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Vitamin C has long been celebrated for its brightening effects and anti-pollution qualities. The anti-oxidant skincare ingredient started out in cleansers and as powders, like LIXIRSKIN’s Vitamin C Paste and Dr Sebagh’s Pure Vitamin C Powder Cream. Advancements like Clinique’s Fresh Pressed involved a mechanism that injected ‘active Vitamin C’ into the serum with every use. The best news about Vitamin C is that almost everyone can use it, especially the lower percentages of 10-15% which are common in beauty products. However, those that are sensitive to pollution, suffer from pigmentation and have a dull skin tone will benefit most from a stronger dose. Cue the latest development, Vitamin C oils.
If you’re already a fan of this super ingredient, you’re going to love its upgrade. Vitamin C in an oil form means it’ll degrade slower and it’s more stable. I find that as an oil, it absorbs better into the skin, without leaving behind that stickiness. Then there’s the very merit of convenience. When you’re already a beauty junkie balancing various acids and high-grade products, you don’t want to be faffing about with different textures and playing potions class in your bathroom. I can imagine that on the other side of the spectrum, as a newbie to skincare, getting the basics down would be a priority.
So I’d spend your money on Allies of Skin Vitamin C 35% Collagen Rebuilding System (approx. £103), which is currently the most potent of all the Vitamin C oils (and products) on the market. It’s unique because of its ability to reach below the skin barrier and stimulate that precious commodity that we all need and love, collagen. Renee Lapino, one of London’s top facialists (and a UK stockist of the brand) says, “oils are able to penetrate deeper and there’s a lesser chance of oxidation because there’s no water, which happens when you add [a powder for example] to a serum or moisturiser”. But how can you tell when your shiny new oil is starting to expire? The product will turn brown, which in the process creates a free radical – the total opposite of what you’re trying to combat. The danger is that using a Vitamin C product that’s gone off can actually damage your skin.
Cult product, C-Firma Day Serum from Drunk Elephant (£67), is designed to be used immediately and consistently for this very reason. This process of deactivation usually takes about a month, but this product has an opaque bottle which shields the product from sunlight, a factor that accelerates oxidisation. I guess that Instagram trend of storing skincare in mini fridges doesn’t sound so superfluous after all. Drunk Elephant’s offering includes a light sprinkling of fruit enzymes which acts as a gentle chemical exfoliant. In simple terms, this ensures extra radiance. As a plus, the product claims to have a ‘reservoir’ technology which means that it protects the skin for up to 72 hours.
When you’re looking at a range of products that have all received raving reviews, it can be confusing to figure out why one might be more suitable than another. Sunday Riley’s C.E.O Glow (£34) face oil is combined with evening primrose oil and tumeric (among other wonderful things). It stays true to the brand’s ethos of combining science with botanicals. While the other two oils featured in this post focus on collagen and clearing away dead skin cells, this is angled towards further nourishing the skin. As for its texture, C.E.O Glow is one of those where little goes a long way. This is a high viscosity product and can be paired with the serum from the same range. The price point also keeps it pretty competitive in a market where almost every skincare brand hawks a hero Vitamin C product! According to the facialists at the Sunday Riley spa in London, the oil doesn’t become Vitamin C until it hits the skin. This is because the anti-oxidant is delivered in ‘capsules’ – which also explains why it’s in a clear bottle as opposed to a blue glass. However, I don’t think it’ll hurt to swipe this off your bathroom shelf display and tuck it away somewhere safe, just in case.
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