Elf Vitamin C Serum Review



There’s no such thing as a miracle treatment when it comes to combating age, though vitamin C comes pretty close. It’s a powerful antioxidant that’s known to combat environmental stressors, fight signs of aging, and even out skin tone.

Just as the name suggests, vitamin C is the star ingredient in Elf Vitamin C Serum, along with a brightening blend of antioxidants and a few hydrating ingredients. 

At just $16, Elf Vitamin C Serum is pretty affordable, but before hitting ‘Add to Cart’, keep reading to get all the details you need to know about this serum. 

We’ll discuss the key ingredients in Elf Vitamin C Serum, as well as the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skin care. We’ll also share some Elf Vitamin C Serum reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of this product.  

Our favorite Vitamin C serum is Carrot & Stick The Defence Serum. It contains 3 distinct types of Vitamin C that work together to help fight free radical damage. 

Is Elf Vitamin C Serum Right For You?

Before we get into the details, here’s the TL;DR if you just want to know whether or not Elf Vitamin C Serum is right for you.

    • Key ingredients? Vitamins C and E, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pomegranate Extract
    • Skin type? All
    • Texture? Lightweight serum
    • Fragrance? Yes
    • Cruelty free? Yes
    • Cost? $16 USD
    • EWG Rating? 4

    What Are The Key Ingredients in Elf Vitamin C Serum?

    In order to determine how well Elf Vitamin C Serum performs, we’ll have to evaluate the key ingredients in this formula. Let’s get started.

    3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

    The form of vitamin C that’s used in Elf Vitamin C Serum is called 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, a vitamin C derivative that’s very stable and soluble in both water and oil.

    One way vitamin C provides benefits to the skin is by functioning as a potent antioxidant. 

    Specifically, vitamin C donates electrons to neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as the superoxide ion and peroxide that are generated when the skin is exposed to UV light.

    This is important because the harmful effects of ROS occur as direct chemical alterations of the cellular DNA, the cell membrane, and cellular proteins, including collagen. Damaged collagen manifests as signs of premature skin aging, including wrinkles, lines, and sagging skin.

    Since vitamin C can protect collagen, the Elf Vitamin C Serum can help prevent signs of aging. 

    Furthermore, research suggests that when vitamin C is applied to the skin, it significantly reverses aging-related structural changes by influencing collagen and elastin synthesis. 

    As if that wasn’t enough, vitamin C also has the ability to reduce the appearance of dark spots and improve uneven skin tone. This is accomplished through inhibition of melanin synthesis.

    Melanin is a pigment that gives our skin color, but too much of this pigment can lead to undesirable dark spots called hyperpigmentation.

    Vitamin C decreases melanin formation by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme that is required for melanin synthesis. The result is skin that appears brighter with less dark spots and a more even skin tone. 

    Vitamin E

    Another antioxidant in the Elf Vitamin C Serum is vitamin E. It’s great to combine vitamins C and E in a skincare product because these ingredients are referred to as “network antioxidants”.

    A publication in the journal Dermatologic Therapy  explains, “because vitamin C regenerates oxidized vitamin E, the combination in a cosmeceutical formulation is synergistic — particularly in UV protection.”

    Another function of vitamin E is to help the skin retain moisture by strengthening the skin’s barrier function. When vitamin E is delivered to your skin through the sebaceous (oil) glands, it improves water-binding capacity and hydrates the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of skin). 

    Pomegranate Extract

    In addition to the antioxidant protection provided by vitamins C and E, the brand also includes pomegranate extract in Elf Vitamin C Serum.

     Pomegranates are an excellent source of ellagic acid, ellagitannins, anthocyanins and other phytochemicals. These phytochemicals have antioxidant activity, therefore, they minimize oxidative damage and should help to prevent and reduce signs of aging. 

    Sodium Hyaluronate

    The final key ingredient in Elf Vitamin C Serum that we’d like to introduce is sodium hyaluronate, the sodium salt form of hyaluronic acid. 

    Sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid are basically the same and the two names are used interchangeably in the skin care industry. 

    Once applied to the skin, sodium hyaluronate provides the same benefits of hyaluronic acid. Those benefits include improved skin hydration, as well as a more plump complexion with fewer lines and wrinkles. 

    How to Use Elf Vitamin C Serum?

    After cleansing, apply 4 to 5 drops of Elf Vitamin C Serum and massage onto the face, neck, and chest. Allow 3 to 5 minutes for it to dry. This serum can be used in the morning or at night. 

    Where to Buy Elf Vitamin C Serum?

    Elf Vitamin C Serum and other Elf skin care products are sold on the brand’s website (, as well as many third party online retailers, such as Target, Walmart, Amazon, and more. 

    How Much is Elf Vitamin C Serum?

    Elf Vitamin C Serum costs $16 USD. 

    Is Elf Cruelty Free?

    Yes, Elf is cruelty free. The brand does not test their ingredients or finished products on animals, and neither do their suppliers. In addition, Elf skincare products are not sold in places where animal testing is required by law.

    Is Elf Vitamin C Serum Vegan?

    Yes, Elf Vitamin C Serum is vegan. 

    Our Verdict

    Overall, we think that Elf Vitamin C Serum is a decent, budget-friendly vitamin C serum, although we wish the brand would remove the fragrance from this formula!


    • Beneficial key ingredients (vitamins C and E, pomegranate extract, sodium hyaluronate)
    • Many positive Elf Vitamin C Serum reviews
    • Elf is cruelty free


    • Formula contains fragrance
    • Some Elf Vitamin C Serum reviews mention that the product caused breakouts

    What Are Some Alternatives?

    If you’re looking for skincare products to address the signs of aging, we recommend Carrot & Stick. Carrot & Stick maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in advanced skincare. We recommend Carrot & Stick’s The Defense Serum. 

    “Nutrients. 2017 Aug; 9(8): 866.



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