First Impressions - Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% from The Ordinary
So, as promised, here is numero uno in a series of first impressions of products from The Ordinary. I've chosen to start with this particular product, as from what I've seen in other reviews, it's one of those items that has had some incredibly varied opinions. I must admit, I can completely understand why! I've definitely had to rework my skincare routines somewhat, to make the most of this product. Read on, to find out why, and how.
I'd like to start with the purpose of this particular kind of skincare product. There are many Vitamin C products available, and as an ingredient it packs quite a punch. Vitamin C has been proven to provide substantial anti-ageing and brightening effects when applied topically....sounds great, right? The difficulty has always been producing an effective and stable product, as Vitamin C oxidises with exposure to oxygen, and the higher the concentration, the less stable it is.
The Ordinary have overcome that difficulty in this particular version of Vitamin C product (they have a few in the range), by having a fine powdered form of Vitamin C suspended in a heavy serum base. This has allowed them to have a very high percentage of Vitamin C in a stable form, but to achieve this there had to be a sacrifice of some kind, and that's the comfortable, silky application that you tend to expect with the majority of skincare. At $9.80AU for 30 mls of product, I'm pretty sure I can live with that ;)
I'd like to note that I have oily, very acne prone and maturing skin, with a tendency towards sensitivity to certain ingredients. I'm also quite prone to hyper pigmentation. However, I'm a long term user of acids, retinoids and benzoyl peroxide, and have been using a (weaker) form of Vitamin C for around 18 months prior to trialling this product.
Though The Ordinary calls this a heavy serum, to me it has more the weight and viscosity of a light cream, or heavy lotion. Upon application, I immediately felt the grittiness of the powdered Vitamin C, and braced myself for the 'tingling' (many reviews said burning!) that was surely coming. And I waited. And waited. Not so much as a tingle...seriously, I felt nothing. I must admit, I was a little disappointed! I was quite surprised though, when the texture turned from gritty to oily. I'm guessing it's the HA (hyaluronic acid) spheres that are responsible for that little bit of strangeness. I discovered though, that application of a moisturiser over the top seemed to alleviate the oily feeling, and I felt like the product absorbed more effectively when I layered some moisturiser on top. I've not had any irritation or redness from this product, and it hasn't broken me out at all, which is fantastic! I have definitely noticed a brightening of the skin and a certain glow, though some of that could definitely be attributed to other products from The Ordinary that I'm currently testing.
Now for the somewhat less positive, but manageable bits. Prior to this product I've applied my Vitamin C products in the AM, but I've had to change that. The reason for this is the pilling. Oh god, the pilling. This product does not play well with others. Seriously, if you have skin like mine, or like to wear sunscreen, or makeup, or, you know - go out in public ever ...I'd strongly recommend not using this in the morning. I tried every variation and combination of SPF, makeup and moisturiser that I have, but no dice. It ended up the same....with little balls of stuff flaking and rolling off my face and neck, making a big mess. So, I've switched it out with my Niacinamide (review for that one coming later!) and am now using it in my PM routine. I apply it as the last of my serums/treatments and layer some moisturiser/oil over the top - this works beautifully and feels comfortable. There you go - problem solved.
For now, I'm quite enjoying having this in my skin care stash and I'm looking forward to updating my review in a few months time, when I've had more of an opportunity to see longer term effects. I think that if you don't experience the 'burning' with this product, it's pretty unbeatable costwise. So, if you're looking for a high strength Vitamin C product at a bargain basement price, this might just be the product for you!