As the world is getting washed by the “K-wave,” it isn’t surprising to see Korean skincare products replacing western brands like Clinique, CeraVe, and Neutrogena.
In fact, today, if you don’t know what’s “glass skin” and “snail mucin” you’re probably living under a rock! Well, for starters, the term “glass skin” refers to a clear, glowy skin tone. And while many use high-coverage foundations and concealers to achieve the smooth glass-like texture, following a proper skincare routine is the first and most important step.
As such, skincare products with unusual ingredients like snail mucin (basically, snail secretion), rice water, ginseng, etc., have become a must-have on every skincare enthusiast’s shelf. But if all of that sounds too intimidating, why not start with something most of us are familiar with? Like the good old vitamin C!
So, today, we’ll be reviewing five top-notch Korean vitamin C serums you must try.
5 Best Korean Vitamin C Serums For Glowing Skin Reviews
1. SeoulCeuticals Day Glow Serum – Best For Wrinkled, Blemished Skin
The SeoulCeuticals Day Glow Serum is for users with mature skin as it reduces the appearance of wrinkles, blemishes, and sunspots. It is packed with powerful anti-aging ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ferulic acid, and of course, the star of the show – vitamin C! Together, these ingredients help remove acne scars, minimize pores, prevent pimples, and more. So, the next time you wear makeup, your clear, healthy skin will act as the perfect base.
Moreover, the product contains the natural goodness of organic ingredients, so rest assured that you won’t be applying any chemicals or harsh elements to your sensitive skin. The brand further claims that daily use of the product makes your skin healthy and glow naturally within three weeks. As such, it is popular as a cheaper dupe of the pricier, Western product, Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Serum.
The runny, watery texture and slight orange color of this vitamin C serum may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Overall, the SeoulCeuticals Day Glow Serum is one of the few Korean vitamin C serums that work for all skin types – oily, dry, normal, combination, acne-prone, and sensitive. Plus, the serum has a citrus scent, which offers a refreshing feeling while using it. The topical vitamin C serum will also help slow down skin aging and brighten dull skin.
2. Wishtrend Vitamin C Serum – Best Cruelty-free Formula
The Wishtrend Pure Vitamin C 21.5% Advanced Serum is ideal for those looking for a cruelty-free and fragrance-free formula. Also, this Korean vitamin C serum has no color, unlike the previous product. With skin-loving ingredients like ascorbic acid, sodium hyaluronate, and sodium lactate, this serum targets dead skin cells to improve skin tone. Using this anti-aging product regularly will ensure naturally glowing skin in no time.
Coming to details, the serum contains 21.5% pure vitamin C and 70% vitamin tree water, making it one of the most potent serums on the market. And many users rave about it being gentle enough for sensitive skin. In fact, this Korean vitamin C serum is suitable for normal, dry, oily, combination, and acne-prone skin as well.
Additionally, the serum is effective in reducing dark spots, preventing wrinkles and fine lines, and brightening uneven skin tone. No wonder it is the brand’s best-selling skincare product for the fifth year in a row!
If we had to nitpick, we’d say that this high potent vitamin C product may cause irritation/itchiness initially.
Wishtrend is a popular Korean skincare brand, especially among the YouTube beauty community, and this pure vitamin C serum lives up to its reputation. The serum seeps into the skin, leaving no greasy or sticky residue. Lastly, the brand suggests using this serum in combination with a vitamin E product for better brightening and exfoliation.
3. Purito Vitamin C Serum – Best For Cell Regeneration
Speaking of exfoliation, it is an essential step that removes dead skin cells and boosts collagen production. However, physical exfoliation is not recommended for acne-prone and sensitive skin types. And that’s when this cell-regenerating Purito Vitamin C Serum enters the scene.
Thanks to the 5% ascorbic acid in the mix, this vitamin C serum works well on hyperpigmented, uneven skin tone. It reduces skin dullness and increases skin elasticity for an overall youthful-looking skin texture. Plus, the formula is vegan, cruelty-free, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free, making it suitable for all skin types.
The product includes unique skincare ingredients like bamboo water that soothes irritated skin. It is also ideal for strengthening your skin barrier, which many of us end up damaging by experimenting with random skincare products during our teenage years!
The only bummer about the Purito pure vitamin C serum is the thick and runny texture.
Despite the aforementioned factor, the product boasts a non-oily and non-sticky formula. So, with the right sunscreen, it works for all skin types in all climates. All-in-all, this pure vitamin C product is suitable for treating dark spots and other signs of sun damage.
4. Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop – Best Vegan Formula For Oily Skin
The Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop is your daily dose of vitamin C that seeps into the skin, revealing a bright, youthful glow in a few weeks’ time. Unlike some of the heavier products discussed above, this pure vitamin C serum contains Centella Asiatica extract (cica) and L-ascorbic acid to create a non-oily moisturizing serum.
So, if you think oily skin type can do away with serum, think again! In fact, more sebum production leads to acne-prone skin, which can be soothed and improved with vitamin C. Not to forget, the product boasts the perfect water-oil balance, so you need not worry about the serum feeling too heavy on your skin. Simply pat the product after use, and your skin will readily absorb its goodness.
Finally, like most other vitamin C serums reviewed above, this product is suitable for dry, oily, combination, normal, and sensitive skin types.
The addition of essential oils in the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop works like a double-edged sword. This is because, although essential oils can treat multiple skin concerns, some users may be sensitive to them.
This Korean vitamin C serum from Klairs works wonders on acne scars and dull skin. Despite being a drugstore product, it definitely packs a punch with skin-loving ingredients like ascorbic acid, Centella Asiatica extract, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, and multiple peptides. Notably, the brand has taken the extra mile by getting the product tested for sensitive skin, skin irritations, and antioxidants.
5. Neogen Dermalogy Vitamin C Serum – Best For Skin Tightening
Skin elasticity becomes a major concern with age, as the lack of it contributes to wrinkles and fine lines. However, with regular use of this Korean vitamin C serum, mature users can reap the benefits of super potent vitamin C, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, and niacinamide. All of these ingredients work synergistically to brighten skin tone, promote skin tightening, and enhance skin moisture.
Not to forget, it contains hyaluronic acid as well, which is a holy grail for dehydrated, aging skin. It boosts collagen production, making your skin feel firmer with each use. Besides, the skin-loving ingredients prevent further skin troubles like acne scars, dark spots, dry skin, etc.
Interestingly, the product contains high concentrations of vitamin C in the form of lemon extract, orange extract, tangerine extract, grapefruit extract, and lime extract.
This Korean vitamin C serum may be too runny for layering under makeup.
Although this serum is not “revolutionary,” as the brand tags it, it does a good job of preventing oxidative damage, which is one of the main causes of skin aging. With regular use, the vitamin C serum strikes the perfect balance between moisture and exfoliation, helping you achieve glowing skin.
FAQs Regarding The Best Korean Vitamin C Serum
1. What Are The Skincare Benefits Of Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an integral part of our diet, thanks to its numerous health benefits. And this powerful ingredient is just as important, if not more, in your skincare routine.
Being a water-soluble potent antioxidant, vitamin C can be easily incorporated into skincare and beauty products. More so because it protects the skin cells against ultraviolet rays and oxidative damage, making it an excellent ingredient in anti-aging products.
Additionally, vitamin C promotes skin hydration and increases collagen production, thereby helping you achieve youthful-looking, healthy skin.
Besides acting as a preventative measure, vitamin C works wonders on dull skin with uneven skin tone. As such, it reduces acne scars, hyperpigmentation, inflammation, and dark spots and may even relieve some symptoms of skin diseases like herpes zoster, atopic dermatitis, etc.
2. How To Choose The Best Korean Vitamin C Serum For Your Skincare Needs?
A. Form Of Vitamin C
Some of the common vitamin C derivatives used in skincare and beauty products are as follows:
a. Ascorbic acid (also known as L-ascorbic acid or L-AA)
b. 3-O ethyl ascorbic acid
c. Ascorbyl Palmitate
d. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate
e. Retinyl ascorbate
f. Ascorbyl glucoside
g. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate
h. Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate
To begin with, L-ascorbic acid works like a one-man-army against various skin issues! This is because most of the skincare-related research has been conducted on this form of vitamin C. It is known to penetrate the skin barrier without weakening it and boasts skin-brightening and anti-aging properties.
Unfortunately, L-AA is highly potent and unstable and, thus, easily oxidizes when exposed to moisture and light. As such, sodium ascorbyl phosphate can be a more suitable vitamin C derivative, especially for those with sensitive skin. Although it is less active than L-AA, this very factor makes it less irritating and more durable under sun and air exposure.
