Dr. Axe > Natural Remedies Posts > Skin and Beauty

DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face

DIY vitamin C facial serum - Dr. Axe

Skincare is so important, so no wonder there’s such a plethora of products out there to choose from — including in our natural foods grocery stores. As a result, it’s pretty confusing, too, with all of the choices on the market. But if you haven’t tried vitamin C, such as a DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face, you may be missing out some big skin benefits.

While we know that eating vitamin C–rich foods like citrus fruits, berries and dark leafy greens (such as kale) can definitely heal inside the body, making vitamin C as part of your daily skin regimen can heal from outside-in as well! Vitamin C provides repair and growth of the skin tissue. It also contains amazing and powerful antioxidants that can protect the skin from damaging free radicals.

How Vitamin C Works for Youthful Skin

Vitamin C is one of nature’s amazing and naturally occurring antioxidants in nature. While plants can synthesize the vitamin C into useful form, our bodies cannot because we are missing the enzyme L-glucono-gamma lactone oxidase that is required for the synthesis of vitamin C.

That is why we have to obtain our vitamin C from citrus fruits, strawberries, raspberries, papaya and vegetables, like leafy greens and broccoli. Sailors knew this having carried vitamin C-rich foods during their travels to help them avoid scurvy and other diseases. Eating forms of vitamin C is definitely crucial in good health, but absorption of it is limited.

Therefore, while it will not benefit you to overconsume vitamin C foods, applying it topically such as with a DIY vitamin C serum can be of great benefit to the skin and can become a part of your natural skin care routine. (1

3 Benefits of Vitamin C Serum

1. Prevents Changes Due to Photoaging

Because vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, it’s a great option to treat and prevent effects of photoaging. A study of 19  patients between the ages of 36 and 72 years who had Fitzpatrick skin types I, II and III, and mild to moderately photodamaged facial skin were assessed. The study showed significant improvements by about 68–74 percent improvement in their skin after three months of use of ascorbic acid application. The review showed significant improvement in fine wrinkles, texture and skin tone of photodamaged skin. (2

2. Reduces Hyperpigmentation

Though hyperpigmentation is relatively harmless, it can cause those unsightly dark spots on the skin, especially the face and hands. Basically, patches of skin appear darker in color. This happens when there is an excess of melanin that creates deposits in the skin.

You may have heard of age or “liver” spots. These are the visible signs of hyperpigmentation and typically caused by damaging sun exposure. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps brighten the skin through what is called tyrosinase inhibitors. These little inhibitors help prevent the development of excessive amounts of melanin. (3) (4)

3. Provides Essential Collagen Support

Vitamin C helps develop healthy collagen by teaming up with certain enzymes that are responsible for the effectiveness of collagen molecules. As such, it helps provide support for connective tissue plus the healing of wounds and blemishes on the skin.

Additionally, vitamin C plays a role in collagen synthesis by enhancing the collagen “gene expression” and overall regulation of collagen synthesis. Scurvy, as mentioned above, is due to impaired collagen synthesis — or the result of too little vitamin C. While scurvy is not heard of as much today, it brings awareness to the power of a DIY vitamin C serum for the skin and the importance of collagen support. (5

Homemade Vitamin C Serum

Using a small bowl and a whisk, combine the vitamin C powder and filtered water. Blend well. As mentioned, the vitamin C can help brighten the skin and provide more youthful looking appearance. It can fade age spots and improve elasticity!

Now, add the aloe and blend again. Aloe vera has long been known for its amazing skin benefits. In fact, the ancient Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality.” Today, it’s still used to treat various skin conditions, wounds and burns, and even eczema and psoriasis.

Once you have added the aloe, add the vitamin E oil and the frankincense oil until everything is completely mixed together. Like vitamin C, vitamin E is an amazing antioxidant. When combined with vitamin C and the rest of these ingredients, it becomes even more powerful! The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) described the process of neutralizing free radicals using vitamin E. These free radicals can cause damage to cells and may even add to the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The ODS goes on to explain that the anti-inflammatory benefits it possesses can inhibit platelet aggregation and provide a boost to the immune system. (6)  

Frankincense is one of my all-time favorite essential oils. This ingredient tops off the amazing DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face due to its ageless properties. It can help reduce acne, eliminate and even prevent wrinkles, and help tighten skin, especially in those saggy spots like just above the jaw line and under the eyes!

Now that all ingredients have been blended, use a funnel to transfer the serum into a dark bottle. It is best to keep it away from bright light and the sun. Using a dark amber bottle can help, and you can keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks.

The best way to use this DIY vitamin C serum for the face is just before bed. Wash your face with this homemade face wash, then use a my DIY rosewater toner. Allow the face to dry, then make sure to gently shake the serum bottle just before use and apply a small amount of my DIY Vitamin C Serum. Again, allow it to dry and top it off with this DIY lavender and coconut oil moisturizer.

Note: The Vitamin C Serum should only be used at night to avoid exposure to the sun. Make sure to cleanse the skin the next morning before applying sunscreen and makeup.

DIY Vitamin C Serum for the Face

Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: About 1.5 ounces


  • 1 teaspoon GMO-free vitamin C powder
  • 1 teaspoon filtered or purified water
  • 1½ tablespoons aloe vera gel
  • ⅛ teaspoon vitamin E oil
  • 5 drops frankincense essential oil


  1. Using a bowl and a whisk, blend vitamin C powder and filtered water.
  2. Add the aloe vera gel. Blend again.
  3. Add the vitamin E oil and frankincense. Mix all ingredients until well blended.
  4. Using a funnel, transfer the serum into small amber bottle to help reduce light exposure.
  5. Apply at night, making sure to remove in the morning since it can cause sensitivity when exposed to the sun.
  6. You may want to start with every other night to make sure your skin responds well. Results are usually noticeable within a few weeks up to 3 months.

Josh Axe

Get FREE Access!

Dr. Josh Axe is on a mission to provide you and your family with the highest quality nutrition tips and healthy recipes in the world...Sign up to get VIP access to his eBooks and valuable weekly health tips for FREE!

Free eBook to boost
metabolism & healing

30 Gluten-Free Recipes
& detox juicing guide

Shopping Guide &
premium newsletter


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


      • Tiff on

        The measurements are listed at the bottom of the article before this comment area…maybe they fixed it before I read your comment

    • T on


      1 teaspoon GMO-free vitamin C powder
      1 teaspoon filtered or purified water
      1½ tablespoons aloe vera gel
      ⅛ teaspoon vitamin E oil
      5 drops frankincense essential oil

      You must have looked over them.

      : )

      • Leigh on

        The only Vitamin C powder I can find is the drinkable one that is effervescent in water..Can this be used to make the Vitamin C serum?

        p.s The Vitamin C powder is orange flavoured as well as an orange color?

      • Nicole on

        Oh my god ! Thank you! I was saying the same thing , how is it that I am looking at the ingredients with measurements and everyone is asking what are the measurements!

  1. Rachel on

    Thank you so much for the above. When you say vitamin C powder, what are you talking about exactly? Asorbic acid? What are your thoughts about asorbic acid, as I’ve heard that it might not be so good? Is it possible to get plant based vitamin C powder and would you advice it for the above, or is it not strong enough, etc.?

    • Dan on

      Use “the synergy company” vitamin c—rec’d by Morley Robbins of the magnesium advocacy group and he’s very particular about not using ascorbic acid.

      • Linda Reynolds on

        no, for your face it is actually better….also better for uti’s in dogs and people!

    • clulu on

      coconut oil is extremely drying for some people, its not for everybody. i think only people w/ truly oily skin or normal skin can tolerate it. acne-prone skin (which is actually dry and dehydrated not oily like we all have been taught). i used it for years and my skin is like a desert today. be careful!

      essential oils can be used on skin some of them but it depends on many factors. u should try it on ur arm to see if u can tolerate it. if u have sensitive skin, u must test it first. some oils can be ingested as well, but for u have to research or ask a naturopath or something dont just take willy-nilly! they can cause serious problems, even miscarriage, so again be careful w/ everything u put in ur mouth and body. if u do it the right was essential oils are extremely healthy and some cure cancer

    • Alicia on

      I use coconut oil and essential oils everyday and have been for years now. Coconut oil is my go-to moisturizer and Frankensense is amazing! I promise, its great for your skin

    • Alicia Tisdale on

      Coconut oil has been my go to, all over moisturizer for almost r years and its amazing. I have used essential oils on body and face as well. Grapefruit oil, Frankensense oil, especially. The benefits by far ard better than creams and cleansers with chemicals. Chemicals do NOT belong on or in our bodies.

    • Candace on

      Coconut oil is wonderful on the face, it moisturizes and make your skin feel wonderful!! Since your comment was made a year ago, perhaps you should revisit the use of it……….

  2. Vitamin C Serum Fan on

    I used to make my own Vitamin C Serum, but then found one on Amazon that’s just as good as SkinCeuticals Vitamin C E Ferulic Acid Serum (maybe even better!). The brand is Bombshell Bathtime, Vitamin C E Ferulic and Hyaluronic Acid Serum, plus it contains Vitamins B3 and B5 and it’s got a low pH of 2.6-2.9 so it’s really potent. The serum is an orange color but it’s because of the mixture of Vitamin C and B3, not because it’s oxidised. I’ve been using it for over a month and I’ve noticed my skin getting so much clearer and brighter. I think it’s the best Vitamin C Serum anyone will find under $25.

      • Cheri Berry on

        I googled Bombshell Bathtime Vit C serum on Amazon. It is listed Vitamin C E Ferulic with Hyaluronic acid Serum $18,95

      • Olivia on

        It’s been there for a while. Maybe they went out of stock when you searched for it. I’ve been using it for several months now. It’s been keeping my skin looking healthier, especially now with summer coming up.

    • Sally Seaver on

      I would encourage you to read ALL the ingredients of Bombshell Bathtime for your own sake! For example the ingredient Ethoxydiglycol causes a number of problems including hormonal dysfunction, birth defects, cancer & more!

      • Olivia on

        The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel found that acute, subchronic, and chronic oral toxicity studies indicated a low order of toxicity for these glycols (of which Ethoxydiglycol is one). Results of parenteral injection, inhalation, and acute and subchronic cutaneous toxicity studies likewise supported a low order of toxicity. I think that those problems would only arise in the case of very large amounts of use. In skincare, such a small amount is used that it wouldn’t cause any side effects.

  3. suzie on

    rosehip oil would be a good addition if you have drier skin. It is definitely good for scars. serums are also generally applied before moisturizers, in this case, oil. This liquid would evaporate like a serum due to the water content–i think.

    i’m familiar with many C serums on Amazon. I have not been able to find a pure serum without preservatives and extras like emulsifiers and fillers. I find it mysterious many bestselling serums are in a clear bottle; vit C is notorious for oxidising in light. hence many C products are separate powders to manually mix with a liquid. Now that people found out about bulk Vit. C it’s probably not necessary to blow $90 on a “pure” vit C powder.

    i’m also curious what form of Vit C. Ascorbic? The consensus has varied over time; one person says ascorbic is the worst, others say ascorbic is fine, others say Vit C cannot be absorbed through skin to increase collagen but can have a brightening effect.

    I would love to know if it’s possible to make larger amounts of this with natural preservatives, and which ones are safest.

    Thanks for the informative (and ad-free) experience!

  4. Maggie on


    Could someone tell me if the Aloe Vera gel needs to be fresh from a plant? And if so, then does the serum need to be refrigerated? Will fresh aloe Vera gel go bad if it’s not refrigerated?

    Thanks, Maggie

      • Erin on

        The best research to read is the NIH clinical studies available online. If you don’t have time for that, you can trust the maker of PAULA is correct when dispelling this and other myths about vitamin C, AHAs, and Retinol. Skinceuticals founder discovered the action of ascorbic acid and patented the stabilized serum with Ferulic Acid at a PH lower than 3. This is where you begin the research on this topic.

  5. Shirley Stevenson on

    I am going to try making this serum since it is all natural. :-) The only Vitamin C that I have purchased that is supposed to be all natural is Eve Hansen Vitamin C Serum 100% Fresh & Radiant. It did not irritate my skin at all, and it is only $11.99 on Amazon. Also 100% pure has some real good all natural products including Vitamin C serum, but the downside is that there products are not inexpensive.

    Also, I don’t see why you can’t use Rose Water instead of purified water. Also Water and Oil like Coconut Oil do no mix very well for the person asking about adding oil to the serum.

    • Shirley Stevenson on

      By the way, 100% Pure is all Certified 100% Organic. If you decide to try 100% Pure use the discount code BACA15OFF (this will save you some money).

    • Dan on

      If I were you I’d use the vit c from the synergy company—it’s recommended by Morley Robbins of the magnesium advocacy group who is very particular about purity in vit c products.

    • Dr. Josh Axe on

      The recommended percentage of ascorbic acid is 8–10 percent. For anyone with sensitive skin or rosacea, the recommendation is about 2–5 percent. Be sure to consult your dermatologist about recommendations as amounts may vary based on your condition. Avoid completely if you’re allergic.

  6. Brigitta Feinberg on

    Where do you get the vitamin c powder and the vitamin E oil? And can I use Alo Vera gel from my own Alo Vera plant? Thanks for the recipes, Dr. Axe. Would it be possible to add info about where to purchase Vitamin E oil and vitamin C powder and those types of “ingredients”. I am German and usually you could find those items and other chemicals in drugstores — I don’t think that it is the same here in the United States. Thanks again!
    If anyone can answer my question, that would be great also.

    • Tosha on

      Hi Brigitta, all the ingredients are available on amazon.com and for aloe vera gel I think homemade aloe vera gel can be used instead of readymade one.
      Hope its useful.

  7. Stayc on

    Fantastic face serum. I add rosehip oil and primrose oils to this serum recipe. I use tanning beds a few months out the year (yes, I know they’re not good), and this serum has been the only thing that keeps my face from drying out; whereas, even using my rosehip and primrose oils alone do not work this well.

    • E on

      How did you get a serum texture? Mine came out watery. I just applied it as is. And I skipped the essential oil bc I’m sensitive to it. Any suggestions on texture? Thanks!

  8. Vee on

    Hey Dr. Axe.
    I follow your your advices religiously. I like your wisdom and knowledge about healing with natural ingredients.

    Regarding vitamic C serum diy recipe, I have few questions, I’ll be thankful to you if you answer them, as I’m suffering from dermal melasma and I really wanna make this serum without any confusion and difficulty.

    According to my research, water soluble vit C serum does not enter the lipid based barriers of the skin. So what ingredient make this vit C fat soluble?
    Vitamin E or Frankincense oil?

    And if Frankincense oil is not available, can I use any oil in it? Like pure olive oil or coconut oil or black seed oil?
    Or can I omitt frankincense or any oil completely?

    Last question are vitamin E oil and Vitamin E capsule same thing?

    Looking forward to your valuable response.

  9. E on

    Mine came out watery, pure liquid. I didnt add the essential oil bc before, I had an allergic reaction. Extremely sensitive to Frankencense. And the aloe, some would not blend and stayed as chunks, so I kept it as is, and applied is as a liquid.

  10. Jessica Elizabetg Sage on

    So I understand the 1 tsp of vitamin c powder; only thing is, every variety of powdered vitamin c has different MG content p/ tsp! I wish she had listed the type she uses so we know how many MG goes into her serum 😭

  11. Prashant on

    Hi, I’m a bit confused about recommendation for when to use Vit C serum. Every other beauty website recommends using Vit C serum in the morning followed by moisutirzer. Is there a reason why everyone else is recommending usage during the day, while you recommend at night? Thanks, Prashant

  12. KPD on

    what can I replace aloe vera gel with? (I’m allergic to preservatives, and every brand of aloe vera gel has) water and oil can’t mix together.

  13. Viola Balolong on

    Dr Axe,
    Do you have DIY formulation with the following Vitamin C ,Vitamin E,Hyaluronic acid,Aloe Vera and ferulic acid.

  14. Anita Kanadia on

    Please advise when vitamin C powder supposed to be gritty when mixed with Vitamin E and Aloe Vera? Please advise.

  15. karenna on

    there are many types of vitamin c powder… what are you recommending…

    sodium ascorbate powder,
    some other ascorbate,
    ester C
    or just plain ole ascorbic acid powder??


  16. Heidi on

    Hi all.
    On my Vitamin C powder package it says L-Ascorbic Acid so I guess it is the real deal.
    My problem is it takes a long time for it to dissolve in water.
    I tried with warm water and that helped the process along, but will this destroy the Vitamin C?
    Also, can this serum be used around the eyes, or is it strictly for face and body?
    Greeting from sunny Spain.

  17. Coleen Goree on

    I was thinking as i read the comments that I will try using camu camu and acerola powdered for the vitamin c. Maybe some rosehip powder as well since these are all very good sources of vit c.

  18. Linda on

    I made my recipe with vit c ester( ascorbyl palmitate). Is this the vit c the type referred to in the recipe? I also increased the recipe proportionately, so I could have a larger amount. I backed out the Aloe Vera gel, it is too sticky for my tastes, but added borage oil, sweet almond oil instead, they r very good carrier oils for the skin, and some emulsifying wax to blend water and oils and xanthum gum for a little thickener. It has all made a very usable nightly serum for the face.

  19. Matilda Lorenzo on

    Hi! I’m an esthetician. I’ve been on the hunt for an all natural organic L-ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C powder). Do you have a brand that you can recommend that is not synthetic and is all natural?

  20. Maria on

    Hello :)
    I have a mixture of essential oils that I learned how to do it from you guys :) to target wrinkles! Can I apply this vitamin c recipe before my misture? Thanks :)

  21. Donna McKinney on

    Why can’t you use ascorbic acid on your face is it not the same thing as L- ascorbicacid? And can ascorbic acid if applied to your face damage it?



  23. Dee Dee Hill on

    I cannot wait to try your Vitamin C Serum recipe. I would like to know how many weeks or months is the serum good for. And is there away to extend the shelf life w/ a natural preservative? Thank you

  24. JenQ on

    Dee Dee Hill, I just made this serum last night, and added in Leucidal, which is a cosmetic preservative that I purchased on Amazon. I’m keeping the serum in a bathroom drawer in a vacuum pump bottle so it’s not exposed to air, and I’m going to watch it and see how it lasts. I’ll be happy to keep you updated if you like.


More Natural Remedies Posts