinoids, Oils and Hydrators. Include an SPF in your AM routine if you’re using Vitamin C.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Niacinamide products.

Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution

How To Use: Use this in the AM or PM, after water based serums. Ethylated Ascorbic is closest in molecular weight to Vitamin C, allowing quick results and making it more stabilized than any direct-acting form of Vitamin C. This is a huge benefit. This serum is very effective at targeting dark spots, signs of aging and textural irregularities. It has high potency with low irritation!

Highlights

  • Water-free solution has a light oily texture. But, the formula is oil free.
  • Ethylated Ascorbic 15% allows for high potency, stabilized formula with very little irritation.
  • Dramatically brightens the skin and evens skin tone.
  • Closest in molecular weight to Vitamin C, allowing for quick, fast acting results.

Use With: Derivatives have much for freedom as to what you can use them with. They can be used with Peptides, More Molecules, Acids, Retinoids, Oils and Hydrators. Include an SPF in your AM routine if you’re using Vitamin C.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Niacinamide, Peptides, and EUK 134 0.1%.

Final Thoughts

A good practice to adopt when beginning to use Vitamin C is to include SPF in your AM routine. Vitamin C works to target hyperpigmentation and signs of aging so you don’t want to give that all back by not wearing sunscreen. Vitamin C can be irritating for some, if you’re experiencing that, mix it with an emulsion to dilute the intensity or go for a lower formulation. If you’re new to Vitamin C, start with a derivative and work your way up.

The derivatives are less potent then the direct Vitamin Cs but, beware about what you pair them with. Just because you can pair them with retinoids or direct acids does not mean you should. You often don’t ever need to use both in the same routine and they can cause irritation.

The Ordinary’s variety of Vitamin C is one of their greatest strengths! They have some great serums that rival much more expensive, high-end serums. You can find their vitamin C regimen guide, here.