Basically, every skincare guru recommends Vitamin C, and with good reason. It is an amazing antioxidant, it helps with collagen production, it helps with sun protection, it lightens, it brightens, it’s a god damn superstar. Typically when some skincare junkie is talking about Vitamin C they mean L-Ascorbic Acid. Nearly every DIY Vitamin C serum is made with it. While L-Ascorbic Acid has all of the amazing benefits of Vitamin C it is not very shelf stable and is quick to oxidize. Many, many people recommend keeping serums with L-Ascorbic Acid in the fridge. There are stable formulations on the market, The Ordinary and Clinique both have some, but they are not super user-friendly. If you’re a lazy gal on a quest for good skin it’s best to look outside the world of L-Ascorbic Acid, because sometimes it’s best to just throw something on your face and go. Here’s an excellent primer on some of the different types of Vitamin C available, so you’re not just taking my word for it.
Mad Hippie’s serum, made with Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, might be my favorite Vitamin C serum that I have tried. Out of all the serums I have used it is the best at fading acne marks. There is some evidence that Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate prevents acne, so for those of you who want the antiaging and antioxidant benefits of vitamin c but also struggle with acne, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate might be the derivative for you.
Glossier’s Super Glow is a great way to enter the world of Vitamin C. It’s made with Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate. AAP is a newer derivative of VitC. It’s incredibly stable and inhibits melanin production, which means it prevents age spots, melasma, etc. Glossier’s formula is very popular but I’m not the biggest fan. It’s super watery and I’m too messy and too sleepy to deal with that shit in the morning. It is effective, but I’m to me to use it.
I am currently using the Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate in my AM routine. I have incredibly dry skin so a VitC derivative in an oil formula is enticing. I have been using this formulation since mid-February. Deciem/The Ordinary is very upfront about derivatives not being as potent at ascorbic acid but I am a little disappointed in this serum’s performance. Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate is a derivative I have not used before, but like other derivatives, it is heralded for its stability and brightening abilities. Unfortunately, I noticed no difference in my skin’s “brightness” and it made zero difference on my red spots (and let me tell you, skipping washing my face after St. Patricks’ day was a bad idea, and this serum was given a lot to work with). I do like the fact that it is a light oil-based serum, my dry skin loved it. It smells like cleaning supplies and I actually have to be really careful about applying it near my nose because the smell is too much.
This week I started a sample of Biossance’s Squalane and Vitamin C and Rose Oil at the end of my PM routine. It uses Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, a derivative that is frequently found in high-end face oils with vitamin c (like Kypris’ 1,000 Roses). This is less of a vitamin c product and more of a fancy indulgent face oil that makes you feel good. Since I have started using it I have noticed a stark difference in the PIH on my face, I am not sure if this is just because I am getting vitamin c in my am and pm routine or if it truly does outperform The Ordinary formulation that I am using. Maybe my PIH has just started to fade, really, really fast. Since Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate appears second to last on the ingredient list I would not recommend this to someone who is actively looking to include Vitamin C in their routine, it’s more of a nice little bonus for this oil.