DIY Beauty: quick and easy homemade vitamin C serum

homemade vitamin c serum DIY Beauty: quick and easy homemade vitamin C serum

I’m so excited about this DIY homemade vitamin C serum! I was thinking of getting the L-Ascorbic Acid for awhile but was worried that I wouldn’t be able to concoct a proper serum. After reading the formulation on a few beauty forums, especially from Alyssa aka Complex Beauty at Glowing Diva, I developed more confidence and ordered my first kit from Whoopeekiddies. And it turned out so easy! Now I’m kicking myself for not trying it out earlier.

Benefits of L-Ascorbic Acid for our skin
Vitamin C has worked well for me in my skincare regime and as I’ve covered in my earlier entry on the different types of vitamin C for skincare, L-Ascorbic Acid is known to be the only natural form of Vitamin C in skin care products. It is a potent antioxidant proven to stimulate the synthesis of collagen, strengthens the capillaries and cell walls, as well as protect both beta-carotene and Vitamin E from oxidation. But while it easily absorbed by the skin and can stay for up to 72 hours, L-ascorbic acid can be irritating to those with sensitive skin. In addition, it is highly unstable and oxidize rapidly.

Process of making DIY L-Ascorbic Vitamin C Serum
The DIY L-Ascorbic Vitamin C Kit I obtained contains just two items. The 2g L-Ascorbic Acid in powder form and 10ml vegetable glycerin. According to the website, this recipe makes a serum with approximately a 10% concentration of vitamin C and you should split them into 2 portions, 1 for each week, to maintain freshness since L-Ascorbic Acid is unstable, prone to oxidation. However, I didn’t follow these instructions.

l ascorbic powder DIY Beauty: quick and easy homemade vitamin C serum

My own formulation
Instead, I used about a 1/4 teaspoon of the L-Ascorbic Acid Powder, let it dissolve completely in 5ml of mineral water and then added about 8 small drops of the vegetable glycerin. I dislike adding too much of the glycerin because it makes my combination skin too oily. And at this formulation, the watery serum stings my skin slightly for under a minute and it isn’t sticky. The amount of vitamin C is probably too diluted but I want my skin to get used to it before I gradually increase the amount.

Proper storage of vitamin C is important
This portion is good for three days in the fridge. By applying twice a day with a cotton wool or sometimes just my fingers, I can use all the 5ml within that time frame. Remember, vitamin C oxidizes quickly so my recommendation is to use it quickly. Five days is about the maximum. In addition, I also use an amber glass bottle to store the serum as vitamin C degrades quickly with light. Hence, do not store using clear glass.

DIY vitamin C kit is affordable
The DIY kit from Whoopeekiddies is good for about two weeks and cost S$3.50. Very affordable! I can effectively replace my John Masters Vitamin C Serum with this now. Plus I plan to order both the L-Ascorbic Acid powder and the vegetable glycerin separately now that I’ve gotten a hang of making this properly. In addition, I’ll probably increase the amount of L-Ascorbic Acid once my skin is used to the stinging in order to benefit from the higher concentration of vitamin C. According to information from the website, at a 10% concentration and low ph, ascorbic acid has been shown to stimulate collagen, decrease wrinkle depth and have lightening effects on pigmentation.

But one very important thing is, always apply your sunscreen when using vitamin C because it is a sun sensitive ingredient. Don’t ever go tanning with it!

Update: It’s good to add a drop of vitamin E to the formulation.

iherb DIY Beauty: quick and easy homemade vitamin C serum

vivawoman1 DIY Beauty: quick and easy homemade vitamin C serum © www.vivawoman.net copyright notice
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Comments

  1. faeryberry says

    Hi Sesame, thanks for the fantastic post! I am changing my beauty routine slowly to all natural products and now i can add L-Ascorbic Acid Powder to my wants list. :) There is also a garden of wisdom spree going on at http://msshopalot.livejournal.com/8925.html and the range is quite fantastic. Hope that helps!

