I’ve recently tried two vitamin C products: Indeed Laboratories Vitamin C24 and Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster. I got into vitamin C products a while back through the Obagi serum as a way to fade sun freckles on my hyperpigmentation-prone skin (Fitzpatrick type III, which in my opinion is one of the worst types if you’re prone to hyperpigmentation, because not only do you get pigmentation easily, but it also contrasts more with the rest of your skin). Vitamin C has other benefits too, such as promoting collagen synthesis (plumps up skin and reduces wrinkle depth), soaking up sun damage as an antioxidant, and fading acne scars (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH).
The annoying thing about vitamin C in skincare is that it tends to be very unstable, breaking down rapidly to dehydroascorbic acid in the presence of light, water and oxygen, and doesn’t penetrate the skin easily (it generally needs to be at pH < 3.5 for it to be unionised and hence penetrate skin better). Both these products manage to get around these issues.
Indeed Labs Vitamin C24
Indeed Labs Vitamin C24 ($36.99 for 30 mL) is a white cream-like product that comes in a squeezy tube. It gets its name from the 22% L-ascorbic acid and 2% hyaluronic microspheres that it contains. Here’s the ingredients list:
The main ingredient in Vitamin C24 is dimethicone, which is a water-repellent silicone ingredient. I found that this serum tended to bunch up and roll off my skin if I applied a water-based moisturiser on top like I usually do at night, so I generally used it in the day. Dimethicone is found in most make-up primers, and the serum did give a nicely smoothing priming effect that looked good under make-up. I’m guessing the hyaluronic microspheres would’ve helped as well – hyaluronate absorbs water quickly, so if they’re applied to your skin while dry they can settle into wrinkles then swell up to decrease their appearance.
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster
You’ll notice that it doesn’t contain L-ascorbic acid, but instead contains vitamin C derivatives sodium ascorbyl phosphate (often abbreviated as SAP) and calcium ascorbate. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is much more stable (and expensive) than L-ascorbic acid, and absorbs at a higher pH too, so it’s less irritating while still being effective (I tested this serum to be pH 5). I haven’t found a study comparing the effectiveness of sodium ascorbyl phosphate to L-ascorbic acid when applied to skin, but its relative magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) works as well as L-ascorbic acid in clinical studies, and SAP is about 1/10th as potent as MAP at stimulating collagen in vitro (it’s difficult to say for sure that the ingredients will perform similarly on your skin, but in vitro tests usually show a similar trend). Calcium ascorbate is probably similar to ascorbic acid in action, and it might have a skin smoothing effect as well. Unfortunately, the concentrations aren’t given, and I can’t find them online either.
The Ole Henriksen serum also contains vitamin E, which works in tandem with vitamin C to protect against free radical damage (mostly UV damage). The other featured ingredients and their claims are grapefruit and orange extract (astringent and brightening), green tea extract (antioxidant), rosehip extract (vitamin C) and sodium hyaluronate (humectant moisturiser). The packaging recommends this for sensitive skin, but I’d be careful and patch test if you have any sensitivities to natural ingredients. I found that it didn’t sting (probably thanks to the higher pH), and the gel texture sank in nicely.
Do you have a favourite vitamin C product that you’d recommend? Let me know!
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