If there were a universally-agreed-upon list of holy-grail beauty ingredients, vitamin C would be at the top. The thoroughly researched antioxidant prevents damage caused by free radicals, which are a result of things like pollution and UV light, and has a brightening effect on skin. It’s also, however, notoriously difficult to formulate with. (It oxidizes and becomes ineffective when exposed to light and air—you’ll know it’s happened when the product turns an orangey brown.) Look for formulas you can activate just before use, like AlumierMD EverActive C&E ($179 for three vials). It’s made with L-ascorbic acid, the only bioavailable form of vitamin C, meaning your skin doesn’t have to do any work to convert the ingredient into a form it can use. It also contains Matrixyl, a peptide renowned for its ability to stimulate collagen synthesis—which makes sense, since AlumierMD was co-founded by biochemist Karl Lintner, who developed the peptide over a decade ago. 

Below, see six more options we’re fond of. 


AlumierMD EverActive C&E ($179 for three vials), Vivier Radiance Serum ($139), Rodial Vit C Brightening Cleansing Pads ($56)



Ole Henriksen C-Rush Brightening Gel Crème ($52), Dermalogica BioLumin-C Serum ($108),  Reversa Radiance-C Concentrate ($60), Mychelle Perfect C PRO Serum 25% ($65)


A version of this article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of ELLE Canada