Paula's Choice research and education manager Desiree Stordahl
Paula's Choice research and education manager Desiree Stordahl

Bathroom product we’ve been using wrong

Not too long ago, I didn't know diddly squat about why beauty products worked for me. I just knew some did and some didn't.

Fast forward a few hundred hours on YouTube and some super educational chats with a bunch of skincare legends, I've now got a better understanding of what ingredients work - and now there's one I absolutely cannot live without.

The goodness of vitamin C is now my morning go-to and I've tried just about anything with it in - masks, moisturisers, serums, mists - you name it, I've put it on my face.

Nine times out of ten it doesn't disappoint. It brightens my complexion, lifts dark spots and gives my skin its glow back.

Desiree Stordahl, Paula's Choice Senior Research & Education Manager, told The Beauty Diary I'm not the only person who experiences these impressive results from vitamin C based products.

"Vitamin C's unique antioxidant power helps overturn dull skin and interrupts the process that leads to abnormal pigmentation, so your skin's natural glow can shine through and dark spots fade," she said

Paula’s Choice research and education manager Desiree Stordahl said vitamin C is one of the best ingredients to include in your skincare routine. Picture: Instagram
Paula’s Choice research and education manager Desiree Stordahl said vitamin C is one of the best ingredients to include in your skincare routine. Picture: Instagram

While it is a natural component in healthy skin, Desiree said as we age and accrue sun damage, the levels of vitamin C naturally present in skin start to decrease from the

outermost layers down.

"As a result skin looks dull and uneven and feels less firm," she explained. "But adding it back to skin topically helps resolve these issues."

In particular, high strengths of 10% or more are very effective at brightening skin, evening out tone, regenerating healthy collagen, and fading discolourations according to multiple dermatology studies.

One of the other great things about vitamin C is that it's an ingredient most of us can use - except for those with super sensitive or extremely irritable skin.

It also compliments other active ingredients without interfering or creating risky skincare cocktails including retinol, niacinamide and chemical exfoliants, Desiree said. But it's easy to make mistakes using it, she adds.

"If you want to reap the benefits at peak potency, most water-based vitamin C serums should be used within three months after opening, which is a shorter amount of time than your average skin care product," she said.

Desiree says one of the best things about vitamin C is that it's suitable for almost everyone and can be layered safely with other actives. Picture: Supplied
Desiree says one of the best things about vitamin C is that it's suitable for almost everyone and can be layered safely with other actives. Picture: Supplied

An easy way to tell your vitamin C is on the way out is to check its colour.

"Pay attention to whether the colour of your serum is changing. A light, straw-coloured tinge is normal but a deeper orange or rust-like brown colour is a sign that the vitamin C has oxidised and is no longer as effective."

Desiree recommends Paula's Choice C15 Super Booster, which retails for $62. I've not yet given that one a whirl, but I have a few of my own beauty favourites I've shared with you below.

TRILOGY VITAMIN C POLISHING POWDER

A gentle, exfoliant for your skin that will leave your chops smooth and happy. Picture: Supplied
A gentle, exfoliant for your skin that will leave your chops smooth and happy. Picture: Supplied

Available at Chemist Warehouse, Priceline and trilogyproducts.com.au

Price: $39.95 (but you can usually snag it cheaper at Chemist Warehouse)

Not only is this a vitamin C based product, but it is also an exfoliant, which I need more than ever right now. Polishing powders are activated by mixing a teaspoon of product with a little water to create a grainy, milk-like product that gently buffs away dead skin cells to leave skin smoother than a babies bum and with a gentle glow. When it comes to vitamin C products, Trilogy are up there - I have raved about the brand's Revitalising Eye Gel recently as well as the Booster Treatment which is honestly my go-to whenever I need to inject some life back into face. And don't get me started on Energising Mist Toner, which is a refreshing blitz of moisturising goodness. This powdered cleanser/exfoliant is now firmly in my fave line-up from the brand - I can't recommend it enough.

BIOSSANCE SQUALANE + VITAMIN C ROSE OIL

It might be pink, but it has all the goodness of an orange and will leave your skin glowing and bright. Picture: Supplied
It might be pink, but it has all the goodness of an orange and will leave your skin glowing and bright. Picture: Supplied

Available at Sephora

Price: $120

I've well and truly converted to facial oils after being a long-time oil phobe (you can read all about that ill-founded fear here) and this is one of the best. It's super hydrating thanks to the squalane, isn't greasy and the vitamin C gives my cheeks a lovely natural glow. The formulation of this oil is to die for, using science-backed actives such as Biossance's hero ingredient squalane, which is made from 100 per cent plant-based renewable sugarcane and locks in even more moisture than hylauronic acid. There's a lot of confusion about when you should apply a face oil and the official advice I got from the brand's president Catherine Gore earlier this year was to use it as the last part of your skincare routine. So whack it on after you've toned, applied your serum, moisturised and popped on your eye cream to lock all the goodness in and help it absorb better. From July 1 there is also a super cute limited edition pink bottle as part of a collaboration with mega influencer Aimee Song if you're into chic packaging for your bathroom #shelfie like I am.

OLE HENRIKSEN BANANA BRIGHT™ VITAMIN C SERUM

Literal sunshine in a bottle, this is definitely my favourite serum for mornings at the moment. Picture: Supplied
Literal sunshine in a bottle, this is definitely my favourite serum for mornings at the moment. Picture: Supplied

Available at Sephora

Price: $96

I'm going to steal a sentence one of my colleagues used recently when describing her fave beauty product - "if my bathroom was burning down this would be the one item I'd grab". I've never used a serum and had such noticeable results with it so quickly. It made my skin visibly brighter, despite these bloody cold and gloomy winter days we've been having recently and I found it super refreshing on touch to my skin. I am obsessed with the fresh but not overbearing citrusy smell and how non-drying it is. During lockdown I had way too much time on my hands and spotted a bit of darkening near my right eye. It's just a symptom of natural ageing rather than sun-damage so while I'm not hugely concerned, it's still annoying. But since I've been using this serum as part of my morning routine, I feel as if it has lightened that patch. It really is like a bottle of sunshine (the feel-good, non-harmful variety) and definitely one I've already been recommending to friends.

This column is not advertorial content. Every review is independent, honest and ad free.

If you have a question about a beauty product or an item you'd like to see road tested in The Beauty Diary, jump into our official Facebook group where you can join like-minded beauty junkies. You can also catch me on Instagram or tweet me - don't forget to hashtag #TheBeautyDiary.

Originally published as Bathroom product we've been using wrong



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