Beauty over Forty

Keeping up appearances when age is just a number


drunk elephant

5 Reasons why The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is the best I have ever used

Over the last 8 months I have tried 4 vitamin C Serums, sounds like only few products for such a long time, but in order to really have an opinion, long term use is important. I tried The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum and Peter Thomas Roth Camu Camu Power Cx30. All 4 of the products are great products, but here are 5 reasons why if I had to choose to have only one, The Ordinary wins by a mile.

  1. It is the only one of the products that openly declares the concentration of it’s effective ingredients
  2. It has the highest concentration of Vitamin C delivered to the skin in the most effective form which is L-Ascorbic Acid
  3. The product is a waterless suspension meaning that it has a very long shelf life
  4. The price is incredibly affordable at 5,8 Euros for 30ml, it is the lowest price of all four
  5. A little goes a very long way, you need only the slightest smear to effectively deliver vitamin c to a large area of your skin

I have also seen the brightening and evening effect a Vitamin C Serum has, most evidently with this product.

Some people have experienced sensitivity to the product, that is because it is so concentrated. Usually skin responds sensitively the first few time of use with a stinging sensation but following that it doesn’t happen again. Others have also experienced it pilling up or balling under other products or taking a long time to absorb. That happens when you use too much, you really only need a tiny bit and it takes about 20 seconds to absorb making it the most efficient and effective Vitamin C delivery I have experienced so far.

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Drunk Elephant C-Firma, a Vitamin C Serum worth 80 Bucks?

Happy Hump Day!

The brand Drunk Elephant has established itself a great reputation due to it’s founders mission to produce perfect effective skincare free from anything that might remotely be unhealthy.

One of it’s very popular products it a Vitamin C Serum called “C-Firma Day”. It retails at 80USD for 30ml. But is it worth it? I have tested the product and can tell you the answer right now: it depends.

User experience: Surprisingly this product is orange, normally orange would be a warning sign not to use it as it would indicate that the product has gone rancid, however in this case the orange color comes from the other ingredients. It does not stain you yellow. The next thing you will notice is a pretty strong smell which reminds me of frankincense and a bit of the smell there is when you blow candles out. The application is easy, it is not a water like serum, but a little thicker. The product absorbs relatively quickly and you are left with a non slippy film. This reminds me a little of the effect of resin on a violin bow (I guess only cellists, viola players and violinists will understand this part of the review). This finish is not what I expected. It layers well without bobbling. The product does not sting and does not create any kind of flush in my skin.

cfirmaCalling this a Vitamin C serum is a bit misleading, the serum contains far more actives than just vitamin C. The Vitamin C itself is at 15% ascorbic acid concentration. They have also added ferulic acid, Vitamin D (in a peptide form) and Vitamin E to increase the anti-oxidant effect. The pumpkin ferment is supposed to help resurface the skin also known as enzymatic peel, grape, licorice root and indian gooseberry extracts are there to improve brightening (my skin is already bright, I did not notice any effect). All of this combined serves to protect via anti-oxidants and repair UV damage and support the production of collagen. Those are the main actives and they are good ones.

The challenge I have in understanding whether this is worth 80 Bucks is the fact that anyone over forty is going to need to put other stuff on top. The Sodium Hyaluronate is not sufficiently moisturizing. Only the oiliest of skins will not need to layer. Usually the things (other serums, good moisturizers)  you will layer on top will contain ingredients that brighten and that firm. When you have to layer, it is evident that the product is not doing everything and it makes it in the main: just a Vitamin C Serum. I have another one of those which has a 23% ascorbic acid concentration (7% more) and cost me 6 Bucks by The Ordinary and is also 30ml.

Nonetheless the Drunk Elephant is a really good product, it has great ingredients, but I won’t be repurchasing.

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Skincare gifts that will be well received :)

Skincare is a highly personal purchase. skin types and dermatological challenges vary so gifting skincare can be a tricky business. Here are my tips on getting in right.

If you already know the recipients skin type and challenges you can gift a really well put together set from brands such as Paula’s Choice or Murad. These brands group their products by skin issues. Murad currently offers gift sets as can be found on Sephora or Lookfantastic. Paula’s Choice has many localized international sites to shop from.

Beauty savvy recipients may already be using the brands already, in which case you already know they like them, and if not, may well have thought of checking them out, as they really are well known top-quality somewhat high-end brands.

If you don’t really know so much about the person’s skin, but assume that it is generally without issue and you know the recipient takes skincare seriously and appreciates quality, Drunk Elephant and Sunday Riley are almost guaranteed to be a safe bet.

Sephora has gift sets for Sunday Riley, whose Luna Sleeping Oil and Good Genes daily lactic acid exfoliator are cult. It also stocks gifts sets with Drunk Elephant’s Vitamin C Serum (often quoted as being the best on the market) and Framboise Glycoloc Acid Exfoliator. The Sunday Riley products are very popular for anti-aging for sensitive or dry skins, with Drunk Elephant’s  Framboise Glycolic more suited to anti-aging for normal skins.

AHA, BHA, u ok? Acid peels for at home

When I tell people that I regularly put lactic acid on my face, they usually seem to think that I do this:



And then I’ve got some explaining to do.

First up, it good to know that the skin is acidic anyway, so putting any acid on it, will depending on strength and PH, be like putting like to like. Products advertising that they be PH balanced are therefore actually acidic, meaning it’s not a scary concept after all.

In beauty blogs and on YouTube, you will often hear references to AHAs and BHAs in product reviews and recommendations. AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid (short AHA). AHAs are exfoliators meaning they help remove dead skin cells. They do this by breaking up the cement between cells. BHAs are beta hydroxy acids, they work by dissolving oil and sebum, effectively cleaning out the pores. So despite both being acids, they do different things.

AHAs are staples in effective anti-aging. In numerous studies, higher concentrations (12% to 15%) have been found to lead to an increase in skin thickness and a reduction in lines. Plus, freshly exfoliated skin looks glowing. As this is done chemically, it can be referred to as chemical exfoliation rather than mechanical such as done by a scrub.

The most common AHAs found in products are glycolic and lactic acid. These acids have differing natural sources, glycolic being a fruit acid and lactic from milk and work slightly differently.

Glycolic acid has the smallest acid molecules and penetrate the skin more deeply than lactic. Due to this it is perceived that it is more effective at boosting collagen production. But people with sensitive or dry skin may find their skin irritated by it. Lactic acid is a good humectant; it attracts moisture into the skin making it more suitable for sensitive skins. Both types are effective exfoliators and help to retexturize the skin. Word of warning: they increase photo-sensitivity, which is why they are best used evenings.

I use glycolic and lactic. Twice per week I use the Ordinary Lactic Acid at 10% concentration topped with Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar Night which has around 4% glycolic acid. The alternate night I use retinols. I have also enjoyed Ren Skincare’s Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask.

I find that these products do a great job of exfoliating my skin and since starting the regime around 3 months ago my skin is far smoother and more radiant.

Other products commonly recommended are Sunday Riley’s Good Genes with around 5% lactic acid (to be used every day) and Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (12% glycolic acid).

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