I’m new at this skincare thing. Not long ago, I was a warm-washcloth-in-the-morning-and-go person, but now I have a legitimate cleanser, moisturizer and my trusty DIY vitamin C serum in my bathroom cabinet, like a good thirty-something should.
The glorious thirties! No tiny humans in my abdomen, no diapers to change, no baby weight (woohoo!), no more pregnant-nursing-reset-repeat hormone surges controlling my hair follicles, bra size of the minute, or the landscape of my face.
Ladies, we have arrived. Wait, what are those dark spots, and yes, I was smiling but now I’m not and that crease is still there and you aren’t going to go away, Mister Crease, are you?
We have arrived, all right. We’ve arrived at the point where a quick splash of water no longer counts as a skincare routine. We need a real one, before Mister Crease becomes Mister Canyon.
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Most of us have a favorite cleanser and moisturizer by now, but what about the in-between steps? You could opt for toner, exfoliant, mask, eye cream, peel…but I don’t want to get too crazy with it. Mister Crease and I only have a few minutes in the mornings to duke it out.
Gah, missed the perfect opportunity to say face-off. Oh well, next time there will be puns.
When I get overwhelmed with things, I quit. So I wanted to add just one step – one that would give me the most bang for my buck as far as effort goes. After researching all the lotions and potions I decided to go with a Vitamin C serum.
Why did I pick vitamin C serum?
First off, vitamin C is essential to building collagen, and collagen is what keeps skin tight and plump. It works to lighten those dark spots, it brightens and livens your complexion, it penetrates the skin and binds free radicals before they can cause trouble, it is anti-inflammatory, it heals damage, it helps with those visible signs of aging (Source).
What was I saying about bang for your buck? Vitamin C is some high-performance miracle potion, IMO.
My first instinct was to log into Amazon and find some. But here’s the deal…
I don’t buy it
It’s not that you can’t buy it. Actually, it’s easy to find vitamin C serum. Companies are more than happy to take your money for it. But the vitamin C degrades quickly – I’m talking several half lives burnt up in the shipping truck. Knowing this, why would you pay cosmetic counter prices for something that has lost a lot of its oomph by the time it gets to you? And costs pennies to make? And takes about three minutes to throw together?
Some companies keep their vitamin C fresh with preservatives, but you know how I feel about those by now.
So, I make it instead
But first, a few caveats…
After researching a few recipes, I found the simplest one that seems to do the trick for me, so I’m sharing it with you. That said, please do your own research. The more diehard DIY cosmetics enthusiasts will tell you my recipe is incomplete, that it needs a preservative, an antioxidant, a buffer, a solvent…but this recipe works for my needs and I had no reactions. Your mileage may vary!
I know how this works on my skin, not yours. Everyone’s chemistry is different, and my crystal ball is in the shop so I can’t predict how your skin will react to vitamin C or this recipe! As with any new skincare product, it’s always a good idea to patch test before slathering it all over.
An asterisk (*) next to a link lets you know that it’s an affiliate link. That means I earn a small commission on purchases made through this link. Opinions are mine, prices are the same for you, and purchasing decisions are yours, as always!
Finally, the Vitamin C Serum Recipe
This recipe is for an approximate 20% concentration. At first I started at 5% and worked my way up to 20% over months of use. If you have young skin, mature skin, or skin issues, anything you try on your skin should be approved by a qualified dermatologist first.
Up to 2 tsp fine-ground, LAA ascorbic acid Get it here*
If you’re a vitamin C serum newbie, start with 1/2tsp, then work your way up to 2 tsp (20% concentration) over a few weeks of use
7 tsp warm distilled water (I’ve been using filtered tap water with similar results)
1 tsp vegetable glycerin Get it here*
2oz dark glass dropper bottle Get it here*
plastic or stainless steel spoon for mixing
Dissolve ascorbic acid in water by stirring with a plastic or stainless steel spoon. This can take a while, so be patient while you stir, stir, stir. Once you can no longer see granules, mix in the glycerin.
Since we’re not measuring by weight and our LAA powder granules aren’t standardized, strength can vary. We need to test pH so we don’t accidentally make an acid peel and burn our faces off. Dunk a pH test strip (get them here* or at the pharmacy). Your result should be no lower than 3, ideally 3.5. If it dips too low, you can mix in a little baking soda at a time until you get it up to 3.5.
If the LAA is stubborn and not mixing well, you can add one drop of high-proof vodka to help it dissolve.
Once you’re all mixed up and your pH is in range, you can pour it into your dropper bottle. How easy was that?
Remember, DIY vitamin C serum is unstable! I store mine in a dark glass container and I keep it chilled in the fridge. I mix up a a batch every other week.
How to Use Vitamin C serum
After cleansing or exfoliating, apply a drop or two of serum to each section of the face and neck, and spread it evenly with your fingers. Avoid the eye area – it will burn if it gets in your eyes. Leave it on undisturbed for at least 20 minutes. After the 20-minute mark, use your normal sunscreens and moisturizers as you usually do.
I noticed a difference after just a week. Have you tried Vitamin C serum?