Vitamin C is a popular ingredient in skincare products, due to its ability to stimulate collagen production and protect the skin from free radicals. However, most skin products with a high concentration of vitamin C (5 to 20 per cent) are expensive, and oxidise very quickly. Once vitamin C oxidises, it's ineffective. You can make a cheaper, more effective version of a vitamin C serum with only three simple ingredients.
Although commercial products may have ingredient lists full of unpronounceable names, you only need three simple ingredients to make your own vitamin C serum: 1/4 tsp powdered vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid; you can find it at most drug or health stores), 1 tsp pure vegetable glycerine (available at health stores) and 1 tsp distilled water.
You can play around with this recipe. If your skin is particularly sensitive, reduce the amount of vitamin C to 1/8 tsp. For drier skin, increase the glycerine. For a soothing, scented serum, substitute rose water for the distilled water.
Dissolve the vitamin C in the water. You may need to use a whisk or a blender if the powder refuses to dissolve. Stir in the glycerine.
Pour the mixture into a small, coloured glass bottle (blue or amber glass works wonderfully). Dark glass prevents the vitamin C from oxidising. If the powder hasn't quite dissolved, simply shake the bottle vigorously until it does.
Application & storage
Use a cotton ball or your fingers to smooth the serum all over your face. A little tingling sensation is fine, but too much tingling means your skin needs less vitamin C. It's very important to follow this with an application of sunscreen, since vitamin C leaves your skin sensitive to light.
Thankfully, when you make your own vitamin C serum, you have complete control over the serum's shelf life. Instead of whipping up a month's worth of serum and having to throw it out when it begins to oxidise, you can make a few days worth at a time. Try to make a new batch every five days to guarantee that your skin is getting the freshest, most potent treatment. Store your serum in the refrigerator for extra protection against oxidation.