Homemade Vitamin C Serum

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A super simple and affordable homemade vitamin c serum recipe. This recipe works so well! I can't believe the difference it's made on my skin!!

I’ve been anxiously waiting to share today’s recipe. Let’s start with a little story…

A super simple and affordable homemade vitamin c serum recipe. This recipe works so well! I can't believe the difference it's made on my skin!!

Last month, Dustin purchased a surprise birthday present for me: a spa day! Dustin’s not a big gift person, so the fact that he took time to look for a naturally-minded local spa, check out spa ratings, and secretly make an appointment for me was a huge deal. I was so grateful and excited for my big spa day, until I arrived at the spa and discovered that a facial was in the package.

I’ve received facials in the past, and each experience has been less than desirable. In fact, every facial has felt like nothing more than a chance for the spa to sell me expensive beauty products. Not exactly relaxing or fun! I was super skeptical about getting a facial, but I knew the hard work Dustin went through to create the spa experience, so I decided to go through with the appointment.

A few minutes into the facial, the gentle esthetician inquired about my skincare routine, “What products do you use on your skin?” I hesitated for a few moments.  I figured the relaxed environment might make my delayed response seem intentional. Should I tell her the truth? Should I mention that I make my own skincare products with simple ingredients? Friend, I was fearful to admit that I use homemade products. I was afraid of her reaction to such a radical idea…homemade beauty products. Silly, right?!

A few minutes later, I replied, “I use a honey and aloe cleanser, followed by an apple cider vinegar toner, and then moisturizing argan and rosehip oil. I make the products at home.” The esthetician, Gen, softly voiced her encouraging words, “That’s wonderful! Those are amazing!” Suddenly, I felt comfortable to discuss skincare with Gen. She then asked about my skincare concerns, to which I replied, “I would love to do something about the scars left on my face from my past skincare issues, and the brown spots. Ugh, those brown spots that appeared with my second pregnancy.” Gen offered two solutions, which she claimed would dramatically improve my blotchy skin and scars: a Clarisonic and vitamin C serum.

I’m not typically the kind of gal that spends a lot of money on fancy products. In fact, as you know, I keep my skincare very basic: aloe, honey, castile soap, apple cider vinegar and water, and a moisturizing oil combo. But Gen knew her stuff, so I decided to act on her advice. That day I purchased a Clarisonic Mia from the spa. The more natural vitamin C serum the spa sold cost $85 for a 2 ounce bottle (yikes!!!!), so I passed on the product and decided to research a possible homemade solution.

A super simple and affordable homemade vitamin c serum recipe. This recipe works so well! I can't believe the difference it's made on my skin!!

After a few hours online, I discovered that making a vitamin C serum at home is 100% doable and pretty inexpensive compared to spa brands. I purchased vitamin C powder from my health food store, and started playing around with various ingredient combos using 90% base ingredients and 10% vitamin C powder.

A super simple and affordable homemade vitamin c serum recipe. This recipe works so well! I can't believe the difference it's made on my skin!!

A super simple and affordable homemade vitamin c serum recipe. This recipe works so well! I can't believe the difference it's made on my skin!!

To make a loooong story shorter, let’s talk about my results…

After over one month of using my Homemade Vitamin C Serum (and Clarisonic) in my regular skincare routine (my aloe and honey cleanser, toner, and moisturizing oils), the overall appearance of my skin has significantly improved! My skin feels smooth and soft. Plus, the blotchy dark spots and scars appear to be fading. Thank you, Gen, for your recommendations. And Dustin, feel free to book another spa day.

A super simple and affordable homemade vitamin c serum recipe. This recipe works so well! I can't believe the difference it's made on my skin!!

Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is something that’s naturally found in the makeup of our skin, particularly on the dermis and epidermis. I know, flashbacks to Anatomy and Physiology 101, right?!

Vitamin C plays an important role in skin health due to its antioxidant properties. Just think about everything our skin must work to fight against. Vitamin C aids in the repair and renewal of skin cells. This repair and renewal helps keep our skin looking youthful and healthy. From my reading, this is a natural process that’s continually occurring within the cells of our skin particularly when we sleep. Our skin is very smart. But sometimes our skin needs a bit of help, especially as we age or experience major life events like pregnancy or too much sun, so adding vitamin C to a skincare routine may help someone like myself–a gal frustrated with brown spots and scars. This post explains more about the benefits of using a vitamin c serum on the skin.

According to Gen and my online research, it’s important to apply a serum to the skin for 3 months to see noticeable results. So far, I’ve been using my Homemade Vitamin C Serum for a little over a month, and have been impressed with the results. Some sources encourage starting with a ratio of 5% vitamin C powder and 90% base (water and aloe are my “base” ingredients), then increasing to 10% vitamin C powder and 90% base, and finally 20% vitamin C power and 80% base. I’ve been consistently using the same percentage from the start, but feel free to use my ingredients and work out the math to meet your own skincare needs. My formula is roughly 16% vitamin C powder and 84% water and aloe.

A super simple and affordable homemade vitamin c serum recipe. This recipe works so well! I can't believe the difference it's made on my skin!!

Homemade Vitamin C Serum
5 from 8 votes
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Homemade Vitamin C Serum

Servings 2 tablespoons
Author Kristin Marr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the vitamin C powder and filtered water. Whisk the ingredients until the vitamin C powder is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, stir in the aloe vera gel and vitamin E oil.
  2. Pour the serum into a dark amber bottle (a funnel helps). Store the serum in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Around the two week mark you may notice the serum's pH level change*. Your serum may have a different color and consistency, depending on the vitamin C powder and aloe used to make this recipe. My vitamin C powder is pink, but many are white.

Recipe Notes

To Use: Before bed, wash your face, then use a toner (if you use one), followed a small amount of Homemade Vitamin C Serum, and then a moisturizer. Gently shake the serum bottle before each use. The serum will be thick. I'm currently using an argan and rosehip oil moisturizer which I'll be sharing next week. In the morning, rinse your face before applying makeup and/or stepping out the door. Vitamin C Serum shouldn't be used during the day due to sun exposure.
 

The “where to buy” links provide links to the actual products I use. As always, I recommend shopping around online and at local stores for the best prices and products you love.

Recipe Variations:

I’ve played around with the recipe variations over the past month. Vitamin C serum can feel a bit dry on the skin, so I like to add the aloe and vitamin E oil to help compensate for this drying effect. I’ve also used this ratio: 1 tsp vitamin C powder, 1 TB each: water and aloe vera gel. The trick to this ratio is applying a fair amount of moisturizer before the serum fully dries on the skin since it can leave your skin feeling dry at first. I personally prefer the recipe above, with the extra aloe and vitamin E oil, but both have produced the same overall result for my skin. If your skin is irritated with my recipe then decrease the amount of vitamin C powder at first (use 1/4-1/2 teaspoon) and slowly work your way up to more, if desired.

Many sources call for using vegetable glycerin versus aloe, but I found glycerin to be very sticky on my skin. If you have glycerin on hand, it may be subbed for the aloe.

pH Testing:

According to my research, an ideal vitamin C serum should have a pH of 3. For reference, a pH of 7 is considered neutral.  I purchased a set of pH testing strips from Amazon so I can test each batch of serum. Vitamin C has a very a short life span. The serum may begin to fluctuate in pH when it’s no longer suitable for use on the skin. A change in pH may result in more harm than good when you apply the serum to your skin. So far I haven’t had any issues with pH since I make a batch of serum every 1-2 weeks. At-home pH strips are really easy to use, so if you’re interested in testing the pH, I recommend purchasing a test kit.

A super simple and affordable homemade vitamin c serum recipe. This recipe works so well! I can't believe the difference it's made on my skin!!

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If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #LIVESIMPLYBLOG. I'd love to see what you make!

 

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59 Comments

  • nice recipe! I use the OST – Pure Vitamin C21,5 Advanced Serum and it is indeed amazing. A tfirst I thought it occured dark spots but actually as the skin is exfoliating, they’re oxydating that’s why they become visible. and as weeks go by my skin is so much better!

    • Hey Yaya25cuties, The serum is ready to use immediately after you make it. The serum should be refrigerated because vitamin C is very fragile, so to keep it “fresh” the fridge is the best place to store it. It will last for 1-2 weeks in the fridge before you need to make another batch.

  • Hi Kristin! Thanks for this post, very well done. I recieved my L-ascorbic acid powder today and I’m super excited to make my serum! I read that adding 0.5% ferulic acid to your vit C serum can enhance the action and has an awesome synergistic effect. I’m going to try it and let you know how it works.

  • Hi, Kristin! I hear that Rose Hip Oil is good for lightening the skin. Could it be added in this recipe? If not, any suggestions on how to make a serum or cream with Rose Hip Oil?

