Of all the serums, essences, and elixirs one can buy, vitamin C will always be my top recommendation for anyone trying to get a little something extra out of their skin-care routine. The antioxidant addresses nearly every skin issue one might have — from hyperpigmentation to dullness to environmental stuff (like pollution) that wreaks havoc — and is the perfect daytime complement to a nighttime skin treatment like retinol. Though effective, vitamin C is notoriously unstable and sensitizing, which is why whenever we’ve written about it, we always stress the importance of formulation.
One of our favorite such formulas is the rarely-on-sale Sunday Riley serum, which uses THD ascorbate — a highly stable form of vitamin C that’s also relatively well tolerated by most skin types. But this serum doesn’t stop there. It also contains pore-minimizing saccharide-isomerate extract, a corn-derived sugar that acts as a humectant, and phytosterols, an ingredient often found in sunscreen that helps to protect against UV damage, which can impact skin’s natural collagen production.
Essentially, if you’re looking for an all-in-one serum that will hydrate, brighten, and smooth fine lines, this is it. But all those benefits don’t come cheap. A full-size bottle will ordinarily cost you just under $100, but thanks to a very good sale at Sephora, it’s currently half-off, bringing it down to a much more affordable $43.
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