How to Make a Homemade Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C serums are one of the best skin care products on the market.  They usually have very effective concentrations of Vitamin C compared to lotions and creams.  Their light consistency is ideal for oily and acne prone skin types, and they can also be layered with other moisturizing products if you skin is dry.  Making a homemade Vitamin C serum is not that hard.

Vitamin C is one of the best anti aging ingredients available.  It has been show to boost collagen protection, which increases skin firmness.  It also lightens hyperpigmentation like age spots, sun damage, melasma, and other dark spots.  Vitamin C serums are acidic, and have an exfoliating effect.  Exfoliation makes skin smoother by removing dead skin.  Many users report that their skin is brighter after using Vitamin C skin care products regularly.

A Vitamin C serum is very effective, but can also be very costly.  They are usually made with L ascorbic acid, which degrades very quickly.  It is really important that your serum is fresh and stabilized if you purchase it ready made.  Making your own homemade Vitamin C serum will save you money and ensure that you are using a fresh serum.

You make your own Vitamin C serum by dissolving L ascorbic acid powder into water or a water-based product.  You need to use pure L ascorbic acid crystals, don’t crush up a Vitamin C pill.  You can get this powder at a health food store.  A little goes a long way, and the powder keeps well.  You can dissolve this powder in distilled water, which you can find in a grocery store.  It’s also possible to add other ingredients to customize your serum.  The most common is to replace half of the water with glycerin to give it a serum texture.  Other common additions are botanical hydrosols or infusions used in place of water. You can sometimes dissolve L ascorbic acid crystals into your favorite moisturizer to make a homemade Vitamin C lotion or cream.

Homemade Vitamin C Serum Recipes

Making a Vitamin C serum will take a few math calculations!  The strength of you serum is important.  Vitamin C is very acidic and can irritate your skin if you start off using something too strong too fast.  It’s best to introduce it into your routine gradually by increasing strength over time.  If you’d like to use a water and glycerin base for a thicker serum, dissolve your L ascorbic acid into room temperature water first, then add the glycerin.  You don’t need to use glycerin, you can use just water, but it will be more the consistency of a Vitamin C toner and you should apply it with a cotton ball.  Cut the recipes in half if you’d like less serum, or double or triple it if you need more.  You’ll want to make a small amount of serum.  Remember, you need to make it every week to make sure it is fresh and effective.  You can use this serum on your body skin if you’ve made too much and don’t want to waste it.  Apply it to your neck every time you use it on your face.
Don’t start out with this serum just because it is the strongest and you want results NOW!  It doesn’t work that way.  You need to give your skin time to produce more collagen.  Don’t set yourself back by burning your skin.  Give yourself time to adjust.  If you’ve already been using a 15% or 20% serum without issues, feel free to recreate it at home.

Start with a serum that contains around 5%.  That works out to a 1:19 ratio.  An easy recipe is ¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid power into 4 and 3/4 teaspoons of water, or end amount of half water half glycerin.  Use this mixture daily for around 2 weeks to see if your skin tolerates it.

The next step is a 10% Vitamin C serum, which is a 1:9 ratio.  You can use ¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid power into 2 and ¼ teaspoons of water or total water/glycerin mixture.  This mixture will be more acidic than your first serum.  Use it daily if possible, or every other day and work your way up.  It may tingle or slightly sting at first.  If it is too intense, dilute it into a 5% serum, or mix equal parts 5% serum and 10% serum to make a 7.5% serum.  Use the weaker serum for another week or so to give your skin more time to adjust.  10% is a very effective concentration at fading hyperpigmentation, improving fine lines, and as an age preventative.  Stay at this level for at least a month of using it daily to see if you’re getting the results you’re looking for.

You’ll most likely want to work your way up to stronger serums if you have wrinkles or acne scarring.  Move to 15% first, a 3:17 ratio.  This would be 3/8 teaspoon of powder into 2 and 1/8 teaspoon water or total water/glycerin.  This is a strong Vitamin C serum.  It may be too acidic for you at first and can cause your skin to peel.  Don’t worry about the peeling; this is a sign of effective exfoliation.  Start out using it every other day, or every third day.  If you find your skin is too irritated, you can mix the 15% serum with the same amount of a 10% serum to end up with a 12.5% serum.  The nice thing about making your own Vitamin C serum is that you can step up very gradually without having to spend a lot on pre-made products.  Use each serum for 2-6 weeks before moving up to the next step.

A 20% Vitamin C serum is the strongest you’ll need to make.  This is a 1:4 ratio.  You can dissolve ¼ teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder into 1 teaspoon of water or total water/glycerin.  This is the easiest serum to measure out, but the most difficult to tolerate.  This concentration is very acidic and can irritate your skin.  If moving from 15% to 20% causes too much irritation, make a 17.5% serum by mixing equal parts 15% and 20% homemade serums.

Whew!  That’s a lot of different measurements to keep track of!  Here’s an easy list for you to reference as you increase the strengths of your serums.

Strength                   Ratio                       L Ascorbic Acid                      Water and/or Glycerin

5% Serum                   1:19 ratio                       ¼ tsp powder                                4 and ¾ tsp base

10% Serum                1:9 ratio                          ¼ tsp powder                                2 and ¼ tsp base

15% Serum                3:17 ratio                       3/8 tsp powder                              2 and 1/8 tsp base

20% Serum               1:4 ratio                          ¼ tsp powder                                1 tsp base


You should store your homemade Vitamin C serum in a small sealed glass or plastic bottle that you keep in the fridge.  Wrap this bottle in aluminum foil so that it is protected from light.  This serum will only keep for a week before you need to remake it.  L ascorbic acid degrades quite quickly.  Apply your serum to clean skin in the morning or evening and let it sink in for 5 minutes or more before applying make up or another skin care product.