Where to purchase: Available on the Stratia Website HERE – The link gives you $10 off your first order
What is it?: An Antioxidant serum containing Coq10, Ascorbic Acid and a Vitamin C derivative as the key antioxidants, in a silicone base – (Similar concept to the Sunday Riley CEO Glow but half the price and without fragrance, Review HERE). This serum is supposed to be a good antioxidant, increase collagen production (over continued use) and help fade hyperpgimentation.
Brand Description: An L-Ascorbic Acid Serum meant to ”Smooth Firm and Brighten the skin” in an anhydrous (water-absent) formula (therefore no pH). Also contains 5% added Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate (an oil-soluble derivative of vitamin C).
NOTE: This 10% LAA formula is suspended in silicone (no water + heat or light to oxidise), so that it can still be stable on your shelf for a full year – now that to me is pretty good because I am rubbish at getting through my Vitamin C serums fast enough before they oxidise.
Supposedly Good for: Stratia have stated that they chose this Vitamin C % to hit the spot between being effective and non-irritating (as a high % means more irritation, like the COSRX Vitamin C, review HERE). So this should be ok for even sensitive skins.
What I think: I do think that sensitive skins could use this as I haven’t felt any stinging or irritation which higher % vitamin C serums usually provide. But, it depends if you like the feel of silicone. I have combo skin and this doesn’t seem to make my skin feel like it can’t breath. Not particularly hydrating/moisturising for dry skins.
Cruelty Free?: Yes
Packaging: Tube with a pump and cap. Very simple to use, and the pump deposits a good amount that I need 2-3 pumps for the face and an extra pump for the neck.
Directions: ”Due to the nature of C+C Serum’s silicone base, it’s important to apply the product to clean, dry skin and wait a few minutes before applying your next product. Layering other products without allowing C+C’s base to evaporate can cause pilling or balling of product.” (from the Stratia website)
How I use it: I apply this in the PM (because of the silicone texture, I’d prefer to use a more watery serum in the AM so I don’t have layering issues). I can’t apply thick toners under this (like the Isntree HA Plus Toner), but my thinner toners like the Cosrx Propolis toner and the Muji Toners layer under this fine without pilling / balling up. I’m also able to use the Argireline solution from The Ordinary under this since it’s so lightweight. I then wait a good 5-10 minutes to let the base evaporate, and then it’s totally fine to put skincare products on top (will not ball or pill up as long as you give the product adequate time to evaporate).
Key Ingredients: Contains a mix of 10% Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) + 5% a Derivative (Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate – an oil-soluble derivative), and I believe this derivative has been actually shown to be promising in terms of brightening the skin. So this isn’t a ”strong” (in terms of very irritating) formula – I believe the adequate % for a vitamin C product is 15%, but I guess the company knew that that might irritate people, and so a 10% vitamin C with a 5% vitamin C would water down the stinging/mild irritation and enable more people to wear this. I prefer this as I would much prefer a non-irritating formula that requires continuous use to see results rather than a very strong 20% formula (i.e. the Timless C E Ferulic) and to get a lot of discomfort, especially if the skin is sensitive.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant, it neutralises free radicals caused by UV damage + pollution etc. The derivative (Tetraisopalmitate) may also act as an antioxidant and help stimulate collagen production, but I think it does actually help with skin brightening (derivatives don’t work as fast or efficiently as the molecule itself please remember).
- CoQ10 – A really nice antioxidant! The other name for it is Ubiquinone – a free radical scavenger. It helps prevent damage to the skin. this decreases with age, so it’s nice to pop it back on the skin.
- Bisabolol is meant to help calm the skin and soothe it.
Full Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, L-Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Polysilicone-11, Dimethicone/Bis-Isobutyl PPG20 Crosspolymer, Ethylhexyl Hydroxystearate, Squalane, Tocopherol, Ubiquinone, Bisabolol, Silica
NOTE: The Incidecoder have a full ingredient breakdown HERE
Texture: This definitely feels like a silicone paste when pumping out and rubbing into the skin. I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t gritty or grainy i.e. like The Inkey List Vitamin C, or The Ordinary’s 20% Vitamin C Cream. Due to the anhydrous formula, it can sometimes seem like it’s tugging on the skin when you rub. And even when this product dries down, it doesn’t ”disappear” into the skin, I can still tell that it’s sitting on top of the skin, which isn’t my favourite kind of feeling BUT this at least does not feel thick or heavy. It’s just if you scratched your skin, the product would collect under your nail.
