How to use vitamin C in your skincare routine, according to a cosmetic chemist

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You may already be aware of the beauty benefits of vitamin C — such as reduced hyperpigmentation, protection from UV damage caused by free radicals, and smoothing of fine lines.

But when it comes to actually building vitamin C products into your already set skincare routine, things can get a little complicated.

The popular acne treatment benzoyl peroxide may inactivate vitamin C when they are used together. Vitamin C can irritate the skin when combined with citric acid or alpha-hydroxy acids. And mixing retinol with vitamin C is also a complete no-no.

You should also remember to always use SPF in your daytime skincare routine — especially when your routine contains vitamin C products.

But there is even more vital information to know about the beloved antioxidant. And that’s where veteran cosmetic chemist and beauty entrepreneur Ron Robinson comes in.

Robinson worked for over 15 years as a cosmetic chemist and product development executive for brands like L’Oreal, Avon and Estèe Lauder before founding BeautyStat, an influencer firm and popular beauty blog that worked with clients such as COTY, Walgreens, Ahava and Unilever.

In 2018, he expanded the BeautyStat brand into BeautyStat Cosmetics, which is home to his BeautyStat line of skincare products.

His chemistry background helped him formulate the BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner and create a patented bottle design that extends the shelf life of the popular vitamin C serum. The specially designed delivery system keeps the product from oxidizing and rendering the serum less potent.

Along with the Universal C Skin Refiner, the line also includes skincare staples like the
Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream and Exclusive Universal Moisture Essence.

It has been a breakout past year for Robinson’s brand, with BeautyStat landing spots on the shelves of brands like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. BeautyStat’s Universal C Eye Perfector was even named the best eye cream in Elle’s Future of Beauty Awards in 2020.

The beauty entrepreneur is now busy leading BeautyStat Cosmetics’ direct-to-consumer expansion and continuing to manage the day-to-day needs of his innovative skincare brand.

However, lucky for us, Robinson took a little time to chat with the Post about all things vitamin C. And the tips and information he shared are just what you need to know to build the powerful antioxidant into your skincare routine.

What’s the biggest mistake you’d say most people make when adding vitamin C into their skincare routine?

There are a few. Vitamin C serums should be applied first after cleansing, then follow with a moisturizer — not the other way around.

If your skin is sensitive, don’t combine vitamin C with other other active ingredients like glycolic acid or retinol, as this might cause irritation.  

What is the best way to properly store your vitamin C products?

The pure form of vitamin C, L-Ascorbic acid, is notoriously unstable. This means it can oxidize, which turns it brown or orange when it is exposed to air or light, which renders it ineffective. Thus these products should be packaged in air-tight packages and dark/opaque packaging and stored in cool, dry places in order to improve shelf life. 

BeautyStat launched an innovation here that addresses this. Our BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner has three patents on the ability to stabilize pure vitamin C.  It does not oxidize and it does not turn brown and orange.  Rather, it stays pure and potent from the first drop to the last. 

Other than BeautyStat, what vitamin C products do you have in your own skincare regimen?

As a cosmetic chemist, I’m constantly trying new products, including those of my competitors. Recently, I’ve been using Renée Rouleau Vitamin C & E Treatment just to mix things up a bit — which is from celebrity aestheticians Renée Rouleau’s skincare line.

What steps should you take to prepare your skin for a vitamin C product?

Vitamin C serums should be applied first in your routine. Just be sure to cleanse first. 

What ingredients best compliment vitamin C?

Vitamin C works well with other antioxidants like green tea.

Can you explain what it means when you say a vitamin C product is stabilized?

Stabilized means that it is protected from oxidation — with oxidation meaning it breaks down so the C so it’s no longer active. 

How long do most vitamin C products last?

In our testing, we’ve seen several vitamin C serums on the market start to oxidize — meaning they turn brown or orange — just after a couple of months in normal storage.

Are there signs you should look out for that let you know a vitamin C product has expired?

Look for a shift in color to orange or brown and the odor will start to turn rancid.

Is there anything else about vitamin C that you’d like to add that consumers should keep in mind? 

If you are new to using vitamin C serums, start slow by using a small amount at night, then follow immediately with your moisturizer until your skin gets accustomed to it. Then build up to twice a day. 

Six Top-Rated Vitamin C Serums To Add To Your Skincare Routine

BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner

Josie Maran Argan Bright Skin Vitamin C Serum

Renée Rouleau Vitamin C&E Treatment

Hyper Skin Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum

Rosen Skincare Bright Citrus Serum

Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

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