Homemade Vitamin C Serum


175 reviews

89% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$


Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I have decided to make my own Vitamin C Serum at home, as I feel that the Obagi C serum I have is very expensive, and it doesn't work by the time I am halfway through the bottle, because of the oxidation that occurs with the product. So, I recently purchased Vitamin C crystals, and I got filtered water and put it in a clean spray bottle. I plan to spray my hand once, wet my index finger, and use that to dip it into my small container of Vitamin C crystals. I then add the small amount to the palm of water, and after the C has dissolved, I apply it to my face. It stings, but my Obagi serum stings when I first get a bottle; I think the stinging indicates that the C is still active. Anyway, after about an hour, my skin is now glowing and is dewy like it used to be. I will make an update after I have done this for a few weeks. I am a big fan of vitamin C serums, but I feel they are way overpriced for how unstable they are. I like the idea of making my own fresh batch everyday for pennies; I think it works better too!

8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

on 1/27/2012 10:17:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I've used several vitamin C serums over the years, and loved many of them. My skin responds incredibly well to vitamin C treatments overall, but it just got way too expensive. So, I was thrilled when I read this here, and gave it a try. I used distilled rose water, L-asorbic crystals from Vitamin Shoppe, and a vegetable glycerin. I make it at 10% strength, and store it in the refrigerator in a cobalt blue bottle, using a dropper to apply to skin. and started out using it every other day . I am now using it morning and night (morning and night on a clean face, underneath moisturizer), and in the two weeks I've been using it, I can already see a serious difference. And, apparently, so can others, as I've been asked several times if I've had "something done." I've also been carded several times (this could just be coincidence, I know). It didn't take 10 years off my face or anything, and I have to admit I am blessed with genetically very nice skin; but, it definitely boosted my glow, my fine lines on my forehead are diminishing, and things just look all around more firm and youthful. I've also started using it on my hands recently, and see improvements there, as well. It's not a miracle or anything, but the improvements are visible and significant. And given the ridiculously low cost and ease of DIYing it, I'm definitely going to continue with this!

19 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

on 1/8/2012 12:01:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I've been using for around a month now, at varying strengths. Purchased ascorbic acid powder from GOW, as well as their serum base (just water, preservative, and a starch to give thickness. I know there are varying debates on preservatives, but they use paraben free preservatives, and this saves me from having to make new batches every few days.) For approx. 10% serum, I'm using 1/4 teaspoon AA powder to 2.5 teaspoons of serum base.
The results? After a few experimental weeks with dubious results (which I don't really attribute to the AA serum, moreso to barraging my skin with too many products and using a lotion w. niacinamide in it...more on that in a bit), my skin has become much smoother, and the fine lines under my eyes are beginning to soften (so far no change in darkness of undereye circles...but i think that was a pipedream anyway). As I don't have acne prone skin, I can't really attest to the acne fighting powers, but the few blemishes I have gotten seem to be helped by it. I say go for it...it's cheap and easy to make, and from the positive feedback, seems to only do good things. for reference, i use this serum every other night with just my facial lotion on top (a no frills one, in order to not overload my skin). Once a week, i give my face a gentle scrub to get off any dead skin the AA serum has sloughed off.
Note on niacinamide: Do not use niacinamide and AA powder together....I'm no scientist, but from my research they sort of "fight" with each other and can cause bad reactions in the skin. both are good ingredients to use separately, but not together.
EDIT: it became too difficult to prevent the serum from oxidizing/measuring correct amounts, so i've decided to stop making it. im thinking of purchasing the CSS ferulic CE one...we shall see.

14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

on 12/1/2011 6:10:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue


2 TBSP Cetapil Cream ( or simila brand)

4 TBS SPF ( I use Olay SPF 15 sensitive)

1/8 Tsp Vitamin E Oil 28,000 IUs

2 Evening Primrose Oil caps (break & squeaze into mixture)


Then ...

Dissolve 3-4 Vit C 500mg pills in 1-2 TBSP hot, fresh brewed green tea.

Add to cream mixture and blend well. Store in cool dark place.