    Hey Faeryberry: I’ve found your message! Good thing you let me know so I can look up the spam folder. The Askimet is too potent! :razz:

  2. momo san says

    Hi, Do you mind to share with us where could we get the Vit C kit?

    momo san: Where are you located? If in S’pore, get it via Whoopeekiddies. I’ve got the link at the top of my article. If not, check out some of the DIY ingredient suppliers recommended at Glowing Diva Forum. The link is also within the post.

  3. momo san says

    I am located in Singapore.Thanks for the information.Do you know if i can get any store in singapore. wishes to get it immediately..

    momo san: No, I don’t think so. These are DIY ingredients and I don’t know any stores sell these stuff. Anyway, Whoopeekiddies ship very quickly. In two days’ time if they have stock.

  4. momo san says

    Btw, how did you keep the homemade DIY vitamin C serum?

    momo san: In the fridge. 3 days. Don’t keep longer than 5.

  5. Melissa says

    Can I purchase the L-ascorbic acid myself? Do I buy the kind you can ingest as a supplement? Do you recommend any particular brands?
    Thanks so much for your help!

    Melissa: I read from some forums that gals buy the L-ascorbic from pharmacies or drugstores (actually they are vit C tablets) and then dissolve them. I use the cosmetic grades purchased from DIY suppliers. Where are you based?

  6. Melissa says

    I am in Houston Texas. I liked the kit you mentioned but I thought I would like to buy it in a larger amount then 2 grams. Saw some powders that can be consumed and wondered if they could also be used in your formula. I would be grateful for any source you think is a good one. Thanks!

    Melissa: I’m not exactly sure but I read from some forums that some gals use those vit C tablets that contain Ascorbic for this. I haven’t tried cos I’m sticking to use the cosmetic grade.

  7. Theresa says

    Melissa:

    You can get the ascorbic acid powder from most Whole food store or online, I got mine from iherb. They also have vegetable glycerin. I just placed order yesterday, couldn’t wait to DIY my first Vit C serum.

    Theresa: Oh iherb is great! Their stuff are quite cheap but I haven’t got a chance to order from them cos they don’t seem to accept PayPal. :(

  8. cindy says

    Im based in London.. do you know where can i get the ascorbic acid powder?
    Your blog is great.. really great. Im now more motivated to take care of my face properly :D

    Cindy: Glad you like the info here and I’m happy that you’re motivated to care for your face in a better way! :) For the suppliers, contact, try checking out this thread at Essential Day Spa Forum.

  9. barb says

    HELP WHERE CAN I BUY L-ASCORBIC ACID?? THE HEALTH STORES ONLY HAVE ASCORBIC ACID AND IT’S NOT THE SAME THING.

    Barb: Get it from the DIY ingredient suppliers. Try checking this resource. http://www.glowingdiva.com/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=137&sid=fea27c564dfed4177e2271a5e73b30f8

  10. malika says

    Great post. I’ve heard that people crush vitamin C supplements to add to their moisturizer. do you think that would work for my hyperpigmentation? also, if i do get my hands on the l-ascorbic acid (does it have to be the l-ascorbic as opposed to the ascorbic acid?) can i just add the powder to my sunscreen/moisturizer rather than using the veg. gylycerin to make a serum? i ask because i’ve used the turbo vitamin c booster powder from philosophy at sephora but it was $50 for like 0.24 grams or something and i want something cheaper. also, that powder was meant to be used as a daytime treatment to protect you from free radicals encountered during the day (sun, pollution) would the serum that you made have the same purpose as well. sorry about the many questions!:)

    Malika: Yes, I heard about the same about I haven’t tried vit C supplements to know if they really work well. L-ascorbic is what you want to get your hands on except that this ingredient is highly unstable when exposed to water and air. The glycerin acts as a preservative. Adding it direct to your sunscreen and moisturizer is not something I can comment cos I have not tried it this way, plus I’ve no idea how it reacts with creams. What I read on forums is that some gals mixed it with distilled/mineral water and use it directly after shower, before applying their sunscreen or moisturizer. Perhaps that’s a more viable option if you want it fresh and don’t want to mix it with glycerin.

