An Honest Review On The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Vitamin C Serum 12%

Our site is reader-supported. When you buy a product via our links, we may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Read full disclosure here.

I have known and been a fan of vitamin C serum since day-one ever since I became a skincare-lover. And ever since then, I have used a lot of brands in the quest to find the one that best suits my skin because not all vitamin C serum are formulated equally. I settled for Timeless 20% vitamin C serum because of its potency. My experience with this serum was wonderful, not until I started having slight (but uncomfortable) itching sensation after 6 months of usage. And that was when I knew that my skin is screaming for help because 20% L-ascorbic acid (which is contained in Timeless vitamin C serum) is too much for my skin, because I have senstive and oily skin type.


L-ascorbic acid form of vitamin C is well researched and also the most potent form of vitamin C, but it can cause skin irritation (especially to senstive skin type) due to its acidic nature. Not to mention that L-ascorbic acid also conflicts with some of other skincare ingredients like retinoids (vitamin A derivatives).

So because of this, I dumped L-ascorbic acid, but that doesn’t mean I will stop using vitamin C serum entirely, however I plunged to using vitamin C derivative (which is known to offer the same benefit as L-ascorbic acid form of vitamin C, without causing skin sensitivity or conflicting with some skincare ingredients). Not only are Vitamin C derivatives mild on the skin but are also stable to heat and air unlike L-ascorbic acid vitamin C which quickly oxidizes upon exposure to heat and air. And vitamin C derivatives are known to penetrate deeper into the skin.

The only downside of vitamin C derivatives is, they are less potent than L-ascorbic acid vitamin C, as they have to be converted to L-ascorbic acid inside the skin before delivering its potentials to the skin.
But the main thing is, the vitamin C benefits will definitely be reaped. Having said that, I picked The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside vitamin C serum 12% to see how it goes. But before we get into what the topic is all about, lets know what vitamin C is, for that sake of those new to this wonderful ingredient.

What Is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is used to help improve the appearance of the skin, potentially reducing pigmentation, dullness, neutralize free radicals and environmental aggressors. Some studies have proved that vitamin C also helps to support collagen production and inflammation. 

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%.

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside vitamin C serum

Buy Now From Ulta

Buy Now From Sephora

Buy Now From Cultbeauty

Check Amazon For Best Price

Ascorbyl glucoside is one of the best derivatives of vitamin C, it has been shown to protect skin against UV in a clinical study on humans, and it’s been found to stimulate collagen synthesis and reduce pigment production in vitro cell studies.

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside vitamin C serum contains 12% Ascorbyl glucoside [which is a derivative of ascorbic acid (AA)] which is obtained through diet from plants such as citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables.
Ascorbyl glucoside is a stable form of vitamin C, it’s paired with glucose to enhance its stability due to the fact that L-ascorbic acid is a notoriously-unstable form of vitamin C that often breaks down when exposed to air and sunlight. Although L-ascorbic acid can be partially-stabilized with ferulic acid, vitamin E and other antioxidants to elongate its lifespan, but that doesn’t make it stable for a long time.

The active ingredients in this formula will be briefly explained below.

  • Ascorbyl glucoside: This is a stable form of vitamin C combined with glucose. When properly formulated and absorbed into skin, it breaks down to ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C). Ascorbyl glucoside is considered a gold standard of vitamin C derivatives, thanks to its high stability and comfortable effects. A research study has proven Ascorbyl glucoside for its superior stability and penetrative abilities compared to L-ascorbic acid. Once ascorbyl glucoside is absorbed into the skin, an enzyme called alpha-glucosidas breaks it down into l-ascorbic acid.
  • Propanediol: This isn’t really an active ingredient, but deserve to be given credit for its potentials. Propanediol prevents water loss, all thanks to its emollient properties, it might soften and smooth skin by reducing water loss. It also acts as a humectant, as it pulls moisture into the skin and encourages water retention. Propanediol also enhances preservative efficacy as it function as a preservative booster in skincare products.

Product Packaging.

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Vitamin C Serum review

Comes well packaged and well sealed in a UV-protective glass bottle to protect the liquid from the sun, so as to avoid oxidization.


The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Vitamin C Serum review

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside vitamin C serum has a little bit thick-texture (but not too thick) and feels lightweight on the skin. It absorbs quickly but leaves a slight tacky feeling or stickiness behind (a matte finish).

P.S: some people may find the serum thick and slight-tacky on their skin, this is because it contains “Xanthan gum” (a commonly used thickener and emulsion stabilizer). if you find it too thick or sticky for your skin, simply apply a small quantity, 2-3 drops is definitely ok.

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Vitamin C Serum review

The slight-tacky feeling may not be enough to bother you, however, if you find the sticky feeling too uncomfortable, you can counteract the effect with a moisturizer, or you can simply make a mixture of some drops of the serum with your moisturizer in the palm of your hands and apply. Another way to reduce slight-tacky feeling after application is to apply the serum on a damp skin, this will encourage faster absorption.


Aqua (Water), Ascorbyl Glucoside, Propanediol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Triethanolamine, Isoceteth-20, Xanthan gum, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ethoxydiglycol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

My Honest Review On The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%.

