I remember when I started getting into wearing heavy makeup, and noticing my skin slowly get tighter, dryer, breakouts would surface constantly, red patches would form and outstay their welcome… my skin was angry. It hated me. After some frantic googling, I came to the conclusion that I really needed to get some kind of products to help my complexion recover from the stress I was putting it under.
“Cleanse, tone, moisturise”… the holy trinity, the power of three I kept reading over and over. But did I have a clue where to start? nope. It was a cosmetic minefield. Big claims, long words, endless options. SO.MANY.INGREDIENTS. It’s taken a few years, but what was first something that felt very overwhelming and confusing is now a huge passion of mine; I’ve learnt which products benefit my skin, and it’s what helped me get a job in beauty too! Learning about ingredients and their special roles is a particular interest, and it’s what led me to create this series! I wanted to explore the most talked out skingredients and why you should be using them – because let’s face it, just like all other consumer products, skincare does have its own trends and different formulas, but it can be confusing when picking what’s best for you!
So What’s Special About Vitamin C?
Whenever I think of vitamin C, it evokes thoughts of sipping freshly squeezed orange juice (with bits) on the balcony of an apartment overlooking a sunny seascape… I’ve always been aware of what vitamin C can do inside the body, but on the skin? not a clue. So what are the benefits of this ingredient everyone’s calling their new ‘squeeze’?
There’s multiple benefits! Vit C is an absolute powerhouse, an effective antioxidant which protects skin from UV damage, stimulates collagen production (oh hey anti-ageing), hydrates, evens out and brightens skin tone and lifts dark spots (it blocks the enzyme responsible for melanin) and also protects against pollution (it uses electrons to neutralise free radicals)! In other words, it’s basically an essential ingredient to your skincare routine. It can be found in everything from serums to moisturisers and face masks, and I’ve picked out some of my favourite products to recommend.
How Much vitamin C Do I Need?
When I originally read about the benefits of vitamin C, I was buzzing. So much goodness? I’m in! But after some research, I found out the ingredient is kinda tricky to include in formulas due to it being unstable and degrading with oxygen, light, water and high pH.
And is it a case of too much of a good thing? YES! Too much vitamin C in your skincare can irritate the skin, so make sure the formulas you go with include other ingredients that work with *your* skin, and in terms of potency, make sure you’re looking at the percentages contained. I have picked formulas here between 2-22% vitamin C (as I am prone to sensitivity), but between 10-15% is optimal. Let’s get into the best products now!
What Are The Best Formulas to Use on MY Skin?
For Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, it’s always good to look for hydrating, refreshing ingredients. I love Indeed Labs’ Brightening Drops, the vitamin C blend is pure ascorbic acid, volcanic soil and hyaluronic acid, plus tamarind seed extract (a hydrating natural extract) and biosaccharide gum-1, a moisturising and skin-soothing ingredient. This formula will set you back around £19.99.
For Oily Skin
If your skin is prone to oiliness, look for the ingredient ascorbic acid (or vitamin C). My favourite formula is Indeed Labs’ vitamin C24 (this is also great for dry skin!), a potent combination of 22% L-ascorbic acid and 2% hyaluronic acid, which, unlike others, is a stabilized formula that does not oxidize and is designed to optimize the absorption of vitamin C! It’s basically a moisturiser/serum hybrid too and will set you back around £24.99.
For Sensitive Skin
I’m prone to sensitive skin from time to time, so I do have to sometimes put my serums to the side in favour of a vitamin C powered cleanser or mask – this means the ingredient has skin contact for a shorter amount of time.
Earlier on, we were talking about potency of vitamin C, and these Super-C Smart-nutrient Beauty Capsules are an ideal blend of smart nutrients and actives to boost skin health, protect, hydrate and nourish for youthfully radiant skin.
I’m a huge fan of OSKIA as a brand – they’re very much science-driven with formulas made in the UK that are cruelty-free, vegan, sustainable and made with recyclable packaging too. You can read more about the brand and its products in this blog post here.
The brand believe that a little vit C goes a long way, so they created these capsules so that they could house a stable 2% encapsulated ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate which they say is proven to be more effective than 20% traditional ascorbic acid. These capsules are a pricey investment, rocking up at £66.00 for 60 capsules, but I have to say, these little capsules go a long way and if you’re serious about getting vitamin C that delivers, these are amazing.
If your sensitive skin is feeling a little vulnerable, try out Natura Siberica’s face tonic, it’s a super moisturising face mist made from hydrolates, which are basically floral or fragrant waters. I use this formula as a little pick me up during the day, and it’s packed with vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to refresh, tone and reveal your natural glow. A bottle of this will set you back around £8.99.
For Normal Skin
I know I spoke about OSKIA being an investment, but Rodial is next level luxury! I’m kind of obsessed with its Bee Venom Moisturiser that’s targetted towards anti-ageing with bee venom (to improve circulation), vitamin C (to even the complexion) and sodium hyaluronate (for hydration). This size goes for around £50 which is pricey, but it’s a small batch so the ingredients will be more potent and there’s more chance they’ll be effective.
Next up, let’s talk StriVectin! The reason why I said this was best suited to normal skin is because it’s a powerful cocktail of brightening vitamin C with retinol and acerola cherry extract to restore clarity. When my skin is feeling a little sensitive, I take a break from this serum, but if you have reliably normal skin this one is fabulous. The full size 30ml comes in at an eye-popping £62, but you can get smaller volumes from subscription box sites like Latest in Beauty.
Don’t leave out your lips when you’re thinking about using vitamin C. I’m a big fan of Australian brand INIKA Organic, and its Certified Organic Lip Serum is a gorgeous nurtient-rich blend of rosehip and sea buckthorn, softening shea butter, green tea (for more anti-oxidant goodness), and nourishing jojoba oil. The vitamin C is sourced from certified organic mandarin orange extract as well as orange essential oil helps to detoxify and hydrate, so you’ll taste that wonderful zesty-ness too! This lip serum goes for around £21.00.
How Do I Care for My vitamin C products?
The last thing I wanted to mention in my roundup was how to care for your products. As vitamin C is of course unstable, so there’s a few things to look out for when buying a formula, especially if you’re investing in something that’s a little pricier.
- A dark container will protect the formula from light damage
- Make sure the formula is in an airtight container to help with longevity
- Check the ingredients – things like vitamin E and ferulic acid improve the stability of vitamin C
- a low pH of 3.5 ensures the formula can penetrate the top layer of skin