2 Dropper fulls of pure hyaluronic acid (Timeless Skin Care makes a good one).

Your skin will look AMAZING.

14 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

on 11/28/2011 10:07:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

After reading the reviews, I tried the vitamin c serum for almost two weeks. Whiteheads and acnes began popping up all over my face. I am sure it works for a lot of people (thus the glowing reviews), unfortunately it does not work for me. Still have to deal with the remaining acnes and the scars left from the use of the serum.

8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

on 10/30/2011 12:39:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Olive, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

Wow, this is a revelation! Thanks, Kassy, whoever you are! I mixed some up and it was too stingy, so I diluted it to half strength, and it's fantastic! My clock is now turning backwards, I swear.
I'm just hitting menopause and my face went to hell all of a sudden I have every kind of wrinkle, even smoker's wrinkles around my mouth, even though I've never smoked.
I buy products by ingredients anyway, and had read some female dermatologist recommend vitamin C, but all the ready-made stuff is so expensive, when I found out about this I had to try it. I'm going to keep on tweaking the recipe -- I'd like it to be thicker so it'll stay on my face [and arms and cellulite on front of thighs] better.

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

on 10/29/2011 5:35:00 AM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Oily, Tan, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

When I first used it my skin got soooooo itchy that I couldn't help but rinse it with water. But after one use, it gave my skin a healthy glow, like I just came out of the spa. Also, tightened my pores and faded my marionette line and under-eye lines. I had immediate results from this product.

Will never experiment on my face again. This is HG for me

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

on 9/11/2011 11:07:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Oily, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I have been using diy vitamin c for a year or so now. It has made my skin clearer and complexion brighter. It also seems to have softened some lines around my eyes.
Overuse can make your skin dry though, so it is worth being sensible and not using it everyday whilst your skin gets used to it.
I source my L ascorbic acid from activeextracts.co.uk or lotion crafter in the US.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

on 8/13/2011 5:39:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

Updated 18th June 2012:
My recipe has changed to a simpler, but no less effective one I found on MUA. Here it is:

1/4 tsp L-Ascorbic Acid (purchased from bulkactives.com)
1 1/2 tsp rosewater (Heritage Store Rose Water)
1/8 tsp Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
1/8 tsp glycerin

Note: lasts two weeks in dark drawer, same as Kassy's recipe below.

My DIY Vitamin C + E + Ferulic is formulated by the wonderful and amazing Kassy (Kathy) who is often on skincaretalk.com forum. I'll post a lot of links in this review to help anybody seeking more information on how to make their own, variants and where to source for L-Ascorbic Acid (it really IS cheap!)

Here's the recipe I use:

Kassy's 15% Vitamin C + E Ferulic
http://www.skincaretalk.com/diy-skin-care/7596-diy-vit-c-serum-recipes-ingredient-sources.html (thank you Fawnie for posting it!!)

Read the recipe thread to see where you can find Ferulic Acid, Sea Kelp Bioferment and other invaluable tips. I learned so much from there.

I have rosacea, so I lowered the L-Ascorbic acid to around 10% to start off with. It still stung and my face turned slightly pink after use so I made a new 7.5% batch. Just half the amount of L-Ascorbic Acid. That works nicely.

Here is a whole slew mind-boggling number of other DIY recipes, scroll down a little to find C Serums.

Tips on making your own Vitamin C + E + Ferulic serum:
Always do Ferulic Acid in Vodka (or non-denatured alcohol) first, as this one takes a fair amount of time to dissolve, and if you make the L-Ascorbic phase first, it will oxidize a fair bit before you can mix it all together. Use ICE COLD alcohol to dissolve Ferulic Acid better. Pop your bottle of vodka into the fridge first before starting this.

Warm up (not boiling) distilled water used to dissolve L-Ascorbic Acid powder, and use ultra-fine powder if you can get your hands on it as it will dissolve faster. Lotioncrafter sells the ultra fine version. I didn't know about this and bought the regular version, which works fine, just needs slightly more time stirring.

