What's not to love about high-performing skincare at purse-friendly prices?
Vitamin C infused skincare has seen a 40 per cent increase in online searches recently.
And while we’re all probably familiar with its nutritional worth when it comes to fending off the dreaded flu (or the slightly more retro scurvy), it’s equally considered a veritable ‘cure-all’ by dermatologists; promising brighter, tighter, and better-looking overall skin.
Vitamin C is naturally present in the skin’s upper layers, but as we age, these levels deplete, leaving skin looking dull, uneven and less firm.
When added to your skincare routine (morning and/or night), the powerhouse ingredient neutralises free radicals created in the skin during oxidative stress (aka. sun damage and pollution), boosts healthy collagen production, aids in the skin's ability to heal itself and reduces inflammation. Fixing damage, as well as preventing it.
So, vitamin C sounds like a simple and essential addition to your routine, right? Well, it is. But there are a few things to bear in mind, before jumping face first, into a vat of the stuff.
The Type Used
When it comes to looking for a suitable vitamin C product, it’s important to know that there are several different types available. Ascorbic Acid, or L-ascorbic acid, is the most common when it comes to skincare, as it absorbs quickly and has the highest potency when applied topically. But it’s also the most temperamental to formulate – it’s v. sensitive to external factors. Other popular and slightly more stable forms include Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Ester C.
Vitamin C products are highly active and therefore, can cause irritation when applied at an overly high-concertation. As a general guideline, any potency between 3 and 20 per cent (latter being the highest percentage available OTC) will be the most effective. Those with sensitive skin should start low and slow but studies have shown that percentages too high can proves redundant in terms of actual skin-absorption.
As mentioned above, vitamin C is rather difficult to stabilise and tends to lose efficacy should it come in contact with light, air and/or water. The PH of the carrier substance needs to have a suitable PH too. See? We told you it was fussy. So, to get the most out of your product (and your money), buy small and also look for opaque glass or plastic containers with an air-restrictive pump.
With all of that red tape (or maybe, orange in this particular case) out of the way, here are our most loved products containing the hero anti-ageing ingredient.
Vitamin C serums usually come at a steep cost, especially those boasting a higher percentage of the ingredient. Coming in at 15 per cent for just over €20, this medium/high strength serum is really affordable and it's bound to deliver plenty of visible effects
No7 Radiance+ 15% Vitamin C Serum, €21.20 – SHOP
Allies of Skin
Thick and almost honey-like in texture, this serum feels nourishing on dried-out winter skin while acting a protective shield against environmental aggressors. Simultaneously promoting supple, luminous skin via orange extract to boost elasticity and smoothness, brighter days are ahead with this in your routine.
Allies of Skin 20% Vitamin C Brighten + Firm Serum, €98 – SHOP
Pestle & Mortar
With this innovative serum, the clever folk at Pestle & Mortar have taken steps to circumvent some of the stability issues around vitamin c serum listed above. The formula includes 3 different types of high-performing ingredient which are stored inside the bottle in two phases (oil and water), which work together giving you visibly tighter and brighter skin and a smooth complexion.
Pestle & Mortar Vitamin C 2 Phase Serum, €76 – SHOP
A cult favourite with beauty editors all over, this skin refiner delivers 20 per cent pure vitamin C alongside olive-derived squalane to moisturise and tartaric acid (which creates the optimum pH level for skin absorption). In clinical studies of 32 consumers who applied the product twice a day for four weeks, 90 per cent saw a reduction in fine lines and an improvement in skin texture and firmness, while 100 per cent said their skin tone was more even and their pores less visible.
BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner, €105 – SHOP