If you’ve brushed up on your vitamin C knowledge lately, you probably know that there isn’t just one type of vitamin C. “The key is not the vehicle that vitamin C comes in, but the form of vitamin C that is being applied,” Kristina Goldenberg, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based at Goldenberg Dermatology in New York City, previously told Allure.
This particular formula contains 3-0-ethyl ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C ester. This is a fat-soluble iteration of L-ascorbic acid, also known as pure vitamin C (and the gold standard of the antioxidant, according to Dr. Goldenberg). The brand claims this is a more stable rendition that’s also easier for the skin to absorb, therefore making the ingredient more effective in its radiance-inducing and firming abilities.
This form of vitamin C is amped up with ferulic acid, an ingredient that you can consider the Robin to the former’s Batman. “Ferulic acid is thought to both stabilize and enhance the photoprotective effects of vitamin C, which is why they are often combined,” says James Y. Wang, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Los Angeles. That’s why you may have spotted this powerful ingredient combination present in other skin-care products, including SkinCeuticals’ biggest claim to fame, the C E Ferulic serum.
When testing, the first thing I noticed was its smell. It’s not bad, but it definitely does have a subtle hint of what The Cut accurately described as hotdog water, which is a common scent in many vitamin C formulas (albeit, no one knows why). Due to constant product testing, my brain is now rewired to think that this scent is actually kind of pleasant, but do what you will with that information.
Other than its smell, this cream gets brownie points for not having the usual texture issues most vitamin C-spiked products have, including an unpleasant orange tint or tacky feel. Rather, this formula felt almost slippery and absorbed instantly into my skin, leaving my undereyes moisturized without feeling greasy or seeping onto my eyeballs.
I also noticed that my sensitive skin didn’t sting after applying this concoction of the active (and notoriously harsh) ingredient, which is all thanks to the addition of the brand’s proprietary biomimetic oat protein. It’s basically a synthetic version of colloidal oatmeal, an ingredient that Dr. Wang describes as “one of nature’s best hydrators.” This nourishing ingredient is known as a soothing savior for dry and sensitive skin types like myself. For an added skin-firming boost, this ultra-light cream contains peptides, which are known for their ability to promote skin elasticity.