• 10 Best Tried and True Japanese Vitamin C Serums in 2022 (Beauty Expert-Reviewed) 1
  • 10 Best Tried and True Japanese Vitamin C Serums in 2022 (Beauty Expert-Reviewed) 2
  • 10 Best Tried and True Japanese Vitamin C Serums in 2022 (Beauty Expert-Reviewed) 3
  • 10 Best Tried and True Japanese Vitamin C Serums in 2022 (Beauty Expert-Reviewed) 4
  • 10 Best Tried and True Japanese Vitamin C Serums in 2022 (Beauty Expert-Reviewed) 5

10 Best Tried and True Japanese Vitamin C Serums in 2022 (Beauty Expert-Reviewed)

Are you looking for a serum that can add plenty of moisture your skin? Do you want something that can help minimize signs of aging, like sagging skin and wrinkles? Do you want your skin to regulate sebum production better? Vitamin C serums are popular in Japan for their skin firming, beautifying, and moisturizing effects. Additionally, they can help minimize dark spots and prevent excess melanin production. In Japan, where having bright, moisturized, and plump skin is most sought after, there isn't a shortage of vitamin C serums available on the market.


When it comes to ingredients, ascorbic acid is known as the purest form of vitamin C as a serum. However, other kinds stabilize this pure form to make them water-soluble, oil-soluble, or long-acting to make them a safe skincare item to use daily. Still, even if you know what kind of vitamin C you're looking for, there is an abundance of brands like Fujifilm, Dr. Ci:Labo, and Rohto, to name a few, all with different concentrations and formulas that address different skin concerns, making it difficult to know where to begin looking.


To help you find the best vitamin C serum for you, we gathered the 52 best-selling products on e-commerce sites popular in Japan, like Amazon, Rakuten Ichiba, Yahoo! Shopping, @cosme SHOPPING, and tested them all.


Then, based on our tests, we chose and ranked the 10 best Japanese vitamin C serums available online. Alongside information regarding the effectiveness of each serum, we also included information about each product's acne and spot care abilities and compatibilities with skin sensitivity and sun exposure. To learn about all of this, read our handy buying guide. 

Featured in this article

Kaori
Mai Horiuchi
  • Last updated: 08-25-2022
Table of Contents

What Exactly Does a Vitamin C Serum Do?

What Exactly Does a Vitamin C Serum Do?

Vitamin C serums are said to have several benefits. Its moisturizing properties can make your pores look smaller, help alleviate dullness, and support a natural balance of oils on the skin.


Among the medicated beauty products that contain vitamin C as an active ingredient, some also help suppress the production of melanin to prevent spots and freckles and have anti-acne effects. Additionally, many online users report that blemishes were less noticeable after using Japanese vitamin C serums, and their skin felt incredibly hydrated afterward.


However, these effects are only preventative. Since it doesn't help existing problems, it's important to carefully consider the timing of use and help protect your skin before you start having these concerns.

How to Choose a Japanese Vitamin C Serum

Here are four points to check for when choosing a vitamin C serum for you.

5% For Sensitive Skin, 25% For Aging Care

5% For Sensitive Skin, 25% For Aging Care

Vitamin C is said to be more effective as the concentration gets higher. However, this high concentration can irritate people with sensitive skin. Thus, a concentration of around 5% is recommended for those with sensitive skin. 


On the other hand, a higher concentration of around 25% is recommended for those using a vitamin C serum to prevent aging effects to obtain the best results. Pay careful attention to the ingredients list for vitamin C serums that do not list the concentrations.


If vitamin C follows moisturizing ingredients like glycerine or butylene glycol, you can expect the vitamin C concentration to be relatively high. In addition, if the product is medicinal, check to see if vitamin C is listed as an active ingredient.

Kaori
Scientific Beautician
Kaori

Serums with high concentrations of vitamin C can irritate sensitive skin and make it difficult to use regularly. Thus, it isn't necessarily so that products with higher vitamin C concentrations are better.


Especially for those with sensitive skin, these higher concentration products can be irritating, and thus, it may be a good idea to start with a lower concentration and work your way up, keeping a close eye on how your skin reacts.

