Vitamin C: beauty’s big comeback

Posted by
Roberta Lister
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You’re probably familiar with it in its glass form (freshly squeezed, with ‘bits’, thanks) but vitamin C is about to become one of the biggest beauty ingredients of the year, and it’s time to get involved.

Pinterest has just reported a staggering 3379% increase in searches for vitamin C in skincare, making it one of the top-ranking beauty trends of the year. But why the rise in search for this wonder antioxidant? Well, with pollution levels continuing to reach worrying levels across the globe – with the UN ranking a colossal 44 cities in the UK as having dangerously polluted air which can cause a host of skin complaints from dullness through to fine lines - this powerful vitamin has become an ideal weapon of choice to fight back.

So what makes vitamin C such a skincare superhero? Firstly, it’s a brilliant antioxidant, meaning it can neutralise the free radicals created in the skin as a result of exposure to factors including UV rays and pollution. By banishing these harmful particles, vitamin C has the power to brighten a dull complexion and minimise any long-term skin damage. What’s more, studies have shown vitamin C to heighten the skin’s ability to heal itself – clever stuff.

However, like all good things, this skin-brightening fix doesn’t come easily. Vitamin C is notoriously unstable when used in skincare - heat, air and light can all cause degradation - making it tricky to deliver topically in a beneficial way. Thankfully, a host of brands have formulated some seriously clever new products that work to keep the vitamin stable until it hits your skin.

Stylist rounds up the most innovative ways to get your fix…

Lixir Skin Vitamin C Emulsion, £32

Based on the premise that Vitamin C is most effective in an acid form, this quick-fix mask is formulated with a heavy-hitting concentration of 10% L Ascorbic Acid. Apply it in the morning, rinse it off after a few minutes, and trust it to keep you glowing right through to sundown. 

Medik8 CE-Thione™, £82 for two bottles

Medik8 calls this 15% vitamin C serum a ‘rechargeable’ formula , which simply means it’s combined with vitamin E and l-glutathione that lend their electrons to the unstable vitamin C, helping it to stay fully charged right to the last drop. It’s split into two 15ml bottles to ensure further stability, too - a serious contender for anyone fighting city pollution. 

Fresh Vitamin Nectar Face Mask, from £23

It might look like something you would spread on your toast (ie marmalade) but this new face mask delivers impressive results when it comes to brightening dull skin. Extracts from Mediterranean citrus fruits exfoliate dull skin cells, while vitamins C, E and B5 provide a nutrient boost. It has one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C in a face mask, ever.  

Skyn Iceland Arctic Hydration Rubberising Mask, £30

For immediate results, this innovative new mask is hard to beat. Combine the mask base and treatment powder to create a rubbery gel, then slather it over lacklustre skin - as it dries it’ll seal hyaluronic acid, red algae and vitamin C into every sleepy skin cell. After 20 minutes, simply peel off and marvel at your radiant skin.

Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C, £25

This two-step formula comprises a powerful 10% vitamin C powder cleanser, strategically sealed in single-use sachets, and a booster serum to seal in the benefits. Use every morning for a week and marvel at the results – this is a firm beauty editor favourite.