Easy (5 Minute) DIY Vitamin C Serum | Lab Muffin Beauty Science

Manager: Just wear it.
Michelle: But why?
Manager: You’re a scientist. Try to look like one. Michelle: It’s really hot! And not all scientists wear lab coats anyway. Manager: How do you expect people to trust you if you’re not wearing a lab coat? Michelle: Well people can listen to what I’m saying and
use their critical thinking skills to work out whether or not what I’m saying makes sense… Michelle: OK fine. [whining noises] It’s Michelle from Lab Muffin Beauty Science here, chemistry PhD and
hyperpigmentation prone skin care nerd Today I’m going to be talking about how
to make your own DIY vitamin C serum that will actually work if you like this
sort of video give it a thumbs up subscribe to my channel and click the
notification bell so you don’t miss any videos
What does vitamin C do? I’ve
talked about vitamin C before in my video on hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C is
a superstar anti-aging ingredient vitamin C acts as an antioxidant which
means that it soaks up free radical damage this can happen as a result of UV
exposure, pollution or just natural aging I have a video that talks a bit more
about how antioxidants work it also fades hyperpigmentation such as the
brown spots that you might sometimes get on your skin after acne as well as sun
spots but the big problem with vitamin C is that it tends to be really unstable
this is especially the case with L-ascorbic acid the main type of vitamin
C that’s been shown to work in anti aging products when L-ascorbic acid is
in a water-based product it tends to decompose really easily it turns into
yellow dehydroascorbic acid DHAA or DHA and other products really quickly at 25
degrees in pH 3.5 in amber glass which is light protective about 50% is gone in
a week DHA can convert back into l-ascorbic acid on your skin and there’s
no good evidence that it’s bad for your skin but there’s not really much
evidence that it’s good for your skin either and it can turn it to other
products too you can stabilize L-ascorbic acid by combining it with
some other ingredients a lot of products take this approach they usually combine
it with vitamin E and ferulic acid this is done in a
lot of popular vitamin C serums such as the ones from skinceuticals Paula’s
Choice timeless and drunk elephant but if you want to DIY this combo then it’s a
bit more of a hassle you’ll have to buy extra vitamin E and ferulic plus
vitamin E doesn’t dissolve well in water that means that you’ll have to use an
emulsifier so that will sit well with your water-based vitamin C if you’ve
gone to this trouble then on top of that you’ll probably also want to use a
preservative so that you can keep the serum for a longer time the price of all
these ingredients can add up quickly and if you’ve ever done any DIY before
you’ll probably know that you end up accumulating lots of ingredients that
you never quite use up if you do want to go down this more complicated route then
holy snails has a nice recipe which I’ll link to in the description you can also
stabilize L-ascorbic acid by changing its structure so turning it into a
derivative some examples of these derivatives are magnesium ascorbyl
phosphate ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate or ATIP and tetrahexyldecyl
ascorbate or THDA however these tend to be quite expensive compared to plain
L-ascorbic acid plus it’s not well established how well these convert back
into L-ascorbic acid in your skin so that’s why I think a simple DIY vitamin
C serum that you remake every week or so is a nice solution to some of these
problems I generally find DIY a bit of a pain you have to buy all these
ingredients you have to mix them together you have to play around with
the formula and there’s all this washing up that you generally have to do
afterwards but this DIY serum doesn’t have a lot of these drawbacks all the
ingredients are quite easy to get and inexpensive it only takes about five
minutes to make it once you get the hang of it you also have a better idea
of how fresh it is compared to a store-bought product you don’t have to
think about how long it’s been sitting on the shelf
how long the delivery is whether it’s gone through any massive temperature
fluctuations while it’s sitting in water you can also easily adjust the amount of
vitamin C in your serum you can just add a bit more or a bit less L-ascorbic acid
if you want more effectiveness or less irritation it’s also cheap enough that I
can use it on other parts of my body without feeling bad about using an
expensive product to make a vitamin C serum which matches what’s been used in
studies that have found positive effects you want something that’s generally
between 5 and 20 percent at a pH of about 3.5 so here’s what you need for
this DIY vitamin C serum first you need L-ascorbic acid powder as a dry solid
L-ascorbic acid is reasonably stable and cheap you can find this at most
supplement stores or you can order it off iHerb like I did there are also
lots of options on Amazon you also want some distilled or deionized water metal
ions in your water can speed up how quickly L-ascorbic acid decomposes you
can also use tap water and just make sure you remake your serum more
frequently you’ll also need some baking soda the pH of L-ascorbic acid by itself
in water is going to be a bit too low it’s a bit too acidic which means that
it will cause unnecessary irritation baking soda is alkaline which is the
opposite of this and so we can use it to adjust the pH back up closer to skin pH
you’ll also need some pH strips it doesn’t need to be really really precise
so any indicator strips should work I generally prefer four-square indicator
strips so I don’t have to second-guess my color matching abilities you’ll also
want a quarter teaspoon measuring spoon a quarter teaspoon
translates to about one and a half grams of ascorbic acid but it does depend on
your particular powder ideally if you weigh it out it’s a bit more accurate
but because there’s so much leeway in the percentage of vitamin C that we can
use in this serum then it isn’t a massive issue for this specific recipe
of course you’ll also need a suitable container to store your vitamin C serum
you want an airtight ish clean container it doesn’t have to be truly airtight
because you’ll be remaking this quite frequently if you have an old container
you can clean and reuse that you can also use some aluminium foil to protect
your vitamin C serum from light so here’s how you make your DIY serum your
first step is to work out your recipe start by working out how much serum you
can fit into your container in milliliters you should be able to find
this out from the place you bought the bottle from or from the packaging if
it’s a reused container if you can’t work it out you can use a teaspoon and
measure how many teaspoons you can fit into your container next you need to
calculate how much L-ascorbic acid you need you divide the percentage you want
by a hundred then multiply it by the volume of the container and that will
give you the mass of L-ascorbic acid you need in grams for example if I’m making
20 mL of a 10% L-ascorbic acid I’m going to need two grams next you need to
clean your container I recommend washing it out thoroughly
with soap and water then rinsing it with alcohol a few times then rinsing it with
distilled water and letting it dry it doesn’t have to be completely sterile
because again we’re going to be remaking this quite frequently plus it’s a quite
a low pH which microbes will have a hard time surviving in then you put your
L-ascorbic acid into your container add about half of the distilled water
that you’re going to use into the container and shake it until it
dissolves we’re only using half of the water at this stage because it’s a lot
easier to shake a container that’s not completely full then you add the rest of
the water and turn it upside down a few times to make sure it’s thoroughly mixed
next we need to adjust the pH put a drop of the serum on to your pH strip and
look at what the pH is then add a tiny bit of baking soda
recheck the pH and keep doing this until you get it through somewhere between
three and four finally you can wrap your container up
in foil to protect it from light this is the easiest and cheapest way of
protecting something from light and so this will slow down how quickly your
vitamin C serum decomposes with light protection I found that this DIY serum
lasts about one week before going a little bit yellow and then two weeks
before it goes really yellow the pH is low enough that microbial growth
shouldn’t be a big issue and you’re not keeping up for very long once you’re
used to this process it probably takes less than five minutes
to remake so even someone who’s pretty lazy like me can remake up quite
frequently I hope you enjoyed this video and found it useful if you do click the
like button and subscribe to my channel you can also follow me on Instagram at
lab muffin beauty science and check out my blog for more nerdy beauty
science see you next time Manager: Are you a scientist or a scientisn’t?
Michelle: I am SO SWEATY

100 thoughts on “Easy (5 Minute) DIY Vitamin C Serum | Lab Muffin Beauty Science

  1. Awesome video Michelle! What do you think about dissolving l ascobic acid powder directly into a water based moisturizer/ serum?

  2. Nice, I bought the ordinary l-ascorbic acid powder and don't really use it because the instructions are quite lame and I find it weird to just mix everything together and not know what exactly I put on my face. So I'm really sure I will try this to finally use up the product!

  3. Always thought ATIP and THDA were the same, but just googled and discovered they weren't, though both are fat soluble derivatives of mvit C. Do you have an opinion on ethyl ascorbic acid – looks promising but not much research available yet. I have been trialling the Ausceuticals pure vit c serum which has a great formulation but, unfortunately, I think it is too irritating and makes my face red for some time (one person asked if I had been running because my face still looked flushed about an hour later.) I think I'll try making a 10% solution and add some of the ordinary resveratrol/ferulic. Also, since you use tret do you only use vit c in the am and, if so, does it have any collagen building properties or mostly just antioxidant properties – just thinking that most collagen production occurs during sleep rather that during the day. Cheers

  4. This is great. I've found Vitamin C helped with the keratosis pilaris on my arms, but you need so much that I was going through so many bottles. Even the cheap brands added up, and all those containers felt wasteful. I'll definitely give this a go.

  5. Hey, I love your videos! I was wondering if you could do something on dermarolling/ micro needling. I am finding a lot of conflicting information on whether it's safe and if it even works for scars and hyperpigmentation. Thanks for always approaching skincare in a scientific way 🙂

  6. I'm a great fan! I love the way you bust the cosmetic myths! One quick question: can I add vitamin E to this serum? If so, how much? Thank you in advance!

  7. Yes! 😃🙌I have been waiting for this in video form! I tried making one based on the blog post a few weeks ago. I ended up using tons of baking soda! 😟 didn't seem right but the pH strips disagreed with me.. I also got some powder residue in the container that didn't seem to dissolve – maybe the baking soda? Did anyone else get this? Was I using crap baking soda or something? 😣🙃

  8. Thank you Michelle 😍
    I already made my DIY taking the recipe from your blog. It works perfectly and yes, 5 minutes later I put it in my face.

  9. But does it work? Omg! This is so cheap and fun to do and as a biochemistry student (thanks for being my inspiration) this sounds as the perfect experimentation to begin with. ❤️

  10. Love your intro, you're so funny and quirky. Can I add a little suggestion to the mix as an alternative? How do you feel about The Ordinary's L'ascorbic acid powder and the resveratrol & ferulic acid serum and creating a "fortified" vitamin c serum like that. Just a thought as that's what I use together with some hyaluronic acid every morning and I've been seeing some great results.

  11. You should rock those sexy glasses & red lips more often! So, I'm just going to say that about 5 years ago, I found an identical DIY Vit C serum recipe and I bought a gigantic tub of L Ascorbic Acid. I believe I made my "serum" about 4 weeks in a row, then that giant tub just sat there, pretty much COMPLETELY full until about 6 months ago when I realized it was long expired, and then I laughed and threw the whole thing away. I have bought and used up the Timeless serum which I kept in a fridge, and in the 3-4 months I was using it, absolutely nothing changed on my skin. I use max rx tretinoin microspheres gel at night, max rx azelaic acid gel in the morning, and SPF 50 daily, so I'm basically not wasting my time on vitamin C ever again. There ARE other antioxidants and other good skincare ingredients out there in delightful products that I love to buy and use; I'll focus my time and money on those. I am just not DIYing anything to put on my skin again, ever.

  12. love this! i’ve been doing your recipe for months 😀 i usually mix vitamin e and aloe vera gel (so it emulsify) before mixing it with ascorbic acid. also i changed water to hadalabo hydrating toner because it has hyaluronic acid in it, is it okay? i’m afraid i will mess up the preservative in the hadalabo toner :/

  13. Great video! Very straightforward DIY. I used to just mix ascorbic acid powder some with toner and apply it. Unfortunately, I found that the collar of my white clothes got orangey brown spots from it (from the oxidised product, I assume), so I dare not use it again. Does anyone have similar problems with using ascorbic acid powder?

  14. Hmmm without any delivery ingredients or ingredients that help absorption. I wonder how much of the Vitamin C really gets into the skin. I was using L-Ascorbic Powder on my face (i mix it with serums) and I always find a yellowish residue on my face at night when I wipe my face with a cotton pad (w micellar water).

  15. Me(and my wallet) thanks you for this video.😁I have been getting my mother into skin care and she loves try DIY skincare ideas.

  16. Our unit head made residents wear lab coats as punishment when they screwed up cuz I live in indian hot humid climate 😈

  17. Michelle, I'm old and shrivelled up from the Queensland sun. I've been looking at getting HA powder to make a hydrating body product. Love a diy idea on that from you.