Look For Pure Vitamin C for Immediate Results and Vitamin C Derivatives for Delayed Results

Look For Pure Vitamin C for Immediate Results and Vitamin C  Derivatives for Delayed Results

Products with pure vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, show results immediately after application. However, it does not penetrate the skin easily, is unstable, and can be an irritant to sensitive skin.


Thus, a stabilized version of ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C derivatives, can be a better option. Look for this when checking the ingredient list of your product. Also, check to see if the product has good ingredients with high permeability and sustainability (on the skin). Take a look below for examples of such ingredients.


Products that contain both pure vitamin C and vitamin C derivatives can show effects with a delay. Be sure to also look for these names on the ingredient list to be aware of how your product will work.


Ingredients With High Permeability:

  • 3-O-Ethyl ascorbic acid
  • Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate
  • Trisodium ascorbyl palmitate phosphate (APPS)

Ingredients With High Sustainability:

  • Ascorbyl glucoside
  • 3-Glyceryl ascorbate
Kaori
Scientific Beautician
Kaori

Among the vitamin C derivatives, 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid is the one that I recommend most.


Typically, vitamin C derivatives work by decomposing within the skin; however, this one works without doing so and is therefore gentle on the skin while having a long-lasting effect.

Check for Other Ingredients That Can Help With Acne Care or Skin Brightening

Check for Other Ingredients That Can Help With Acne Care or Skin Brightening

For people who are also looking for skin brightening effects or acne care, look for a medicated serum that contains ingredients to help you achieve these results.


Vitamin C itself may be included as an active ingredient in these serums. The image above, however, lists active ingredients that specifically help with acne care and skin whitening. Look for these in your products if this is something you desire!

Find a Texture That Suits Your Desired Feel

Find a Texture That Suits Your Desired Feel

Vitamin C serums come in a variety of different textures. For example, some are more liquid-like, while others are more gel-like or oily. Serums containing oil-soluble vitamin C derivatives tend to feel more oily.


In addition, products with high concentrations of vitamin C tend to be thicker and stickier. Since everyone has different preferences on what feels good to them, look for a product that is comfortable to use for you!

10 Best Japanese Vitamin C Serums

We gathered the 52 best-selling products on e-commerce sites popular in Japan, like Amazon, Rakuten Ichiba, Yahoo! Shopping, @cosme SHOPPING, and tested them all.


※Note that Japanese prices for some of the products are given; they’ve merely been converted into USD for easy viewing. Prices were gathered from respective e-commerce sites on July 20, 2022.


※※The experts featured in this article reviewed the buying guide's contents for accuracy, provided factual corrections when necessary, and participated in the actual product testing. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with our choices unless explicitly stated so.

Image
1
Fujifilm Astalift White Essence Infilt 1

Fujifilm

2
Etvos Acne VC Cream Gel I 1

Etvos

3
Tokiwa Pharmaceutical Co.. Ltd. Nameraka Honpo Medicinal Whitening Essence 1

Tokiwa Pharmaceutical Co.. Ltd.

4
Ayura Laboratories Ayura White Concentrate 1

Ayura Laboratories

5
Dr.Ci:Labo VC100 Double Repair Serum 1

Dr.Ci:Labo

6
Daiichi Sankyo Minon Amino Moist Mild Whitening 1

Daiichi Sankyo

7
Takami Takami Essence CE 1

Takami

8
Rohto Pharmaceutical Melano CC Medicinal Stain Concentration Countermeasure Premium Beauty Liquid 1

Rohto Pharmaceutical

9
JPS Labo unlabel LAB V Essence 1

JPS Labo

10
Zenyaku Kogyo Arouge Whitening Essence 1

Zenyaku Kogyo

Name

Astalift White Essence Infilt

Acne VC Cream Gel I

Nameraka Honpo Medicinal Whitening Essence

Ayura White Concentrate

VC100 Double Repair Serum

Minon Amino Moist Mild Whitening

Takami Essence CE

Melano CC Medicinal Stain Concentration Countermeasure Premium Beauty Liquid

unlabel LAB V Essence

Arouge Whitening Essence

Features

Serum With Superb Moisturizing Abilities and Skin Conditioning Effects

Whitening and Conditioning Serum With High Quality and Quantity of Vitamin C

A Gentle Serum Suitable for Sensitive Skin With Great Moisture Retention

Brightening Serum To Help Combat Rough Skin and Spots

Serum With Ultra Light and Refreshing Texture but Low Moisture Retention Abilities

