Review: Skin & Lab – Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Where to purchase: Available at Stylevana: LINK + Yesstyle: LINK (Discount Code: CVQFZA)

Price: £22.44

Volume: 30ml

Made in: South Korea

What is it + What does it do?: A lightweight Serum containing a cocktail of skin-beneficial ingredients like Vitamin C (Both a Derivative and Pure Ascorbic Acid to slow down oxidation + boost stability), Niacinamide + Retinol – to help brighten, repair, soothe and improve the skin’s tone and texture.

Aims to: Improve the look of dark spots, moisturise + improve the overall tone + soften the skin.

Supposedly Good for: All Skin Types – ”Gentle for sensitive skin and acne prone skin.”

What I think: I would agree! I think this is an excellent serum in terms of texture for Oily Skins and in terms of how gentle this is – Acneic, Sensitive Skins (perhaps if you find Vitamin C Serums sting for you) may enjoy this serum! It’s only Dry or Very Dry skins that probably wouldn’t find this thick or emollient enough to use.


Vegan?: Yes

Cruelty Free?: Yes

How long does it last after opening?: ~3 years (If not opened) + 6 months if opened.

pH: The pH of this product isn’t listed HOWEVER this does not have an acidic sting to it like regular Pure Ascorbic Acid Serums.

Packaging: Glass bottle with a dropper. This also has a little plastic dip inside that prevents the dropper from dripping product everywhere.

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Directions: ”Apply a few drops to face and neck. Smooth it over skin until fully absorbed. Use day and night after cleansing.” (From the Website).

How I use it: I use this in the PM (My sister likes to use this in the AM) after toning. I suggest using a solution or extremely watery product like the Argireline Solution 10% before applying a slightly more thicker-type serum like this. I apply a 4-5 drops as I also include the neck. Then I can move on to my moisturiser.

Key Ingredient: 2 Types of Vitamin C are included in here. Lower down the list is Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) at 106.05Ppb. Then, the second and higher up on the list is 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid (15000Ppm), so it’s at a higher %. This Vitamin C Derivative (Ethyl Ascorbic Acid) is stable in both oil and water (and this serum contains both). It is meant to be better than Ascorbyl Glucoside in terms of Skin brightening + Antioxidant capabilities (but it’s not totally proven to be as potent or efficient as Ascorbic Acid). Therefore I’m happy that Vitamin C + not just a derivative, was included (albeit, at a lower amount/ concentration).


Other Key Ingredients: Niacinamide (brightening + Anti-acne). Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid + Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer (Hydrating – helps plump up the skin. Also, these different forms of HA improves skin hydration than if just 1 form of HA was included. Turmeric Root Extract (Antioxidant + Soothing + Skin brightening). Adenosine (Wound Healing + Barrier Repair). Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 + Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (Matrixyl 3000 – Collagen Stimulating). Linolenic Acid (Emollient). Panthenol + Bioflavonoids (Soothing). Retinol (Anti-ageing).

NOTE: Riboflavin is included, although skin conditioning, it provides the yellow/orange colour of this serum (I think it’s to mask the oxidation process of this product) – however due to the Vitamin C Derivative, this shouldn’t oxidise super fast!).

(I also really appreciate how many skin-beneficial ingredients were added instead of solely depending on the Vitamin C Derivative and nothing else to improve the skin.

Full Ingredients: Water, Methylpropanediol, Propanediol, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Niacinamide, Betaine, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid(15000Ppm), Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Glucose, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Trehalose, Butylene Glycol, Fructooligosaccharides, Fructose, Tromethamine, Benzyl Glycol, Adenosine, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Phytate, Citric Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polysorbate 20, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Ascorbic Acid(106.05Ppb), Biotin, Cyanocobalamin, Folic Acid, Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamine Hcl, Bioflavonoids, Glutathione, Linoleic Acid, Menadione, Retinol, Tocopherol, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum

NOTE: The Incidecoder have a full ingredient breakdown HERE

Texture: A yellow-coloured liquid. It has little bubbles or drops of Vitamin E (Antioxidant) that help improve both the stability of the product (Reduce oxidation of the Vitamin C) and help protect the skin from oxidation. This honestly feel so watery and like a gel serum. It doesn’t feel sticky or tacky, spreads and absorbs fast and doesn’t leave an oily or greasy residue.

This definitely has a lightweight formula – it’s not that moisturising or creamy, but it does feel hydrating!


As you can see, this has a lightweight texture! It’s almost watery when spreading along the skin.

It doesn’t take too long for this product to absorb.