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Vitamin C Serum review

After using The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% for 2 weeks, below is my sincere review about this product.

First Week Of Usage.

Have you ever used a product for just one day and saw instant positive effect?. I don’t even know when last I had such experience from a skincare product, but you know what? I got the same effect with this product.

At first time of usage (at night), I saw instant brightening effect on my skin the next morning. And you know what, there was no irritations or whatsoever. My skin was seriously glowing, smooth and shiny. I woke up the next day with a dazzling, glowing skin.

The result was so quick that I had to question myself “if it was really a product from The Ordinary I purchased“, because from my experience from this brand, their products takes a while to see results. All you need is diligence in usage and patience.

Second Week Of Usage.

With everyday I apply this serum, I wake up with a glowing, smooth, plump and firm skin. I never missed any day or night without applying this wonderful serum.

I applied The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% both morning (AM) and night (PM). I pair it with tretinoin 0.1% at night. Maybe that was the reason why I got a very fast result, because tretinoin accelerates cell turnover, thereby in conjunction with another product makes the product works better as it increases its penetration.

Aside the slight itching experience I had from L-ascorbic acid form of vitamin C, another reason why I dumped the acidic form of vitamin C is because I can’t incorporate it into my night-time skincare routine, because I use tretinoin at night.

This is because it’s not advised to use tretinoin (or retinoids) together with L-ascorbic acid in a skincare routine as this can cause inflammatory-irritation. And if you must use them in a single routine, then you have to use them on different intervals (days) or wait 30 minutes apart.

But with Ascorbyl Glucoside form of vitamin C, I can simply incorporate and use tretinoin into my skincare routine without using on different intervals or having to wait 30 minutes apart during application. Tretinoin even helps potentiate the effect of vitamin C derived serums as it boosts cell-turnover.

After 2 weeks of usage, my skin glows like the rising sun. My skin texture has really improved for good. This product is here to stay in my skincare routine until I say otherwise.

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Vitamin C Serum review
My glowy face after 2-weeks of The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Vitamin C Serum.

In Conclusion.

If you’re too sensitive to L-ascorbic acid (which is the acidic form of vitamin C), I suggest you should try the vitamin C derivatives, so as to enjoy vitamin C skin-benefits without experiencing any sort of irritation.

Choose formulas with one or more of these vitamin C derivatives:

Yea, Vitamin C derivatives may not be as potent as the acidic form (L-ascorbic acid), but will surely deliver the same effect as L-ascorbic acid without causing skin sensitivity or irritations, because these derivatives breaks down to L-ascorbic acid in the skin.

So if you’ve been sitting on the fence towards purchasing this product, I urge you to lay your hands on this skincare topical. Use it religiously and also be patient. Don’t forget to perform a patch test before usage and always wear a sunscreen during the day to protect your skin from the wicked UV rays of the sun.

What I Like About The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%.

  • Easy to use.
  • Very affordable.
  • Mild on the skin.
  • Comes well Packaged.
  • Comes in a UV-protective packaging.
  • Fragrance-free.

What I Dislike About The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%.

  • Leaves a slight tacky feeling or stickiness behind. But can be counteracted by using a moisturizer afterwards or mix some drops of the serum with your moisturizer prior to application.

Possible Question & Answers.

Q: Any side effects from Ascorbyl Glucoside vitamin C serum?

A: While pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) can sting and cause mild irritation (especially to senstive skin type), there aren’t any side effects known of with ascorbyl glucoside. But still, that doesn’t change the fact that it is an active ingredient for sure, so you can always patch test a small amount elsewhere on your skin to make sure you can tolerate it.

Q: Is The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside vitamin C serum oil-based?

A: Although this serum feels slight-tacky on the skin after application, but contains no oil, as this serum is completely water-based, and can be incorporated into any skincare routine.

Q: Does Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside vitamin C serum feels oily on the skin?

A: Irrespective of the slight stickiness, it doesn’t feel oily on the skin, as you’re only going to experience slight-tacky feeling which will vanish when you apply a moisturizer. Therefore people with oily skin can use this serum, just ensure to apply on a damp (or moist) skin and also use few drops (2-3 drops).

Q: How should I use The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Vitamin C serum?

A: Cleanse your face with a skin-suitable facial cleanser, pat your face with a clean towel (don’t rub). Apply a facial toner if necessary, then while your face is damp (or moist) plunge ahead to apply 2-3 drops of this serum to your face, gently massage till fully absorbed. You can apply more if needed. Go ahead to apply your other skincare topicals, and seal in with a moisturizer and don’t forget to apply your SPF (sunscreen). You can apply this serum both morning (AM) and night (PM).

I used this serum both AM and PM.

I use the vitamin C serum alone in the morning, while at night I use the vitamin C serum in combination with my tretinoin. That is to say, after applying the vitamin C serum on well-cleansed damp skin (till fully absorbed), I apply tretinoin right after, before sealing in with my moisturizer.

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience with The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%, you may have a whole different experience as skin type differs so as result differs too.

ALSO READ: My Honest Review On The Ordinary Lactic Acid Serum.
Scroll to Top