6 Drugstore Vitamin C Serums That Are Actually Amazing

Vitamin C serums can boost skin’s radiance and protect against free-radical damage—and there are many effective (and cost-effective!) options at your local Canadian drugstore.

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Vitamin C is recommended by dermatologists everywhere (seriously, we asked several of them) as an effective way to make skin look bright and smooth.

How does it work exactly? It reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation and boosts collagen production to minimize the appearance of fine lines, says Julia Carroll, a certified dermatologist at Compass Dermatology. What’s more, “most patients find the texture of their skin improves, and they get a bit more that glow that they’re looking for,” she says.

The best way to apply vitamin C is, arguably, via serum. It should be put on in the morning, after cleansing, and before moisturizer and sunscreen. “I wouldn’t put vitamin C on at the same time as say a retinoid or glycolic acid,” says Carroll. “You don’t want too many active ingredients at one time because they can cancel each other out—or it can just be too much for your skin to handle.” Vitamin C can be irritating at first, especially if you have sensitive skin, so be sure to do a test patch first and follow the directions on the package of the product.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly pick, you’ve come to the right place! We rounded up six of the best drugstore vitamin C serums available in Canada.

(Related: Still have questions about vitamin C serums? Here’s everything you need to know.)

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No7 Vitamin C

Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum for Normal Skin: No7 Radiance+ 15% Vitamin C Serum

This gel-based formula is fast-absorbing, with a mid-range concentration of vitamin C at 15 percent (most range from 10 to 20)—meaning its good for those with skin that’s not overly sensitive. It boasts a light citrus smell, and it’s one of the more affordable options, making it an ideal pick for those just getting started.

No7 Radiance+ 15% Vitamin C Serum, $29, shoppersdrugmart.ca

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Lise Waiter Vitamin C

Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum for Dry Skin: Lise Watier Sublimessence High Brightening Vitamin C Serum

This Canadian company includes two homegrown ingredients in their 20 percent serum—Labrador tea, a powerful antioxidant, and Boreal white pine extract, which helps to improve skin tone and reduce discoloration. Ferulic acid improves the efficacy of vitamin C while providing an extra dose of antioxidants. It’s safe for all skin types, including those with dry skin.

Lise Watier Sublimessence High Brightening Vitamin C Serum, $88, shoppersdrugmart.ca

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La Roche Posay Vitamin C

Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum for Oily Skin: La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C10 Serum

Vitamin C contains anti-inflammatory properties to soothe acne and balance oily skin, all while smoothing fine lines and restoring a glow. La Roche-Posay’s version is ideal for those with oily skin. It contains salicylic acid to exfoliate clogged pores and hyaluronic acid, because even oily skin needs to stay hydrated.

La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C10 Serum, $55, shoppersdrugmart.ca

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Cerave Vitamin C

Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum for Sensitive Skin: CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid

Three types of ceramides—important fats found in skin cells that help maintain its healthy outer barrier—can be found in this gentle, yet powerful serum as well as hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 to hydrate and protect sensitive skin. It helps skin feel softer and appear more radiant without irritation—making it a great pick for newbies.

CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid, $31, shoppersdrugmart.ca

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Neutrogena Vitamin C

Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum in a Capsule: Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Vitamin C Serum

Capsules have some benefits over liquid—you break them open to get the right dose each time and the ingredients are individually sealed for maximum freshness and efficacy. These ones by Neutrogena are seaweed-derived and biodegradable. They contain 20 percent vitamin C for visible results in just one week.

Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Vitamin C Serum, $42, shoppersdrugmart.ca

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Loreal Revitalift Triple Power Lzr Vitamin C Serum

Best Drugstore Vitamin C Serum for Mature Skin

Formulated to harness every drop of natural benefits, this pure concentrate is made without water and is sealed in an airtight tube to prevent any reduction in potency due to exposure to light or air. It’s safe for sensitive skin, but powerful enough that users see visible results after only one week.

L’Oreal Revitalift Triple Power LZR 10% Pure Vitamin C Concentrate, $41, shoppersdrugmart.ca

Next: 8 Drugstore Eye Creams for Every Skin Need

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