The Cheapest Dupe For Skinceuticals CE Ferulic

by Gio
skin actives vitamin c serum 15 review

Looking for a dupe for Skinceuticals CE Ferulic?

There are many around. They cost 1/3 or a 1/2 of the price, but even that will set you back $50 or higher. What are you supposed to do if you’re on a strict budget? Get resigned to get wrinkles?!

Fret not, my smart friend. I won’t let that happen to you. Let me introduce you to the cheapest dupe for Skinceuticals CE Ferulic – one that’ll set you back less than $25.00. And yes, it’s just as effective too.

Meet Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum 15%:

What’s In Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum 15%?


L-Ascorbic Acid is the pure form of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that:

Awesome, right? There are side effects:

  • Unstable: It goes bad quickly when exposed to light and air. Skin Actives gives it a 8 months’ shelf life. Buy it only when you’re ready to use it daily. If the serum has turned brown, it’s too late. It’s useless. Throw it away!
  • Irritation: High concentrations of L-Ascorbic Acid – especially at the low pH (below 3) it needs to work its magic – can irritate skin, especially if it’s sensitive.

When you buy a bottle, use it quickly!

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


Did you know Vitamin C works even better when paired with fellow antioxidants Vitamin E and Ferulic acid?

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that fights free radicals and hydrates skin. While most Vitamin C serums barely give you a drop, Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum 15% gives you three forms of Vitamin E (Alpha-D-Tocopherol, Tocotrienols, and Tocopherols).

Ferulic acid itself is an antioxidant on steroids. While most antioxidants only destroy one type of free radicals (that’s why I always say, the more the merrier), ferulic acid fights THREE different types on its own! How cool is that?

But it’s when paired with Vitamin C that Ferulic acid (and Vitamin E) really shines. Here’s what they do together:

  1. They boost one another’s effectiveness (they don’t become ineffective as quickly as they would on their own)
  2. They enhance your sunscreen’s protection, helping you fight sun damage and premature wrinkles

Related: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Ferulic Acid

Need help creating an anti-aging routine that really works? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Anti-Aging Skincare Routine Cheatsheet” (it includes product recommendations, too!).


Lightweight. Fast-absorbing. No greasy or tacky residue left behind.


It’s fragrance-free.

How To Use It

In the morning, underneath sunscreen (it boosts its sun protection).

Performance & Personal Opinion

Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum 15% has a lightweight consistency that sinks quickly into the skin without leaving a greasy or sticky residue behind.

I have resistant skin that’s pretty used to 15% L-Ascorbic Acid by now, but the first time I used it, I still I felt a slightly tingling and warming sensation on my skin.

FYI, it never happened again. But it can happen. For most skin types, this isn’t a concern. But if yours is sensitive, don’t risk it. Use a serum with a lower concentration of L-Ascorbic Acid or one of its derivatives.

In case you’re wondering, in this case the tingling means it’s working (unless it turns into stinging – that’s just irritation). Within a few days, I can already see my skin become brighter and smoother.

These are just the short-term results. The long term ones are trickier to see. Here’s the deal: antioxidants like Vitamin C prevent rather than treat premature aging.

And you can’t tell if prevention works until years down the line. So how do you know it works?! You have to trust the science here.

Plenty of studies (I linked a few above) show that Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and ferulic acid can boost collagen, fight free radicals, and keep your skin healthy. Here, they’re formulated to work at the best of their abilities.

That’s enough for me to give them the Beautiful With Brains’ seal of approval.

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

skin actives vitamin c serum 15

Who Is This For?

  • Anyone interested in preventing the signs of aging
  • Dull skin that wants some glow
  • Dark spots that are just starting to appear on your skin

Who Is This Not For?

  • Sensitive skin that can’t tolerate 15% Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid)


Grey and orange bottle. It looks a bit cheap, but keeps the antioxidants inside stable and effective for long.

Does Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum 15% Live Up To Its Claims?

Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum exfoliates, provides antioxidant support, and helps reduce dark spots for an even skin tone.It doesn’t technically exfoliates, but it helps the skin’s natural exfoliating process. The rest is true.
Promotes elasticity and collagen synthesis, reduces free radicals formed by the sun and helps reduce the formation of dark spots.Again, true. But it does this over years, so be consistent.

Price & Availability

$22.99 at Skin Actives

Do You Need It?

If you’re looking for a cheaper dupe for Skinceuticals CE Ferulic or just want to prevent premature aging, this is definitely worth a try.

