Homemade Vitamin C Serum


175 reviews

89% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.8

Price: $$


on 11/1/2014 7:08:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Olive, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I've been making this with very little glycerin for a few years...long before I read it on makeupalley.
I use an amber dropper bottle.
50 grams distilled water or 3 1/2 tbs
25 ml of glycerin-that's abput 1/8 of a tsp. I use so little because glycerin for me draws water out of my skin, and not so much from the air.
3 grams of fine ascorbic acid powder.

L-ascorbic is the same as ascorbic acid. Do not use ester c.
This serum has the optimal pH of 3.5. It has to be under 4 to penetrate, but less than three will irritate the skin. I use pH test strips I buy from a compounding pharmacy. They compound c serum there and these are the test strips they use.

I like my own vitamin c serum I really don't like glycerin but I add enough to facilitate absorption better, but know that vit c will penetrate the tissue without it, if at the correct pH. The glycerin just makes it easier, and you see faster results.

Do not crush vit c powder in unmeasured amounts into your palm with your choice of cleansers of cream or what have you. Ascorbic acid is just that: acid. It behooves one to measure the amount and check the pH before using vitamin C , or else cause damage to the skin.

39 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

on 10/29/2014 10:48:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Black

the quantities for preparing the serum have been given in gms...could this be given in terms of teaspoons...the one I prepared was too thick and difficult to pour from the dropper bottle

on 10/11/2014 11:03:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Fair, Warm

Hair: Red, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

This is--hands down--the best kept DIY beauty secret out there. My skin is both dry and dehydrated and this has completely changed the look and feel of my skin with just a few applications. Given that this is DIY, one can experiment with the formula and tailor it to suit individual needs.

Making the serum:
Just dissolve vitamin C powder in the smallest amount of water possible, then add vegetable glycerin (two to four times more by volume than vitamin C solution). Make sure that the vitamin C is completely dissolved in the water before adding the glycerin otherwise the serum will have vitamin C chunks that can be scratchy and irritating. I also like to add almond oil (about a quarter of the total volume) and three drops of rose oil. It is important to store this serum in a dark bottle because light will accelerate the break down of the vitamin C; I prefer to store mine in the refrigerator. Use a dropper to prevent bacterial contamination. This serum will oxidize relatively quickly and I suggest making it fresh about once a month; you can make it in smaller quantities to save materials. If it turns pale brown or starts smelling strange then make a fresh serum.

How to use:
Generously apply the serum to the face and back of hands before bed and wash off in the morning. Apply three or four times a week or as need. Make sure that skin is clean before application. Avoid applying too close to the eye area, but generous application to the under eye area will fade dark circles over time. Wear sunscreen during the day--this serum can increase the skin's susceptibility to sun damage, although it will repair and protect in the long run.

What to expect:
Hydrated, glowing, bright skin. A gradual restoration of skin's moisture barrier if one has dry and dehydrated skin. Sun spots and hyper-pigmentation will fade over time; skin tone will gradually become more even. Acne scars will heal faster and fade. Skin will be smooth, gently exfoliated, and dry flaky patches will disappear over time. You may experience redness at first, but it shouldn't feel painful or uncomfortable. Decrease the amount of vitamin C in the formula if you experience burning or irritation. Try not layer this serum with other products. I have super dry skin and this provides plenty of moisture that lasts throughout the night.

Take home message:
Try this before plunking down money for an expensive serum. It works better than anything else I've tried. Bang.

Edit 1:
I use pharmaceutical grade vitamin c powder from NOW. I start by dissolving 1/4 tsp of vitamin C powder in 1.5 tsp of water. Gently stir (do not heat) until all the powder has dissolved. Decant the vitamin C solution if small granules are left. Add 2-3 tsp of glycerin and stir; then add 1 tsp of almond oil (or your favorite face oil) and stir. I like to add 3 drops of rose oil. Make fresh serum every 3-4 weeks if it is stored in the refrigerator. Make fresh serum every week if it is not refrigerated. I find that the vegetable glycerin helps to moisturize my skin and bring all of the serum ingredients together, but leave it out if glycerin is not for you; you will need to shake/mix the water and oil together before applying. I do not recommend combining vitamin C powder with products like moisturizers, cleansers, or serums because the formulation could be sensitive to low pH or the vitamin C could break down in the presence of certain ingredients.