Gentle Lotion-Like Serum Great for Sensitive Skin but Not Suitable for Severely Dry Skin

Great Skin Conditioning Serum With Three Types of Vitamin C Ingredients

Serum With Perfect Composition of Ingredients but Mixed Reviews on Feel

Excellent Ingredient Composition and Moisturizing Power but Uncommon Scent

Whitening Essence With Beautifying Effects for Normal Skin Types

Price$81.08$46.76$6.81$66.06$69.63$44.63$35.78$14.39$18.25$22.49
Japanese富士フイルム アスタリフト エッセンス インフィルトエトヴォス 薬用 アクネVCクリームジェル I常盤薬品工業 なめらか本舗 薬用美白美容液アユーラ ラボラトリーズ アユーラ ホワイトコンセントレートドクターシーラボ VC100ダブルリペアセラム第一三共ヘルスケア ミノン 薬用マイルド ホワイトニングタカミ タカミエッセンスCEロート製薬 メラノCC 薬用しみ集中対策プレミアム美容液ジェイピーエスラボ アンレーベル ラボ Vエッセンス全薬工業 アルージェ ホワイトニング エッセンス
TypeQuasi-drugQuasi-drugQuasi-drugQuasi-drugCosmeticQuasi-drugCosmeticQuasi-drugCosmeticQuasi-drug
Vitamin C ingredientsMagnesium ascorbyl phosphateAscorbyl Tetra-2-hexyldecanoateMagnesium ascorbyl phosphate, L-ascorbic acid dl-α-tocopherol phosphoric acid diester potassium salt3-O-ethyl ascorbic acidAscorbic acid, 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid, trisodium ascorbyl palmitate phosphateL-Ascorbic acid 2-glucosideAscorbic acid, 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, trisodium ascorbyl palmitate phosphateAscorbic acid, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid 2-glucosideAscorbyl tetraisopalmitate, 3-glyceryl ascorbateAscorbic acid 2-glucoside, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate
Vitamin C typeWater-soluble vitamin C derivativeOil-soluble vitamin C derivativeWater-soluble vitamin C derivative, water-soluble vitamin CE derivativeWater-soluble vitamin C derivativePure vitamin C, water-soluble vitamin C derivative, amphiphilic vitamin C derivativeWater-soluble vitamin C derivartivePure vitamin C, water-soluble vitamin C derivative, amphiphilic vitamin C derivativeOil-soluble vitamin C derivative, pure vitamin C, water-soluble vitamin C derivativeOil-soluble vitamin C derivative, water-soluble vitamin C derivativeOil-soluble vitamin C derivative, water-soluble vitamin C derivative
Main moisturizing ingredientsButylene glycol, betaine, concentrated glycerin, dipropylene glycol, pentylene glycol, diglycerinButylene glycol, concentrated glycerin, arginine, glycine, 1,2-pentanediol, cholesterol, stearoylphytosphingosine, N-stearoyldihydrosphingosine, hydroxystearylphytosphingosine, sodium PCA, sodium lactate solution, L-aspartic acid, PCA, L-alanine, L-serine, L-valine, L-sioleucine, steonin, L-proline, L-histidine, L-phenylalanineButylene glycol, concentrated glycerin, sugar squalane, diglycerine, fermented soymilk, trimethylglycine, phytosterol soybean extractConcentrated glycerin, 1,2-pentane diol, 1,3-butylene glycol, phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, sodium hyaluronate (2), tri(2-ethylhexanoic acid) glyceryl esterButylene glycol, arginine, glycine, aspartic acid, valine, proline, isoleucine, threonine, histidine, alanine, phenylalanine, ceramide EOP, ceramide NP, ceramide AP, PCA, sodium hyaluronate, pentylene glycol, polyquaternium-51, sodium PCA, diglycerin, ceramide NG, squalane, triethylhexanoin, cetyl ethylhexanoate, meadowfoam estolide, leucine, lysine hydrochloride, taurine, pineapple fruit extract, histidine hydrochloride, alanine, sodium lactate, ethylhexyl glycerinButylene glycol, concentrated glycerin, arginine, glycine, serine, proline, threonine, histidine, alanine, sodium PCA / sodium solution, L-valine, phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, sodium hyaluronate, L-leucine, L-lysine hydrochlorideButylene glycol, betaine, glycerin, arginine, glycine, aspartic acid, serine, valine, proline, isoleucine, threonine, histidine, alanine, phenylalanine, ceramide EOP, ceramide NP, ceramide AP, cholesterol, PCA, sodium hyaluronate, phytosphingocin, pentylene glycol, sodium PCA, ceramide NG, phytosterols, sodium lactate, riboflavinButylene glycol, 1,3-propanediol, 3-methyl-1,3-butanediol, propylene glycolGlycerine, dipropylene glycol, pentylene glycolButylene glycol, concentrated glycerin, pentylene glycol, phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, vegetable squalane, bioceramide
Volume1.01 fl. oz.1.76 oz.3.38 fl. oz.1.35 fl. oz.1.01 fl. oz.1.06 oz.1.01 fl. oz.0.68 fl. oz.1.69 fl. oz.1.01 fl. oz.
ContainerPumpPumpPumpPumpPumpPumpDropperTubePumpPump
Active ingredientsDipotassium glycyrrhizinate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphateAscorbyl Tetra-2-hexyldecanoate, dipotassium glycyrrhizateArbutin, stearyl glycyrrhetinateDipotassium glycyrrhizinate, tranexamic acidN/ADipotassium glycyrrhizate, L-ascorbic acid 2-glucosideN/AAscorbic acid, isopropylmethylphenol, pyridoxine hydrochloride, allantoinN/ADipotassium glycyrrhizate, ascorbic acid 2-glucoside, ε-aminocaproic acid
FeaturesN/APatch tested, allergy tested, stinging tested, mineral oil free, petroleum-based surfactant free, silicone free, tar-based pigment free, paraben free, alcohol free, oil freeMineral oil free, weakly acidic, dye freeMineral oil free, weakly acidic, dye free, paraben freeAllergy tested, mineral oil free, paraben free, artifical color freePatch tested, allergy tested, stinging tested, weakly acidic, dye free, paraben free, alcohol free, ultraviolet absorber freeN/AN/ASilicone free, paraben free, alcohol free, artificial color free, talc freePatch tested, allergy tested, non-comedogenic tested, mineral oil free, dye free, paraben free, alcohol free, surfactant free, no old specified labeled ingredients
When to useAfter tonerAfter tonerAfter washingAfter tonerAfter tonerAfter tonerAfter tonerAfter toner, after face maskAfter washingAfter toner
Overall score4.053.923.843.823.783.763.723.703.683.68
Vitamin C ingredients4.04.03.53.54.03.55.05.03.54.0
Moisturizing ingredients5.05.04.05.05.05.05.03.53.55.0
Gentleness3.54.05.03.54.05.03.53.23.53.5
Moisturizing abilities5.03.45.05.03.23.43.15.05.03.2
Feel3.83.73.43.73.63.43.53.43.73.4
Link
1

