Clinique, Elemis and Ole Henriksen: The best beauty products with vitamin C –

A  few years ago I tried to write a feature about vitamin C and its benefits for the skin, but ended up sending it to trash instead of to print. The problem, I discovered, was that although brilliant for brightening your complexion and banishing damaging free radicals, there were very few beauty companies incorporating it in their products properly – so it wasn’t worth your time or mine. 

The issue is that many forms of vitamin C can be very “unstable”, meaning it comes with a don’ts list as long as your arm. While it’s not quite “laboratory conditions only”, essentially it can lose its potency once it is exposed to moisture, air and heat. 

Fast-forward to 2017 and there is orange packaging everywhere. Which is good news because when the vitamin is incorporated properly, the results are addictively good – and with the right product, you’ll see effects in a matter of days. 

One of the newest to market is Clinique Fresh Pressed Cleanser and Booster with Vitamin C (£58; 0800 054 2666, Activate the powder with water and work into a lather on the skin. You leave it for a minute before rinsing so the ingredients can do their thing.

As for the booster part of the package, simply mix a few drops with your usual moisturiser. You’ll have a glow about you that will leave people wondering what you’ve been up to. 

If you’re looking to change the usual three-pronged approach to your complexion, not only does Ole Henriksen Power Bright (£40; 03456 049049, smell fantastic, but also the results of this three-step facial system are impressive.

Start with the polish mask to ensure skin is flake free and in the best condition for benefitting from the concentrate and melting cleanser that follow. Skin is brighter and smoother, and fine lines will be less obvious. 

Age spots an issue? Elemis White Brightening Dark Spot Corrector (£35; 0117 316 1888, is definitely worth a shot. The vitamin C is contained within micro-spheres, which only burst once rubbed into the skin. This means the cream doesn’t sit on your bathroom shelf losing potency, and the active ingredients will still be working at full potential when you – and your sun damage – are ready for them. As with everything, these work most effectively in the early stages, so don’t expect them to banish a mark you’ve had brewing for 20 years.

In fact, vitamin C products in general work wonders with pigmentation problems, and with diligence REN Radiance Perfection Serum (£35; 020 7734 1234, will certainly help you reap benefits, reducing the effect of UV exposure and leaving your skin looking renewed. But it’s not one for you if you have particularly delicate skin. 

To be fair, I should point out that it isn’t unusual – sensitive types may well find they have trouble with many of the most potent forms of vitamin C. If you don’t want to feel left out of the season’s biggest skin trend, start gently. Sunday Riley CEO Moisturizer (£60; 020 8740 2085, could be for you.

The THD ascorbate is a photostable form of the antioxidant but significantly less irritating than some of its closer cousins, such as ascorbic acid. Super hydrating as well as a youth booster, this velvety lotion is also free from parabens, sulphates and phthalates, which is a definite boon for more tender souls. 

With 10.5 per cent vitamin C – in this instance L-asorbic acid – Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate (£49.50; 0800 783 3975, isn’t pulling any punches, getting to work to help boost your natural collagen levels. It’s worth noting you might find a slight sting when you first start using this but it isn’t something that should be a problem for long, while the addition of glycerin will ensure skin is plumped with moisture and its texture significantly improved. 

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% (£8.90; proves 

that you don’t have to spend big bucks to get the best ingredients – or great-looking skin. It uses ascorbyl glucoside, a water-soluble derivative of vitamin C, which means it can retain its powers despite being incorporated into a silky serum. 

Finally, if you’re looking for a quick burst of hydration while on the move, The Body Shop Vitamin C Energising Face Mist (£12; 0800 092 9090, uses camu camu from the Amazonian rainforest because it is rich in the ingredient of the moment.

It’s a light, refreshing spritz, though when it comes to getting your vitamin fix, I have a feeling it might just be the beauty equivalent of drinking concentrate rather than freshly squeezed. 


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