  18. Is the intro a true reflection of what your mom says about ur YouTube channel LOL
    PS I just add a pitch of L-ascorbic acid power from The Ordinary to my serum. Thanks for ur detailed explanation anyway, the YouTube beauty world are too overloaded with biased information!
    It would be great if Michelle could do collbatoations with Hyram and James Welch which are my fav influencers who are honest about their reviews:)

  19. Would it help to keep keep your serums and other face creams in the refrigerator? I’ve seen these tiny fridges that are sold for this type of purpose. I’m just wondering if it’s worth the investment.

  20. I’ve tried diy a couple of times and multiple brands, but have never noticed a difference. In fact, I feel like my skin looks worse. Does correct ph aid in absorption? I had difficulty with the ph strips and baking soda, and it seemed to need a teaspoon of baking soda which irritated my skin. Obviously, user error but I wondered what I was doing wrong. I do have good results with tretinoin, AHA, azaelic acid and niacinimide. I found an article on vitamin c studies by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State, and noticed this regarding aging:
    “However, the effects of topical vitamin C are not apparent in all individuals, and interestingly, one study found that individuals with high dietary intakes of vitamin C showed no or little effect of a topical administration.” I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps it’s not effective for me.

  21. Hi Michelle, been looking for the same vitamin c powder that you have in your recipe but sadly it's going to cost a lot more than I expected. Can I just ground Ascorbic Acid Tablet? Is it just the same thing? Please let us know. Thank you! ❤

  22. I read this on your blog last year and made my own! I put mine into a little spray bottle and wrap black paper over it and I use all over my body. I just eyeball the powder with a tiny spoon and don’t bother with the distilled water or baking soda lol. I roughly check it with a ph strip tho >.< but it works and it’s so cheap and convenient! Lol

  23. Or you can just buy any basic Hyluaronic Acid serum / Antioxidant Toner and the Ordinary Vitamin C and mix a few drops every day when you need it. Takes 5 seconds and never oxidises.
    Btw the patent for skinceuticals C serum is about 3. Above 3.5 its not so effective. You ideally want C serum around the pH of 3 mark.

  24. It’s a pity that a Scientist now give advice for DIY C serums! As a scientist you should know this is not going to do much…

  25. Hi Michelle, what are your thoughts on substituting the bicarb soda for sodium lactate?

    Also, I have an old rosehip oil bottle I'd like to use for this, but the old oil has turned into a gunky polymer-like coating (a bit like thickly-applied wood glue that's almost dry, but it doesn't peel off as nicely). I've tried soaking it in dish detergent, metho, rubbing alcohol and cooking oil but nothing will dissolve it. Any ideas what might do the trick?

  26. I have all the ingredients except the test stripes. Has someone tried this and could give me their recepie (especially the amount of baking soda needed in mg).

  27. I’ve made this for months off her old blog entry. Things I’ve learned. Her test strips are much easier to use than the basic strips, get the better ones. Aluminum foil trick works very well. I started with 10% and that was too much but it’s so great to quickly be able to adjust.

  28. My friend swears blind that pineapple juice is good for getting rid of dead skin cells, she keeps the peel from pineapple in the fridge to rub on her face, hand and elbows, she says it as good as using AHA's, is this true or false, cheers😁👍

  29. Can you do a video on how semi permanent hair straightening works? Like keratin treatments that make your hair straight for a few months

  30. If you pre-boil your water and let it cool down in airtight bottle for the preparation, the serum should be more stable.
    I still remember it was such a pain back then when preparing LAA reagent in lab.

  31. I just made a new batch of this, I love it! I’ve been adding some glycerin and The Ordinary’s Resveratrol & Ferulic Acid serum. Not sure if that’s why but it lasts far longer than 2 weeks. Thanks for the trustworthy tips!

  32. Michelle please help me. I have always looked after my skin and I understand ingredients. I try to use “anti-ageing” products [retin-a every other day, a very small amount after moisturising). I moisturise twice daily and I use a very high quality fragrance-free sunblock. Yet my skin gets always extremely red and then I look tanned for a few weeks. This also happens with other anti-aging products (without tretinoine or without retinol). Please help me, I look always so tanned, I am fed up of my face being a different colour of my body but I do not want to stop with my anti-ageing routine. Only you can help me.

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