I use Vitamin C for two main purposes, to lighten post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation (PIH) and Post Inflammatory Erythema (PIE), in layman’s terms are sunspots/freckles and dark acne scarring. Ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid, in its pure form is generally a great antioxidant for this purpose since its a major skin brightener.
I used Wishtrend’s Pure Vitamin C 21.5 Advanced Serum for about 4 months and I’m ready to share my thoughts on it.
Wishtrend is a online k-beauty store who are under the same Wish Company umbrella as Klairs. They sell products under their own brand as well as curate other well known k-beauty brands such as Mizon, Skinmiso and more.
$26.35 AUD, purchased from Wishtrend’s eBay Store *
Ingredients (from wishtrend.com)
Hippophae Rhamnoides Water (70%), Ascorbic Acid (21.5%), Sodium Lactate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Cassia Obtusifolia Seed Extract, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Ethyl Hexanediol
The short ingredient list was appealing and is what captured my attention. A past Vitamin C serum I had used also sold by Wishtrend, the TIAM My Signature C-Source, had a much larger ingredient list which freaked out my skin and gave me cystic acne 😮
The product seems to have undergone a reformulation though I can’t compare it to the original since I never used it.
With an upgraded formula with more of the effects but less the ingredients,
the Pure Vitamin C 21.5% Advanced Serum has been transformed to have even greater hydration and absorption without the stickiness. It conditions and restores balance to replenish and retain moisture in the skin with the optimal 21.5% of pure vitamin C.
The serum is housed in a dark glass bottle with a red label. You get 30 ml of product and a dropper as the applicator. It seems like this type of packaging is common amongst Vitamin C serums. I guess its more cost effective than using (innovative) packaging like Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma Day Serum. With this type of packaging, its easy to let air into the product, and since ascorbic acid is naturally unstable and can easily oxidise, you need to make sure you keep this serum in the fridge (instructed on the box) and seal it up as soon as you’re done.
How to use
Since I keep the serum in my fridge I need to remember to walk over there and grab it. This was a pain and something I never got used to doing. I have a full time job and not a lot of time to get ready in the morning (because I prefer to sleep) so having to go grab it was always a nuisance.
There are some in instructions in English on the back on how to use but this is how I use it. After cleansing and drying my face, I would dispense two or three drops into the palm of my hand. I would then frantically close the bottle to prevent air from entering the bottle. Then using my index finger, I would start to spot treat areas where I have pigmentation spots caused either from the sun or acne.
Once I’ve spot treated the affected areas, I would rub my palms together and pat the leftover product onto the rest of my face. This stuff absorbs fast so you need to work quickly. I would then promptly return the serum and its box to the fridge in fear of oxidation. I would then continue with the rest of my routine. There is an area of debate whether niacinamide and vitamin c would lose efficacy if used in the same routine, so I just tend to not use essence (mine contains niacinamide) in the mornings when I’m using vitamin c, just as a precautionary.
Something to note which is quite important is that a scorbic acid can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Especially in such a large dose as this one. If you are using this during the day, you HAVE to wear sunscreen. Its a non negotiable. This is also the case when using any type of acid which chemically exfoliates the skin. Update: Acids increases sensitivity because you are basically shedding skin. Vitamin C actually boosts the effectiveness of your sunscreen so it’s still important to wear it.
It is runny with no viscosity which I see as good and bad. Good because it’s easily absorbable and bad because it can get tricky with application (the whole trying to screw the cap back with one hand thing). The good outweighs the bad in this case. True to the claims, it does not leave any sticky residue.
In its freshest form and by keeping in the fridge, the colour should remain clear. If this changes to anything else, it means the serum has oxidised and is no longer effective. As mentioned, I had mine for 4 months and it still maintained its translucency.
Smells very slightly of chemicals which dissipates on contact with the skin.
The TIAM My Signature C-Source, smelt like oranges which I didn’t mind either, the product just didn’t work for me. I’ve also used the Klairs Freshly Juiced, and while the name sounds like something that would smell pleasant, it smelt like iron which was unpleasant. The Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum also smelt like this (why?!).
Rating: 3/5 (it's ok but will not repurchase)
I was afraid that this serum would break me out like the Tiam one did but luckily it didn’t. It also didn’t cause any irritation.
In terms of effectiveness, I didn’t see any significant changes over the 4 months I used it. I applied it every other morning because it had such a high percentage of ascorbic acid. I liked its elegant consistency because it felt like nothing once applied and also appreciated that it had little to no scent. Perhaps my overall skin did appear brighter but I needed more than that, especially at 21.5%. With humectants such as sodium hyaluronate and panthenol within the ingredients list I would’ve expected to also feel some hydration but I didn’t.
Not seeing any significant lightening of my spots wasn’t the main issue I had with it, and its probably not all this serum’s fault. As I mentioned, using vitamin c during the day can cause sensitivity to the sun. I ALWAYS wear sunscreen but I felt like with such a high dose of ascorbic acid, one application of sunscreen in the morning just wasn’t enough. I work in an office and only pop out a couple of times before the sun goes down. I know these are lame reasons but I just don’t reapply sunscreen. I felt like I was getting more sensitive to the sun (we are closer to the ozone hole here in oz) and I’m pretty certain that this vitamin c serum is what was causing it. I saw a couple more sun spots appear and my PIE and PIH just weren’t getting any lighter even though I adequately slather sunscreen on my face. Don’t get me wrong, when I do get regular sun exposure I do reapply, but on work days when I have a face full of makeup, I just don’t.
I guess I could still use it at night but I already have serums which like to use and have proven to be more effective (for different purposes). I have also read that using vitamin c serums during the day can also have other benefits like helping fight free radicals and protection against environmental pollutants.
I think that this has been my final experiment with vitamin c serums for awhile. The fact that it’s also so (so!) high maintenance deters me from using it. Keeping it in the fridge and limiting its exposure to air is a pain because I’m simply lazy. They usually have a life span of 3 months (less if you don’t refrigerate) anyway so having to repurchase would also get expensive and annoying. Again if I did see results I could possibly continue to overlook the inconveniences and repurchase but the cons really outweighed the pros.
I’m perfectly ok to use skincare where ascorbic acid (or its derivates) isn’t the main ingredient like in moisturisers and serums/ampoules so I’m not dissing it completely. I’ve just concluded that my skin is too sensitive for it when it’s in its purest form which is sad 😦
Have you tried any vitamin c serums and how did they work out for you? Would love to hear about your experiences in the comments 🙂
Please note: links in this post marked with an * are affiliate links. They provide me with a small commission, if you should choose to use them for a purchase, without any extra cost to you 🙂