The best affordable vitamin C serums

My recent recommendation for The Inkey List’s 15% Vitamin C and EGF serum (£14.99 for 30ml) prompted many of you to get in touch, asking for some more affordable day serums. Before I oblige, it’s perhaps useful to explain why I unfailingly apply vitamin C each morning. A great vitamin C serum is good for everyone, of any age and skin type. It can help protect skin from environmental pollution and inflammation, and – in high concentrations – treat sun damage. It can increase the effectiveness of SPF and most visibly, from the get-go, brighten a dull complexion. The effect it has on my own skin is remarkable, especially as I tend to choose vitamin C serums that also contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid (for hydration) and niacinamide (for all manner of things, including the maintenance of a healthy skin barrier and even skin texture) to get more punch for my pump.

And yours needn’t cost a packet. I’m impressed with Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Face Serum (£19.99 for 30ml) from the newly resurrected Bliss spa brand (absent from the UK market for the past few years). This is a lovely all-rounder – offering comforting, plumping hydration and immediate perk in a fine, refreshing liquid that doesn’t feel claggy for summer or smell off-putting, as vitamin C skincare is often disposed to be (though those against fragrance in skincare should avoid this one). It feels and performs not unlike others I have at three times the price and suits any skin type.

Sweet Chef’s Ginger Vitamin C Serum Shot (£18.50 for 30ml) is less versatile, but near perfect for oily and combination types who may find that thick vitamin C serums cause breakouts. This is an altogether lighter affair, typical of Korean-style serums, which leaves skin hydrated but still relatively matte and unsheathed. As with many vitamin Cs, there’s a brief tingle on application, but things calm down to a healthy glow in a minute or so.

My bargain pick for dry skin is the excellent value Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum (£ 22 for 60ml). This squeaks over the £20 threshold, but it should be said that it is, in real terms, cheaper than everything else here. The texture, rich with vitamin E, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, glycerin and fruit oils, borders on the oily, making for a comfortable ride under sunscreen, no extra moisturiser required. With all, I apply in the morning, after cleansing and using any exfoliating acids.