FujifilmAstalift White Essence Infilt

$81.08

Japanese富士フイルム アスタリフト エッセンス インフィルト
TypeQuasi-drug
Vitamin C ingredientsMagnesium ascorbyl phosphate
Vitamin C typeWater-soluble vitamin C derivative
Main moisturizing ingredientsButylene glycol, betaine, concentrated glycerin, dipropylene glycol, pentylene glycol, diglycerin
Volume1.01 fl. oz.
ContainerPump
Active ingredientsDipotassium glycyrrhizinate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate
FeaturesN/A
When to useAfter toner
Overall score4.05
Vitamin C ingredients4.0
Moisturizing ingredients5.0
Gentleness3.5
Moisturizing abilities5.0
Feel3.8
2
Japaneseエトヴォス 薬用 アクネVCクリームジェル I
TypeQuasi-drug
Vitamin C ingredientsAscorbyl Tetra-2-hexyldecanoate
Vitamin C typeOil-soluble vitamin C derivative
Main moisturizing ingredientsButylene glycol, concentrated glycerin, arginine, glycine, 1,2-pentanediol, cholesterol, stearoylphytosphingosine, N-stearoyldihydrosphingosine, hydroxystearylphytosphingosine, sodium PCA, sodium lactate solution, L-aspartic acid, PCA, L-alanine, L-serine, L-valine, L-sioleucine, steonin, L-proline, L-histidine, L-phenylalanine
Volume1.76 oz.
ContainerPump
Active ingredientsAscorbyl Tetra-2-hexyldecanoate, dipotassium glycyrrhizate
FeaturesPatch tested, allergy tested, stinging tested, mineral oil free, petroleum-based surfactant free, silicone free, tar-based pigment free, paraben free, alcohol free, oil free
When to useAfter toner
Overall score3.92
Vitamin C ingredients4.0
Moisturizing ingredients5.0
Gentleness4.0
Moisturizing abilities3.4
Feel3.7
3