I don’t get any real strong smells when applying or rubbing this in.
You can tell this has a silicone slip / feel to it
Once I give this some time, and let the product fully absorb and the Silicone base dries down, this definitely has more of a matte finish.
Youtube Video – Swatching Stratia Skin Products! (You can see what the live swatch looks like!)
Fragrance?: No added fragrance (All Stratia products are free of common irritants like fragrance, alcohol, and essential oils). Also this doesn’t really smell of anything – but products that contain L-AA usually have that faint Vitamin C smell.
Good Under Makeup?: I don’t really use this under makeup as the silicone + my foundation may not be the best. BUT I have been fine with skincare products on top of this as long as I let the silicone base dry down!
How long have I been using this?: For 2 Months
The Effect?: Definitely has helped brighten the skin, and keep the skin looking ”fresh”
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What I like:
- Fragrance Free
- Essential Oil Free
- Didn’t sting my skin
- Didn’t irritate my skin
- I like the packaging! (pretty airtight)
- I like the addition of Coq10 as well as Bisabolol
- Not constricted to the ”oxidation” time limit (I can take my time using this)
- NOT gritty (i.e. like the Inkey List Vitamin C)
What I don’t like:
- Silicone Texture (not my favourite)
- I have to be careful what I apply underneath
- I have to wait at least 5 full minutes to let this product fully absorb before moving on to the next step of my routine
- Not hydrating
- 10% Pure Vitamin C and a 5% Derivative might seem quite ”weak” for some
- Can sometimes feel like the skin ”can’t breathe”
Overall Rating and Conclusion: 3.9/5 – I do think overall I prefer watery Vitamin-C Serums, just because I like the addition of hydration that comes with a more watery serum. BUT I get that this is anhydrous (excludes water) so that the product is more stable and lasts longer – which is also good because it means you’re not in a rush to quickly finish this product before it oxidises, which is a big issue usually with vitamin C Serums.
The way this has to be applied and the fact that I have to be careful about what I apply underneath is annoying. Having to wait for the product’s silicone base to evaporate before I can proceed with my routine is also annoying. HOWEVER I am really surprised that this serum didn’t irritate or aggravate my skin (a lot of vitamin C serums do), and it’s very hard for me to find a pure L-AA Serum that doesn’t even tingle when I apply it, it’s been really encouraging to keep using this. So I do think this serum is something Sensitive skins should check out.
This is probably my favourite Vitamin C Serum so far? The fact that I don’t like Silicone and can still say that I like this, says a lot! The formula is well thought out, they didn’t just put vitamin C in here, they added other antioxidants AND they formulated this with sensitive skins in mind AND made a formula that isn’t constricted to the dreaded ”oxidation” time limit. I just hope I can find an equivalent serum that’s a bit more hydrating and perhaps a bit of a higher Vitamin C % and layers better so I can also wear it in the AM! I think those that are used to 15-20% vitamin C will find that this is ”too weak” for them, but I would definitely recommend this to first-time vitamin C users!
Would I purchase?: I’m still on the lookout for a vitamin C that 1. sits well (layers under and on top of skincare products just fine) 2. I can wear in the AM gladly and 3. Doesn’t sting. This product doesn’t sting but due to the texture and the difficulty I have in layering this, I can’t really use it in the AM. BUT I would use this as a PM Vitamin C for skin-brightening purposes. So I would repurchase in the meantime until I find something better.
Dupe?: I haven’t found a Vitamin C that’s as good yet. I’ve tried the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic but got pilling issues, I’ve tried that Mad Hippie Serum but that wasn’t pure L-AA. The Timeless Vitamin C Serum stung a lot. So I haven’t had the best luck with vitamin Cs just yet!
Check out the other Vitamin C Serums I’ve tried – HERE
My Skin Type: I am acne prone and have slightly dehydrated combo skin. My skin is usually tight where the cheeks and eye area is and the outer parts of my face. My T zone is oily. My skin isn’t a fan of thick/heavy formulas so I opt for lightweight formulas to prevent it from clogging up. My skin doesn’t like essential oils either and I try to avoid fragrance when I can.
Disclaimer: I am a skincare enthusiast and not a skin expert. I am not qualified to give out dermatological advice. This type of advice should only be given by a medical practitioner. Upon trying / using any of the reviewed products on the blog, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and please seek medical advice if needed.