Does this Sting if the Skin has been Irritated / Sensitised by Shaving/Heavy Retinol Use?: Yes this would sting due to the Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Ascorbic Acid + Retinol. But this is still fine for sensitive, just not sensitised skin.

Summer or Winter?: I think this works for both seasons.

Layerable?: Yes! Doesn’t ball up.


Video Swatch:

Hopefully you can see how lightweight and fast absorbing this product is!

Fragrance?: Fragrance + EO Free – this has a sort of ”chemical” scent to it but it’s not off-putting.

Good Under Makeup?: Yes this is fine under makeup : )

Will I use until Completion?: Yes! In fact, I’m only a few uses away before completing!

How Long will that take?: My sister and I have been using this daily (she uses it x2 a day and I use it x1 a day) – we’ve basically reached the end of it, which took just under a month and a half.

Does this oxidise quick?: No, due to the stable Vitamin C Derivative used in here (and I’m sure the Ascorbic Acid used in here is at a low % otherwise the product would have to be more airtight or have a lower pH and therefore sting in order to keep from oxidising so quick, which this doesn’t). However I don’t like the idea/my guess that Riboflavin may have been put in here to give this serum a yellow tint, to it which I think is supposed to help mask when this product starts to oxidise/has oxidised. However, this does last 6 months and I’ve managed to use it well before the end-point.

The Effect?: This isn’t a powerful serum. The % of actives is low – so results wont be seen overnight. However, it means that this serum is gentle enough for even sensitive skins to use who want to include some vitamin C, Retinol and Niacinamide into their routine! This didn’t worsen my skin, and has definitely helped with brightening my post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (but I would not depend on this solely to brighten my skin and would rather use it on alternate days with my Retinol or Copper Peptide Serum from Niod and my Skinceuticals Discolouration Defense serum.

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What I like:

  • Fragrance + EO Free
  • Sturdy packaging (also comes with a little tab inside to prevent product spillage)
  • Love the inclusion of Matrixyl 3000, Niacinamide, Retinol, Vitamin C + Vitamin C Derivative (I.e. didn’t just put a Vitamin C derivative in here and call it a day; they’ve added a bunch of skin-beneficial ingredients like Panthenol + HA too, to try and get this product to cover all bases).
  • Great for sensitive skins
  • Lightweight texture
  • Layerable
  • Doesn’t take forever to absorb
  • Suits my Skin Type (Oily-combo)
  • Hydrating

What I don’t like:

  • Gentle, so it takes longer to see results (Won’t suit those who want hard-hitting skincare + actives)
  • Not something I would solely depend on to brighten pigmentation (so it does mean I need other skin-brightening products to add to my routine)
  • Not that moisturising (Dry skins may not appreciate)
  • Not the best smell in the world (but not awful, i.e. I can keep using it)


Overall Rating and Conclusion: 4 (Almost a 3.9)/ 5 – This isn’t as fast acting as other Vitamin C Serums with a higher % (Like the Inkey List Vitamin C or the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic or Drunk Elephant C-Firma Serum) BUT this is gentle (So I wouldn’t recommend to those who want HARD HITTING and POTENT serums). The texture of this as well makes it pleasant and easy to use. I really think Oily and Sensitive skins will appreciate a cocktail serum like this, or if you’re already using heavy actives and want a gentler serum to work on alternate days, or if you want to add to your anti-ageing routine (i.e. you’re using Tretinoin and want something on the side) this is a great booster or partner to any anti-ageing, skin brightening routine. I wouldn’t depend on this solely to brighten my skin, but it is gentle enough where it’s been working slowly and not ruining my skin or disrupting my skin barrier – the texture really makes this an easy product to use. I don’t dread applying it as it feels smooth, hydrating, doesn’t have a greasy finish and is gentle.

I’m really pleased that the company didn’t decide to simply put a Vitamin C Derivative in here and call it a day, they went crazy and added in different forms of HA, Matrixyl 3000, Niacinamide and Ascorbic Acid (as well as other ingredients) just to further give this serum a BOOST. I think it’s a waste to just call it a Vitamin C Serum as it’s basically like a great gentle ‘buffet’ or ‘cocktail’ of GENTLE and low %, skin-improving ingredients.

Would I repurchase?: Yes! A nice, gentle addition to my skincare routine.

Dupe?: The Geek and Gorgeous C-Glow is a gentle L-AA Product (Review HERE) but I did have some layering issues with it. A Stronger alternative is The Inkey List Vitamin C Cream. But my personal favourite (very similar in texture to this however just slightly oilier) is the Drunk Elephant C-Firma serum, containing 15% L-AA (Review HERE) – I believe they have improved the formulation to reduce oxidation since the older version went off so fast!

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.

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