Cheap and effective: Make your own Vitamin C serum or cream

Vitamin C is one of the most effective topical skin lighteners out there. However, commercial and store-bought Vitamin C-based skin lighteners usually contain very small amounts of this ingredient. If you find that your Vitamin C skin cream isn’t working as it claims, there’s a good chance you’re not actually getting enough of it to make a difference.

On top of the potentially small amounts of Vitamin C added by the manufacturer, Vitamin C is also not a shelf-stable ingredient—meaning it breaks down easily over time. Most creams nowadays are imported and shipped over long distances, and it’s not unusual to purchase something that was made several months ago.

Add to that several uncertainties that are beyond our control, such as the temperature the products were stored, handled and transported (Vitamin C also breaks down in heat and sunlight), and it’s no wonder why some Vitamin C creams work less effectively than advertised, or not at all.

If you want to use a Vitamin C cream on your skin, you’ll get the most value and efficacy by simply making it yourself.

This is relatively cheap, uses few ingredients and is very simple to do.

How to make your own Vitamin C serum

  1. Purchase some good Vitamin C powder [look for L-Ascorbic Acid or Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate]
  2. Add a small amount of the powder to some cool water. You can use a small bottle (such as a travel-sized plastic bottle).
  3. Shake this mixture well.
  4. Dab this mixture (or serum) over the areas you want to treat.
  5. Keep the remaining mixture refrigerated and use up within a week at the most. If you’re not able to refrigerate the serum, keep it in a tightly closed bottle in a cool, dark place (eg in a drawer or cupboard).

If kept well, this serum should stay largely clear and may develop a slight yellowish tinge after a few days. When it starts looking distinctly yellow, it’s time to discard it and make a fresh serum to use. Because of this, it’s better to make the serum in small batches. Use a small bottle to make your serum instead of a large one.

Alternatively, you can also make your own Vitamin C face cream or body lotion by mixing the powder with one of your favorite unscented creams or lotions. It’s best to use a cream that has as few chemicals and perfumes as possible (such as a simple cold cream or a natural shea butter cream) to maintain the integrity of the Vitamin C.

A DIY (do-it-yourself) Vitamin C cream or lotion should last longer than a DIY water-based serum, but you should still discard it when the cream turns yellow. It will not be harmful, just ineffective, as the yellowness indicates that the Vitamin C has oxidized.

How much Vitamin C powder to use?

The best ratio of Vitamin C powder to water will vary depending on your skin sensitivity. Also, the skin on your face is much more sensitive than the skin on the rest of your body. So you can adjust the amount depending on where you plan to apply the serum.

Start out by adding a small amount of Vitamin C powder first. Add a little more if needed. Experiment and you’ll find the best ratio for your skin.

In general, the mixture should not be so strong as to cause excessive stinging or redness when applied (a little stinging is okay and might actually help increase cell turnover and absorption).

Avoid sun exposure soon after application (try to use it in the evenings)

It’s very important to avoid sun exposure soon after applying any Vitamin C serum, as your skin will be more sun-sensitive and vulnerable to re-darkening and hyperpigmentation then. To eliminate this risk, apply the serum only in the evenings or before going to bed at night.

Where to get Vitamin C powder

You might be able to find pure Vitamin C powder from your local pharmacy or health food store. Compare prices. Vitamin C powder is relatively cheap in general.

You can also find pure Vitamin C powder online.

63 Replies to “Cheap and effective: Make your own Vitamin C serum or cream”

  1. Aside from the vitamin C serum, I have two questions.

    Would a mixture of honey and yogurt be effective in skin lightening?

    Also, would tomatoes help skin lightening?

    While doing some research on these, I came across this website and I find it to be amazing because of all the research and sources provided for each claim.

    I love all the advises here, but I wanted to ask If you could make a page on these 2 home remedies or post me an informative reply. I’m really curious as to find out if these three ingredients could also play a role in effective skin whitening as well.

    hope to hear back soon, please keep up the great work!

    1. i can’t found vitamin c powder can i use vitamin c tablets ?
      secondly i m 30 . i have dark circle, can vitamin c is effective for dark circle or not?


      1. I am using Uvl Turmeric Night Oil & Day Cream on my dark circles and it’s working wonders on my dark patches .
        South Africa

        1. Hi there Terrelle
          I would also like to try this…
          Does it help to clear the marks? How long have u been using this for?
          Does it have any side effects? Are there harmful ingredients in there like mercury, hydroquinine etc?

          1. Hi Nantisha
            Sorry for the late reply,
            Yes I had acne marks, also I had hyper pigmentation, if you are looking for a Quick Fix Cream this is not for you because it takes about 6 to 8 weeks to see results, I have tried Spectrum Laser ,Chemical Peels, there are no side effects so that’s a plus, I have tried Spectrum Laser, chemical peels, but my acne reoccurs, there are no harmful ingredients. My brother-in-law is a lecturer at a university here in South Africa and got him to do tests on the Oil and Cream. I got tired of all the BS you read on products only to find it has other HARMFUL ingredients in it. I found out the hard way, when I stopped using a Cream that my Dermatologist was making and selling to me ,my skin got worse than when I started off. I am very happy with my results, it has no Hydroquinone or Mercury in it. I also have 24 year old daughter that is using it, initially it was difficult to get her to use coz using Turmeric is an old Indian remedy and kids today want to try new things but now she is chuffed. I wish you well in finding same results , all the best to you

          2. Also try using homemade face mask ,
            Grate a small potatoe and mix with some Lemon juice leave on for 20 minutes and rinse off. (Grate with the fine side of grater)

  2. Giving this self made serum a shot, developed dark circles and some puffiness under the eyes in the last year or so, never had a prob before I’m 48 and most still guess I’m around 38-39 so the dark eyes are not aging me but always a bit consious of them playing in a band and all. I’ll report back in a few days on any positive results, just made my first serum batch and applied.

    Thank you for the info and great idea!

    1. Dark circles under the eyes are usually a sign of toxicity in the bowels. Try doing a cleanse, and a series of high colonics. (Oh and throw out that microwave! They “plasticize” our food making it stick to the bowel walls and not eliminate properly. It stays inside and putrefies, toxifying the system further.) Sorry if this was T.M.I. 🙂

  3. Isn’t it true our skin resist to absorb water soluble vitamins. How this water dissolved vitamin C will be absorbed by our skin??

  4. I have been looking for a good Vitamin C serum for YEARS now. My friend recommended the Three Berry face Serum, from Made from Earth skincare, and I didnt know the Three Berry Face Serum was a Vitamin C serum, but it is – and has alot of vitamin c!!

    Wow, I did NOT expect this stuff to work so fast, so well and for all day! As soon as I apply just a tiny bit, my dry, over-40 skin looks GREAT! It’s VERY supple and hydrated. My skin looks more elastic, younger and brighter. I’ll be buying more when I’m finished. My husband also likes it and says he’s noticed his 40-yr old skin looks fresher and younger.

    1. Is there any way that I could get a recipe for the Three Berry Face Serum?It sounds great!AnAnd I could really use the help.ThNKYOU

  5. First of all ascorbic acid IS NOT A VITAMIN C!!!
    And second – real vitamin C brakes down very quick.
    So, make it every time fresh.

  6. I tried using a concentrated juice from the acerola berry which supposedly contains one of the highest ratios of vitamin C of all fruits, I used it at night , it works great for the puffy under-eye area and also works very well to even the skin tone and supleness, I recomend it to anybody who has access to acerola berries

    1. I use Abscorbic C powder mixed in a little warm water and Sorbolene cream.
      1 teaspoon of powder-3 teaspoons of warm water(not hot) and 4 teaspoons of Sorbolene. It works
      wery well for me.

  7. You can purchase L-asorbic acid crystals from Whole foods. Otherwise online in the fine form from several places for less than ten dollars.
    gardenof wisdom

  8. Please don’t buy just any ascorbic acid, many over the counter vitamin c’s will not dissolve completely. Don’t Put your l ascorbic acid in plain water, and just stick it in the refrigarator. This won’t work, if you do put some glycerin and a vitamin e capsule mixed in with it. It will last a lot longer.

    If you are going to mix with just water, then do it each and every single day. Start out with about an 1/8 of a teaspoon of distilled water, not tap water, and put enough droplets of water in it, to make the l ascorbic acid clear. Then mix it with a tiny bit of plain cream, that has no other actives, or use it with a few drops of vitamin e and a tiny bit of cream. The vitamin c serum needs a way to transport into your skin, all it is doing is hitting the top layer of your skin, we have seven layers of skin, we want the product to go as deep down into our skin tissues, that it possibly can.

    Type in diy l ascorbic acid, and you will come upon two forums, many of these people know how to compound correctly, just about anything, they taught me all the knowledge I have now. As for Made from Earth, they are on every blog post, pushing their products, which is good I guess. But, I know where they get it, and you can get it in a pint for the same price, they are asking for one ounce. Just learn to Google, and put in DIY with whatever your looking for.

  9. Here is a good formula for starters…

    10% Vitamin c & e

    1/2 tsp L Ascorbic Acid
    1 1/2 tsp. distilled water
    1/2 tsp glcerin
    couple drops of vitamin e

    Eventually you want to proceed further for your water and oils to emulsify, then you will have to purchase an emulsifier, which are pretty cheap. Maybe a preservative like optiphen, but for now, this is pretty effective. The vitamin will work in synergy to boost the vitamin c, plus, is a great antioxidant on it’s own, and help preserve your vitamin c longer.

    Once you get the hang of this, then you might want to move up and make the C+E + ferulic. Go to you tube, a person I won’t say the name, but, who basically has spread the word and showed others how to Do It yourself, DIY, has a video to show you exactly how to make it.

  10. well i have vitamin C tablets. I can dissolve it in water and can add glycerin and vitamin e gel to that and mix it well and can use on my face? as i have dark spots on my face and more over my skin is oily. Advice me this works or not?

  11. I’ve bought some vitamin c powder and I’m going to try making the serum at home. Really hope it works. I’ve been taking 3000 vitamin C a day for around a month and fhave found that it’s working really well on my body and my skin, in general, does seem a lot brighter but I can’t seem to stop my face from tanning. Hopefully, it will sort out the brown face, yellow body thing I’ve got going on at the moment.

    Would it be ok to add it into sudocrem, as this is what I usually use at night? Think it might be a bit too chemical-y though.

    1. It’s probably best to keep it simple (I use it with plain water and it works wonders), but you can add it to your night cream and test it on a patch of skin first to be safe.

  12. This has worked absolutely brilliantly for me. My mum noticed the difference in my skin after the first time I used it and asked what I’d been doing. The colour of my face is becoming more similar to neck, more so than I’ve ever been able to achieve before. Thanks for all your advice x

    1. Thanks for coming back with an update, Samina! 🙂 I’m glad to hear it’s working well for you.

      Vitamin C is still one of my favorite skin treatments. It’s so much more effective than any cream I’ve ever used. I wish more people knew about it.

    1. Sorry, I’m not sure what eskinol is?

      Also, if you’re using a Vitamin C tablet instead of the pure powder form, you might need to check what else it contains. Most Vitamin C tablets contain sugar and chemical preservatives.

  13. Can I use vitamin c tablets and crush them? Also my health food store has “buffered” c powder? Is that ok to use? Thanks for the advice!

  14. I just slice up a lemon, lime or orange…whatever I have, mix with a little apricot oil (get’s into the skin better than Vit E), and rub on my skin.
    Have any of you tried making your own Vit B3 serum? I have plain Niaminicide, and am wondering if any of you have tried mixing that in with oil, or water, and what is your ratio?

  15. I am 30. I have started to have melasma on my face. My skin is very much clear. So melasma looks very bad on my face. Please help me how to get rid of it? I don’t have any harmonal disturbance . i am allergic to honey and tomato

    1. Hi Zarish, please use Turmeric Oil, I say please because I have tried and tested everything else, see my reply to Nantisha above, I have become an Expert in the process of finding a Cream and Oil to help for acne scars and hyper pigmentation, lots of BS out there, I am old enough.

  16. I have brown skin by birth. But from past 5/6years my right side of my neck, chest, arm & hand have been black. Nothing work at all. Any solution for that???
    if u want a can send picture of that…

    1. Hi Anne, buffered Vitamin C usually has other ingredients in it like calcium and magnesium. I’m not sure what the effects of these extra ingredients would be on the skin.

      You can try it if you really want to, but just stop if you see any adverse effects.

  17. Thank all for dcomments and replies,pls o my own is that can I add vit c into my cream,yes or no
    2how much of d quantity of vitamin c should I add to d cream
    U said if I notice yellowish colour I should disposed
    Lastly how do I use it to glow and freshing up my skin,thanks and pls reply

    1. Hi Adejoke

      About the amount, this is something you can find out by trial and error.

      With pure Vitamin C powder and a small jar of cream, a very small amount will be enough. To give you an idea, for most powders, half a level teaspoon = 2,250 mg of Vitamin C, so there’s high potency even with what looks like a small pinch of powder.

      So start by putting in a very small amount and mixing it well. Test it on your skin. If it feels ok, it’s up to you to stop or try to add a little more. You want to put in enough powder to have an effect, but not too much that the cream will become too acidic and sting your skin.

      If the cream stings your skin, it won’t be safe to use in the sense that it’ll feel uncomfortable and make skin more sun-sensitive. As a precaution, it’s best to only use it cream in the evening or at night.

      I hope that helps.


  18. Wow! Awesome blog, am currently fighting with acne on my face, i just made a body butter, i used vit c injection, can i use the injection( vitc) with aloe gel and rosewater as
    face, should i buy the powdered one? Thank you

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