Tokiwa Pharmaceutical Co.. Ltd.Nameraka Honpo Medicinal Whitening Essence

$6.81

Japanese常盤薬品工業 なめらか本舗 薬用美白美容液
TypeQuasi-drug
Vitamin C ingredientsMagnesium ascorbyl phosphate, L-ascorbic acid dl-α-tocopherol phosphoric acid diester potassium salt
Vitamin C typeWater-soluble vitamin C derivative, water-soluble vitamin CE derivative
Main moisturizing ingredientsButylene glycol, concentrated glycerin, sugar squalane, diglycerine, fermented soymilk, trimethylglycine, phytosterol soybean extract
Volume3.38 fl. oz.
ContainerPump
Active ingredientsArbutin, stearyl glycyrrhetinate
FeaturesMineral oil free, weakly acidic, dye free
When to useAfter washing
Overall score3.84
Vitamin C ingredients3.5
Moisturizing ingredients4.0
Gentleness5.0
Moisturizing abilities5.0
Feel3.4
4

Ayura LaboratoriesAyura White Concentrate

$66.06

Japaneseアユーラ ラボラトリーズ アユーラ ホワイトコンセントレート
TypeQuasi-drug
Vitamin C ingredients3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid
Vitamin C typeWater-soluble vitamin C derivative
Main moisturizing ingredientsConcentrated glycerin, 1,2-pentane diol, 1,3-butylene glycol, phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, sodium hyaluronate (2), tri(2-ethylhexanoic acid) glyceryl ester
Volume1.35 fl. oz.
ContainerPump
Active ingredientsDipotassium glycyrrhizinate, tranexamic acid
FeaturesMineral oil free, weakly acidic, dye free, paraben free
When to useAfter toner
Overall score3.82
Vitamin C ingredients3.5
Moisturizing ingredients5.0
Gentleness3.5
Moisturizing abilities5.0
Feel3.7
5

