Vitamin C has come a long way from the Flintstones tablets we used to get as a kid. You know, the kind that tastes like a SweeTart/Tang hybrid and erodes the roof of your mouth a little but somehow you never minded? Now we know that we should be upping our vitamin C intake for so much more than immune strength during flu season, but rather on the regular for our skin’s health and vibrancy. It’s not only an imperative precursor for our dear friend collagen, but it’s also a powerful antioxidant, assisting in protection against UV-induced photodamage.
Many studies indicate that it’s an absolutely vital antioxidant molecule for brain health, but this study makes it clear that the brain hordes vitamin C more than any other part of the body in its quest to prevent free-radical damage and the synthesis of aging on our most vital organ. Vitamin C plays a role in protecting neurons and speeding up their transmission time, which means quicker cognitive function. It’s necessary to convert dopamine to serotonin, and, just recently, has proven its role in preserving blood vessel integrity, which is a major factor in successful cognitive aging.
Free radicals aren’t just your fountain of youth’s nemeses, but also your body’s in its defense against disease. Your body doesn’t produce vitamin C on its own, so ingesting foods rich in vitamin C—or an even more reliable, scientifically acclaimed supplement—is your best bet. It’s super important to consume foods rich in iron, which boosts your body’s ability to absorb and use vitamin C, while vitamin C itself helps you absorb the iron.
We’ve mentioned that vitamin C is absolutely necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which is great news for everyone, but even better for vegans who can’t take a collagen supplement (all skin- and gut-friendly forms of collagen are animal-based products). Using it internally and topically will both show positive effects on the skin—brightening, firming, and reducing the look of fine lines. Win. Win. Win.
Here are a few Poosh-approved vitamin C picks.
C Radiance Nurture Oil
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, vitamin C is the holy grail ingredient when it comes to boosting your skin’s health and radiance. Apply the silky oil to your fingertips and then gently press into your skin.
Noni Bright Vitamin C Serum
Founder and CEO, Miranda Kerr, says it best, “this serum has helped brighten my pigmentation so much. It contains kakadu plum, which is the richest natural source of vitamin C. It helps brighten and firm, and also sits really well under makeup as it doesn’t peel or ball.”
Mighty Brighty Mask
If your skin is feeling dull, try this vitamin C-rich chamomile blend. It includes retinol, which is great for anti-aging. Friendly reminder: with retinol, you want to start slowly. Apply every third day, at night, then increase to every other night, then build to every night. It’s imperative to use sunscreen every morning, as retinol can increase your skin’s photosensitivity. We don’t use retinol during the day—and we don’t recommend it, either.
Note: This is an active mask. You may feel it tingle, and your face may temporarily flush with color as it oxygenates. Do not use if you have sensitive skin. Test on a small area first. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive, contact your doctor before using this product.
Topical - C
The Nue Co.
In powder form, this product is super stable and not at risk for quick degradation like a lot of other vitamin C serums on the market, making it an extremely potent supplement for your face. It’s spiked with ferulic acid, which is another plant-derived antioxidant to work double-time on the goal at hand. It dissolves and activates when mixed with your favorite serum or moisturizer of choice. You’ll notice a difference in brightness and fine lines after a few weeks of daily use.
Vitamin C Cocktail
We can take immune precautions, support the synthesis of collagen, take care of our nervous system, and defend against pollution, environmental damage, and free radicals, all with this powerful, available form of vitamin C. Dr. Nigma’s PureWay-C is liposomal for the best possible bioavailability that will bring you visible results—especially in your skin.
Consider this your new (vegan-friendly) a.m. happy hour cocktail.
How to use: As a dietary supplement, take one serving daily with food. For best results, mix one packet into 12-16 oz. of cool or room-temperature water. Shake/stir and enjoy immediately.
Reborn Brightening Mineral Mask
Rhassoul, rosehip, turmeric, gotu kola, sea buckthorn, and a few other superstars will restore a glow and some color to your cheeks while gently pulling out impurities. These ingredients soothe while fighting future breakouts and inflammation, and at the same time boost circulation for rapid healing and instant radiance.
Collagen Inner Beauty Boost Supercharged
The Beauty Chef
Yes, Kourt loves this elixir and drinks this often.
Papaya Bright Superfood Face Mask
This brightening mask is made with 100% pure, edible superfoods. Plus, it’s highly recommended by our CCO, Sarah Howard. “It’s a powder formulated with clean, good-for-you ingredients; add a few drops of water and it turns into a gel-like paste. I use this bowl and brush to apply—self-care at its finest. Leave on for 10-15 minutes and rinse off to reveal healthy, glowing skin. Like using the Paris filter but IRL!”
Sweet Extravagance Toothpaste
Not only does this French brand look extra chic on your bathroom counter, but it contains aloe vera, which is packed with vitamin C to assist in gum and wound healing.
Wild Rose Vitamin C Brightening Oil
This super vitamin C claims to be 1,000 times more stable than the typical ascorbic acid, and the real rose petals preserved so beautifully inside the bottle are an inspiring testament to its age-defying properties.
The Problem Solver Mask
Absolutely loaded with powerful and exotic natural ingredients, this powder mask is activated with water to transform into a gorgeous whipped texture. The spices and vitamin C are warming on the face, and as promised in the name, a transformation occurs. Rinse off to reveal brighter skin thanks to active botanicals blended with our good pal vitamin C. A Poosh favorite.
This daily hydrator is basically a super-quick-absorbing multivitamin for the skin. Loaded with vitamins C, A, B, E, and omegas 6 and 9, it’s an antioxidant-rich staple that you won’t be able to live without, and that’s OK, because this habit worth forming won’t break the bank! They have your skin’s best pH in mind when formulating this lotion, and the ingredient derivatives are all very transparent on their website.
Sun Body Oil
Laurel Whole Plant Organics
High in both vitamin C and E, this 100% whole plant organic oil is the perfect match for summer. While it’s not your typical sun screen per say, it allows you to enjoy some vitamin D responsibly, needing reapplication once per hour. It’s also used for after-sun care to nourish and lock in nature’s gifts. Tanning responsibly without smelling like a kid at a public pool? Sign us up.
Vitamin C Facial Serum
One Love Organics
One Love Organics’ vitamin C ester is a potent and stable form of vitamin C, built to last. It’s juiced up with rose hip, baobab, acerola, and sea buckhorn to deliver even more plant-derived vitamin C for naturally glowing and radiant results. We’re also a fan of this brand’s Vitamin C Body Oil and Botanical C Body Polish for some shower-time faves.
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