On paper, it sounds like it would be tough to fall in love with Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum. It’s a $166 investment, smells like hot dogs, and it isn’t packaged in a millennial pink bottle. And yet, like all great tales of love, none of this seems significant because the ending (bright, glowing, luminous skin) is so compelling, you’ll completely forget about the rest.
Since its launch, C E Ferulic has become one of the most widely adored products on the market—and not just by pros. Sure, dermatologists have voted it the best overall vitamin C serum, and almost every editor I know owns a carefully guarded stash, but shoppers also love it. Look at Skinceuticals C E Ferulic reviews on any given website and five-star ratings abound. Glamour readers swear by its ability to bring dull, damaged skin back to life—so much so, it won a Beauty Award in our Readers’ Choice category. (Says Ali N. from Utah: “I am not exaggerating when I say that Skinceuticals C E Ferulic completely changed my skin. Monthly acne? Poof. Gone. Fine lines—what fine lines? People say my skin has never looked better.”)
To understand its mass appeal, you just have to look at the star ingredient: vitamin C. The antioxidant is one of the few ingredients experts unanimously recommend for its protective and brightening properties. When formulated to penetrate within the deeper layers of your skin, vitamin C combats free radicals from UV light and environmental aggressors. It also helps stimulate collagen and even skin tone—two clearly visible effects that accompany its invisible shielding properties.
Not all formulations do it equally well, though. Derms tend to prefer L-ascorbic acid (a pure form of vitamin C) because it’s more likely to reach the skin depth where it’s most effective. The problem is, it’s highly unstable and works best at a concentration between 10-20%, so brands need to formulate carefully to deliver something that actually works. That’s one area where Skinceuticals has definitely done its research. Aside from its 15% concentration of L-ascorbic acid, the brand has also conducted 16 clinical studies on the benefits of this formula alone.
While the hero of the formula is undoubtedly the L-ascorbic acid, the accompanying 1% vitamin E, and 0.5% ferulic acid are there to help it reach its full potential. According to dermatologist and cofounder of LM Medical Morgan Rabach, M.D., the vitamin E “stabilizes vitamin C for maximum skin protection, and ferulic acid helps lower the pH level, so your skin can use the vitamins easily.” The result is a stable, powerful serum that gets the job done.