It’s been a while since I’ve posted an updated skincare routine, and it’s truly time to get back to basics by discussing skincare again. If you’ve followed my blog very long, you know that I’m incredibly passionate about skincare. Taking care of your skin is a foundational to your overall health, appearance, and beauty in general. Makeup should exist to enhance our natural beauty and inspire creativity, but having good skin underneath all the makeup is much more important to our overall health, appearance, the way we age, and even our self-esteem. Instead of posting my current daily full skincare routine, I wanted to list the key skincare products that I use every single day, the products that I cannot skip without noticing a significant difference in my skin health. However, once I started the list, it became excessively long, so I decided to start a new series where I focus on each skincare category. This particular blog will focus on Vitamin C. Before I begin, I want to share some overall thoughts on skincare products.
Earlier this year, I actually challenged my skin in the worst way possible. I was hospitalized for a couple of weeks with a serious illness, and it took a full 2 months for me to recover just enough where I could get back to a semi-basic skincare routine again. During that 2 month period of time, my skin looked its absolute worst ever. My doctor even commented repeatedly on how different I looked and how bad my skin appeared (yes, he is a nice but honest fellow… haha). It was a reminder of how important maintaining a consistent skincare regimen is. After just the first week in the hospital, I didn’t recognize myself at all.
Make no mistake…. There is no single “miracle in a jar.” It is important to find a combination of products to target your personal skincare issues, all of which have active, effective ingredients. Getting into a twice-a-day routine can truly revitalize your skin, ensure noticable results, and help turn around the signs of aging. For those of you who are younger, it makes a huge difference in how fast or slow you show signs of aging. I started a rigorous skincare routine in my late teens/early 20’s, and people repeatedly tell me today that I look around 10 years younger than my biological age. I truly attribute that to all the time and effort I’ve invested in my skincare products over the years. Remember, it’s never too early or too late!
Skincare doesn’t have to be expensive, so you’ll see many inexpensive options in my “favorites” list throughout this series. At the same time, I truly do believe that good skin is an investment. We often don’t hesitate drop $45 – $80 on an amazing eyeshadow palette, but we wince at the idea of spending that on a great skincare product. With that in mind, some of the products that I personally use and recommend may be a little pricier than others, but I also use a lot of very-affordable products that are accessible to most budgets.
As for my Vitamin C recomendations, all of these are within a very affordable range. I was one a proponent for more expensive Vitamin C products such as the one by Drunk Elephant. However, it’s completely unnecessary since other companies have formulated effective options for a fraction of the cost.
Vitamin C Basics and Benefits
If you’re in your 30’s Vitamin C is an important ingredient to add to your skincare routine. If you’re in your 40’s or older, Vitamin C is absolutely vital to your skin’s overall health and appearance. When using a product with the most effective form of vitamin c, which is l-absorbic acid, it will make a quick, noticeable difference with skin issues such as hyperpigmentation, dullness, and other issues that result from sun damage.
L-absorbic Acid is the most effective and strongest form of vitamin C used in skincare products, but it is also the most unstable form and can lose its effectiveness very quickly. While there are products containing derivatives of Vitamin C that are much more stable and will last longer, those products take much longer to show results. My personal preference is to use products with l-abosbic acid. In doing so, you should be aware that the effectiveness of these products are typically around 30-60 days, and they degrade very fast after that, losing their effective properties. You can do some things to help prolong the life of these products, but you typically want to use them within the first 30 – 45 days of purchase if possible. For that reason, I recommend finding a product that is the least costly, yet has enough vitamin c to produce benefits. Percentages contained in products will vary anywhere from 10% – 23%. The higher you go in percentages, the more effective the product will work and the faster it will show results. At the same time, people with sensitive skin may not be able to tolerate that strength. If you get a product with too low of a percentage of l-absorbic acid, it won’t be effective at all. You may have to test a couple of products out to find the right fit for your specific skin type and tolerance. To decrease the rate in which an l-absorbic acid product degrades, be sure to keep it in a cool, dry, and dark space (not the bathroom where it can get damp and muggy). It will last longer when kept in the refrigerator, but it’s not required if you use it within 1 – 2 months. If using a Vitamin C/L-absorbic acid serum, pay close attention to the color. It should be close to clear in color when fresh. As it ages, it will turn yellow and get darker until it turns orange. When it starts changing colors, it’s losing its effectiveness and stability. In other words, it becomes worthless at that point.
Favorite Vitamin C Products
Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum
The Timeliness 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum is one of my tried and true favorites for a price that almost everyone can afford, especially when Timeless Skincare runs one of their many great sales. This serum, like all the others in my list, contains actual l-absorbic acid, making it the most effective form of vitamin C that you can apply topically to your skin for fast, noticable benefits. It also contains Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid, which are used to help extend the life and efficacy of the Vitamin C. This formula is very thin and feels very much like water in consistency. I love that because it absorbs very fast. I have used this product for around 2 years straight and have zero complaints about it. It is a great alternative to those who may not want to spend $80 or more on the higher end Vitamin C brands such as Drunk Elephant or SkinCeuticals. I love Timeless Skincare as a brand. They make affordable skincare products with quality and integrity.