Edit 2:
Holy crap! I've been taking supplements lately and I think I stumbled across a potent combination. In addition to using homemade vitamin C serum 3-5 nights a week, I've been taking 1,200 mg of NAC (N-acetyl cysteine; with molybdenum and selenium) at night on an empty stomach before bed, 50 mg of zinc and 1,600 IU of D3 with breakfast, and 1/3 to 1/2 a packet of Emergen-C in the afternoon. This combination has improved my skin more than the retin-A and spironolactone prescription combo from hell, which was harsh and had several nasty side effects. I should probably mention that I am a redhead with PCOS-related acne and sun damage. By itself, NAC reduced my "chin beard" and slightly improved my skin tone, but when I combined it with the vitamin-C serum, my "liver spots" and pigmentation practically disappeared and my acne situation has improved. My retin-A (prescription) was not able to do all of this! I must admit that I'm not sure if the zinc, vitamin D, and Emergen-C are contributing to the result; I'm trying to avoid catching something nasty this winter, however, zinc has been shown to improve skin.

42 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Oily, Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I decided to try the DIY route with this because the research I found stated that vitamin C degrades quickly once mixed with distilled water and exposed to oxygen-eventually making it useless for your skin-and a total waste of money for whatever product you paid for claiming it has vitamin C in it. I bought the L-ascorbic powder for a reasonable price on Amazon. I use an old small spray bottle to mix and store in. The recommended constitution for 20% vitamin C is 4 tsp distilled water to 1 tsp powder. I make a new batch every seven days or so, I apply this every night with hyaluronic acid, coconut water toner, and my mixture of vitamins A and E.

It burns/tingles for a few seconds after application-especially if I just exfoliated but it isn't anything too terrible. For god sakes don't get this in your eyes though!

My skin has seemed to improve since using this but I use an arsenal of products so it is hard to say if this alone helped.
I will keep using this because it is 100% organic, cheap, and my skin seems to benefit from it.
Make sure you mix it well it takes a few minutes of swirling after mixing to disintegrate into the water.

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

on 8/29/2014 12:02:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Very Oily, Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I really love what vitamin c does for my skin. It really helps to even the tone and texture of my skin. I see a reduction in blemishes as well. I just do not like having to mix up a new batch all the time. Needless to say I have fell off the band wagon. I do catch a ride from time to time but I like my routine to be quick so I do not make this that often which is a shame and I really should just suck it up but I haven't so far hopefully one day lol.
That being said I do reallllly Love this. I do not like glycerin though as it causes me to break out no matter how little I use so I tend to leave it out of my recipe.

I found the best formula for my skin is just vit c and water. You can also put it in a dark colored travel spray bottle and spritz on like a toner.

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I love this! I Have tried everything for my dry sensitive comendoegenic prone skin. Cetaphil, proactive, neotrogena, clearasil, clinique, este lauder, clarins i even went to all natural cocnut oil avcado oil....this list can go on and on. Basicly I've tried just about everything hoping it would work. Doing minimal research an trying anything. One day i saw a couple youTube videos that didn't give me the answer but gave me the answer. One pointed out that i have been basicly shotting in the dark hoping and praying i hit something by doing minimal research about my skin. The other one gave me good research places to find the information i was seeking for my specific skin type.Realizing eveybodys skin is uniquely different like a fingerprint. My skin, like everyone else has the same basics and then there are the indepth up close differences i had to learn about to treat/ help myself.One of the things i learned was vitamin c serum was something i wanted to try because of my acne and all the scaring. I started with NuFountain vitamin c 20% i loved it! it made my skin glow reduced my scaring my forehead wrinkles and it actually helped get rid of my acne in less then 8 weeks.i did it 2x a day and at 22 a bottle i cant really say no. Until I found out how easy and much cheaper it would be to make my own and even make some for a few friends to try. So i got it off amazon for $11 LAA. I found a few recipes read the ingredients in the NuFountain bottle and followed. I LOVE THIS! and so do my friends. i highly recommend trying this. I am defenitly more inclined to making my own stuff especially since i havent tried to get acne meds or washes and i have been saving sooo much money.

7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

on 7/30/2014 11:39:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I make a very basic serum, 1/4t of fine powdered LAA, with 1 and 1/4t distilled water, swirl it around in a small glass beaker and transfer it to an brown glass dropper bottle. Each batch lasts a few days which is perfect since it does not stay stable/active for long. Since it's just water and LAA the formula is runny. My skin looks great, my forehead lines are much smoother and my 11 is diminished as well. The first few applications burned a bit as I was not used to 20%, but my face quickly grew accustomed to it. DIY C serum is such a huge bargain. I paid right around $10 total for a jar of LAA, a Gallon jug of distilled water, and a brown glass dropper bottle. It's going to take months for me to use the jar of LAA and I purchased the smallest size available. I love not paying $50 for a bottle of serum when I can make my own for pennies.

