If you want to target uneven skin tone, acne scars, and signs of aging, start with the best vitamin C cleanser. Although vitamin C is often added to face wash, a concentrated cleanser provides more benefits like youthful-looking skin.
Vitamin C works because it stimulates collagen synthesis in the skin. Collagen is the building block that holds cells together to keep the skin firm and unblemished (1).
Moreover, vitamin C accelerates wound healing to clear up breakouts while it corrects hyperpigmentation and brightens the complexion. What’s more, it’s an antioxidant that neutralizes the free radicals from UV exposure and pollution. Antioxidants are crucial for keeping the skin young and healthy, providing a photo-protective effect.
The right vitamin C cleanser won’t just sweep away oil, dirt, and makeup, but it also improves the skin over time.
- 1 How to choose the best vitamin C cleanser
- 2 How often to use vitamin C cleanser?
- 3 Best Vitamin C Cleansers in 2023
- 4 Conclusion
How to choose the best vitamin C cleanser
First, what’s the concentration?
Experts say that the most effective cleansers have at least 8% vitamin C but not more than 20%. The higher the concentration, the more likely the cleanser will sting as it cleans, but that’s a temporary side effect.
Next, which type of vitamin C does it contain?
Check what type of vitamin C the cleanser has. For example, L-ascorbic acid is commonly used in face wash, but it’s quite acidic, which makes it sting a little more. Furthermore, it spoils more quickly if it’s exposed to heat and light. Don’t store a face wash with L-ascorbic acid in the shower – keep it in a cool, dark cupboard.
You might be better off choosing a cleanser with magnesium ascorbyl phosphate as it’s the most easily absorbed and stable type of vitamin C. It’s also less acidic and less likely to irritate sensitive skin.
What type of cleanser is it?
Creamy, moisturizing cleansers are good for dry skin and gels are best for oily skin.
What other ingredients are in it?
If you have sensitive skin, you probably know to avoid artificial fragrances, dyes, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. These are all potential irritants and may be linked to other health concerns as well.
However, if you have rosacea or very sensitive skin, sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) might be a better choice than the surfactant cocamidopropyl betaine which is commonly used to replace it. Sadly, the latter was named Allergen of the Year a while back.
How often to use vitamin C cleanser?
You can use vitamin C cleanser morning and night if your skin can tolerate it. A study showed that it takes about 12 weeks to make a positive difference in the skin.
On the downside, don’t use vitamin C cleanser at the same time you’re treating your skin with retinol unless you use one product in the morning and the other at night.
Check out the vitamin C cleanser reviews below to find the best fit for your face:
|The best Vitamin C cleansers||Why we love them|
|IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser||
|InstaNatural Vitamin C Cleanser||
|Amara Organics Facial Cleanser with 15% Vitamin C||
|TruSkin Vitamin C Facial Cleanser||
|Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Citrus Brightening Cleanser||
|DERMA-E Vitamin C Cleansing Paste, Turmeric||
Best Vitamin C Cleansers in 2023
IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser
When I was first asked to research vitamin C cleansers, someone had written “vitamin C cleanse”. That’s a whole other ballgame where a person takes a high dose of vitamin C orally in order to flush the body of toxins. It’s something you should definitely discuss with your doctor first. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a moisturizing vitamin C cleanser for sensitive skin, you’re in the right place.
Our reviewer had perimenopausal skin with an oily T-zone and dry cheeks. When she switched to this face wash, she was astonished at the results. It was the only change she made to her skin care routine. After one week, her cheeks were smooth and not flaky anymore, plus the T-zone didn’t get nearly as greasy by the end of the day. After two weeks, the blackheads across her nose were nearly invisible.
In the end, the cleanser got high marks with us because it’s very pleasant to use and obviously quite effective. It has a creamy texture is perfectly capable of removing makeup. The real orange fragrance (from orange peel oil) makes for an invigorating wash with no stinging sensation.
Another bonus is that it contains sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a shelf-stable version of vitamin C. It’s blended with retinyl palmitate, another antioxidant form of vitamin A. Lastly, this cruelty-free brand doesn’t include parabens dyes, phthalates, or artificial fragrances.
- Creamy, moisturizing cleanser scented with real orange peel oil
- Removes makeup and rejuvenates the skin
- Features sodium ascorbyl phosphate (vitamin C) and vitamin A
- Not the least expensive option, but well worth it especially if you’ve been disappointed with other vitamin C cleansers
InstaNatural Vitamin C Cleanser
Here is what tends to be the best-selling vitamin C cleanser on Amazon. Not surprising as apparently 80% of the customers using it said they felt and overall improvement.
It’s suitable for combination, oily, and acne-prone skin. The formula exfoliates, brightens, and tones the skin to fade dry spots and smooth fine lines. Users say it leaves the face soft and supple, plus it helps reduce breakouts.
What hooked us is the blend of vitamin C with aloe, coconut water, and sugarcane. It sounds downright tasty, doesn’t it? Even better, it uses safe, naturally-derived cleansers, not drying sulfates. It doesn’t even have cocamidopropyl betaine – it uses cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine instead. Of course, there’s no artificial fragrance, parabens, or other nasties.
Feel free to enjoy the cleanser twice daily. Just be cautious if you’re using other skin care products that exfoliate because this cleanser has lactic acid and willow bark (salicylic acid).
- Exfoliates, brightens the complexion, and fades blemishes
- Vitamin C, coconut water, aloe, and sugarcane with naturally-derived, safe cleansers
- No artificial fragrance, parabens, etc.
- Suitable for oily, combination, and acne-prone skin
- Be careful not to over-exfoliate by doubling up on products
Amara Organics Facial Cleanser with 15% Vitamin C
This invigorating vitamin C cleanser features tea tree, rosehip, and olive oil with other botanicals, many of which are certified organic. No wonder it’s so good at cleansing without dehydrating the skin.
Yes, it can remove makeup. It even takes off longwear foundation if you massage it gently into the skin and let it sit for a minute before rinsing with lukewarm water.
The formula is sulfate-free at the cost of using coconut-based cleansers including cocamidopropyl betaine. On the bright side, it uses the stable form of vitamin C, sodium ascorbyl phosphate. Obviously, it doesn’t have parabens or a synthetic fragrance.
What’s nice is that it’s clearly labeled with 15% vitamin C so you know exactly how concentrated it is. It may sting a bit on sensitive skin, but if you wait a little while after washing and moisturizing, your complexion should be radiant and calm.
Lastly, it comes with a manufacturer guarantee that promises a full refund, no need to return the bottle, and no questions asked.
- Moisturizing for dry skin and removes makeup
- 15% vitamin C (sodium ascorbyl phosphate)
- No artificial fragrance, parabens, or sulfates
- Natural and certified organic ingredients like rosehip seed and tea tree oil
- Stays fresh for longer if stored in a cool, dark place instead of the edge of the bathtub
TruSkin Vitamin C Facial Cleanser
If you have combination skin that drives you crazy, get a grip on it with this vitamin C face wash. It even comes with a 90-day manufacturer guarantee with the promise of a refund if you’re not pleased as Punch with it.
We were intrigued by the list of ingredients. We didn’t decide to review it because it’s popular but because the surfactants take second place to nourishing ingredients like organic aloe, vitamin C, and a herbal infusion. Seriously, the coconut-based cleansers are not the base ingredients and neither is water.
Other notable ingredients include organic rosehip seed and borage oil, oregano, tea tree oil, and gotu kola (Centella asiatica). This is quite a lovely assortment of healing herbs that can’t help but promise a healthier complexion.
We were also happy to see that this is a cruelty-free product that’s made in the USA.
- Packed with organic botanicals and healing ingredients like vitamin C, rosehip seed oil, and gotu kola
- Perfect for combination skin, reduces redness and oiliness, removes makeup
- Backed by a 90-day manufacturer guarantee
- If we have to pick on something, it’s the cocamidopropyl betaine, but in the right mix of ingredients, it should be non-drying
Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Citrus Brightening Cleanser
If you want a calming cleanser with vitamin C that doesn’t sting, reduces redness, and hydrates the skin, here it is. No, it’s not cheap, but it’s worth every penny. The gel face wash is lightweight and efficient, having been designed for normal to oily skin.
It’s formulated with a vitamin C ester instead of the typical versions of vitamin C. It also has copper to stimulate the skin and DMAE, a potent anti-aging ingredient.
Although it has a synthetic fragrance, it smells fresh and clean. Furthermore, it’s cruelty-free and does not contain oil, parabens, gluten, or phthalates.
- Has a unique, stable, potent version of vitamin C with copper and DMAE
- Aromatic fragrance and lightweight gel texture
- Suitable for normal to oily skin
- Paraben-free and oil-free
- Not fragrance-free
DERMA-E Vitamin C Cleansing Paste, Turmeric
Skip the sulfates, the harsh surfactants, the alcohol, the parabens, the dyes, and all those other nasty things you really don’t want to put on your skin. Try this vitamin C cleanser with turmeric instead. It gently exfoliates to remove acne scars and sun damage while evening the complexion.
The slightly grainy texture doesn’t come from microbeads. Instead, it has kaolin clay to draw out impurities. It’s quite creamy and gentle, so feel free to use it twice a day – just don’t scrub hard. There’s no need for the extra effort as it works well without it.
In case you’re wondering, it contains sodium ascorbyl phosphate.
- Creamy cleanser with kaolin clay and vitamin C to exfoliate and detoxify
- Safe, natural ingredients including turmeric to regenerate the skin
- No parabens, alcohol, dyes, or sulfates
- Mild enough to use daily or twice daily
- Has a mild aroma from the natural ingredients but not everyone loves the scent
If your current cleanser is leaving your face tight, dry, or red, switch to vitamin C face wash instead. It’s beneficial for all skin types as it can brighten the complexion and minimize blemishes. What’s more, vitamin C cleansers come in different formats for dry, oily, combination, and even sensitive skin.
We hope our reviews helped you find what you need today. If you’re pleased with your new vitamin C cleanser, we’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave us a comment below.
1. Al-Niaimi, F., & Chiang, N. (2017). Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 10(7), 14–17. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605218/
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