    The serum I made can be used in the day, under your sunscreen. However, I subsequently changed my routine and only used it in the night as my sunscreen already has antioxidant properties. Plus I’m also using grapeseed oil.

    I remember there were a bit of discussions on makeupalley.com about this. I can’t remember the thread. I suggest you do a search on homemade or diy vit c and makeupalley and see if you can find that thread to give you more options on using vit c.

  11. Astrid says

    Hi just a quick question, i’ve tried the DIY serum and followed exactly the step you have written, but for some reason my L ascorbid acid cannot dissolved properly in the water no matter how long i stir it in. do you have any suggestion about this?thanks anyway

    Astrid: That’s very strange cos L-ascorbid acid is supposed to dissolve very quickly and easily. I don’t even stir my portion but just swirl the bottle. One question, did you check your water? Sufficient? If not, I wonder if there’s anything wrong with the L-Ascorbic acid crystals. It’s powdery form yes?

  12. Astrid says

    Hi,Thanks for repying. Mine is in a
    powdery-crystal form, like a salt one. I will try with more amount of water to see whether it has a difference. Do you think by adding more water will make the serum work less?

    Astrid: You should be using 5ml to about a quarter teaspoon of the L-Ascorbic acid. Adding more water will render the serum useless.

  13. curly says

    in france we have prblem to buy ascorbic acid in the pharmacies. They are reluctant to sell it. From 10 pharmacies I asked, finaly only one who gave up to sell to me. The rest pretend they don’t have anymore, and they offered us to order, but even that they don’t guarantee and finaly canceled. The one that finaly sold to me 10gram had to have a long chat with their colleauges. I think it’s because they don’t like we buy this because it cost cheap, and they prefer to mix it with something and sell them more expensive as vit C.

    Curly: So difficult? Anyway, the source I purchase here ordered from US and that’s how we can get our hands on them so easily and cheaply.

  14. Liza says

    Hi, just wanted to know if you can use the juice from a fresh squeezed lemon in place of the l-absorbic acid ?

    • sesame says

      No, it’s not the same. But lemon can help with whitening. But it’s extremely photosensitive and you need to wash it off and also apply sunscreen afterwards for protection.

  15. Joanna says

    Informative post, but what is the ph of the vitamin c? it is only able to to penetrate the skin at a ph of 3.2 how do you know that is the correct ph when it is in powder form? Also, when you mix the powder with anything, that automatically raises the ph.

    • sesame says

      I am not exactly sure about the ph but was under the impression from the store I bought the powder that using the mix according to their recommended recipe will allow the vit C to penetrate the skin.

  16. Lisa says

    I went searching for L-Ascorbic Acid in powder form at the local pharmacies and my regular health food store but all I was able to find was a powdered ascorbic acid,is this the same product?I am in Australia,maybe it is marketed simply as ‘ascorbic acid’,does anyone know?

  17. Jay says

    IS this kit using the L-Ascorbic acid in FINE powder form? From my research on the other forums, if it isn’t in fine granules, it will not dissolve correcly into the skin. There is a lot of concern over this. Let me know – jctx09@yahoo

    Any feedback from anyone would be appreciated as well.

  18. faeryberry says

    hi sesame,

    been using the diy vit c and i do see some results :), but why do we need to use sunblock after using it? does it cause any adverse reaction?

    • sesame says

      Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and is good by itself but it doesn’t provide you any sun protection. In addition, I read that vitamin C can be photosensitive though I’ve been told it’s not. But either way, it’s always good to wear a sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF in the daytime.

  19. faeryberry says

    oh i see, thanks, now i know. :)
    I do think my face stings when i am out in the sun after using vit c. so i make sure i wash it off before i do gardening and all.

  20. planetoceana says

    I’ve gone to whoopeekiddies and it seems to be a shopping website or a book wbsite. How do find the L ascorbic acid kit?

    • sesame says

      When you enter the site, look under D-I-Y Kits. There is only one item in there and it’s the Vitamin C Serum DIY.

  21. oohman says

    Hi, I have gotten the kit from whoopiekiddies.
    and now want to make more..

    It seems whoopiekiddies sells L-ascorbic acid poweder by itself But not Glycerine..

    I am based in Singapore so buying from US-based sites is a lot of shipping to incur. Can we buy glycerine anywhere in Singapore or any local based sites which sell em..

    Btw, excellant site..

    • sesame says

      Oh they’re still out of glycerin? :shock: It was at least half a year ago they told me that…looks like they never did stock up then.

      I’ve seen glycerin at the pharmacies but they’re not vegetable grade though. I haven’t come across anymore local sites that sell this. The only other way is to order from the US sites via sprees.

      But it is possible to use the L-ascorbic powder with water. Just that you can’t keep it long – better to use it fresh daily.

  22. FairyFlozz says

    Your articles are so inspiring! i’ve been on the lookout for an effective L-ascorbic serum but don’t trust the drugstore brands and even the high-end ones(except probly Obagi). I dont want to invest and splurge right away in case it wouldnt work on my skin and thank you for your reviews on the homemade vit c serum. Im excited to make my own and happily discovered that the ingredients are available here in Sydney. Question though, why aren’t you using hyarulonic acid when it’s more beneficial than plain ‘ol glycerin?
    Once again, thank you for having this blog. Im not sure if you’ll be able to see my comment amongst hundreds that you have, but will appreciate a reply.

    • sesame says

      Hey, glad you are inspired to try this! :) I could only get glycerin here but yes, hyaluronic acid would be more beneficial. But I’m not sure about the percentage and so forth. I guess it should be quite straight forward?

  23. Fiary says

    oh bugger, i’ve posted twice! I’m Fairy, not Fiary. sorry pls delete the 2nd comment, it’s practically redundant haha!

  24. oohman says

    I notice i am getting breakouts ( pimples) when I use a vitamin c serum. Cud it be due to the gylcerine. Cud I opt it out for something else or totally ignore it. I usually apply a sunscreen after.

  25. Fairy says

    i’m usually too lazy to post things but i have to let your readers know. This concoction actually works!!! It’s been exactly 13days(yes, been very patient) since I started using it and noticed last night that my face looks unusually “bright and pinkish and glowy” . No, it’s not imagination as I use the same mirror/lighting at home. Heck, I even look better in the ofc toilet mirror w/c normally makes me feel crap. My problem mostly were post pimple scars, and although I havent noticed significant lightening of the scars, my cheeks and whole face were actually “glowing and fairer”. Aside from the Vit C, these are the things i use: Clindamycin on the forehead where I’m prone to breakouts, and spot treat comedones with tretinoin at night. My face has cleared up since I started the Vit. C/Clindamycin combo. I only do the tretinoin spot treatment(not whole face) when I see a very small comedone popping up every now n then(i had about 4 so far, one at a time). Having said this, I suspect the glycerin causes these small heads. But they go away the following day coz of the meds mentioned above.
    Aside from all these, i also exfoliate once a week, and started with Mudd Clay mask 4 days ago.

    Now onto the concern: I dont want my eye area to look like a raccoon as i expect my skin to be even lighter as i continue with the serum. Im already seeing a difference in colour! Now im on the lookout for a good vitamin c EYE SERUM this time, as I still have a full jar of the powder and knowing that it actually works, would like to stick to a vit. c active ingredient. Help me pls? Cheers!

    • sesame says

      I’m glad this works for you. :)

      Vitamin C for eye is a little tricky. I usually extend the serum to my entire face, even to the eye area but I try to be careful to avoid any sensitivity issues.

      Btw, I hope you’re also using sunscreen in the daytime as it is important when using vit C products.

  26. sara says

    5 ML water means 1 tsp right? I used 1/4 tsp vitamin c powder, 1 tsp water and the vitamin c wouldnt dissolve:( even though it was 100 % pure (got it from whole foods).

  27. Denise says

    Something to remember – when using a sunscreen, Zinc Oxide reacts with vitamin C, so make sure that your sunscreen is not a Zinc Oxide based one (extremely white when first applied). I like a Zinc Oxide sunscreen, but was hirrified to find out this bit of information. Please do some research to verify what I am saying. Unfortunately I cannot remember where I read it, but it might have been via a link from the Environ website.

