Dara Kennedy

Dara Kennedy worked in beauty product development and marketing for more than 10 years before starting Ayla. A longtime yoga practitioner and mother of 2, she's been a supporter of non-toxic beauty products for years.



Ahhh, Vitamin C: in a world filled with overhyped “miracle” ingredients with scant supporting data, its benefits are well understood and documented. It’s a superhero in the battle against premature aging for its ability to fight free radicals, boost collagen production, brighten and even the complexion, and calm inflammation. There’s even good evidence that it limits the extent of sun damage both during the day and after the fact at night.

So what’s the rub? Because it’s unstable and quickly degrades with exposure to light and air, it’s hard to deliver it to skin in a way that’s effective to the last drop. There are lot of Vitamin C products out there that are mediocre at best; even some decent ones tend to turn brown and smell oddly like hot dogs after a few weeks, at which point they’re no longer doing much for you.

Of course, we carry none of those. But we do carry four different Vitamin C serums, one of them brand new. Choosing between them isn’t straightforward: you can’t work off percentages alone, since they each feature a different form of Vitamin C. Here’s a brief breakdown.


LUZERN SERUM V12: 15% L-ascorbic acid

Luzern Serum V12

L-Ascorbic Acid is Vitamin C’s gold standard given its well-documented efficacy, but it degrades more quickly than other forms, especially when mixed into water-based formulas. So Luzern’s beautifully well-rounded serum also contains Vitamin E, B3, B5, and B12 and a solid mix of minerals and plant extracts that support its antioxidant capabilities.

Texture: Water-light

For you if: You want the greatest amount of the gold-standard ingredient (plus great supporting cast members) and your skin doesn’t tend to be sensitive.

2 oz, $115. Click here for more info.


MARIE VERONIQUE C+E+FERULIC SERUM: 5% Anhydrous L-ascorbic acid

Marie Veronique CE Ferulic

Suspending ascorbic acid in an anhydrous solvent  — isododecane, mainly — keeps ascorbic acid more stable than it would be in water-based solutions. It also makes it non-sensitizing (its pH is equivalent to that of the skin) and allows for deeper penetration, which all sounds very smart to us. Marie blended it with 2% Vitamin E and 2% Ferulic acid for extra antioxidant power.

Texture: Lightweight gel

For you if: You want a sensitive skin friendly, stable & supercharged antioxidant boost (it contains lycopene and astaxanthin, too)

1 oz, $90. Also available in trial size. Click here for more info.


MEDIK8 CE-TETRA: 7% Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate

CE Tetra

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is a form of Vitamin C that’s highly stable, less irritating than others, and known for good penetration. Medik8’s tests show that this percentage of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is equivalent to 14% ascorbic acid in water, but won’t degrade as quickly. This clean & simple formula comes in a jojoba oil base with Vitamin E for extra antioxidant power.

Texture: super-lightweight, silky oil

For you if: You want a sensitive skin friendly, stable formula with Vitamin C playing a star role

1 oz, $115. Also available in trial size. Click here for more info.


URSA MAJOR BRIGHTEN UP VITAMIN C SERUM: 1.5% Ascorbic Acid Polypeptide

Ursa Major Brighten Up Vitamin C

Ascorbic Acid Polypeptide hooks a protein chain onto ascorbic acid to keep it super-stable. Ursa Major’s formula, which is an incredible value, blends it with rose hip for extra dark spot fading power and a host of skin soothers and hydrators. Don’t let the percentage here fool you: the maximum amount of ascorbic acid polypeptide you can put in a formula is 2%, and Ursa Major opted for slightly less than that so that it wouldn’t irritate skin.

Texture: lightweight, creamy gel

For you if: You want a great “starter serum” that covers all the anti-aging bases.

1 oz, $54. Click here for more info.


Still can’t choose? I love them all for different reasons. If you want more personalized suggestions, please email us (help@aylabeauty.com) or call us (415-520-7320) – we’d love to help you find the perfect one. Whichever one you pick, make sure you let it fully absorb before applying your next skincare layer: that will ensure you get the most out of your Vitamin C.