“I wasn’t sold on the benefits of vitamin C... until I tried this serum”

Hello radiance

October 06 2020

Many people consider vitamin C a skin care staple, swearing by a certain serum or cream for its brightening and anti-ageing abilities. But I just wasn’t buying it.

I’d tried many – and I mean many – to see what all the fuss was about. And don’t get me wrong, there have been many ‘nice’ ones along the way, but none with the results everyone so claims vitamin C can provide.

The ingredient is often hailed as a hero for its antioxidant properties, helping to protect skin from damaging free radicals caused by UV exposure (AKA slowing down the signs of ageing), plus it supposedly helps to fade hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone for a more radiant complexion.

Admittedly, it is one of those skin care products that needs to be used consistently (or at a high potency) for true results to show. So this time, I wanted to make sure I was a) committed and b) I was using an optimal formula. Enter: Avène A-Oxitive Antioxidant Defense Serum.

For three weeks I incorporated this serum into my daily routine, never missing it as a step every morning and sometimes even double dosing in the evening.

Here’s where my dedication got me and what you need to know about this vitamin C serum.

It feels (and smells) glorious

Let’s start with the superficials, shall we? Texture and scent are super important to me, especially if I’m going to be using something every day. Luckily, this serum ticks both boxes superbly. It has an ultra-light and super refreshing texture, which I’d describe as a milky gel. I’d once tried another vitamin C serum that was unbearably sticky and runny, but this one bore a stronger resemblance to silk (my kind of serum). To make the most of the product’s protection I applied it religiously every morning and found it to immediately melt into the skin, seamlessly sliding into my complexion and my pre-makeup routine. The scent is nothing but freshness too; light, inoffensive and non-disturbing to sensitive skin.

It’s not your regular vitamin C

There are two things about this serum that really sets it apart from others. The first is that it utilises an innovative ‘gradual release’ vitamin C, meaning it slowly releases the hero ingredient for gentler penetration into the skin. Remember how I talked about high potency? Well this formula provides results equivalent to 15% pure vitamin C*, only rather than shocking the skin with it all at once, it does it in a gentler way that’s suitable for all types of sensitive skin. It’s not every day ‘gentle’ and ‘powerful’ can go together, so that’s pretty damn special, and I’m happy to report no irritation on my part.

The second is that it’s not just vitamin C, the formula also contains Gradual Release vitamin E (another powerful antioxidant to help fight against free radicals) and hyaluronic acid for intense hydration. So rather than just a single hero hit, you’ve got an almighty trio working for your skin. My skin personally loves the plumping benefits of hyaluronic acid, so its inclusion helped to streamline my routine, as I didn’t need to apply an additional product.

*Serum; In-vitro study

I did notice a difference

As someone who previously didn’t rate the power of vitamin C, I was keeping a close eye out for signs it was working. The problem is that when it’s your own face you see every day, it can be hard to notice the subtleties. After the first week I personally thought my skin looked more radiant, but it was after week two when my partner commented on it that I knew it was legit. I was no longer looking so ‘dull’, with a more even and brighter skin tone. Plus at not-quite-30, I often have to remind myself it’s the protection and prevention this product is providing that’s going to help in the long haul. I sit in front of screens all day, making me very susceptible to blue light damage (and stress), and it’s products like this that will help to preserve youthful skin. And when it smells and feels as good as this one, it's not like it’s a ‘hassle’ to include.

Prone to irritation? Here are some top tips on how to deal with sensitive skin.