Dr.Ci:LaboVC100 Double Repair Serum

$69.63

Japaneseドクターシーラボ VC100ダブルリペアセラム
TypeCosmetic
Vitamin C ingredientsAscorbic acid, 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid, trisodium ascorbyl palmitate phosphate
Vitamin C typePure vitamin C, water-soluble vitamin C derivative, amphiphilic vitamin C derivative
Main moisturizing ingredientsButylene glycol, arginine, glycine, aspartic acid, valine, proline, isoleucine, threonine, histidine, alanine, phenylalanine, ceramide EOP, ceramide NP, ceramide AP, PCA, sodium hyaluronate, pentylene glycol, polyquaternium-51, sodium PCA, diglycerin, ceramide NG, squalane, triethylhexanoin, cetyl ethylhexanoate, meadowfoam estolide, leucine, lysine hydrochloride, taurine, pineapple fruit extract, histidine hydrochloride, alanine, sodium lactate, ethylhexyl glycerin
Volume1.01 fl. oz.
ContainerPump
Active ingredientsN/A
FeaturesAllergy tested, mineral oil free, paraben free, artifical color free
When to useAfter toner
Overall score3.78
Vitamin C ingredients4.0
Moisturizing ingredients5.0
Gentleness4.0
Moisturizing abilities3.2
Feel3.6
6
Japanese第一三共ヘルスケア ミノン 薬用マイルド ホワイトニング
TypeQuasi-drug
Vitamin C ingredientsL-Ascorbic acid 2-glucoside
Vitamin C typeWater-soluble vitamin C derivartive
Main moisturizing ingredientsButylene glycol, concentrated glycerin, arginine, glycine, serine, proline, threonine, histidine, alanine, sodium PCA / sodium solution, L-valine, phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, sodium hyaluronate, L-leucine, L-lysine hydrochloride
Volume1.06 oz.
ContainerPump
Active ingredientsDipotassium glycyrrhizate, L-ascorbic acid 2-glucoside
FeaturesPatch tested, allergy tested, stinging tested, weakly acidic, dye free, paraben free, alcohol free, ultraviolet absorber free
When to useAfter toner
Overall score3.76
Vitamin C ingredients3.5
Moisturizing ingredients5.0
Gentleness5.0
Moisturizing abilities3.4
Feel3.4
7
Japaneseタカミ タカミエッセンスCE
TypeCosmetic
Vitamin C ingredientsAscorbic acid, 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, trisodium ascorbyl palmitate phosphate
Vitamin C typePure vitamin C, water-soluble vitamin C derivative, amphiphilic vitamin C derivative
Main moisturizing ingredientsButylene glycol, betaine, glycerin, arginine, glycine, aspartic acid, serine, valine, proline, isoleucine, threonine, histidine, alanine, phenylalanine, ceramide EOP, ceramide NP, ceramide AP, cholesterol, PCA, sodium hyaluronate, phytosphingocin, pentylene glycol, sodium PCA, ceramide NG, phytosterols, sodium lactate, riboflavin
Volume1.01 fl. oz.
ContainerDropper
Active ingredientsN/A
FeaturesN/A
When to useAfter toner
Overall score3.72
Vitamin C ingredients5.0
Moisturizing ingredients5.0
Gentleness3.5
Moisturizing abilities3.1
Feel3.5
8

Rohto PharmaceuticalMelano CC Medicinal Stain Concentration Countermeasure Premium Beauty Liquid

$14.39

Japaneseロート製薬 メラノCC 薬用しみ集中対策プレミアム美容液
TypeQuasi-drug
Vitamin C ingredientsAscorbic acid, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid 2-glucoside
Vitamin C typeOil-soluble vitamin C derivative, pure vitamin C, water-soluble vitamin C derivative
Main moisturizing ingredientsButylene glycol, 1,3-propanediol, 3-methyl-1,3-butanediol, propylene glycol
Volume0.68 fl. oz.
ContainerTube
Active ingredientsAscorbic acid, isopropylmethylphenol, pyridoxine hydrochloride, allantoin
FeaturesN/A
When to useAfter toner, after face mask
Overall score3.70
Vitamin C ingredients5.0
Moisturizing ingredients3.5
Gentleness3.2
Moisturizing abilities5.0
Feel3.4
9
Japaneseジェイピーエスラボ アンレーベル ラボ Vエッセンス
TypeCosmetic
Vitamin C ingredientsAscorbyl tetraisopalmitate, 3-glyceryl ascorbate
Vitamin C typeOil-soluble vitamin C derivative, water-soluble vitamin C derivative
Main moisturizing ingredientsGlycerine, dipropylene glycol, pentylene glycol
Volume1.69 fl. oz.
ContainerPump
Active ingredientsN/A
FeaturesSilicone free, paraben free, alcohol free, artificial color free, talc free
When to useAfter washing
Overall score3.68
Vitamin C ingredients3.5
Moisturizing ingredients3.5
Gentleness3.5
Moisturizing abilities5.0
Feel3.7
10

Zenyaku KogyoArouge Whitening Essence

$22.49

Japanese全薬工業 アルージェ ホワイトニング エッセンス
TypeQuasi-drug
Vitamin C ingredientsAscorbic acid 2-glucoside, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate
Vitamin C typeOil-soluble vitamin C derivative, water-soluble vitamin C derivative
Main moisturizing ingredientsButylene glycol, concentrated glycerin, pentylene glycol, phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, vegetable squalane, bioceramide
Volume1.01 fl. oz.
ContainerPump
Active ingredientsDipotassium glycyrrhizate, ascorbic acid 2-glucoside, ε-aminocaproic acid
FeaturesPatch tested, allergy tested, non-comedogenic tested, mineral oil free, dye free, paraben free, alcohol free, surfactant free, no old specified labeled ingredients
When to useAfter toner
Overall score3.68
Vitamin C ingredients4.0
Moisturizing ingredients5.0
Gentleness3.5
Moisturizing abilities3.2
Feel3.4