B. Concentration Of Vitamin C
Needless to say, a high concentration of vitamin C implies more efficacy. While a vitamin C concentration of 20% is significantly effective in treating hyperpigmentation, a serum with just 0.6% of vitamin C also offers multiple skin benefits. In fact, if you’re a skincare newbie, we highly recommend starting with a lower concentration of vitamin C.
Note that not all vitamin C serums mention the concentration of the ingredient on their packaging. In such cases, it may not contain the required amount of the ingredient, so it’s best to avoid them.
C. Other Beneficial Ingredients
If you struggle with multiple skincare issues, it is best to opt for a Korean vitamin C serum that contains other skin-benefitting ingredients as well. But keep in mind that vitamin C may not be compatible with some ingredients.
That said, vitamin C, in combination with vitamin E, makes a power duo for fighting sun damage and increasing collagen production. This is because vitamin C, being a potent antioxidant, benefits from the collagen-regulating properties of vitamin E. Hence, both of these ingredients work synergistically to strengthen and maintain the skin barrier.
Moreover, ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ferulic acid, sodium hyaluronate, aloe vera, and Camellia Sinensis leaf extract work well with vitamin C and suit almost any skin type.
D. Product Packaging
Like most other antioxidants, vitamin C is prone to oxidation when it comes in direct contact with harsh sunlight and oxygen. Hence, most Korean vitamin C serums are available in opaque glass packaging.
Additionally, you must store the vitamin C serum in a cool, dry, and dark place to ensure it lasts long.
Some skincare enthusiasts prefer to store their vitamin C products in the fridge to prevent oxidation. Further, ensure that you finish the product within 3-6 months of opening or until you notice the color of the serum changing to tan or brown. Once that happens, dispose of the product, as using oxidized vitamin C serum will cause more damage to the skin.
3. What’s The Difference Between Korean And American Skincare?
A. Focus Of The Skincare Product
Most Korean beauty bloggers swear by following a strict skincare routine. Hence, usually, Korean skincare products are affordable and accessible to all. In the West, however, skincare products are largely manufactured by high-end luxury brands, making them rather expensive.
Because of this price difference, most Koreans begin their skincare journey early in their teenage years. As such, products are focused on the prevention of skin-related issues. Western skincare, on the other hand, is more concerned with treating existing skincare problems. Consequently, the products contain more chemicals and hence, are pricier.
B. Number Of Steps In The Skincare Routine
Most Americans, even celebrities, follow a simple skincare regimen consisting of three basic steps – cleansing, toning, and moisturizing (CTM). On the contrary, a typical Korean skincare routine involves 10-15 steps. For them, it is not just skincare; it is a way of winding down after a long day at work!
Masking among Americans and Koreans is common, but the type of masks they use is different.
While Americans prefer clay masks for detoxifying the skin, Koreans cannot get enough of sheet masks, which are more focused on hydration. In fact, sheet masks form a huge part of the Korean skincare and beauty scene and are slowly taking over the West.
Popular sheet mask ingredients include tea tree oil, pearl, royal honey, aloe vera, and horse oil.
As mentioned earlier, exfoliation isn’t supposed to be done daily, especially if you have active pimples on your skin. However, Koreans are big on gentle exfoliation, with the products containing bead-like particles to cleanse the skin gently yet effectively. Exfoliation in American skincare, however, involves scrubbing products to reduce blackheads and dead skin cells.
Keeping the skin hydrated is an essential part of Korean skincare. Hence, it consists of several steps incorporating serums, essences, eye creams, face creams, and moisturizing sheet masks. Most of these products are unknown in the Western skincare and beauty scene.
For starters, after cleansing, you can use a toner to maintain the pH balance of your skin. Then a serum and essence will help increase the moisture level of your skin since both are either water-based or oil-based products that facilitate quick absorption.
Thereafter, you can use your preferred face creams and eye creams. The last step is applying sunscreen or masking, depending on whether you’re heading out or catching up on some beauty sleep!
That said, we have come to the end of our extensive guide on Korean vitamin C serums. However, whichever vitamin C serum you use, ensure that you top it off with generous amounts of sunscreen to prevent sun damage.
Also, avoid using exfoliants, both chemical and physical, on the same day, as vitamin C can make your skin barrier sensitive. Because of this reason, it is always beneficial to conduct a patch test before using any product with a high concentration of vitamin C.
Just keep these points in mind to make the most of this natural and potent antioxidant. And within a few weeks, get ready to flaunt healthy, hydrated, and naturally glowing skin!