Unless you live in sunny Los Angeles or Miami, you’re probably just emerging from your dank wintertime cave while squinting your eyes in the bright spring sunlight. If you’re like me, you’ve been popping vitamin C supplements to bolster your body’s immunity and stave off illness. But it turns out that vitamin C is also beneficial to the skin when used topically, working as an antioxidant to help fend off environmental damage and helping to brighten the skin—especially skin that is looking dull after a long hibernation.
Here are some of my favorite vitamin C–packed beauty products that promise to get your sorry skin back in sunny shape. And don’t worry, you won’t smell like a walking orange after using these products. Some smell vaguely fruity when applied, but the scent dissipates quickly.
Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate ($60) at Nordstrom
This serum is clinically proven to improve the skin’s texture and tone while enhancing radiance. It was warm on my skin as I applied it, so it felt like it was really working. It’s loaded with 10.5 percent pure vitamin C to nourish the skin and protect it from environmental damage. It’s light enough to be used under makeup but can also be used at night.
Altchek MD Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 ($29.99) at Ulta
An excellent daytime treatment for normal-to-dry skin, this whipped cream provides moisture, firmness and sun protection without leaving an oily residue. Feel free to slap on your makeup right after applying!
Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream ($39) at Birchbox
Like a little CC with your C? This slightly fruity-scented 12-in-1 multitasker is high in vitamin C and appropriate for all skin types. It’s available in five shades that subtly conceal discoloration and work to eradicate the signs of aging and sun damage with regular use. I use the Sun-Kissed Glow shade and just dab it where I need it. It also improves firmness and elasticity while protecting the skin from the sun with SPF 30 and, well, the list goes on!
Prescriptives Vibrant-C Skin Brightening Cream Moisturizer ($52) at Prescriptives
This luxurious, emollient cream contains advanced micro-optic luminizers that brighten dull skin. Over time you will see an improvement in your skin’s clarity as well as the diminishment of age spots, which I’m sure we’d all like to see vanish. Slather it on at night and let it do its work!
Peter Thomas Roth Camu Camu Power C Sleeping Mask ($62) at Sephora
This intensive nighttime treatment for normal-to-dry skin derives its vitamin C from the Amazonian camu camu berry, which has 30 times the vitamin C of an orange. The clear mask doesn’t feel sticky, and it works overnight to revitalize and hydrate your skin. Rinse it off easily in the morning. It’s the perfect mask for the lazy.
Dermadoctor Kakadu C Amethyst Clay Detox Mask ($58) at Sephora
This is a great mask for normal-to-oily skin, as it contains magnesium-rich amethyst clay, which absorbs oil and impurities and helps keep the pores clear. The mask also boasts the super fruit kakadu plum, which contains on average 55 times more vitamin C than an orange, protecting your skin from environmental damage while brightening it. After using it, my skin felt extra clean and firm but not uncomfortably tight. My pores loved it.
Vitamin C Energizing Face Spritz ($19) at The Body Shop
This refreshing, multitasking spray also uses the camu camu berry as its source of vitamin C. Spray it on to set your makeup, or use it to rehydrate the skin after the gym or during a flight. I like to keep it in the fridge to use as a cooling spray during the humid days of summer.
Burt’s Bees Rejuvenating Lip Balm With Acai Berry ($2.97) at Walmart
Dry lips? This balm is packed with the super fruit acai berry, which contains high levels of vitamin C to keep lips soft and nourished, no matter the weather. Your lips will feel smooth and supple in no time.