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

on 7/25/2014 6:34:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Sensitive, Olive, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I'd say this is my HG skin product, and it's really cheap to make. If I run out and don't get around to mixing up more for several days (...or weeks...), I WILL notice a difference--in the form of blackheads AND cystic acne! Ugh and OUCH. I think this is because the vitamin C's antioxidant properties keep the sebum in my pores from oxidizing and that its anti-imflammatory goodness keeps the deep cyst-forming processes from growing those giant, painful lumps.

And speaking of cystic acne, I've had a lot of it, and my face has borne the scars. Using a vitamin C serum morning and night has faded those scars significantly, and my version uses humectants to provide some kick-ass hydration as well. When it's humid enough out, I don't even need to use an additional moisturizer.

I've played around with percentages and hit on the exact formulation my skin loves best:

74.5% distilled water (22.35 g)
15% L-ascorbic acid (4.5 g)
10 % glycerin (3 g)
0.5% hyaluronic acid (.15 g)

I make it in 30-gram batches, because that amount fits perfectly into 1-oz amber glass dropper bottles and I can use it up in about 3 weeks to a month, so it doesn't oxidize and turn orange before I can use it up (provided I refrigerate it).

I know some people like to use vitamin C powder as they go, adding it to their morning moisturizer or other serum or something, but my sensitive skin and my engineer's brain prefer a more constant amount of vitamin C-- times when I've tried to mix it up on the fly haven't turned out well. It's far too easy to use too much vitamin C powder for a single use, which can be irritating to my skin and is also is a waste of my precious ingredients. I have to do all kinds of math and science to keep my skin happy. :)

I find that the vitamin C dissolves best if I don't just use crystals. I grind it up with mortar and pestle to get a finer consistency, but in the future I might just buy an ultra-fine powder to start with, even though it'll cost more.

Back when I first started making the serum, I didn't have the hyaluronic acid yet, and my recipe used equal amounts (by volume) of water and glycerin. That worked fine, but it was SO STICKY! I still like glycerin (it's really good for your skin!) but adding the HA makes this more potent in the hydration department and also helps to thicken the formula up, which I prefer. BTW the HA I use comes as powder, but you could also use a pre-made 1% HA serum here. That half-percent is the highest amount of HA powder I've been able to fully dissolve when other ingredients are included.

The dropper bottle I use does allow air into the serum when I use it, so it's not perfect. Ideally I'd have either an opaque glass airless pump bottle for this, or a broad-spectrum preservative (that could do well at such a low pH) but I haven't had any trouble with anything growing in it and subsequently on my skin (knock on wood).

24 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

on 7/20/2014 6:40:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

So I've been applying my homemade Vitamin C toner along with Cerave Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM for about 3-4 weeks now. After reading a bunch of benefits deriving from vitaminc C and niacinamide, I decided to give it a try. This time around, I've managed to use my old vitamin C pump bottle and put the mixed solution in there instead of of some random lid and spread it on my face daily, which btw is a bitch to do. I use about 1/4 tsp of ascorbic power and 1 tsp of plain old tap water, sometimes a bit more or less. This mades a roughly 20% vitamin C solution. People say to use distilled water but I keep forgetting about getting it from the store. I've put in an empty toilet paper roll to give it extra light protection and put it in the fridge since it's summer now and the heat can ruin the solution quicker. I find making this much amount of vitamin C toner is perfect because it typically lasts me about 4-5 days and vitamin C loses its efficacy quickly anyway. Also, when I apply the vitamin C with it being well-mixed, the doesn't leave my skin feeling dry and grainy like before.

I don't know if it's vitamin C itself, the Cerave lotion, or both but ever since I've been applying vitamin C serum in the morning along with applying Cerave lotion at night, I've been noticing my skin getting smoother and freckles less noticeable. My face's been feeling slightly fuller as well. Even the redness around my nose is getting a lot less noticable. My skin's been looking brighter and reflecting light better, and not because it's oily. And my skin doesn't break out from this, which is definitely a plus.

I haven't worn makeup in a while and my boyfriend told me I look great waking up in the morning. And I do notice my skin looking better without makeup as well. And just last week, some guy hit on me, even though I wasn't wearing any makeup and had horrible messy hair. I imagine the new skin routine has something to do with it.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Dry, Medium Brown, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

lightened my skin, got rid of my breakouts from. I have a nice glow, only use it at night.
I replaced glycerin with grapeseed oil. Use this link get me credits and get yourself $4 on 450g of vitamin c powder. Note that all forms of ascorbic acid are the same, just because there's no L does it diminish it's vitamin c powder.

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