Dupes & Alternatives


Water, Propanediol, Ascorbic Acid, Ethoxydiglycol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Alpha-D-Tocopherol, Ferulic Acid, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Tocotrienols, Tocopherols, Astaxanthin, Lycopene, Xanthophyll, R-Alpha Lipoic Acid, Beta-Carotene, Arginine, Phytic Acid, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol.



Laurie September 10, 2014 - 4:57 pm

Thanks, Gio — this is very helpful as I’ll be shopping for a new serum soon. Question: how do you think this one stacks up against the more expensive ones, like Skinceuticals CE Ferulic or the one from FutureDerm? Is it still worth paying a little more (well, alot more in the case of Skinceuticals!)?

Gio September 10, 2014 - 8:16 pm

Laurie, this serum contains the same active ingredients as the Skinceuticals one, so I would say it is an excellent and cheap dupe for it.

While these 2 serums use only L-Ascobic Acid, the Futurederm serum contains both that (but microencapsulated) and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. This means that the Vitamin C in the Futurederm serum is more stable.

However, the Futurederm serum contains less antioxidants than the Skin Actives one. Also, Futurederm uses a silicone base which creates a barrier on the skin that slows down water loss and gives skin a silky soft feeling, while the Skin Actives serum contains humectants like Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid that draw water from the environment into the skin, making it a better option for those with dry skin.

In the end, both Futurederm and Skin Actives are great options. It just comes down to what’s more important for you. Do you prefer a more stable form of Vitamin C or a less stable one with a higher variety of antioxidants? A silicone or humectant base?

Laurie September 11, 2014 - 12:04 am

Honestly, I’d never considered those questions, LOL! I suppose I want the one that will slow down the aging process the most. 😉 But from what I understand, a broad base of antioxidants is the best prevention. The rest I’d need to consider more. Thanks for your reply.

Gio September 12, 2014 - 1:58 pm

Laurie, oh yes, usually the more antioxidants you use the best. 🙂 Futurederm uses a more expensive form of vitamin c, which may be why it contains less antioxidants. It could be a way to keep the price down somewhat. Still, the few it uses are great for anti-aging.

Janessa September 10, 2014 - 5:21 pm

Oo! I want to try this next. I have 1/3 of my PC serum left and was planning on purchasing a third but I’m alway so curious about the other products available out there.

Gio September 10, 2014 - 8:20 pm

Janessa, there are too many options aren’t there? Not that I’m complaining… This is a great serum, but the PC is pretty good too. 🙂

Nisa May 20, 2015 - 12:17 pm

Great review, Gio.

I had bad experience with LAA in the past, but I want to try again. Skin Actives recently dropped the irritating and phototoxic citrus EOs after we exchanged e-mails, so I’m going to get this one. However, my skin is currently quite badly dehydrated after testing a slew of sunscreens, not realizing that my skin is quite allergic to avobenzone. It’s recovered now, but still not as good as it used to be. Do you think this serum feels drying? Or the glycerin, hyaluronic acid and pomegranate oils make quite a difference on retaining moisture?


Gio May 24, 2015 - 2:57 pm

Nisa, thanks. Sorry to hear avobenzone ruined your skin, but it is recovering fine.

This serum isn’t drying, but I wouldn’t call it moisturizing either. The high level of vitamin c can irritate skin, but if you use it every couple of days you shouldn’t experience any serious side effects. Hope this helps.

Coni Lucas February 24, 2016 - 10:04 pm

I have been using Skin Actives for about 3 yrs and love it. I prefer buying the “raw” products and making my own skin care line for my age group (^^). The products are pure and concentrated so they really do not cost as much as you might think. I cannot be without these ever again. My skin just drinks up the serums and leaves it soft and silky. I am just a regular person with no chemical or scientific background. If I can do it, anyone can.

Gio February 26, 2016 - 8:47 pm

Coni, I’m glad this is working so well for you. Skin Actives really is a wonderful brand. Are you using the kits they sell? I believe those have instructions to help you out. But mixing this or that on your own without scientific knowledge is risky. You may mix together two substances that deactivate each other or put too much of an ingredient in and cause an irritation. These products go on your skin, and you need to know what you;re doing to avoid any unwanted side effects.

alfagetti March 2, 2018 - 6:13 pm

What is the PH level of this product? I can’t seem to find it. Thank you!

Gio March 9, 2018 - 7:25 pm

Alfagetti, I’m afraid I don’t have this serum anymore so I can’t test the ph. Try contacting customer service. Hope it’ll help.

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