How We Tested the Japanese Vitamin C Serums

How We Tested the Japanese Vitamin C Serums

We gathered the 52 best-selling products on e-commerce sites popular in Japan, like Amazon, Rakuten, Yahoo! Shopping, @cosme SHOPPING, and tested them all.


We tested each product for the following:

  • Vitamin C ingredients (ingredient evaluation)
  • Moisturizing ingredients (ingredient evaluation)
  • Gentleness (ingredient evaluation)
  • Moisturizing abilities
  • Feel

We included both products with vitamin C as an active ingredient and products with high concentrations of vitamin C.

Test ① Vitamin C Ingredients

Test ① Vitamin C Ingredients

First, we looked into the vitamin C ingredients contained in the products. We asked our expert, scientific beautician Kaori, to help us evaluate these products.


What Kaori looked for:

  • The type of vitamin C ingredients included
  • The amount of vitamin C ingredients included

Test ② Moisturizing Ingredients

Test ② Moisturizing Ingredients
Next, we asked Kaori to evaluate the moisturizing ingredients in each of the products.

What Kaori looked for:

  • The moisturizing ingredients and skin conditioning ingredients included

Test ③ Gentleness

Test ③ Gentleness
Next, we asked Kaori to analyze the gentleness of the products on the skin, given these products may be used daily.

What Kaori looked for:

  • The gentleness of the product when used on normal skin

Test ④ Moisturizing Abilities

Test ④ Moisturizing Abilities

Next, we looked into the moisturizing abilities of the vitamin C serums. We asked three Japanese testers to apply a specified amount of product to their arms and compare the moisture content in their skin before and after two hours from applying the product.


We checked to see if the skin could retain its moisture content even after ample time had passed post-application.


<Equipment Used>

  • Corneometer

Methodology:

① Washed arm with face wash and left for 30 minutes
② Checked the skin moisture content of the inner arm area before applying the serum
② Applied the serum onto the inner arm area
③ Checked the skin moisture content two hours after application

Test ⑤ Feel

Test ⑤ Feel

The feel of a product is also important because it can be vital in motivating you to keep up your skincare routine. Why else would you want to continue using a product, even if it's supposedly good for your skin? For each product, we again had our three Japanese testers check for the following.


What our testers looked for:

  • If it has a good feel
  • If the container is easy to use and convenient
  • If the product smells good

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I use a vitamin C serum?

Generally, it's recommended to use vitamin C serums every morning and night, although it's especially effective when used in the morning. It can help protect your skin from stressors like UV rays and air pollution.


You may have heard before that using vitamin C serums in the mornings can put you at risk for sunburn, but vitamin C itself does not cause sunburns. Regardless of vitamin C serum use, you will burn if exposed to ultraviolet rays, so be sure to continue to use sunscreen.

Is vitamin C good for sensitive skin?

Pure vitamin C can be an irritant to dry or sensitive skin, but other forms of vitamin C like Ascorbic acid 2-glucoside, or 3-Laurylglyceryl ascorbate can be some gentler options.


In particular, 3-Laurylglyceryl ascorbate has properties that can protect your skin and add moisture, so it's recommended for people who struggle with skin sensitivity and dryness.

Are medicated vitamin c serums more effective?

Regardless of whether it's listed as a cosmetic product or a medicinal product, products with higher amounts of vitamin C ingredients are said to be more effective.


To check for this, look at where in the ingredient list the vitamin C ingredients are listed. If listed immediately following the base moisturizing ingredients, a decent amount can be expected to be included. If you're looking for a product that's sure to have a high amount of vitamin C ingredients, look for a product that specifically displays the amount on the packaging.

More Serums to Consider

In addition to vitamin C serums, there are a plethora of other serums to consider that can help address your skin concerns. Check out the links below for more information!

Translation: Nanako Kurosu, Mai T., 

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