I bought the Peter Thomas Roth “Camu Camu Power C x 30™ Vitamin C Brightening Sleeping Mask” in a set from Sephora a while back. It retails at 62 USD for 3.4 Oz which should last quite a long time.
Whilst I am generally critical of the brand due to their marketing being misleading, I generally really appreciate the actual products. What struck me about this sleeping mask is the combination of Vitamin C with Retinyl Palmitate (an ester of retinol). I usually use Vitamin C during the day, as we know it fights free radicals, reduces sun damage (pigmentation spots), promotes collagen production and due to it promoting the strength of my sunscreen I usually use it in the day. However, it is of course also effective at night, I just never thought of combining it with Retinol.
When applying it you put a thin (or thicker if you feel like it) layer of it on your skin. The consistency is between a gel and a paste, the color is orange. The scent is citrusy, but I reminds me of rotten oranges, so it won’t be to everyone’s liking. Once on the skin it feels tacky. You leave it on and go to sleep. When you wake up you will find that it has not fully absorbed, regardless of how thin the layer is. So far I have used the product 3 nights and it really does have a skin brightening effect as you would expect from Vitamin C.
I did not really enjoy using it due to the tacky feel, the concern that the orange would stain my pillow cases and the smell. I thought it must be possible to have the same effects without the ickiness.
So here’s my “dupe”: all I did was combine 1 squirt of the Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% with their Advanced Retinoid 2%, slather it on my skin and go to sleep. This combination is powerful! 1 “big serving” of Ascorbic Acid at 23% concentration is pretty much as concentrated as it gets. This amount of product is of course also acidic meaning that apart from delivering a potent Vitamin C shot, it exfoliates overnight. The suspension is in squalane which is skin identical and also contains hyaluronic acid, so a good shot of moisture and oil to help with the Retinoid absorption. The next morning I awoke with all the product having been absorbed and my face had an amazing glow and I received many many compliments about how my skin looked that week. Due to the high level of acid, this should not be done on two consecutive nights, at least one night gap in between is necessary.
If you are sensitive to that level of Vitamin C concentration use only half the amount to the retinoid and add some Rosehip oil (which is a natural source of Vitamin A) to the concoction.