Best Korean vitamin C serums to be kind to your skin

Get the coveted ‘glass skin’ complexion

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Ellie Davis16 February 2024
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It is not difficult to understand the appeal of Korean beauty.

Born out of a skin-first philosophy, the emphasis is on a healthy, dewy complexion with skincare products considered a ritual rather than a chore.

One of the signatures of K-Skin, in particular, is ‘glass skin’, a coveted complexion around the world defined by a smooth, hydrated and luminous look.

This may be achieved through the double dose skincare practice that takes a times two approach to cleansing, masking and hydrating products, or the seven-layer method of, well, layering toner or essence seven times between the cleansing and moisturising stage – yes, you read that correctly!

But if you’re looking to streamline your routine – while still addressing radiance concerns – there is another approach that you can take.

Vitamin C is an open secret in skincare. The buzzed-about ingredient is known and loved for its antioxidant powers and glow-giving results.

Like a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice for the skin, the humble component is a nourishing hero. On dry, dull and dehydrated skin, it works to revitalise the complexion, fade acne scars, minimise the appearance of hyperpigmentation and reduce the look of fine lines thanks to a tissue-repairing nutrient. The ingredient can also boost collagen production. It’s no wonder it’s considered a staple part of routines across the world – Korea included.

Known simply as vit C, ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid, it is a regular feature in Korean skincare, especially in serums where the lightweight textures cloak the complexion with a lit-from-within radiance in an instant.

Shop the best Korean vitamin C serums below

COSRX The Vitamin C 23 Serum 20ml


While CORSX is likely best known for its use of snail mucin in its skincare products, in this serum, it has spotlighted a different powerhouse ingredient. Vitamin C takes a starring role in a potent quantity of 23 per cent.

The component works alongside that of tocotrienol to inhibit melanin production and as a consequence, improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation and acne scars, while simultaneously adding glow to your complexion. The inclusion of sodium hyaluronate means those with parched skin will be sure to drink up this antioxidant-rich hydration cocktail.

Buy now£28, Cult Beauty

PURITO Pure Vitamin C Serum 60ml


This lightweight vitamin C serum comes from PURITO. The hydrating formula works to plump and brighten the skin as soon as you coat your complexion with its combination of ascorbic acid and hyaluronic acid.

This supercharged duo evens skin tone and injects moisture while niacinamide and red ginseng extract double down on the lit-from-within effect. Apply each morning content in the knowledge that you are treating your skin with a sustainable, plant-powered label that is free from harsh chemicals.

Buy now£22.90, lookfantastic

Erborian Yuza Super Serum


K-beauty powerhouse makeup and skincare label Erborian harnesses super ingredients in its serum collection that have been renowned for centuries in Korea. Perk up a dull complexion with a potent vitamin C hit in the form of its Yuza that will cloak the complexion in the glow ingredient derived from nourishing yuzu.

The formula was created to provide a protective shield for normal to dry skin. It has a subtle, fresh citrus fragrance and leaves your face feeling silky soft.

Buy now£45.39, Amazon

By Wishtrend Pure Vitamin C 21.5% Advanced Serum 30ml

By Wishtrend

Less widely known on UK soil but a bestseller in Korean skincare, By Wishtrend is an innovative label eschewing all nasties like parabens or artificial fragrances in favour of solely essential active ingredients.

Its Advanced Serum contains a potent dose of pure vitamin C – so much so that the brand suggests steering clear of ingredients like AHAs, BHAs and retinol while using it. The aim of this serum is to deliver smooth, supple skin and leave it bright – and all in short order.

Buy now£22, Skinsider

Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop (35ml)


Whether you know it as Klaris or Dear Klaris, the brand is one of the most popular worldwide and often our first introduction in the K-beauty arena. The MO of 'simple but enough' has led to a collection with minimal ingredients, selected only after scientific research and set alongside natural botanicals so they are as sensorial as they are effective.

In this vein, The Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop is vitamin C-infused but to ensure that it can be used by all skin types, even those with sensitivities, there are also Centella asiatica extracts so that it’s not irritating.

Buy now£21, Skinsider

Jumiso All Day Brightening & Balancing


A radiant complexion need not come at a bank-busting price tag - something Jumiso knows all too well. You can maximise the power of its vitamin-rich ingredient line-up for the same cost as Farmer J lunch. The cocktail of vitamins A, B, D, E, and K as well as the star of vitamin C combine to soothe and nourish in equal measure, treating your complexion to a glowy, brightened complexion.

Buy now£11.90, Amazon

Saturday Skin Yuzu Vitamin C Sleep Overnight Face Mask

Saturday Skin

Teeming with antioxidant power, Sunday Skin has incorporated vitamin C into this overnight face mask. The brand has used a form of vitamin C from yuzu that yields three times more of the supercharged stuff than other citrus fruits.

To protect against external aggressors and give your skin a glow up, there are also the powers of anti-ageing retinol that increases cell turnover, brightening niacinamide and glycolic acid to buff away dulling dead skin cells. Wake up with the veil of radiance that you deserve.

Buy now£22.50, Amazon

Goodal Green Tangerine Vita C Dark Spot Serum 30ml


Cloak the complexion in Goodal and its Green Tangerine Vita C Dark Spot Serum. This skincare brand places green tangerine extract at its heart alongside additional vitamin C derivatives in an easy-to-apply gel-like texture. With consistent use, you should notice a visible difference in the appearance of hyperpigmentation and acne scars and it’s a pleasure to layer up too with the faint citrus aroma.

Buy now£42, Superdrug

Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Bright-Eye Gel Cream

Glow Recipe

Glow Recipe was founded in the US but takes its inspiration from Korean practices. In fact, the brand started as a platform for Seoul-imported K-Beauty cosmetics before creating its own in-house skincare label and becoming one of the most hyped-about brands around the world. Founders Christine Chang and Sarah Lee show their commitment to healthy skin with Guava Vitamin C Bright-Eye Gel Cream.

After a night on the tiles, you’ll be reaching for its brightening and reviving properties. While silky smooth and lightweight in texture, it infuses the delicate skin area with encapsulated vitamin C and niacinamide to hydrate and even skin tone. There is also caffeine for a revitalising effect.

Buy now£36, Cult Beauty