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9 best SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic dupes in 2023

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If you’ve ever looked into buying a Vitamin C serum for your skincare routine, you’ll no doubt have heard of the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Vitamin C Serum

It’s a cult favorite serum which people love using to help them fight the signs of aging and strengthen their skin. 

A huge amount of scientific research went into formulating this serum to actually be effective on the skin, and there’s no doubt that it’s both a really popular and effective product. 

However the main issue with CE Ferulic is the very steep price tag. 

This SkinCeuticals serum retails for $182 USD (or £165 / €165) for 30ml / 1 fl oz of product.

Clearly this means it’s a very expensive skincare product. 

When you also consider that the Vitamin C is unstable by nature and will become less effective over time, this becomes an even more difficult price to stomach. 

Fortunately, you can find a good SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic dupe for a lot less money

What does C E Ferulic do for your skin? 

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum is an effective antioxidant serum which helps to:

  • minimize the appearance of fine lines
  • reduce dark spots
  • counteract dullness
  • build more collagen to protect the skin from incurring further environmental damage
skinceuticals c e ferulic vitamin c serum

Image: SkinCeuticals

It harnesses the synergistic power of l-ascorbic acid (pure form Vitamin C), Vitamin E and ferulic acid in a formula which is capable of entering into the skin to work its magic. 

Why is SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic so effective?

Not all Vitamin C serums are created equal, and there are multiple reasons that SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum is considered the gold standard. 

C E Ferulic is formulated at the correct percentages of active ingredients and has the right pH level to maximize the anti-aging capabilities of Vitamin C. 

This serum is also able to stabilize Vitamin C long enough for it be used as a skincare product. 

There are a few different forms of Vitamin C, and the type which is most effective at improving the look of skin is l-ascorbic acid (sometimes just called ascorbic acid). 

In its natural state, l-ascorbic acid is a white powder. In a serum like C E Ferulic, l-ascorbic acid is mixed with water so that it is readily-available to penetrate the skin. 

The problem with this, however, is that once mixed with water and exposed to light and oxygen l-ascorbic acid starts to degrade (oxidize) and become less effective. 

To help counteract this instability and to increase the effectiveness of the serum, SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ingredients include:

  • 15% l-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) which is within the optimal percentage for the most effective results
  • 1% alpha tocopherol (Vitamin E) – an antioxidant which works synergistically alongside Vitamin C to make it up to 8x more effective in the skin
  • 0.5% ferulic acid which helps lower pH for better absorption and increase the stability of the l-ascorbic acid
  • a pH level of 2.5 to 3.0 so that the skin is able to absorb the product
  • a dark glass container to slow down degradation of the l-ascorbic acid by sunlight

What ingredients does a SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic dupe need to have?

To be a good SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic dupe, a product needs to have a similar pH level, ingredient list and protective packaging.

To be specific, the best C E Ferulic dupe will have:

  • an l-ascorbic acid percentage of between 10% and 25% which is when it is most effective in the skin
  • pH of between 2 and 4 to get maximum absorption from l-ascorbic acid
  • the same key ingredients (Vitamin E and ferulic acid) to increase the effectiveness of the Vitamin C
  • packaging which helps to slow down the natural oxidization of l-ascorbic acid
  • water-based formula to make the l-ascorbic acid readily available for absorption 

The best SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic dupes

As we have seen above, C E Ferulic has a blend of active ingredients which all work together to harness the anti-aging power of Vitamin C. It has years of research behind it and lots of claims about how effective it is which make it the most coveted Vitamin C product out there. 

However, it is possible to find other Vitamin C skincare products with similar formulations of active ingredients that can give you very similar results. 

Here are the best dupes and alternatives on the market if C E Ferulic is out of your beauty budget. As an added bonus, there are lots of cruelty free options listed below too (SkinCeuticals is sadly not cruelty free). 

1. Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum

This water-based Vitamin C serum is often called the best SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic dupe and it is just a fraction of the price. It has:

  • 20% l-ascorbic acid
  • 1% Vitamin E
  • 1% ferulic acid
  • a pH level of 2.4
  • an opaque bottle with an airtight pump
timeless skinceuticals c e ferulic dupe

Image: Timeless Skin Care

The packaging helps to keep out light and air, both of which contribute to the degradation of l-ascorbic acid, and therefore helps keep the product fresh for longer. 


  • also contains sodium hyaluronate (a form of hyaluronic acid) which is great for increasing the hydration levels within the skin
  • cruelty free, fragrance free and suitable for vegans
  • has a watery texture which is quickly and easily absorbed


  • the higher percentage of l-ascorbic acid means it is a little stronger than C E Ferulic so you may want to avoid this if your skin is on the more sensitive side 
  • not easy to find in the UK or EU

Price: $26.95 for 30ml / 1 fl oz

Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum is available here

2. Geek and Gorgeous 101 C-Glow Serum

This is a less well-known C E Ferulic dupe which deserves a lot more recognition. 

Geek and Gorgeous’ antioxidant-rich Vitamin C serum has such similar ingredients to SkinCeuticals and yet comes at a much, much lower price point. It has:

  • 15% l-ascorbic acid
  • 0.5% ferulic acid
  • a smaller percentage of Vitamin E
  • a pH of 3.2 to 3.4
  • an opaque bottle
c e ferulic dupe from geek and gorgeous

Image: Geek and Gorgeous

To help keep this product fresh for as long as possible, you can also buy a smaller empty bottle with dropper to decant some into. This means you don’t have to keep opening the original bottle every day, introducing more oxygen into the product. 


  • also contains dimethyl isosorbide, an emollient which helps increase the absorption of the product’s active ingredients
  • cruelty free, vegan-friendly and fragrance free
  • made in batches every week to ensure it is as fresh as possible when it reaches the customer


  • because this product is made in small batches, shipping may take longer than it does with other brands

Price: €12.50 for 30ml / 1 fl oz

Geek and Gorgeous 101 C-Glow Serum is available here

3. HSGN Pure 15% Vitamin C E Ferulic Acid Serum

If you’re looking for the Korean version of SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic then this is it. HSGN is the top pick from this list if you love K-beauty brands. This serum has:

  • 15% l-ascorbic acid
  • 0.1% Vitamin E
  • 0.5% ferulic acid
  • a pH level between 3.0 – 3.5
  • a dark glass bottle 
korean skinceuticals c e ferulic dupe

Image: HSGN


  • contains a cocktail of other antioxidants like camellia extract, resveratrol and brightening yuja seed extract
  • cruelty free and vegan
  • comes in a smaller bottle (15ml) which is good if you want to use it up before it oxidizes


  • products are shipped out from Korea so may take longer to arrive

HSGN also have a stronger Vitamin C serum called the Pure 20% Vitamin C E Ferulic Acid Ampoule which has 20% l-ascorbic acid.

Price: $19.95 for 15ml / 0.5 fl oz

HSGN Pure 15% Vitamin C E Ferulic Acid Serum is available here

4. Dr Brenner Vitamin C Serum

Marketed as a SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic dupe with a much lower price tag, this serum from Dr Brenner is a really good budget-friendly option. It has:

  • 20% l-ascorbic acid
  • 1% Vitamin E
  • 0.5% ferulic acid
  • a pH level of 3.2
  • a dark glass bottle
skinceutical ce ferulic dupe from dr brenner

Image: Dr Brenner

The key ingredients are very similar to the SkinCeuticals formula, with the main difference being that the concentration of l-ascorbic acid is higher. This is good news if you want even stronger antioxidant benefits from your products and your skin is able to handle the stronger formula. 


  • also contains the hydrating ingredient hyaluronic acid
  • cruelty free, vegan, reef safe and fungal acne (malassezia) safe
  • made in batches every two weeks to keep the products as fresh as possible 


  • it has a stronger Vitamin C content than SkinCeuticals so may irritate sensitive skin types

Price: $24.99 for 30ml / 1 fl oz

Dr Brenner Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid, Vitamin E and Hyaluronic Acid is available here

5. Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster

A very popular SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic dupe, the potent ingredients in this Paula’s Choice serum work in the same way to give you a brighter complexion. This product has:

  • 15% l-ascorbic acid
  • 1% Vitamin E
  • 0.5% ferulic acid
  • a pH level of 3.0
  • an opaque jar to keep out light
paula's choice c15 booster

Image: Paula’s Choice


  • active ingredients in the same concentrations as C E Ferulic
  • cruelty free
  • contains hydrogenated castor oil which soothes and hydrates skin


  • more expensive than some other C E Ferulic dupes

Paula’s Choice also have a great dupe for SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore and a dupe for Sunday Riley’s Good Genes.

Price: $55 for 20ml / 0.67 fl oz

Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster is available here

6. Maelove The Glow Maker

Maelove’s Vitamin C serum is one of the best-selling options when it comes to C E Ferulic dupes. This product has:

  • 15% l-ascorbic acid
  • Vitamin E and ferulic acid in undisclosed amounts
  • a pH level of 3.2
  • an opaque dropper bottle 
maelove the glow maker vitamin c serum

Image: Maelove


  • vegan and cruelty free
  • 100 day returns policy 
  • added botanical extracts like soothing aloe vera and the antioxidant grape seed extract