Sea Kelp Bioferment is a wonderful addition and along with Ferulic Acid, this formula can last for around 1-2 weeks in an amber/blue bottle stored in a dark place. No need to refrigerate, unless you want to prolong its shelf life even further. Important: When you see that your mixture has turned yellow, throw it away immediately. Oxidized Vitamin C will do more harm than good on your skin, because instead of being antioxidant, it becomes pro-oxidant.

This formula without an emulsifier will not mix well. Meaning you have to shake it to mix the oil and cream together before applying. If you don't want to do that, you can add Polysorbate 80 to emulsify.
Edit to add: I discovered with Kassy's recipe, only 14 drops (3% of Polysorbate 80) is needed.

Do not use a metal spoon to mix - Vitamin C oxidizes with metal. Use plastic or glass instead.

For those who wants a video to watch how it's done, here it is:

Note: This is a different formula, not Kassy's!

For those wishing to find out more about other different forms of Vitamin C used to make serums, namely Ascorbyl palmitate and Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP), see here:

PS: If you like this DIY business, buy a good digital kitchen scale that goes as precise as 0.01g. Many sites selling actives sells one, I know BulkActives sells one, as does Skin Essential Actives. You can even formulate your own recipe using this tool:

And as you browse for recipes, you often come across recipes that calls for "a teaspoon of this", "a quarter teaspoon of that" but if you want to break it down into percentages to tweak your own, and also this technique is useful if you want to make a different finished amount each time (say, you want to make 4 oz of Vitamin C to give to your friends), learn how to break it down here:

My advice is to read up and prepare yourself as much as you can. You can always "wing it", but it's always risky and even more so for those with sensitive skin. We don't always have to pay high price for beauty.

80 out of 84 people found this review helpful.

on 8/8/2011 11:01:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

This homemade serum is a major life-savor! I was using milk of magnesia suggested from the acne.org website, which while making my skin matte, also seemed to give me tons of little under-the-skin bumps + major blackheads along my jaw + only slightly faded the post-acne dark marks. Using the homemade vitamin C serum has cleared up everything other than a couple totm cystic pimples! I feel a lot more confident with my skin, though not enough to go without make *yet*, but hopefully soon. My skin is soooo smooth that some days after washing my face I just keep touching my cheeks. The post- acne scars/marks have faded drastically, and it's evening out my skintone. To top it off I've only been using this 2 WEEKS!

My formula consists of tablets of the generic vitamin C brand from walmart (blue and white label, ~$3) into about 12-14mL of distilled water. The first week I used only 3 tablets, but the second week I used 4 and I seem to be getting a better response (faster fading of the marks, better smoothing of my skin). I break up by hand, added to the water and let dissolve on its own. Before use I shake thoroughly because not all of the tablet dissolves - you get almost like a slurry with the undissolved stuff laying on the bottom. I put on a generous layer before bed - it does make the skin feel slightly tight, and leaves a kind of powdery layer in spots, but that's okay considering the dramatic results. On days that I don't go out/wear makeup I put it on in the morning as well. I use up everything in a week - I think to keep it longer isn't good from what I've read in other posts. I also store it in a small bottle wrapped up and out of the light - ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is light sensitive. I don't seem to be having any problems with it not being pure ascorbic acid, since the tablets contain other things like preservatives, fillers, etc.

I know you can buy bulk ascorbic acid. I am planning on making the serum with this soon - I plan on having an exact formula (amounts, percents, etc.) for a week's supply, and I'll post it when I do.

I can't stress how amazing this stuff is! If starting out I would suggest maybe trying maybe 2-3 tablets in 15mL water first for a week or so, and then maybe increasing by one tablet for the next batch (don't go too high, maybe up to 5-6 tablets because then the concentration might be too much for the skin to handle) until you find something that works. But for those who have been looking for a cheap remedy with fast and effective results should definitely try this!

EDIT: I am still only using the vit C tablets because it's definitely working! My face is still amazingly clear and baby-butt smooth, most of my post acne marks have faded and I can now leave the house with just concealer topped with a loose powder foundation! I'm super happy because I haven't been able to do that since about grade 8-9. This stuff is definitely staying in my routine, and I've been suggesting this stuff to anyone that will listen to me :)

22 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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