Skinceuticals made skincare history when it launched CE Ferulic, the first CEF Serum.
That’s Vitamin C + Vitamin E + ferulic acid, one of the most powerful antioxidant combos you can get your hands on.
And, for a while, you could only get your hands on it by forking out $160+ on Skinceuticals. The “rascals” had patented it!
But now the patent’s expired, every skincare brand worth its salt is coming out with its own version. One of the cheapest dupes for Skinceuticals CEF Ferulic is Timeless 20% Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid Serum. Should you make the switch?
- What Key Ingredients Do Skinceuticals CE Ferulic And Timeless 20% Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid Serum Have In Common?
- What Else Is In These Vitamin C Serums?
- What’s The Texture Like?
- What’s The Packaging Like?
- How To Use Them
- Which Of The Two Should You Go For?
- Is Timeless 20% Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid Serum A Dupe For Skinceuticals CE Ferulic?
What Key Ingredients Do Skinceuticals CE Ferulic And Timeless 20% Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid Serum Have In Common?
L-Ascorbic Acid is the pure form of vitamin C. It’s the most effective. And the most irritating.
Let’s start with the good. Studies show it can:
- Fight the free radicals that give you wrinkles
- Boost the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm
- Reduce transepidermal water loss, helping to keep skin hydrated
- Has skin-lightening properties that can fade away hyperpigmentation
It’s quite the multitasker, isn’t it? But there’s a price to pay for all this goodness. Well, two:
- L-Ascorbic Acid is highly unstable: It degrades, and becomes ineffective, in a few short months. Use your bottles quickly! (P.S. You’ll know when it become useless: its turns brown).
- L-Ascorbic Acid can cause irritations: The higher the dose, the higher the risk (and the benefits). Especially if you have sensitive skin.
The concentration of L-Ascorbic Acid is the deal-breaker here. Skinceuticals has 15% while Timeless 20%.
If your skin’s sensitive or you simply never used vitamin C before, go with Skinceuticals (or a dupe that has 15% L-Ascorbic Acid too, like Paula’s Choice C15 Booster).
If you’re a Vitamin C pro with resistant skin, upgrade to Timeless. It’s cheaper and a little more effective too. 🙂
Related: How To Know When Your Vitamin C Serum Has Gone Bad
This is vitamin E. It’s a powerful antioxidant that doubles up as moisturizer (it strengthens the skin’s natural barrier and reduces water loss).
Vitamin E works wonders on its own. But it’s when paired with Vitamin C that it really shines. The two are network antioxidants, a fancy way of saying they boost each other’s effectiveness.
Not only this combo helps you fight premature wrinkles better together but it also has photoprotective properties that can help prevent sun damage (the main cause of premature wrinkles).
Related: What Does Vitamin E Do For Skin?
Ferulic Acid is an antioxidant on steroids. Most antioxidants only destroy one type of free radical. Ferulic acid destroys three: superoxide, hydroxyl radical, and nitric oxide.
To make the most of it, use it with its best buddies, vitamins C & E.
A 2005 study shows that “its incorporation into a topical solution of 15%l-ascorbic acid and 1%alpha-tocopherol improved chemical stability of the vitamins (C+E) and doubled photoprotection. […] This combination of pure natural low molecular weight antioxidants provides meaningful synergistic protection against oxidative stress in skin and should be useful for protection against photoaging”.
Translation: 15% vitamin C + 1% vitamin E + 1% ferulic acid fights free radicals, prevents sun damage and makes the antioxidants last (and be effective) for longer.
FYI, if you’re allergic to grains such as wheat, corn, or barley, consult your doctor before using products with ferulic acid.
Related: Why You Should Add Ferulic Acid To Your Skincare Routine
What Else Is In These Vitamin C Serums?
Both Skinceuticals CE Ferulic and Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum keep their formulas pretty simple. Antioxidants aside, they both have sodium hyaluronate to hydrate skin.
Sodium hyaluronate is moisture magnet: it attracts water from the air and drops it into the skin. It’s so powerful, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water and works well both in high and low humidity conditions.
Skinceuticals CE Ferulic goes a step further: it also has glycerin, another moisture magnet. It does the same thing as sodium hyaluronate but on a smaller scale.
What that means? If you’ve got dry skin, you’ll probably like Skinceuticals a little bit more.
Related: Why Hyaluronic Acid Is A Must For Dry Skin
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What’s The Texture Like?
Both serums have a thin, lightweight texture, but Timeless 20% Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid Serum is a little oilier.
What’s The Packaging Like?
When it comes to Vitamin C, packaging matters. L-Ascorbic Acid is fickle and goes bad quickly when exposed to light and air. Put it in a jar and it becomes useless quickly.
This isn’t something you can stock up on during a sale. Even when properly packaged, every bottle only lasts a few weeks, so buy it only when you’re ready to use it.
Skinceuticals CE Ferulic comes in a tinted bottle with a dropper applicator. It makes application easy and keeps the Vitamin C stable for longer.
Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid Serum has changed the packaging to a bright yellow bottle with a pump dispenser that reduces contact with light and air as much as possible to make Vitamin C last as long as possible. Translation: it has the better packaging.
How To Use Them
Studies show that Vitamin C + Vitamin E + Ferulic Acid boost the effectiveness of your sunscreen. That’s why I recommend you use these serums in the morning.
Apply them as close to clean skin as possible. The ideal routine is cleansing, Vitamin C serum and sunscreen. If you have dry skin, add a moisturiser in between serum and sunscreen.
Which Of The Two Should You Go For?
If you have sensitive skin, go with Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. It’s the gentler of the two.
If your skin can tolerate high concentrations of Vitamin C without problems, opt for Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum instead. It has better packaging, too.
Skinceuticals CE Ferulic: $166.00/£135.00 at Dermstore and Look Fantastic
Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum: $25.95/£21.02 at Yes Style
Is Timeless 20% Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid Serum A Dupe For Skinceuticals CE Ferulic?
Yes, Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum is a great dupe for Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. It’s even a little more powerful (and slightly more irritating). Unless you have sensitive skin, you can switch safely.
Have you tried these serums? Share your experience in the comments below.
Skinceuticals CE Ferulic
Aqua/Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate
Timeless 20% Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid Serum Ingredients
Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Alpha Tocopherol, Polysorbate 80, Panthenol, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Benzylalcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid.