Kids — they bring us so much joy, sure, but they also bring a f*ck-ton of laugh lines, fine lines, and inescapable dark under-eye circles. It’s an inevitable part of being a mom that we just have to grit our teeth and bare. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get our skin back to the radiance of our 20s— or at least use the miracle of nature and science to try to get there.
As a parent, you may not have as much time as you once did to focus on your skincare, but that does NOT mean your beauty routine should RIP. With the help of vitamin C on our side, you can cut your skincare routine to a few short minutes, while still giving your skin the spa-worthy TLC it craves and deserves.
Why vitamin C? Harnessing the specific benefits of vitamin C stimulates collagen production, adds an instant glow, and banishes free radicals that do harm to your skin. If you’ve got dark spots, underye circles, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, or spend a helluva lot of time in the backyard, in the sun, chasing after toddlers, vitamin C should be your go-to skincare product.
And it’s not just because we said so. (Although “bceause we said so” is one of our favorite reasons.) There’s science to back that sh*t up.
“Vitamin C is a free-radical scavenger,” explains David Delport, Global Skin Expert for REN Clean Skincare. “If you’ve ever wondered why you get a near instant glow (and slightly warmer skin tone) from a vitamin C product, it’s because it has topically rinsed the surface of your skin of oxidate (greying and dulling) damage.”
To help you get from grey to glam (or at least deliver a little glow) we found 8 of the best vitamin C beauty products on the market right now.
F*ck free radicals and f*ck the aging process. Sure, both of these things are a natural part of life – to some extent – but did you know that sun exposure can actually worsen both? It may be a myth you always heard your Uncle Danny scream at the beach – “The sun is not your friend! Your skin will be leather if you continue to lay out like that!” – but guess what? Uncle Danny was right AF! Sun exposure actually speeds up the aging process of our skin and while a tan may look good now, we will FOR SURE be regretting it later in life. That’s what makes the Trilogy Vitamin C Moisturizing Lotion such a classic skincare pick. Made totally cruelty-free, synthetic fragrance free, and paraben free, this lotion protects your skin against free radicals and the aging process that is triggered by UVA light. It’s high in antioxidant-rich ingredients like daisy extract and organic rosehip oil, which work together to strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier, while hydrating and replenishing its natural moisture.
With over 13,800 reviews, the TruSkin facial serum – made with a brightening combination of vitamin E, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid – is not only an Amazon bestseller, but it is also very, very well rated. The TruSkin serum brightens your complexion, especially dark spots, but it also combats the fine lines and wrinkles that inevitably come with being a parent. It’s a plant-based formula that also features aloe Vera, witch hazel, botanical hyaluronic acid, and jojoba oil, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the good stuff – you know, the all-natural, never synthetic stuff that works and is good for you. This serum features no synthetic color additives and is 72 percent organic, so what you see is what you get! One reviewer actually wrote, “I just purchased my third bottle and I am hooked! My skin looks flawless and I have been getting so many compliments about how great I look. My skin glows as if I just walked out of a spa treatment…” Boom! Added to cart.
Vigilant with sunscreen during those bright, summer days? That’s a great start, but sadly, many beauty experts don’t think it’s enough. Damage and free radicals come with the territory of sun exposure – even when you’re indoors. But regular application of vitamin C can counteract both the damage done by rays and free radical particles. According to Delport, “That is why we called our most powerful version [of vitamin C treatment] the Flash Rinse Vitamin C Facial. The concept was to replicate what your hairdresser would do with vitamin C to brighten your hair color and release pollution stress, with results lasting up to three days, making it the perfect booster for skin going through challenges like fatigue, pollution, or illness.” Vitamin C actually neutralizes free radicals before they can stick to the surface of your skin, preventing the problem before it even occurs. And if you do have some scars or hyperpigmentation from past exposure, the Flash Rinse Vitamin C Facial – which only stays on your face for one full minute at a time – can brighten that up and even out your skin tone.
With almost as passionate a cult following as the Mario Badescu Facial Sprays, this vitamin C serum is an absolute game-changer for moms. The Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum contains 7.5 percent ascorbic acid (AKA vitamin C), which works best when 3-4 drops are applied every other night. This serum reduces discoloration, brightens skin, and is a mom-with-acne-scars’ saving grace. Hyperpigmentation? Gone! Random dark spots that appeared after pregnancy? Gone! Every mark and imperfection you don’t want on your face? Gone! It plumps up your skin, too, giving it a firmer look with more elasticity, thanks to its vitamin C properties that enhance your skin’s natural moisture and encourage natural collagen production. In addition to boosting collagen and eviscerating scars and spots, this Vitamin C serum also brightens uneven skin tones, reversing all visible signs of aging (and parenting, too). There’s a reason you see this serum all over Pinterest and Instagram; it’s because it’s the real deal.
Sure, sunscreen does what it’s supposed to do to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. But did you know that traditional sunscreen only blocks 55 percent of free radicals that UV exposure creates? Um – WTF does that mean?! It means that sun exposure actually creates more harmful free radicals than you already had. Since sunscreen itself only blocks about half, NCBI recommends optimizing UV protection by reaching for a sunscreen combined with a topical antioxidant. Enter, vitamin C! Just 10 percent vitamin C applied to your skin reduces sun-induced inflammation by 52 percent and sunburn cell formation by anywhere from 40 to 60 percent. Made with a blend of green tea, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, Citrix Vitamin C Antioxidant Sunscreen blocks the rest of the harmful free radicals, is water resistant, light-weight, and absorbs into your skin quickly, providing broad-spectrum protection.
Moms are notorious for being prepared. Stain? There’s a bleach stick in the car. Unexpected period? There’s an emergency tampon in your purse. Blow-out diaper in public? Don’t sweat it, Mom, you know you’ve got a change of baby clothes in the diaper bag! So, why don’t you do the same for your skin? Treat the damage that comes from sun exposure before it even happens by applying REN Clean Skincare Glow Daily Vitamin C Gel Cream on the regular. This unique formula harnesses the healing power of vitamin C, yes, but it also uses tara pod extract to activate the skin’s natural microbiome, helping to illuminate your skin’s natural complexion. It also plumps up your skin, making it look fuller (and less dull) while evening out both skin tone and texture. You can use this light gel cream moisturizer as often as once in the morning and once at night and pretty soon, you’ll reap the benefits of brighter and more even-toned skin. Shout out to the pump which makes this very easy to apply and makes sure we can access every last drop of goodness in the bottle.
Think Glossier is just for VSCO girls and baby-faced teens? Think again. Glossier’s Super Glow serum is a cult-favorite for a helluva good reason. It’s known as “brighter skin in a bottle,” because no matter the reason for your dulling skin, this combination of vitamin C and magnesium brightens, diminishes, smooths, and moisturizes. It’s hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, paraben-free, fragrance-free, cruelty-free, and safe to use on all skin types. The formula itself is a milky emulsion. Never sticky, it soaks into your thirsty skin immediately, using sodium hyaluronate and collagen to moisturize your skin and leave you with a glowy, dewy look that’s natural. And get this: It’s also nurse approved. One reviewer wrote, “I like how this makes my skin feel healthier overall. I’ve especially been using it under my N95 mask at the hospital to help with decreasing the skin irritation from the masks under my eyes…” If it’s good enough for frontline workers, it’s good enough for us!
Vitamin C does wonders for improving the efficacy of sunscreen, Moms, and reduces hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and acne scars on your face, but it also makes an efficient ingredient in eye creams. Whether your genes have permanently cursed you with bags under your eyes, or you’re just tired AF from running after little children or answering their same questions over and over again, the undereye areas of all moms everywhere need a little extra TLC. Free of parabens, phthalates, gluten, and mineral oil, the Powerful-Strength Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum from Kiehl’s is a fan-favorite amongst buyers (hence the 20K “loves” on Sephora). It visibly smooths dark circles (either blue or brown) after seven days of use; it also diminishes fine lines, brightens the undereye area, gets rid of crow’s feet, and reduces puffiness. No more caking on undereye concealer regularly— apply this eye serum frequently, and we hope you’ll see a noticeable difference.
Skin on fleek? Check out more of our mom approved beauty must-haves!