    • sesame says

      I think that you can’t mix zinc oxide and vitamin c in one product but if you use vitamin c as an antioxidant and sunscreen with zinc oxide on top, it should be okay. I spoke to a dermatologist about this because I was also paranoid. So in the end, I just use vitamin C products mostly at night just to be sure.

  28. caramel says

    Sesame,,,I tried this stuff,,,but not with ascorbic acid powder but the tablet, 500 mg for 10 ml of water.I prepared and stored for just 3 days.I didn’t use any glycerine.I would discard anything left after 3 days and make a fresh batch. In the begining there was a light stinging. But now I am used to it.Believe me,,I can see results. Sesame,,I tried many lightening creams,,,but nothing gave me the result so soon like this. Thank you Sesame,,,and all who contributed ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,keep up this good work girls.

    • sesame says

      Hi Caramel: Glad it’s working for you. Storing for 3 days is about right since you don’t use glycerine.

  29. Berni says

    Hi, can the vegetable glycerin be replaced with Sea buckthorn seed oil? I use this oil daily. I find it light and doesn’t give me breakouts. Thanks.

    • sesame says

      You can add the L-Ascorbic powder into your seabuckthorn oil, but it is better to add per usage so that the vit c doesn’t oxidize.

  30. Berni says

    Hi Sesame, thanks for the feedback.
    I have another question. I’ve been getting small pimples ever since I started using the ascorbic acid powder. All I’m adding to the recipe is 1/4 teaspoon pure ascorbic acid powder with 5ml of distilled water. I make this fresh every night. I apply this with a cotton ball and let my face air dry. I do feel my face tingle a bit until it dries. After 3-5 minutes, I apply a few drops of seabuckthorn oil. I do this a bedtime.
    Can the ascorbic acid be causing the breakouts? Or maybe the seabuckthorn oil? However, I have used this oil every morning for almost 2 years and never reacted.
    The breakout is not a lot but one or two small zits a day around my chin and nose area.
    Before switching over to this recipe, I was using Stieva A cream (.05%) nightly for over 10 years. I stopped 2 weeks prior to starting with the ascorbic acid because I noticed my skin looking thin, dull and dry.
    I’m not sure if I should return to the Stieva A cream again which would mean to stop using the ascorbic acid. I’m confused.
    Your feedback is much appreciated. Thank you.

    • sesame says

      Yes, could be the ascorbic acid cos I’ve read from Makeupalley that some girls break out after using it. So this may not be suitable for all. Right now, I’m using a vitamin C powder too, which I add to my serum. However, I don’t use it every night. Maybe you want to cut down to two or three times a week to see how it goes? If the pimples still persist, then perhaps this isn’t right for you.

  31. ivy says

    i tried to order fro mthe website whoopeekidies and it won’t let me get the products and i have checked out all the vitamin store, they don’t have glycerin???? please help me thansk

    • sesame says

      Why don’t you try emailing to whoopeekiddies. There could be something wrong with their system and they’re not aware.

  32. Ekta says

    Hey,
    I am from India and i dont get L-Ascorbic Acid Powder here.
    Where can i buy from?
    Plss help.

  33. Derb says

    is L-Ascorbic Acid USP the same as the supplement ascorbic acid? ascorbic acid without the L- ? would NOW Ascorbic Acid Powder work just as good? or does the powder have to say ascorbic acid? thanks!

    • sesame says

      It should be L-Ascorbic cosmetic version although I’ve heard others trying to use the ascorbic acid.

  34. Derb says

    how long should i wait after applying this before i apply acne cream and moisterizer? should i use this before acne cream ? is it ok to use this with azelaic acid 20% cream?

  35. Vivi says

    Hi Sesame,

    I’m wondering whether I can just buy L-Ascorbic Acid Powder and mix it with Marie Veronique Skin Lightening Serum. It’s cheaper than buying MV Vitamin C powder.

    What is your thought?