  • I got a question. By skin care routine you mean 1. face wash -> 2. toner -> 3. vitamin C serum and then also moisturizing oils? I’m afraid to use so many oils on my already oily skin 🙁 everything that includes moisturizing I do it in the evening, in the morning I just wash my face with wather and use toner before I apply makeup 🙂 everything that shines make me lose my mind. BUT also discovered that having a matte skin that I’ve been dreaming about my whole life it doesn’t feel that good to all. So somewhere in between it’s the best 🙂

    • Hey Alexandra-Maria, That’s my skin-care routine, but for each person the routine will look different. You can skip the oils in the other products (mainly the face wash), if desired, and just use an oil-based moisturizer if that works for you. I just use almond oil as a moisturizer at night. In the morning, I just use water as well. I haven’t been using the serum, since it really did it’s job, and I don’t feel like I need it on an on-going basis.

  • Hello. Your serum works! I’ve only been using it for 1 month and I have proof it works – so thank you so much for this thoughtful well researched post. Would you mind helping me with the math to make a batch that would be 20% powder and 80% base? I love all of your stuff and will be slowing adopting most of it when I have to create it. I love switching to home made products I can trust. I’m really grateful you take the time to write all this 🙂

      • Hey Kristen, I love your vitamin c serum recipe, Thank out so much. Would you like to tell me the recipe for 20% vitamin c and 80% base please? SInce I couldn’t get the idea of reducing Aloe by 1 tsp. Do you mean just add 1tsp to the recipe?

  • I made the serum–but used “Aloe 1X Liquid” which is not a gel-but 100% Aloe. Seems to work wonderfully. I’m curious that your prep photos look like the solution is an amber color…isn’t that a sign that the vitamin C has turned and is no longer effective? My solution is clear. Maybe the Aloe gel you used is amber colored?

    • Hey Charlette, Awesome, I’m glad it worked! My vitamin C powder is a slightly orange/pink color, so that’s where the color comes from. Every vitamin c powder will be a bit different.

  • Is the finished product supposed to be watery liquid? At the beginning of the recipe, you say it serves 2 tablespoons, yet just the aloe alone is 1 TBSP + 2 tsp, correct? My batch filled up the entire 1oz bottle, and is very liquidy.

  • Hi Kristin
    Can you use crushed Vit c tablets if the powder isn’t available?
    And is it safe to apply on the under eye area?

  • Hi I love the reciepie – and I created one last night however when I added vitmain E, it didnt seem to have mixed properly – i could see the vitamin separated and dispersed in the mixture … it didnt get dissolved… is that normal? also if i add rosehip seed oil or argan oil, would it mix fine with the water that is being used with vitamin c?

  • How do you get the vitamin e oil to mix with the rest of the water soluttion without an emulsifier? Don’t they just separate once you let it set?

  • First time I used it.
    Made my skin feel lovely but I didn’t leave it on long.
    Put some on last night and after 30 mins I had to wash it of it was burning.
    I have a rash round my mouth and a very sore red eyelid.
    Don’t know if I put too much on.
    And liquid is runny and gritty

    • Hey Kez, Yikes, that’s not good. I hope your skin is doing better today. Here are a few thoughts: How much vitamin C was used? It sounds like the vitamin C concentration was either too high, or a different Vitamin C should be used (any extra ingredients in the Vitamin C that would cause a reaction?). I definitely wouldn’t continue to use it as-is if it’s causing that king of reaction.

  • No its just pure vitamin c powder to be honest I think I put too much in.
    I do have sensitive skin though.
    Do you think I would be OK to use it if I made a fresh batch

  • Hi! Love your recipes. Well done. Is it ok to crush some vitamin C tablets and use it for this recipe? Would it serve same purpose as the store bought vitamin C powder?

  • Hi Kristen,
    I would like to do your recipie in a 30 mil solution of Hyaloronic Acid disolve Ascorbic acid and ferulic acid. I would take about 10 milliliters of Hyaloronic Acid out and substitute with aloe vera gel. I always wanted a serum with aloe vera . I love the smooth dry effect on my skin.
    Let me know what you think
    Dom

    • Hey Elsa, I always recommend testing a small area of the skin first before applying anything all over–with both homemade and store-bought products. I want to say, yes! But everyone’s skin is different.

  • Love your recipe. I have tried different ratios but this seems to work very well for me. Would I be able to use hyaluronic acid to the finishied serum to thicken it?

  • Hi Kristin
    Thanks for your recipe. Im about to try it out this week. I have a small concern, what if the pH dont come out at 3 after we make it? What should we do? Thanks in advance 😊

  • Hello Kristin, can vitamin c powder be made from vitamin c tablets for this recipe? I live in Nigeria and that’s basically all we have ❤😭

  • Hello,
    Want to test out your DIY Vitamin C serum recipe, however did you know that the Vitamin C product/ link that you listed contains maltodextrin? I tried it (because I love HealthForce and already had some in my kitchen) and it is super sticky!!

    Thanks!

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