Review: Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum

Price: £135

Where to buy: from the Skinceuticals website (UK) HERE

Volume: 30ml

What is it?: An antioxidant serum that provides protection from the environment and helps prevent free radical damage.

Good for: Fine lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness in the skin. (helps stimulate and protect collagen).

The product is a brown/yellow colour so you can’t really tell when it’s oxidised. (it’s this colour because of the Ferulic Acid).


-I will tell you all flat-out. I do not know why this serum is the price that it is. And Skinceuticals could not explain it to me either when I asked them.

-They also couldn’t explain how dupes (i.e. like the Timeless C E Ferulic) are so much cheaper but contain the same range of ingredients i.e. they contain C E Ferulic acid). Now I do understand and appreciate that legally that they can’t SPECIFICALLY talk about another company’s product’s efficacy, but they could say something like: compared to the dupes or competitors, our product is at the forefront of efficacy and clinical science i.e. we know it works, hence why the price is justified, something like that. But no.


-I did try to ask several times about the price justification but everyone has side-stepped the issue so I really can’t explain it, but i can guess it.

I can guess that 1. Skinceuticals seem to be the first company to create a C E Ferulic product so they have ‘bragging rights’ to it and 2. Skinceuticals, unlike the other companies have done clinical studies and have results to show for it. So in my opinion, that is why the product’s price can be increased – because it looks like it works and 2. the consumer is paying for these studies (in the price) and the research done at Skinceuticals. Of course I can’t be sure because no one will tell me.


I spoke to an online representative and when i asked about how their product differs from other C E Ferulic serums, they told me that they could not comment on another product but only comment on their own serum and then said:

”Our C E Ferulic features a synergistic antioxidant combination of 15% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), 1% vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), and 0.5% ferulic acid to enhance protection against environmental damage. This topical antioxidant serum neutralises free radicals, while C E Ferulic improves signs of photo-damage, the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and the loss of firmness. SkinCeuticals research shows that specific combinations of antioxidants, when effectively formulated, perform synergistically to provide results superior to each single antioxidant formulation.”

My question wasn’t really answered because I wanted to understand how this differs from other products out there that are C E Ferulic dupes as they too contains these ingredients and possibly at the same %. But I can’t know if the formulation is the same and as we all know, formula is key! But at least you can see that research has gone into finding the correct % to ensure product efficacy.

I said: the Timeless C E Ferulic contains 20% vitamin C and the same amounts of Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid. So how would you say that serum differs from this in terms of efficacy?

Response: ”For SkinCeuticals, one study is never enough. Some studies only look at one or two ingredients in a formulation and some studies evaluate the final formulation. Some studies are performed in-vitro, and some in-vivo,on real, live skin.”

What I think: Skinceuticals are saying that they’ve conducted multiple studies with this product and not just in test tubes but on the skin. They’ve also made sure that their formula is tweaked to the best of their ability to get the right concentrations and ingredients and how they’re mixed together and sit and alter the skin. They don’t know if other companies who have produced these dupes do the same thing.


Representative: At SkinCeuticals, we hold our clinical studies to the highest dermatological standards, with dermatologists overseeing our testing. We often perform biomarker studies to assess a final formulation’s action within the skin, as well as evaluate a products efficacy on people under normal conditions of use. As a result, the findings of our clinical studies translate exactly to how our products perform when used in the real world, on real skin.

Our first clinical study on vitamin C paved our way, and set SkinCeuticals on the path to becoming one of the professional skincare industry’s most well-known product innovators. As one of the first cosmetic brands to publish its research and clinical studies in respected scientific journals, SkinCeuticals continues to pioneer transparency and responsible communication.

My thoughts: Once again it seems as though Skinceuticals ‘cracked the code’ on vitamin C serums and how best to bottle and pair them with numerous studies and scientific research, to produce this efficacious product. As said before, I do think that the consumer is paying for this research and the clinical studies (which aren’t cheap) and are reflected in the price.

I then said: So does this mean that the price of your products – the reason why this is so expensive is because we are paying for the clinical studies / research and experiments at Skinceuticals, to prove this is a scientifically-sound product?

Response: At SkinCeuticals, we discover, develop, and deliver innovative skincare products that help to improve the overall healthy appearance of the skin. We subject our active ingredients and final formulations to rigorous clinical studies in order to obtain scientifically validated proof of their product efficacy -reinforcing our commitment to provide advanced skincare backed by science.

So they didn’t answer my question and I knew that they would and could not justify the price tag – I understand there are probably a lot of legal reasons why they can’t tell me. So…I left it there.

Image from: HERE (

As you can see from the picture above – Skinceuticals do their own clinical trials and research, the pictures show that they have used subjects and are using their funds to take pictures, monitor progress and conduct studies. I’m sure that this money spent is reflected in the price. But it also shows you – How reliable do you want your skincare to be? clearly you can see line improvement in the subject above (I’m sure there are other confounding factors in this study too), but my point is: do you want a product that is ridiculously expensive but scientifically backed up by clinical studies conducted by the company itself to be effective and does what it says on the tin? Instead of hoping and guessing that the product works? I.e. a cheap peptide serum which claims to be anti-ageing but the company says it works due to one in vitro study (in a test tube) and not done on regular people, during their regular lives over several weeks with clinical testing?

This is an issue I’ve been struggling with too, as this is a very expensive product BUT when piling lots of other products together for anti-ageing like a collagen serum, a vitamin C serum, a peptide serum and so-on, would that stack just add up to the same price as this product? And results are actually seen with this product (judging from the picture above). And Skinceuticals recommend a tiny amount of this product to be used each time, so perhaps the bottle would last a longer time than you’d think? I know it’s last me 4-5 months.

OVERALL: I think it absolutely comes down to the amount of money you have and how grave your skin concerns are. I do not think young people need this at all (and this is reflected in the price in my opinion, as the target demographic, i.e. the older public, have the funds to pay for a product like this). So people with more mature skin would definitely benefit from something like this.

We will never fully know for sure and this is all my thoughts and opinion on the matter. But I hope you can read this and try to see my understanding of the product and the price.



Packaging: Come in a glass dropper bottle (with an open-ended tip) in a glass bottle which is dark to reduce the speed of oxidation.

This liquid is brown

Directions: ‘Cleanse and tone. Then apply 4-5 drops of CE Ferulic to a dry face, neck and chest. Then apply moisturiser and sunblock.’

How I use it: When I asked the company how to use the product, they said to make sure the product is really thoroughly dried into the skin before applying your moisturiser. They recommended 10 minutes.

Because this product balls up on my skin (more on that later) – I had to resort to using this in the PM because my sunblocks were causing the product to ball up. Which is a bit of a shame since this product is supposed to be worn in the AM but I couldn’t do it!

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C (L-AA) 15%, Vitamin E (to boost the effectiveness of C) and Ferulic Acid (also to boost the effectiveness. An Antioxidant powerhouse!


Full Ingredients list:

  • Aqua/Water
  • Dipropylene Glycol
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Glycerin
  • Laureth-23
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Tocopherol
  • Ferulic Acid
  • Sodium Hyaluroniate

So this is hydrating and moisturising with the addition of Vitamin C (Asocrbic Acid), Vitamin E (Tocopherol) and Ferulic Acid.


Texture: Very light, watery brown liquid that dries down and becomes a bit tacky/sticky on the skin (like it’s formed a layer on the skin). And it can sometimes feel a bit suffocating depending on how much you put on (I can feel that it’s on my skin).

As you can see, this absorbs quickly!

Fragrance?: There’s no added fragrance or essential oils, but this SMELLS so strongly of the Ferulic acid and I’ve realised that I’m not a fan of the scent. BUT I prefer no added fragrance so I’ll bear with it.

Good Under Makeup?: Now this is my absolute biggest issue with this product. It balls up under everything. It balls up under MY SPF. So layering this was insufferable. I do think that it’s the alcohol in my spf which somehow disrupts that ‘barrier’ feeling I mentioned before and causes the product to just ball up. My sister constantly told me my face looked like it was peeling when we were out and about which is embarrassing. I tried to use very little of this product, but just enough to cover my face and neck, and then I used my regular amount to see if I was just using too much product – it still balled up. So I actually resorted to using this in the PM (and this is how I know that it’s my SPF making it ball up) – fyi I tried this with the krave beauty spf, Hada Labo gel and Missha aqua sun gel – to make sure that it wasn’t one particular sunblock making this ball up. All the products did.

How long have I been using this?: 4-5 months (if used sparingly).

Youtube Video: Live swatch of this product AND also explaining How I use it and why.

The Effect: It’s really helped maintain my skin. Helped keep it looking good and I’m glad that it helps protect the skin and against environmental aggressors. I could really rely on it to help me (and of course use my SPF in the AM too).


What I like:

  • The scientific research that backs up this product – the fact that the company clearly have conducted studies to show the efficacy of this product. I appreciate that research with real human studies and results have gone into this product.
  • Dries down quick

What I don’t like:

  • Balls up/ pills up under my sunblock. Makes it really difficult to use this in the AM so I’ve resorted to using it in the PM. And this is a big, big let down for me. But I must say – this wont be the case for everyone I don’t think? As mentioned before I used 3 types of sunblocks to be sure (all contain alcohol and 2 contains silicone) and all 3 caused this product to ball up on my skin, making it very difficult to wear in the AM. But hopefully if you wear perhaps mineral sunblocks (physical) or a different type of sunblock, this serum should hopefully not ball up the same way it did for me.
  • The smell – really don’t like the smell of Ferulic Acid.
  • Because this product dries down quick, it can become sort of sticky on the skin (you can feel that it is there sitting on top of your skin because it forms a barrier.
  • Because this dries down fast, it means you can sometimes end up tugging at your skin to spread the product around your face and neck.
  • Because of the colour (brown) I can’t tell when this oxidises.
  • The price.

Rating and Conclusion: 3/5 (deducted not because of the effect/efficacy of the product but because of how it kept balling up on my skin and how I could feel it on my skin, I like my serums to disappear). It’s hard for me to doubt the efficacy of this product. I don’t think that my age group is the target demographic. So I think those with mature skin would really appreciate the effects and results that this serum seems to bring. I think for a younger demographic, the price is way too high and it’s not needed just yet for those who are younger.

Note: I do think younger skins have no need for this and it’s reflected in the price. I think mature skins would absolutely benefit from this product, especially if you prefer a small anti-ageing routine which packs a punch, rather than a 10-step routine which might cost the same amount or not (depending on the products). But it does depend on your wants and needs when it comes to a product like this.

Would I repurchase?: Perhaps in the future when it is necessary, as right now with my current routine, this balls up on me so I don’t find it to sit comfortably on my skin. I could purchase this (or I could spend £135 on a collagen stimulating laser treatment too).


8 thoughts on “Review: Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum

  1. Oh no! I hate ball up, I can’t use some of my skin care in the AM because of this >.< even my skin needs it so much.
    I was really expecting this product was the best vit.c serum (because of the price of course), but I think I will continue to timeless for now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes exactly! It’s such a messy situation, and it is annoying if you need to use the product in the AM! I think it is good I.e. I think the formula and the ingredients are really good, it’s just the balling up that let’s it down. I do think more mature skins would really really benefit from it. But the timeless is definitely more suitable for those younger especially due to the price point!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s