  • the percentages of Vitamin E and ferulic acid are not known

Price: $32.95 for 30ml / 1 fl oz

Maelove The Glow Maker is available here

7. DRMTLGY Vitamin C E + F

This is an ever-popular serum which has hundreds of positive reviews from customers online, many of whom compare it to SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum. DRMTLGY’s Vitamin C serum has:

  • 15% l-ascorbic acid
  • 1% Vitamin E
  • 0.5% ferulic acid
  • a pH level between 2.2 and 3.2
  • a dark glass dropper bottle 
dupe for skinceuticals ce ferulic from DRMTLGY



  • contains the synthetic peptide acetyl octapeptide-3 which is claimed to help reduce the look of wrinkles
  • cruelty free
  • also contains hyaluronic acid and hydrogenated castor oil


  • more expensive than some other C E Ferulic dupes

Price: $69 for 30ml / 1 fl oz

DRMTLGY Vitamin C E + F is available here

8. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum

This is a really popular alternative to C E Ferulic. Although it is still on the pricey side, Drunk Elephant’s Vitamin C serum is still much less expensive than the coveted C E Ferulic serum. C-Firma has:

  • 15% l-ascorbic acid
  • 1% Vitamin E
  • 0.5% ferulic acid
  • a pH level of 2.5
  • opaque packaging, with the added benefit of you mixing the product yourself
drunk elephant c-firma vitamin c serum

Image: Drunk Elephant


  • contains lots of additional ingredients with added skin benefits, like exfoliating pumpkin ferment and the antioxidant pomegranate extract
  • cruelty free
  • you mix l-ascorbic acid with the serum base when you are ready to use the product, ensuring its freshness. It should then last for 6 months


  • more expensive than other SkinCeuticals dupes
  • it has a stickier texture than C E Ferulic

Price: $78 for 28ml / 0.94 fl oz

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum is available here

9. Brandefy Skin 15% Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid Serum

This SkinCeuticals Vitamin C dupe has a higher pH level than C E Ferulic. Whilst still effective, it is less acidic so may be better for sensitive skin. This Vitamin C serum has:

  • 15% l-ascorbic acid
  • Vitamin E (in an unknown percentage)
  • 0.5% ferulic acid
  • a pH level of between 3.7 and 3.9
  • a dark colored dropper bottle
brandefy c e ferulic alternative

Image: Brandefy


  • contains propanediol, a humectant which is more gentle on the skin than propylene glycol (the humectant used in SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic)
  • cruelty free
  • 100 day returns policy


  • has a tackier finish than SkinCeuticals

Price: $49 for 30ml / 1 fl oz

Brandefy Skin 15% Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid Serum is available here

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic is popular for a good reason, and that is that it really works at brightening the skin tone and improving your skin’s complexion over time. 

However, in these dupes you can find a good serum which uses pure Vitamin C combined with ferulic acid and Vitamin A to get very similar results, and for a lot less money. 

Don’t miss: the ultimate list of skin care dupes 


Here are some frequently asked questions regarding SkinCeuticals as a brand and Vitamin C serums in general. 

What does a Vitamin C serum do for your skin?

Vitamin C, and in particular its most effective form l-ascorbic acid, is a potent antioxidant that neutralizes harmful free radicals. These are destructive molecules which are produced in your skin because of external aggressors like sun damage, smoke, stress and pollution. 

Free radicals break down your collagen and elastin, leading to signs of premature aging like dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles, and sagging. 

Vitamin C not only neutralizes free radicals, preventing them from destroying your collagen, but also helps your skin to produce more collagen so it’s stronger and less prone to signs of aging. 

The result of using a good Vitamin C serum is firmer, smoother and brighter looking skin. 

How to make Vitamin C serum last longer

L-ascorbic acid degrades (oxidizes) when in contact with both light and the oxygen in air. It goes from clear in color to a darker orange, and this shows you when it has become less effective.

You can slow down this degradation by keeping it in an opaque glass bottle and out of sunlight. Store it in a cool, dark place or in the fridge. 

To stop too much air entering the bottle, try decanting small amounts of your Vitamin C serum into smaller bottles to keep air out of your main bottle. 

Why is SkinCeuticals so expensive?

SkinCeuticals is medical-grade skincare that uses high quality ingredients in their products. One of the reasons their Vitamin C serum is so expensive is because the brand pioneered the research into the synergistic relationship between l-ascorbic acid, Vitamin E and ferulic acid. The result was a more stable delivery of 15 percent Vitamin C at a pH level that can actually be absorbed by the skin. 

However, there are now lots of SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic dupes that use the same ingredients in similar percentages, which are all much more affordable. 

Is SkinCeuticals owned by L’Oréal?

The brand SkinCeuticals was acquired by L’Oréal in 2005. SkinCeuticals is not a cruelty free brand and neither is L’Oréal, and they both sell their products in mainland China where animal testing is required by law. 





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Melissa Jane Lee

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