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Want to achieve a clear, even complexion and protect your skin at the same time? Then pick up one of the best vitamin C moisturizers, which feature stable, efficacious forms of vitamin C as the headlining ingredient. This power-packed antioxidant helps stave off free radicals that can contribute to dullness, hyperpigmentation, collagen depletion, and other forms of skin damage — so, by incorporating topical vitamin C into your beauty routine, your skin can reach its peak radiance and clarity. The best vitamin C creams also contain nourishing ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, squalane, and plant-derived oils to impart your skin with the moisture it needs, both day and night.
Most vitamin C moisturizers contain less concentrated doses of the antioxidant than vitamin C serums (their more ubiquitous cousins) do; and, since they’re thicker in consistency, they may not be able to penetrate your skin quite as effectively. That’s not to say that you won’t see results with a moisturizer, but it’s not quite the fast-track treatment that a serum is. So if you’re committed to the cause, consider applying one of the best vitamin C serums first, then layering your vitamin C moisturizer on top for an added burst of hydration. (Dermatologists say it’s okay to pile on the antioxidants.)
Smooth your way to brighter skin with any of the five best vitamin C face creams, listed ahead.
1. The Failsafe
If you’re overwhelmed with options, keep it simple and opt for this vitamin C moisturizer from Bliss, which works for virtually every skin type. It has all the trappings of an ideal vitamin C cream: Clinical-grade vitamin C, green tea extract, niacinamide, and other antioxidant-rich plant extracts do the brightening and protecting work, while a patented peptide blend aims to trigger collagen production for smoother, stronger skin over time. Texture-wise, it strikes the right balance between moisturizing and refreshing, so it nourishes your skin without feeling heavy or greasy. It’s also cruelty-free and vegan, if that’s a priority for you. No need to pop into a Bliss Spa to pick one up — it’s available for about $22 on Amazon.
2. The Extra-Strength One
This Peter Thomas Roth moisturizer contains 10% vitamin C, a concentration more on par with vitamin C serums than moisturizers (popular serums tend to contain 15 to 20% vitamin C). Specifically, this is made with THD ascorbate, a highly stable and more penetrable form of vitamin C than the usual L-ascorbic acid. Vitamin E and ferulic acid — also both commonly found in serums — help stabilize the formula, and offer more antioxidant benefits. But this is much more moisturizing than a serum, thanks to the hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides in the formula. A little of this stuff goes a long way, so you’ll certainly get your money’s worth out of this admittedly pricey jar.
3. The Lightweight One
If your skin is on the oily side, or you just don’t like the feel of heavy creams, go with this Glow Daily moisturizer from REN. The consistency lies between a gel and a cream, so it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave behind an oily film. In addition to vitamin C, the formula is spiked with a blend of zingy citrus oils to clarify and quench your skin, while magnesium helps quell inflammation and balance oil production — both beneficial for skin that’s oily or acne-prone.
4. The One With SPF
Although vitamin C helps curb damage wrought by UV light, it’s still crucial that you add SPF to your morning skin care routine to protect your skin from UVA/UVB rays. So while not quite the dermatologist-recommended amount (the American Academy of Dermatology suggests an SPF of 30 or higher), the addition of SPF 15 in this moisturizer is a thoughtful touch. There’s a lot to love beyond the sun-protection factor, too. It harnesses naturally derived ingredients native to the brand’s Nordic roots, like arctic cloudberry, a potent source of vitamin C, and soothing Arctic spring water. Plus, it’s packed with light-reflecting particles that leave behind a radiant finish — a great choice if you love the look of dewy skin, without the help of makeup.
5. The One For City Dwellers
If you know about skin care, you’re probably well aware of the all-powerful cult of Sunday Riley — and this is your nudge to pick up the brand’s fan-favorite C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream, if your budget allows. This works wonders on all skin types, but it’s a particularly great choice for city-dwellers, since the formula includes exopolysaccharides (harvested from the Kopara plant), a substance that aims to provide protection against urban pollutants. Layer it on top of the brand’s best-selling C.E.O serum for the ultimate glow-boosting experience.