For years, I’ve gotten my vitamin C fix from Paula’s Choice C15 Booster.
It’s a dupe for Skinceuticals CE Ferulic serum, the original CEF serum (CEF stands for vitamin C, vitamin E and Ferulic acid). Same benefits for way less than half the price.
Sure, I tried different vitamin C serums over the years (hey, I’m a skincare blogger – I can’t not cheat on my HGs!), but I always came back to Paula’s Choice C15 Booster. I thought I always would.
Until Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum finally hit the UK a few months. After testing it for a month, I’m not sure I want to go back to my first love this time. Here’s why:
Key Ingredients In Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
15% Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E And Ferulic Acid
Wondering what’s the best antioxidant out there?
None. When it comes to antioxidants, the more, the merrier. The more antioxidants you feed your skin, the more free radicals you destroy. It’s as easy as that.
One of the most powerful combinations of antioxidants is 15% vitamin C (ascorbic acid), 1% vitamin E (tocopherol) and 0.5% Ferulic acid. It’s the one you’ll find in Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, Paula’s C15 Booster and plenty of other vitamin C serums.
Ascorbic acid is an antiaging superstar. Studies show it can:
- fight the free radicals that give you wrinkles
- boost the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm
- reduces transepidermal water loss, helping to keep skin hydrated
- has skin-lightening properties that can fade away hyperpigmentation
Problem is, ascorbic acid is unstable AF. That means it loses its antiaging superpowers quickly. If it came in a see-through tube, you’ll see it turn brown (a sign it’s going bad) within a few short days.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum has the packaging nailed right to help vitamin C last as long as possible. Vitamin E and ferulic acid help with that too.
These two antioxidants don’t just fight their own free radicals too. They also help stabilise vitamin C, making it last (and be effective) for longer. Plus, all 3 together help prevent sun damage.
P.S. Drunk Elephant gave ascorbic acid the best chance to last as long as possible. But this isn’t something you can buy now and use six months later or buy in bulk. It won’t go bad within a week but won’t last you for too many months either. Be quick!
P.P. S. This combination works best at a pH range between 2.5-3.5. Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum has a ph of 3.5. The higher pH makes it less irritating than Skinceuticals CE Ferulic (pH 2.5-3) and Paula’s Choice C15 Booster (pH 3).
Related: The Complete Guide To Vitamin C: What It Does & Why You Should Use It
CEF aren’t the only antioxidants in Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. It’d take too long to list them all (and this review is already long enough), so here are the highlights:
- Green tea: it destroys free radicals, soothes inflammation and helps protects skin from sun damage
- Licorice extract: it fights free radicals and fades away dark spots
- Grape extract: another free-radical fighter with anti-inflammatory properties
See what I mean when I say that this vitamin C serum goes the extra mile? It’s half the price of Skinceuticals CE Ferulic yet it gives you way more antioxidants to prevent those pesky wrinkles.
Related: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Green Tea In Skincare
Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract
Pumpkins ain’t just a Halloween treat. When fermented with lactobacillus lactic, they create an enzyme with exfoliating properties.
It works by breaking down keratin, the protein that keeps those dull and rough outer layers of your skin stuck on your face. Once those are off your skin, your face looks smoother and brighter.
I prefer glycolic acid (a member of the Alpga Hydroxy Acids family) to do the job. But if you find AHAs too harsh for your skin – or simply don’t like the idea of using acids – this is a good alternative for you.
It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that if you want to use Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum but aren’t ready to give up on exfoliating acids just yet, cut back on exfoliation.
Exfoliation ain’t like antioxidants. The more you exfoliate, the higher the chance of irritating your skin. Be careful!
Related: The Complete Guide To Enzyme Exfoliants: Should You Use Them?
Marula Oil & Hyaluronic Acid
I’m pairing them together because they both moisturize skin – just in different ways.
Marula oil is what gave Drunk Elephant its name. Legend has it, elephants get drunk when they eat too much marula fruit.
True or false, you can’t deny its benefits for your skin. Marula oil is loaded with moisturising fatty acids that create a barrier on the skin that slows down water loss. Plus, it has its fair share of antioxidants, too.
Hyaluronic acid, on the other hand, is a moisture magnet: it attracts moisture into the skin and binds it there. It’s so powerful, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water!
Related: Why You Should Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine
Let’s Put It To The Test: Personal Use & Opinion
The only thing I DON’T like about Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum? The texture’s a little sticky.
It still works well under sunscreen and makeup, but if you’ve got oily skin, this could be a dealbreaker for you. Try to get hold of a sample if you can.
Instead, don’t worry about the golden hue of the serum. Usually, that’s a sign vitamin C is already going bad, but that’s not what’s going on here. It’s the curcuminoids (a group of anti-irritants) that gives the serum its colour.
I use Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum every morning to enhance the effectiveness of my sunscreen (CEF boosts photoprotection, remember?). But you can totally use it at night too if the stickiness bothers you that much.
After a few days, I’ve already noticed my skin getting brighter. It gives it a luminous, healthy glow I really like. If you’ve got any dark spots on your skin, it brightens those up and fades them away, too.
I’m also confident the serum is helping me keep premature wrinkles away. Antioxidants prevent wrinkles so you won’t see results anytime soon (in this area anyway).
But there’s plenty of research that shows the antioxidants Drunk Elephant picked work. That’s good enough for me.
I’m hooked. Don’t try it if you don’t want to get addicted too!
Available at: £67/$80.00 at Cult Beauty, Sephora and SpaceNK
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Have you ever tried Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ascorbic Acid, Laureth-23, Glycerin, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Phytosterols, Glutamylamidoethyl Imidazole, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Ferulic Acid, Acetyl Glucosamine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Glycine, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sucrose, Maltodextrin, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbitan Isostearate, Propanediol, Pentylene Glycol, XanthaN Gum, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Chlorphenesin, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Potassium Sorbate, Sorbic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin