With a range of 6 The Ordinary vitamin C products to choose from - and a soon coming 7th (!) - your mind and eyes may be easily boggled, confuzzled and dazed. No longer my friend. With this The Ordinary vitamin C guide you'll be a The Ordinary vitamin C buff in 3 minutes flat. Promise.

Best The Ordinary Vitamin C for Your Skin Type

In Anti-aging & Protective Skincare, Buzz skincare ingredients, Product Reviews by Cheryl Woodman MChemLeave a Comment

Explosively growing startup – DECIEM proud parent of The Ordinary brand are killing it with affordable active packed skincare. Their transparency on the ingredients you’re getting is 100% industry unmatched.

Want a won’t break the bank vitamin C serum? You got it.

In need of natural rosehip oil on a budget? Solved.

How about a hero gold-standard anti-ageing retinoid? Sorted.

Truly, the only mystery now lies in which active is best for your skin type?

You know vitamin C has great benefits for your skin – but which type of vitamin C will work best for your skin?

With a range of 6 The Ordinary vitamin C products to choose from – and a soon coming 7th (!) – your mind and eyes may be easily boggled, confuzzled and dazed.

No longer my friend. If you’re currently on the search for your best The Ordinary vitamin C, as the Spice Girls would say stop right now and look no further. With this The Ordinary vitamin C guide you’ll be a The Ordinary vitamin C buff in 3 minutes flat.  Promise.

Ready? Steady? Let’s get going dear skin savvy in the making…

With a range of 6 The Ordinary vitamin C products to choose from - and a soon coming 7th (!) - your mind and eyes may be easily boggled, confuzzled and dazed. No longer my friend. With this The Ordinary vitamin C guide you'll be a The Ordinary vitamin C buff in 3 minutes flat. Promise.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Range Guide

Open your vanity cabinet to a full The Ordinary vitamin C range and you my friend will at this very moment, find yourself with 6 vitamin C solutions to choose from. Some are serums, others are oils. Some boast 23% concentrations, others 12%. Some are a bit gritty and others are silky smooth and quickly absorbing.

Choosing the best The Ordinary vitamin C for your skin type is like choosing an expertly flattering going out-out dress. In theory – any dress you own would work. No nudity allowed *winks*. But in reality, your long summer maxi isn’t out-out equipped… Your over-sized-super-cosy jumper dress is 10 bazillion times too warm and your stash of bridesmaid dresses – well they really aren’t so classic you could wear any 1 of them again and again.

The Ordinary vitamin C dress collection has 6 spectacular out-out formulas for you to choose from;

p.s. don’t worry if they sound like jargon – we’ll soon have you an expert!

  1. Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone
  2. Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
  3. 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder
  4. Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%
  5. Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F
  6. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%

…and concentration isn’t everything.

Some The Ordinary vitamin C skincare is easy to put on. Other formulas take persistence. Zip backed A line vs. super slinky bodycon.

Some The Ordinary vitamin C skincare is fabulous for oily skin types. Others are better for sensitive skin types. Legs out vs. *cough* chest out.

Some The Ordinary vitamin C skincare is super-proofed and extremely well-tested. Others are newbies and gaining clout. The no fail little-black-dress vs. the colorful, high-fashion, boys-will-probably-not-get-it alternative.

Taking The Ordinary vitamin C range in number order, come find out which vitamin C makes your perfect-fit skin-drobe solution.

1. Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone Review

A recently added newbie. The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone has been added to The Ordinary’s vitamin C line-up to answer the niggles all testers of the Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% shouted about – it’s too gritty and feels horrible to rub in. Doh!

Best for;

  • Mature, resilient skin types with no sensitivity
  • Extremely resilient never experienced sensitivity/redness skin types

Avoid if you have;

  • Acne
  • Inflammatory acne
  • Sensitive skin
  • Rosacea
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Dry/flaky skin
  • A redness prone skin type
  • Or hate heavy feeling skincare

Skin feel; Heavy, smooth serum

Type of vitamin C: L-ascorbic acid.

Why you’d choose;

  • Most tested form of Vitamin C
  • Maximum anti-ageing/brightening benefits

The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone uses the most tried and tested skin active form of vitamin C – ascorbic acid. Now this ingredient loves action – think of ascorbic acid like Lara Croft, fighting off ageing, dull skin tone, fine lines and more like your life depended on it. Challenge is, ain’t nobody who can hold up all that energy. Meaning vitamin C formulas are (when in water) super active in your bottle too.

If you’ve ever had a vitamin C formula turn yellow-brown. Your vitamin C skincare has begun going off and is no longer as active.

The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone formula waves a waggly little finger to yellow-brown malarkey and says oh-no-vitamin C, you ain’t doing any of that. 

No water, means hyperactive vitamin C cannot go off.

Your compromises;

  • The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone takes around 10-20 seconds to absorb
  • Silicone can hinder the absorption of L-ascorbic acid however, this formula compensates by including 30% vs. the before formula which includes 23%


Be careful: High strength formulas like The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone can cause your skin irritation and sensitivity – even if you have an expertly protective skin type. Tingling sensations on first uses are common. Be sure to begin using small amounts to help your skin adjust and settle.

2. Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% Review

The older sister of The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone. Version 1. Meaning The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is pretty much a ditto to all of the above. So why would you choose the Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% over The Ordinary’s new, better feeling Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone?

Great question. Go you!

Remember how we said silicone makes L-ascorbic acid a little less available for your skin? Imagine silicone like a 25 tog duvet cuddling against vitamin C gems of goodness. Well the 30% concentration found in The Ordinary’s silicone formula isn’t thought to be as effective as their 23% suspension.

Crazy ‘eh. Even though the bottle says you’re getting more, your skin actually isn’t. Concentration is not everything.

Choose The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% if you want maximum potency plus maximum vitamin C benefits and are prepared to deal with 5 seconds of grittiness. 

Pro-tip: Mix The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% with The Ordinary’s Marine Hyaluronics to help make grittiness no more.

3. 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder Review

Whoa – what! 100% vitamin C – can this work? The Ordinary’s 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder is for the skincare serious. You will need to dilute at home yourself, you will need to take concentration care and you will need accurate scales or measuring spoons.

Best for;

  • Mature, resilient skin types with no sensitivity
  • Extremely resilient never experienced sensitivity/redness skin types

Avoid if you have;

  • Acne
  • Inflammatory acne
  • Sensitive skin
  • Rosacea
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Dry/flaky skin
  • A redness prone skin type

Pro-tip: If you have a sensitive skin type/acne/inflammatory acne, you can use the 100% L-ascorbic acid powder at a much lower concentration to try out L-ascorbic acid as a skincare active. Read here to see how long vitamin C will take to show benefits. 

Skin feel; Serum like when dissolved in water

Type of vitamin C: L-ascorbic acid

Why you’d choose;

  • Most tested form of Vitamin C
  • Maximum anti-ageing/brightening benefits
  • Can mix with water for best skin feel
  • Best bioavailability aka your skin absorbs well

L-ascorbic acid is the most well-studied version of vitamin C in skincare. When you buy ready-made L-ascorbic acid formulas in water based serums you could be buying a bottle which is already 2+ years old. Aka, a significant amount of L-ascorbic acid will have already Lara-crofted and will no longer be the concentration stated on the bottle. Meaning less skin benefits for you.

Mixing your own L-ascrobic acid serum at home minimises in bottle going off.

To be skin active in water L-ascorbic acid needs to be below pH 3.5. Below this pH L-ascorbic acid easy absorbs through your skin, above it, L-ascorbic will sit on-top of your skin and cause irritation. Helpfully a 5% solution of The Ordinary’s L-ascorbic acid powder is already pH 2.2 to 2.5.

But, this also means higher strength formulas like 10% solutions, will be too low in pH and will cause your skin significant irritation. You can adjust using at home baking soda. Here’s a handy DIY vitamin C serum tutorial to get you going.

Warning: Not recommended to mix above a 20% formula.

4. Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% Review

Now my friend, on to versions of vitamin C with sensitively-mothering hands. The Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% is what we scientists call a protected form of vitamin C – more about this soon. First, who’s an L-ascorbyl glucoside solution best for?…

Can be used by many skin types including;

  • Acne prone/spot prone
  • Oily/combination skin types
  • Slightly sensitive/prone to slight sensivity

Avoid if you have;

  • Dry/flaky skin
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis

Skin feel; Quickly absorbing light serum

Type of vitamin C: Ascorbyl glucoside

Why you’d choose;

  • For slightly sensitive skin – prone to slight redness/tingling/burning sensations
  • For acne prone skin
  • For a lightweight, water based serum version of vitamin C

The Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% is the first on our The Ordinary vitamin C list to be found in a water based serum formula. Where L-ascorbic acid would go off faster, ascorbyl glucoside remains steady. The difference between these 2 is this – ascorbyl glucoside is a protected version of L-ascorbic acid aka scientists have added a bit on to make ascorbyl glucoside less likely to lose energy before you use.

Think of ascorbyl glucoside like Lara Croft in temporary hand-holding love.

When ascorbic acid is “held” by glucoside, no yellow-brown going off can happen. Instead, once applied to your skin, the ascorbic acid-glucoside bond becomes slowly dissolved, releasing ascorbic acid to go love your skin and leaving glucoside by the wayside. Ah poor guy!

5. Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F Review

Every version of vitamin C we’ve chatted about so far has been water-soluble, now’s time to mix it up. The Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F is The Ordinary’s 1 and only oil soluble vitamin C formula. Perfect for working with your skin’s natural biology which is oil based on top and water based underneath.

Vitamin C versions like ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate work with your skin by playing into a scientific principle known as like-dissolves-like. Water loves other watery stuff and oil loves other oily stuff. Best buds for life.

The Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F can therefore absorb sensitively and quickly.

Can be used by many skin types including;

  • Dry/flaky skin types
  • Eczema prone
  • Sensitive skin
  • Rosacea
  • Redness
  • Oily/combination skin types – vitamin F is fantastic at balancing sebum levels
  • Spot prone skin
  • Great for uneven skin tones

Avoid if you;

  • Find jojoba or squalane oil breaks you out

Skin feel; Quickly absorbing light oil

Type of vitamin C: Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate

Why you’d choose;

  • High potency with high sensitivity
  • Specifically for brightening benefits
  • If you have a dry skin type

Pro-pro-in-the-know tip: Medik8 has a much more expensive solution of ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate retailing at £63 for a 30ml bottle (compared to The Ordinary at £14.90 for 30mls). Now here’s the interesting bit, Medik8 claim their CE-tetra solution i.e. their 7% ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate solution which also features vitamin E has up to 4 x the potency of L-ascorbic acid and another derivative of vitamin C called magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. This is huge. The Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F doesn’t feature vitamin E – which is able to boost the potency of vitamin C but The Ordinary’s version does include a higher % of ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate… and could be used/mixed with a vitamin E oil or vitamin E cream.

6. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% Review

The only The Ordinary vitamin C loving life as a cream. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or MAP for short is another protected form of vitamin C allowing MAP to be made up into a water based cream as you’ll find in The Ordinary’s Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate 10%.

A great all-rounder, can be used by many skin types including;

  • Sensitive skin types
  • First time vitamin C users
  • Dry/flaky skin types
  • Eczema prone
  • Rosacea
  • Redness
  • Oily/combination skin types
  • Great for uneven/pigmented skin tones
  • Acne/inflammatory acne/spot prone skin types – note: formula contains Polyglyceryl-3-Diisostearate which rates a 4 in comedogenicity, however is very low down the ingredients list meaning effects will be none to minimal – if you find The Ordinary’s Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate 10% breaks you out, avoid formulas with Polyglyceryl-3-Diisostearate.

Avoid if you;

  • Find formulas with Polyglyceryl-3-Diisostearate break you out

Skin feel; light cream

Type of vitamin C: Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate

Why you’d choose;

  • You’re new to vitamin C and want an easy to use introduction
  • Your skin’s especially sensitive
  • You specifically want to brighten a dull, uneven, pigmented skin tone
  • You want a medium strength vitamin C formula

The Ordinary’s Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate 10% cream is a fantastic choice if you like non-fussy, easy to use skincare. At 10% which is already a very concentrated formula, you’d be forgiven for getting concentration envy when comparing The Ordinary’s MAP 10% to The Ordinary’s Vitamin C suspension 30%. Concentration my friend is not always the best indicator of efficacy – Imagine a super sized 100 button remote but without batteries.

Suspension formulas of vitamin C are harder/take longer for your skin to absorb because a suspension is lots of little solid particles mixed up (not dissolved) into a carrier. Think bubble tea. Whereas a cream aka an emulsion is fully dissolved and therefore easier for your skin to drink up.

Truth: The Ordinary’s vitamin C Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate 10% cream is not as potent as The Ordinary’s L-ascorbic acid formulas, however the difference is not as big as you’d think.


…And dear friend, that is a vitamin C wrap. Which The Ordinary vitamin C do you choose? Still have a question or 2? Come chat with me in the comments box below…