I highly recommend that you follow Timeless Skincare on Instagram (under the ID timelesshaskin), and keep your eyes open for their sales. They will usually run a great sale once every few months where they offer 50% off your entire order when you purchase a certain amount of product. The last sale was 50% off when you put $75 in products in your cart, bringing the total down to just $37.50. This is when I stock up on their products. They offer bulk packaging (called “refill” bottles) for many serums, which allows you to purchase large, 4 ounce bottles of their products. However, I don’t recommend that you purchase the Vitamin C in a large refill bottle, even though it’s an amazing deal. The product will not stay effective long enough for you to use it, unless you divide it up into multiple bottles to share with a friend or family member. I prefer to purchase 2 bottles of their 1 ounce bottle in each order, and I keep one stored in the refrigerator while I’m actively using the other.
Price: $24.95 for 1 fl oz.
Where to Buy: Timeless Skincare website
The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder
For more advanced skincare junkies, this product is an amazing option at the most affordable price available! The Ordinary has actually released a pure powder form of L-Ascorbic Acid that you can mix into any existing serum already in your daily routine. This ensures you are getting the most effective dose of product available in the purest and most effective way. Why is this a better option than other serums? Since you mix it into your existing products every day, the product doesn’t degrade and lose its effectiveness. You create a fresh dose with every single use that is 100% effective. I’ve been using this product for several weeks in my daily skincare routine, primarily every night after applying my retinol serum. Earlier this summer, I sustained a lot of sun damage on my face after using a new sunscreen that wasn’t very effective. My face developed a lot of discoloration, hyperpigementation and dark spots that I had worked for years to eliminate previously. The Ordinary’s 100% L-Abcorbic Acid Powder has been a true game-changer for me. I mix one little scoop (the scoop comes with the product) into a half-dropper full of my Timeless Matrixyl Synthe ‘6 serum and the Timeless Coenzyne Q10 serum. It only took a week or two to start seeing a noticeable difference. After several weeks of use, my skin has almost returned to normal again. This product can be a little difficult to find in stock. I order directly from Deciem’s website (parent company of The Ordinary). It sells out fast, so I recommend buying 2 jars at a time whenever it’s available. It’s out of stock right but you can sign up for a restock email notification to purchase the moment it returns. Don’t worry about it going bad if you buy multiples. It won’t go bad in its raw form, and it’s very inexpensive at just $5.80.
Price: $5.80 for a 20 gram jar
Where to Buy: Deciem/The Ordinary
Maelove The Glow Maker Antioxidant Serum
This is a fairly new product that I’ve added to my skincare routine and have been testing. It came highly recommended by other skincare experts and enthusiests. I started using this serum a few weeks before I started using The Ordinary 100% Ascorbic Acid Powder. and I did experience a noticable difference in the hyperpigmentation and overall brightness of my skin. It has a texture that feels just slightly on the oily side. It takes several minutes to dry down, but it does dry down after around 6-10 minutes. Interestingly, the product is actually water-based, but it contains glycerin and aloe which may be the culprit of the oily feel and texture. This product contains the extra benefits of added Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid, and Hyaluronic Acid, in addition to the Vitamin C. I have found this product to be of similar quality to the Timeless Skincare product, with the primary differences being the Glow Maker has an oil-like feel and includes hyaluronic acid (timeless feels like water). Hyaluronic Acid is an amazing ingredient for anyone with dry skin. Sometimes after applying l-absorbic acid, the skin can feel slightly dry, and the hyaluronic acid immediately puts that hydration back into the skin. For me it’s not a necessary ingredient in my Vitamin C since I apply other serums that contain hyaluronic acid. Maelove also advertises that this product can be used as a “primer” under makeup. They state the product contains a proprietary botanical blend of Vitis Vinifera, Aloe, Aurantium Dulcis, and Magnolia for “extra nourishment and easy makeup application.” However, I don’t agree with this claim. First, I believe these ingredients actually contribute to the oil-like texture that makes it take longer to dry down and aborb into the skin. More importantly, I personally don’t apply my Vitamin C products in the morning for several reasons, one being that they can cause some skin sensitivity and I don’t like applying too many skincare layers under makeup in the morning. Timeless Skincare actually has a FAQ on this topic on their website, making the case for either day or nightime use.
I am now using this product in combination with The Ordinary’s L-Ascorbic Acid, applying this after I apply my retinol. I then apply The Ordinary’s pure l-absoribic acid after the other products dry down. Many skincare experts may consider this to be unnecessary, as the skin can only absorb so much Vitamin C at one time. However, I really love combining the two products and feel like both of them togther have done an amazing job to turn back the significant sun damage I caused to my skin earlier in the summer. My skin truly does glow and has minimal signs of damage remaining after several weeks of use.
Maelove offers a 100 day “money back guarantee” for this product, as well as free shipping and free returns. There are currently over 800 x 5-start reviews for this product on their website. Everything made by Maelove is cruelty-free and vegan. It’s also free of parabens, dyes, and fragrances. Their products are made in the USA.
Price: $27.95 for 1 fl oz.
Where to Buy: Maelove Website
Additional Reference Information
For those who may be interested, I’m including a link to some additional information that describes the science of Vitamin C in skincare. The first link is an actual medical abstract and very technical, although very interesting.
What are your favorite Vitamin C products? Do you currently use a Vitamin C in your skincare regimen? Comment below or head over to my Instagram page to chat!