Beauty Editor Favorite

Vitamin C Superserum

Rated 4.8 out of 5
Based on 128 reviews

60-day treatment, 30ml/1oz

"Vitamin C is the 'superhero' of skincare ingredients and this is the purest and most effective topical Vitamin C product ever created.

The space-age technology behind this serum, will give even the dullest, tiredest skin an instant healthy glow while jumpstarting dozens of vital renewing activities on the cellular level."

-M. Scottson, Pharm. D

  • Revives dull skin tone (within days)
  • Fades dark spots/discoloration (within 60 days)
  • Protects skin from main environmental stressors that cause early aging, sun spots and inflammation
  • Lab-made batch, ready to ship

Typical clinic price: $166.00

Our lab-direct price:
Regular price$72.00
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Note: If you do not plan to use this serum within 60 days of purchase, please store in refrigerator.

This groundbreaking serum redefined the standard of how Vitamin C serums should look, feel and perform––which is why it’s earned a cult following from almost every beauty editor in the industry. This water-based serum is bottled in a 100% oxygen-free and light-free environment, capturing Vitamin C in its absolute purest natural form.

Most clients see visible improvements to skin tone and brightness in 14 days. Significant improvements to dark spots and to the thickening of skin's collagen layer can take a full bottle or two when used alone. These improvements are accelerated when paired with the Enzyme-Active Retinol Serum.

Read below or here to see why this serum does not require foul-smelling ferulic acid or a vitamin C concentration above 10%. 

Therapeutic active:
10% L-ascorbic acid, pH 3.46

All products are vegan, cruelty free and 100% recyclable through our Empties Recycling Program.

Water, Witch Hazel Water, Ascorbic Acid (L), Glycerin, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Ethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate (D-alpha), Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Passiflora Incarnata Fruit Extract, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Caprylyl Glycol, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Phenoxyethanol

Apply one pump in the morning after cleansing or rinsing with water while skin is still damp. Let sit for 1-2 minutes before following up with moisturizer or daily SPF. This product is compatible with other toners or actives except for leave-on acids, which should be used at a different time of day. However, as a general practice our lab team recommends a simple cleanser, active, moisturizer routine for all skin types. This serum will allow you to remove several steps from your routine with better results.

For more details, feel free to read our blog.

Our clients don't hold back:

★★★★★

A cult-favorite among editors and influencers in the know

Lauren Caruso

CNN Underscored

★★★★★

The airtight bottle (also bottled in a UV-free environment) allows for the potent concentration of 10-percent vitamin C to remain as stable as possible until the last pump. Translation: better, stronger, faster results for us.

Danielle Fontana Dooley

New Beauty

★★★★★

I’m happy to report that I’ve come across a super-effective antioxidant serum that falls into that sweet spot between super-expensive and too-good-to-be-true—and I actually think it has a leg-up on its pricier counterparts.

Paige Axel

Insider Beauty Buzz

★★★★★

This is a holy grail product for me honestly. It instantly helps my skin glow and brightens up my skin tone. It’s honestly changed the way my skin looks and I’m really enjoying it. You only need one pump, I use it daily and y’all my skin looks so good I’m just so happy with this.

Hajar

Verified Buyer

★★★★★

I have never seen a carefully packaged Vitamin C like this before, and if you care about the potency and effectivity of your Vitamin C serums (which you should), you have to check out protocolskincare

Chesca

Verified Buyer

★★★★★

One of my goals for the new year is to take better care of my skin. Thanks to @protocolskincare , I’ve finally added a Vitamin C Serum into my morning skincare routine ☀️. I’m not kidding when I say this stuff is SO good!! I’ve used it for two weeks and my skin is already looking noticeably brighter and feels so soft!! 😍

Nikki

Verified Buyer

★★★★★

I can say that the feeling of putting it on is unique in a couple of ways: One, unlike another very popular and expensive vitamin C serum I've used, it's pretty much colorless and doesn't smell bad. Two, unlike almost every product I use, except for my prescription retinoid, I don't have that momentary thought of, "Is this even doing anything?" Instead of blind faith, I have confidence that I'm putting on an effective version of an effective ingredient.

Dhani Mau

fashionista.com

★★★★★

I can honestly say that this is the best Vitamin C serum I’ve EVER tried. I’m all about honest reviews and this formula is truly insanely good. I’ve tried at least a dozen different Vitamin C serums before but this one is next level! It literally just melts into my skin and makes the texture look better almost instantly. Crazy good, I’m telling you. You need to try this one. Then you’ll know what I’m talking about. 🙌🏼😍

Jelena

Verified Buyer

★★★★★

This is my first experience using a dedicated vitamin c serum. I am 50 yo and have significant sun spots and hyperpigmentation that I have tried treating with laser therapy. While that helped a bit, I resigned to the fact that it’s years of neglect that I will live with. This serum does seem to reduce the appearance of the dark spots while giving a firmer and brighter look. I definitely notice a difference in my skin after just one month of use and plan on continue using this product.

Rhonda J.

Verified Buyer

clinically effective
Visible Improvements Guaranteed in 60 Days

Vitamin C in the ascorbic acid form is the most effective topical antioxidant by a very wide margin. (For clients interested, the second most effective is green tea extract as provided in our AHA cleanser.)

No other antioxidant is proven to be as clinically effective at reversing signs of environmental stressors like UV and pollutants exposure or is proven capable of encouraging natural collagen production. Most clients see a boost in evenness and brightness to their complexion within the first week of use.

The noticable fading of visible dark spots or hyperpigmentation can take a month or the full 60 day course.

We recommend at least 2-3 treatments per year with this full-potency ascorbic acid to maximize results through continuous use for ongoing correction and protection is of course ideal. Clients are encouraged to document their skin's progress using the Setlist App.

LITTLE ORANGE INGREDIENT FORTRESS
Patented Aerospace Containment Technology

All Protocol serums are created and bottled in a 100% oxygen-free and light-free environment, using patented aerospace containment technology.

Why has no one else done this? Because it's really, really hard. Another skincare CEO famously called it "unrealistic." Our engineering team loved that.

Protocol's founding team had to look outside the skincare industry, in the aerospace and nuclear industries, to find the technology that could make oxygen-free and light-free bottling possible. The final result is 10% ascorbic acid delivered to you exactly as nature intended it: pure and perfect.

Scientific solutions work for all skin types.

Frequently Asked Questions

Serums containing "ascorbyl palmitate," "tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate," "magnesium ascorbyl phosphate,"...etc. are all legally allowed to be called "Vitamin C serums," though these derivative forms have little-to-no actual Vitamin C antioxidant power on their own. The ingredient you're looking for is l-ascorbic acid, which is the pure, natural, full-potency form of Vitamin C you'd find in a freshly picked orange. This is also the form that will show the greatest visible benefits to your complexion. We include some derivative forms on top of l-ascorbic acid since your skin has some capacity to store these forms for later conversion to the real deal.

The second thing to note is that if your Vitamin C serum doesn't smell sweet and looks like light yellow apple sauce, it's no longer Vitamin C. There's a lot of talk out there about "stabilized Vitamin C" created by adding water or ferulic acid. These indeed slow degradation a bit, but if the serum is bottled with oxygen exposure, every hour it sits on the shelf it will continue to oxidize, degrade and lose its effectiveness significantly. If you read the fine print of most of the popular ascorbic-acid serums on the market, you'll see a plea saying "don't stock up."

All Protocol serums are created and bottled in a 100% oxygen-free and light-free environment, using patented aerospace containment technology.

Because it's really, really hard. Another skincare CEO famously called it "unrealistic." our engineering team loved that.

Protocol's founding team had to look outside the skincare industry, in the aerospace and nuclear industries, to find the technology that could make oxygen-free and light-free bottling possible.  The final result is 10% ascorbic acid delivered to you exactly as nature intended it: pure and perfect.

The secret that brings it all together is what we call our "little orange ingredient fortress".

A proprietary, clinical-grade, totally airless, and UV proof bottle that's built like the space shuttle to protect our advanced and fragile ingredients. The quality of the product it delivers will be apparent from the first pump.

Because it smells like hot dogs. And because your skin can't use that much Vitamin C.

Ferulic acid is primarily added to ascorbic acid serums in an attempt to extend the shelf life of a highly unstable serum. Unlike the popular (expensive) CE Ferulic Acid ascorbic acid serum, we do not have this problem––since our serums are bottled without oxygen exposure and using an airless bottle. Ferulic acid also boosts the sun protective properties of ascorbic acid––but nowhere close to what you can get by simply applying sunscreen (which you should do anyway!). As documented by ResearchGate, the most important component of topical ascorbic acid effectiveness is its pH (it must be below 3.5). This study also shows that at a proper pH (like the Protocol Vitamin C Superserum at 3.4), the skin reaches a saturation point where it cannot take on more Vitamin C after just a few days of application. Based on these recommendations, we have lowered the concentration of our serum to 10% ascorbic acid, which allows for total antioxidant saturation but with a gentler daily application. In other words, 20% is more harsh and goes to waste anyway after day 3 of use.

Vitamin C (in the ascorbic acid form) is the most powerful topical antioxidant on Earth. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C combats environmental stressors, like UV light and pollutants, that can cause the breakdown of collagen in your skin and dark spots to form. What does this mean for your skin? Vitamin C fades dark spots, brightens dull skin, builds a more even complexion, and encourages collagen creation for plumper smoother skin.

Absolutely! In fact, the best way to use a Vitamin C serum is to apply it every morning, followed by sunscreen and/or moisturizer. Daily application (or at least 4x per week) ensures you are actively protecting your skin against the build-up of environmental stressors.

With Protocol's Vitamin C Superserum, we guarantee visible improvements within 60 days, though some users see results in as little as two weeks. A boost to your skin's brightness and evenness typically happens right away, while the permanent fading of dark spots or hyperpigmentation can take multiple courses. We recommend at least 2-3 treatments per year to maximize and maintain results.

average rating 4.8 out of 5
Based on 128 reviews
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98% of reviewers would recommend this product to a friend
Customer photos and videos
128 Reviews
Reviewed by Rabiah
Verified Reviewer
I recommend this product
Age
35 - 44
Skin Type
Combination
Skin Concerns
  • Age Defense
  • Dullness
  • Wrinkles & Fine Lines
My Results
  • Healthy Skin
  • Firm & Lifted Skin
  • Glowing Skin
  • Fewer Lines & Wrinkles
  • Plumper Skin
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

Game changer

I’m a serum junkie, a hoarder, a tester. The only Vitamin C serum that gave me a lifting effect! I have tried medical grade serums, Skinceuticals, pretty much everything under the sun. After daily usage, you’ll notice that the skin feels toned, almost as if you had a procedure done. Smells yummy too!

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Reviewed by Anna B.
Verified Buyer
I recommend this product
Age
45 - 54
Skin Type
Combination
Skin Concerns
  • Acne
  • Dullness
  • Wrinkles & Fine Lines
  • Dark Spots
  • Sensitivity
My Results
  • Glowing Skin
  • Firm & Lifted Skin
  • More Even Tone
  • Fewer Lines & Wrinkles
  • Brighter Complexion
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

SO glad I found this product!

I've used Skinceauticals Ferulic and C Serum for years, even had a friend that could get me a discount...regardless I prefer this superstar Vitamin C from Protocol.

I did my comparative research, and the why's behind their products and packaging are spot on.

My skin has never looked better and it's a third the retail cost of what I had been using.

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Reviewed by Emily
Verified Buyer
I recommend this product
Age
35 - 44
Skin Type
Oily
Skin Concerns
  • Acne
  • Age Defense
  • Pores
  • Oiliness
  • Wrinkles & Fine Lines
Rated 4 out of 5
Review posted

Love how this feels on my skin, lets address packaging

The smell, texture, packaging for this serum is great. I will admit, I can't easily say how or if its really improved my skin but 1. it didn't break me out which is something and 2. I see Vitamin C as a proactive treatment, I didn't expect it to do anything other than keep protecting my skin, add some moisture and definitely not make it worse. Which it does both well. I see this stuff like my daily vitamins, I don't expect miracles but with continuous use I hope it helps my long term skin health. That said, my one criticism is I don't love the single use plastics to keep using it indefinitely. I'd love if Protocol could offer this in a glass or other recyclable/reusable/compostable container. Or better yet, product refill program would be great since the serum itself is actually vacuumed inside the interior bag inside, I could see that working! Anyway, good product for me, now lets make it good for the earth. :)

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Reviewed by NC
Verified Buyer
I recommend this product
Age
35 - 44
Skin Type
Combination
Skin Concerns
  • Age Defense
  • Dark Spots
  • Wrinkles & Fine Lines
My Results
  • Reduced Age Signs
  • Fewer Lines & Wrinkles
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

Follow the science

If you are going to smear something on your face everyday, you owe it to yourself to stop and do a little research. What does the science says is the most effective and how does that compare to the ingredients in this bottle. After exhaustive research Protocol is the closest match from the science to the ingredient list, I haven't found anything that can beat it.

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Reviewed by Alex L.
Verified Buyer
I recommend this product
Age
25 - 34
Skin Type
Dry
Skin Concerns
  • Sensitivity
  • Dryness
  • Age Defense
My Results
  • Glowing Skin
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

Perfect vitamin c for sensitive skin

Love that this serum doesn’t make my skin red and reactive like other vitamin c serums I’ve tried and that the packaging is so well designed to make sure the ingredients stay active as long as it’s on your shelf!

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