Vitamin C serums seem to be all the rage right now. But what are they even for? Are they worth it? Do I need one? I’ll try to do a speed lesson, Vitamin C run down for you:
Continued use of Vitamin C topically can improve multiple signs of aging – most notably, brightening the skin. As you age, your skin can look very dull and lack luster. Vitamin C is supposed to help bring some of that youthful glow back. And while there are some Vitamin C serums that claim to firm the skin *AHEM Drunk Elephant*, Vitamin C may only boost collagen and the feeling of firmer skin.
Vitamin C for topical use in skincare comes in many different forms, and all of them vary in stability and efficacy. Some of these forms are highly unstable, and render them complete trash when exposed to any kind of air – so they are essentially useless to you. Doing a bit of research before you dive into a VitC serum will help you to not waste your money on water.
DRUNK ELEPHANT C-FIRMA DAY SERUM
The C-Firma Day Serum from Drunk Elephant contains 15% L-ascorbic acid as its form of Vitamin C. L-ascorbic acid IS the most chemically active form of Vitamin C – but there are some issues with this form in that it can oxidize very easily. DE has taken great care with their packaging to ensure the integrity of the product, but even then – my serum oxidized in the travel size container. (You will know if your L-ascorbic serum has oxidized if it becomes tinted more orange in color). An oxidized vitamin C serum, is an ineffective Vitamin C serum.
Vitamin C isn’t the only thing this serum is packed with though! It also contains 1% vitamin E and 0.5% ferulic acid. Vitamin E is your classic antioxidant – it helps to protect the skin from environmental stressors, helps to tighten and firm, effectively moisturizes the skin, and is a natural preservative. Ferulic acid is another antioxidant that helps fight against the environmental stressors, but ferulic acid also helps increase stability of other antioxidants like Vitamin C & E. So the three are kind of inseparable, and why you tend to see them together everywhere (SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, Timeless, Paula’s Choice RESIST C15 Super Booster, & DermaDoctor Kakadu C ™ Serum all have these three butt-buddies in them).
What really sets this formula apart from your average, run of the mill VitC, C, E concoction is the inclusion of pumpkin ferment and pomegranate extract. Enzymes in skin care are said to work like natural AHAs, or alpha-hydroxy acids. They are meant to slough away, exfoliate, and dissolve the upper most layer of the skin – however, fruit enzymes, while great that they are natural and all, are pretty unreliable. It is a nice thought to include them, but they aren’t doing too much heavy lifting.
Also found in C-Firma’s ingredient deck is their very own marula oil. (I find it rather surprising they don’t plaster this fact all over the bottle, considering how proud they are of this particular ingredient -$$$) If you read my recent post on their Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, you’ll know exactly how I feel about that one :).
And finally, included in this serum is sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, which is a fancy term for hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid helps your skin hold in moisture – READ: PLUMP.
All DE products are formulated without essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance/dyes and sodium lauryl sulfate.
This product promises to reduce the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles, as well as uncovering a smoother texture (“enzymatically“). Diminished appearance of photo damage (i.e. sun spots – WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN, FOLKS!), increased hydration, radiance, and luminosity.
This product also claims to be suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, even though it has such a high concentration of ascorbic acid. This is because its pH has been adjusted to be at a key, non-irritating level. (Want me to dive deeper into the importance of pH in skin care? Let me know, I’ll do a write up!)
ON THE SKIN
This product is intended to be used in the morning, with your AM routine (because VitC in the AM is like, totally all the rage, man). But really, you can apply a Vitamin C serum either time. It really just depends on your needs.
For starters – as I mentioned above, mine had already seemed to oxidize a bit. It was quite orange, and smelled RULL bad. I don’t know if it always smells like nail polish remover, or just when its oxidized.
Second thing I want to point out is the texture. This stuff is pretty sticky, and heavy. Which all makes sense to me now knowing that it has their marula oil in it. I very much dislike the feeling of this on my skin.
During my daily use of this product, I did not find that it was difficult to work with. I didn’t feel extra oily, all other products applied fine after. BUT – after taking a break from use for a while I did notice less oiliness during the day and my makeup seemed to be cooperating a little better. So maybe it was a culprit, or maybe it was the weather. Who really knows.
There is also no irritation to note with this product. So 10/10 on that claim!
This serum has SO much hype around it – I honestly wanted it to work. I wanted to be part of the cool, Drunk Elephant club. But I think I just really despise their Marula Oil, and this has that in it. It causes this serum to have a very heavy, sticky feeling on the skin. And (I don’t know if this is just because mine is clearly oxidized but) it smells down right terrible.
I will continue to use my The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% ($12.90 / 1oz) in the mornings, which is working out very well for me! It is a much lighter texture, and causes no oiliness or irritation. And I DEFINITELY want to pick up Paula’s Choice RESIST C15 Super Booster ($49 / 0.67oz) to try next! It has all the same active ingredients as Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum (without the oil and enzymes) – and could be a possible dupe!! Is it a dupe if its better? Is that how that works??
Have you tried the C-Firma and hated it like me? I feel like I’m the only one not loving Drunk Elephant!