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Is it worth investing in a vitamin C serum that goes bad before you have the chance to finish the bottle?

I get this question a lot. So many of you have bought Skinceuticals CE Ferulic or one of its many dupes only to end up with an unusable serum after a few short weeks. Surely, there must be a better alternative out there?

Here’s the deal: it’s not that those serums are bad. It’s vitamin C that’s as finicky AF. It oxidises (i.e. loses a bit of its effectiveness) every time it’s exposed to light, heat and air and doesn’t last that long in water either.

This rules out anything that comes in jars. Tubes and bottles fare better but then Vitamin C’s in a sea of water. If you want to take that out, you need to replace it with silicones (The Ordinary Vitamin C 30% In Silicones and Indeed Labs Vitamin c24 work like this), but those are a no-go zone for a lot of people too.

Isn’t there a better way? Like, what if you could add a bit of vitamin C to your serums daily so it’d never get in contact with its enemies?

Let me introduce you to Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder, a vitamin C powder that allows you to do just that. But is it really a better way to get your daily dose of Vitamin C or does this approach comes with a catch or two, too?

What’s In Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder?

L-ASCORBIC ACID TO FIGHT PREMATURE AGING

Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder is 99.8% Ascorbic Acid powder (if you’re curious, the rest is a mix of amino acids, minerals and anti-inflammatory ingredients).

Ascorbic Acid is the pure form of vitamin C. It’s the most effective but also the most irritating and unstable (it goes bad way sooner than other vitamin C derivatives). Here’s what it does for your skin:

That’s when it’s active. As soon as it turns brown (it’s the colour of death for vitamin C), all these benefits are gone.

That’s why Philosophy only gives you the powder. Away from light, air, heat and water, it lasts A LOT longer.

Related: My Vitamin C Serum Has Turned Brown! Can I Still Use It?


Struggling to put together an anti-aging skincare routine that reduces wrinkles, brightens the complexion, and gives you a more youthful appearance? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):


Texture

It’s a powder.

Fragrance

It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

You mix it with your fave water-based serum or moisturiser. I recommend an antioxidant serum, especially one with both ferulic acid and vitamin E. They’re known as network antioxidants because they make each other more effective. 

But don’t mix it all at once. Nope, you must mix a new batch daily. Otherwise, you’re just defeating the purpose of using vitamin C in powder form.

You pour a few drops of your fave serum/cream in the palm of your hand, add 1/2-1 scoop of the power and apply it to your face.

I’ll be honest. For me, it’s too much work. I like products that are ready to use. If I have to mix them daily, I won’t do it.

But maybe you’re the DIY type and prefer to make your vitamin C serum every morning. It seems easy enough.

What could go wrong?

Related: What Are The Best Antioxidant Serums?

Problem #1: Higher Potential For Irritation

L-Ascorbic Acid isn’t just finicky AF. It’s also irritating as hell.

That’s why derms tell you to start with a small concentration and work your way up. Or use a derivative (they’re less effective, but gentler).

Now, when you mix the powder, you may accidentally mix too much at a time. And that’ll sting your skin real bad.

But, how do you know the exact amount of Vitamin C your skin can tolerate?

If your skin’s pretty resistant or you’ve already worked your way up, there’s no need to panic. This powder is probably safe for you, even if you mix a bit too much (just don’t do it daily!). Anyone else, start with a low dose and work your way there.

And if you have sensitive skin, you may not be able to use it all. L-Ascorbic Acid and sensitive skin don’t always get along, sorry!

FYI: I’m not giving you the exact amount of vitamin C powder to mix here because it’s pointless. It depends on how resistant/sensitive your skin type is, how much serum/cream you’re using with it, your measuring device etc. Just experiment to find out what works for YOU.

Related: Can You Use A Vitamin C Serum If You Have Sensitive Skin?

Problem #2: Wrong pH

Vitamin C works only at an acidic pH. That means a pH lower than 3.5. 

Go too high and it won’t work. Go too low (lower than 2.8) and it’ll irritate your skin.

Now, when you mix L-Ascorbic Acid with something, anything, you’re changing the pH. Mixing the powder with water only, for example, will drop the pH to 2.5!

So when you’re mixing it with your fave serum/cream, how do you know the pH is right for vitamin C to work its magic? At the very least, get a bunch of pH strips to make sure your concoction has a pH between 2.8-3.4.

Otherwise, you may go through all this trouble for nothing!

Related: Mix And Match: The Skincare Ingredients You Shouldn’t Use Together

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Performance & Personal Opinion

Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder works – there’s no doubt about that.

It does everything a good Vitamin C serum should: it makes skin brighter, helps fade away the dark spots pimples leave behind and, in the long run, slows down premature aging, too.

Plus, it mixes well with a variety of serums and moisturisers. I’ve never experienced any grittiness or piling with it.

I just don’t like the idea of DIY products. I’ve read reviews of people who had a bad case of irritation after using this – simply because they used too much powder!

If you want to use it, definitely err on the side of caution. If you use too little, you can always add more next time.

Related: The Complete Guide To Vitamin C In Skincare: What It Is, What It Does, And How To Use It

Who Is This For?

DIY types who are tired of Vitamin C serums that go bad after a few weeks.

Who Is This NOT For?

  • Sensitive skin
  • If you don’t like mixing your skincare products, this isn’t for you

Packaging

A small, dark bottle.

Does Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder Live Up To Its Claims?

CLAIMTRUE?
Give skin a daily boost of vitamin c with our 99.8% topical vitamin c powder for face and neck.True.
Acts as an antioxidant to help protect skin against environmental attack and prevent premature aging.True.

Price & Availability

$39.00/£32.00 at Feel Unique, Sephora and Ulta

Do You Need It?

If you’re tired of your vitamin C serums going bad too soon, it’s tempting to switch to a powder form of vitamin C like Philosophy Turbo Booster C Powder. But this approach is tricky. You need to make a new batch daily and experiment with both dosage and pH to end up with a truly effective formula. Get it only if you’re willing to do all that.

Dupes & Alternatives

Ingredients

Ascorbic Acid, Panthenol, Zinc PCA, Copper PCA, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Juice, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Arginine, Cysteine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice