Saturday, August 25, 2012

DIY Face-Saver, How to Make Vitamin C Serum

I used to spend a lot on vitamin c serum, and I mean a lot - my fave was about $100 for a 15ml bottle. For the last year or so, I've been making my own, and although it's probably hard to judge the awesomeness or otherwise of your own face, I think the results are the same. 

If you want to give it a go, here is what to do.

Ingredients for ~10% Serum:
  • 1/4 tsp L-Ascorbic Acid Powder
  • 1.5 tsp Water
  • 1/2 tsp Glycerine (Glycerol 100%)

Assuming you are starting with the Sana L-Ascorbic Acid powder, or other food-grade, slightly granular ascorbic acid it's a good idea to grind it for about 30 seconds.

You don't have to grind it, but without it, the ascorbic acid takes longer to dissolve, and I have a short concentration span. Waiting for vitamins to dissolve? more than I can handle.

You can see the difference.

Take just 1/4 teaspoon of the L-ascorbic acid powder and dissolve it in 1.5 tsp of water.

Then add half a teaspoon of glycerine. You can get this from any pharmacy, or even online. You want Glycerol BP 100%.

The measurements provided give you a serum that is approximately 10% ascorbic acid and this is a nice starting point. As your skin adapts you can make the serum stronger. When I started using  my homemade blend, after a break of about 6 months from any serum, I got some stinging and peeling. I think I started too strong (~20%). However, I persisted and after a few weeks, my skin began to look great and the stinging stopped.  If you do get a reaction that you don't like,  either reduce frequency of use (say every two days) or dilute further with 50:50 water and glycerine. 

That's it! So very easy. I make mine in an espresso measure and keep it in the fridge. It is true what you hear about vitamin c, that it degrades really quickly when exposed to light and air. The glycerine stabilises it a bit, but you want to make small batches and use them quickly - probably the only disadvantage compared to a bought one. 

However, as you can see, it only takes a couple of minutes to whip up a batch. I consider it well worth the time for saving a hundred bucks.

I hope your weekend is going well. I'm hard at it with uni work and spent all of today getting my head around regression analysis and working with SAS (the statistical analysis software, not men with guns) :D 


Topical L-ascorbic acid: percutaneous absorption studies

Do you make your own cosmetics? Any top secret formulations you'd like to part with? (comment me!)


  1. Wahoo so love this and will try thanks for sharing your awesomeness ...

  2. OK...totally ignorant person here... what is that serum supposed to do for your face???
    I get that it saves you shit loads of money though... SCORE.

    1. vitamin c is an antioxidant, so helps protect your skin from environmental damage. It also acts as an exfoliant and promotes the growth of collagen, which makes your skin firmer. Of course, I have not run lab tests on my particular little mixing job, but it's had a nice effect on my skin, so I'd say it's doing 'something'.

  3. OK I had a quick read up on 'stuff'.

    How did you come up with your 'recipe'?
    did you consider any other combinations with the Vitamin C powder? like Ferulic Acid?
    Just throwing silly questions as you, cos I know NOTHING! LOL

    I mean, how do you come up with these ideas? Most people would never think to make their own facial creams/potions/serums!

    1. I get my info/ideas from people in the cosmetics industry, I'm dealing with them all the time in my job. Most companies that make vitamins have a skincare or 'personal care' department. Sure, I could add vit e, ferulic acid and a bunch of other stuff, but I like easy and basic.

  4. I make a serum using a similar method but with more vit C and it works great! The biggest change for me has been that I used to have kind of darker marks on my forehead, probably the start of age spots, and now they have gone completely. It took about two months for that.

    1. I noticed a more even colour also.

  5. Awesome! This is such a great idea.... I love beauty DIY, especially when it saves ya a penny.

  6. Anonymous1:55 pm

    thanks for sharing.

  7. Anonymous12:06 pm

    Without adding Ferulic or vitamin E it will loose half its strength in around 15hours

    1. Hi, do you have a reference for this?

  8. great idea! I purchased this and the Vitamin c spray a couple month ago because I was in a skincare routine rut. My face was breaking out and I had dark spots as a result. I have been using this serum frequently and have seen a NOTICEABLE difference. My skin is smoother, clearer, and no longer dry and puffy. My makeup even goes on better as a result. Love this stuff!!


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