    • sesame says

      Yes, it is definitely possible…just that I’m not sure exactly how much to add. I used something like this before and it was in a shaker so each time I just added a small shake to whatever I was using.

  36. suzanne says

    I found a L-ascorbic by Bluebonnet. Says “Bluebonnet’s Vitamin C Crystals provide 4500 mg of pure, easy-to-mix crystalline L-ascorbic acid per teaspoon.
    My question is do all l-ascorbic powders have the same concentration? The DIY kits don’t say how many mg’s per teaspoon?
    Thanks

  37. Jason says

    I just bought L-ascorbic powder over the internet but I only manage to get Hyaluronic acid in powder form instead of vegetable glycerin. May I know what is the ratio for it?

  38. asima says

    Hi, so can the oxidized (hardened) vitamin c powder be used for the skin as well? If not, why not?

  39. asima says

    Hi, so can the oxidized (hardened) vitamin c powder be used for the skin as well? If not, why not?
    Thanks.

    • sesame says

      If it’s oxidized, it would not have effects on the skin isn’t it? Most of the vit C skincare try to preserve them well to prevent oxidization. In fact, if such products are oxidized, they may produce more radical damage.

    • sesame says

      Yes, you can. But you need to address your skin problems too. Do you exfoliate? That might help.

  40. Juliy says

    Hi, where can i get the L-ascorbic acid powder? I’m from Singapore and I can’t find any. Help, please?

    • Juliy says

      I found it! hahaha thanks btw! :) Really excited to try this, because vitamin C can cost quite a huge amount for a student!

  41. Niobe says

    Can I just add L-Ascorbic Acid to normal boiled water and apply? And do I apply this before or after my toner? Thanks. =)

    • sesame says

      Yes, should be okay although I would recommend using mineral or filtered water. You can apply after toner.

  42. Meiting says

    Hey Juliy, may I know where you brought the L-ascorbic acid powder? I been looking for a long time but only found ascorbic acid. Thanks:)

  43. Annette says

    Thanks so much for sharing your recipe! I just recently got my hands on USP grade L-Ascorbic Acid and Vegetable Glycerin for cheap on Ebay, plus ordered rosewater from drugstore.com to concoct my own. The Whoppeekiddies link no longer work, fyi. The product is sold out, I guess. :)

    Anyway, quick question: What is your recipe’s Vitamin C % concentration? I have sensitive skin so like you, I want to start out slow. TIA!

    • sesame says

      I use 1/4 teaspoon of the L-Ascorbic Acid Powder, let it dissolve completely in 5ml of mineral water and then added about 8 small drops of the vegetable glycerin. But later on, I stopped using the glycerin altogether. Anyway, I no longer use this DIY serum cos my products have vitamin C – and yes, I only use it in the night now.

  44. Annette says

    By the way I just want to share with you this useful site for concocting your own Vitamin C Serum. You said the glycerin made your combination skin too oily – that’s true. You can try replacing glycerin with Propylene Glycol, which is a humectant that seals in moisture, and aids in better Vitamin C penetration into the skin.

    http://makeupalley.com/user/notepad/StAmourOwl/

    I already bought my own glycerin, but I think I’ll try buying Propylene Glycol as it looks to be rather cheap. Just spree it in!

    Also, I just noticed you mentioned that you use your Vitamin C serum twice a day… some people recommend using it only once (recommended during day time) but if twice works for you, by all means keep at it! :)

  45. June says

    Hi,
    I just found your blog. Thanks for the recommendation.
    I got freckles on my face. I wonder whether vit-c works on me or not?
    and i have checked out Whoopeekiddies that you have mentioned. Is it changed to http://www.milagrotrading.com/store/??? Are they the same??
    Is it ok to order from them as well?

    • sesame says

      Yes, they are the same. Freckles are more of an inherent issue so not too sure if vit C works well enough but no harm trying if your skin is not sensitive.

  46. Silvina says

    Maybe you should have a look at this. BE careful with ascorbic acid, since it is not vitamin C.

    http://www.thedoctorwithin.com/vitaminc/ascorbic-acid-is-not-vitamin-c/

    Silvina

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