It happens. Every. Single. Time. Whenever I review a Vitamin C serum, inevitably someone asks, “how does it compare to Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum?”
Short answer: it’s great dupe for pricier options like Skinceuticals CE Ferulic and Paula’s Choice C15 Booster. But the super high Vitamin C content makes me think twice before recommending it to everyone.
Long answer: read the review below.
Note: The packaging of this serum has changed, but the formula is still the same, so everything in this review is still relevant.
- About The Brand: Timeless
- Key Ingredients In Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum: What Makes It Work?
- The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients
- How To Use It
- Performance & Personal Opinion
- How Does Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum Compare To Timeless 10% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum?
- How Does Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum Compare To Other Popular Vitamin C Serums?
- What I Like About Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum
- What I DON’T Like About Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum
- Who Should Use This?
- Does Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum Live Up To Its Claims?
- Is Timeless Cruelty-Free?
- Price & Availability
- The Verdict: Should You Buy It?
- Dupes & Alternatives
About The Brand: Timeless
Timeless was created in 2009 by Alex and Victoria and Pederson with the intention of creating clean and effective skincare products at an affordable price. Their first product was a super Hyaluronic Acid serum, but the brand quickly expanded to include eye cream, oils, and the iconic Vitamin C serum that’s been giving Skinceuticals CE Ferulic a run for its money. Since then, the brand has revamped its packaging, expanded internionally, became available at Target and CVS Pharmacy, and moved manufacturing to Texas to better be able to meet demand. Their portfolio of offering is still small, but their serums are top-notch and very much worth a try.
Key Ingredients In Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum: What Makes It Work?
L-ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C) TO BRIGHTEN SKIN AND FIGHT PREMATURE AGING
L-Ascorbic Acid is the pure form of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that:
- Fights the free radicals that give you wrinkles
- Boosts the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm
- Reduces transepidermal water loss, helping to keep skin hydrated
- Brightens skin and fades away hyperpigmentation
If you’re serious about antiaging, you need this baby in your skincare routine. But be careful! L-Ascorbic Acid has a couple of side effects you should be aware of:
- Unstable: It goes bad quickly when exposed to light and air. Timeless guarantees its effectiveness for only 3 months. 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.
Irritation is the reason why I don’t recommend Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum to just anyone. I have clients who can use 15% Vitamin C without problems, but the second they up their dose, their skin turns into a red, flaky mess.
The trick to using Vitamin C is to start small. Begin with a 10% concentration, move on to 15% and then upgrade to 20+% doses. Even then, if your skin is sensitive, it may not like anything above 10-15%.
Both Skinceuticals CE Ferulic and Paula’s Choice C15 Booster use 15% Ascorbic Acid. For most people, that’s more than enough. But if your skin can take the extra load and you’d like to save some $$$, Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum is a great step forward.
Related: My Vitamin C Serum Has Turned Brown! Can I Still Use It?
VITAMIN E AND FERULIC ACID TO FIGHT FREE RADICALS
Vitamin C is an antiaging superstar, but that doesn’t mean it should play alone. Studies show it works even better when paired with fellow antioxidants Vitamin E and Ferulic acid.
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:
- They boost one another’s effectiveness (they don’t become ineffective as quickly as they would on their own)
- They enhance your sunscreen’s protection, helping you fight sun damage and premature wrinkles
Whatever Vitamin C serum you go for, make sure these two are in it, too.
Related: Why You Should Add Ferulic Acid To Your Skincare Routine
SODIUM HYALURONATE TO HYDRATE SKIN
Sodium Hyaluronate is a form of Hyaluronic Acid, a moisture magnet on steroids. Hyaluronic Acid attracts moisture into the skin and binds it there. It’s so powerful, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water! All that extra moisture plumps up your skin, makes it softer and gives it a dewy glow.
Related: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic VS Timeless 20% Vitamin C Serum: Which One Is Better?
Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):
The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients
NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.
- Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
- Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
- Red: What is this doing here?!
- Water: The main solvent in the formula, it hydrates skin and helps dissolve other ingredients.
- Ethoxydiglycol: It boosts the effectiveness of Vitamin C, so that it works even better and faster.
- Propylene Glycol: A solvent with hydrating properties. It dissolves other ingredients in the formula and hydrates skin.
- Polysorbate 80: It helps create beautiful textures that are a pleasure to use.
- Panthenol: A pre-cursors for Vitamin B5, it deeply hydrates and soothe skin. It works by binding water to your skin to make it softer and suppler. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help restore healthy skin barrier function.
- Benzyl Alcohol: It’s a solvent with preservative-like properties that helps your serum last longer.
- Dehydroacetic Acid: A synthetic preservative that keeps fungi and bacteria from growing in your serum and spoiling it.
Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum has a lightweight liquidy, slightly oily (blame it on the Vitamin E) texture that sinks in almost immediately. It’s most suitable for dry skin, but everyone can use it and appreciate it.
Good news: the serum is fragrance-free. Fragrance is one of the most irritating ingredient in skincare – and has no added benefit apart from making the serum smell good. 20% L-Ascorbic Acid already has the potential to irritate sensitive skin, so taking other irritants out of the formula is a good idea.
But, fragrance-free products have their own scent, too. The serum takes its smell from its ingredients. Let’s just say Ferulic acid doesn’t exactly smell of roses! But if you can get past that, the results are worth it.
How To Use It
I recommend you use Vitamin C serums (and this is no exception) in the morning under sunscreen to boost its effectiveness. All I do is cleanse, apply Vitamin C, and layer sunscreen on top. If you want to use moisturiser, apply it in between Vitamin C serum and sunscreen. Keep in mind that every layer of skincare product you use makes sunscreen application trickier, so use only what you absolutely must in the morning.
Timeless has packaged the serum in a bright yellow bottle that keeps Vitamin C and the other antioxidant safe from the light and air that would otherwise spoil them and make them go bad faster. L-Ascorbic Acid has a short shelf life, so well done to Timeless for putting it in a container that helps it last longer.
Performance & Personal Opinion
Let’s be honest here: even the best antiaging ingredients won’t boost your collagen or fade away your dark spots overnight. That’s why I’ve been using Vitamin C every day in my skincare routine for the past 10 years.
As my skin is used to Vitamin C, Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum simply maintained the status quo. It keeps my skin firmer and my complexion glowing. If you’re newer to Vitamin C, you’ll see a bigger improvement – at least in terms of brightness – fairly quickly. At this high concentration, the serum will make your skin glow and help fade away dark spots faster.
Used every day, the serum also improves the texture of your skin and fights free radicals, so that your skin ages more slowly. It also provides some extra hydration that leaves my skin softer and smoother. I can’t imagine doing without my daily fix now.
How Does Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum Compare To Timeless 10% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum?
Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum and Timeless 10% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum have the same formula, but with a key difference. The former contains 20% L-Ascorbic Acid, which can be irritating for sensitive skin. The latter has 10% L-Ascorbic Acid, which is usually well-tolerated by sensitive skin. Sure, it means it brightens skin, fades dark spots, and prevents premature aging at a slower pace, so it’ll take longer to see results. But if high concentrations of Vitamin C irritate your skin, this is worth a try.
How Does Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum Compare To Other Popular Vitamin C Serums?
I’m always asked how Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum compares to other popular Vitamin C serums on the market. Here’s the lowdown:
- Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day ($78.00): It has 15% L-Ascorbic Acid, 1% Vitamin E, and 0.5% Ferulic Acid. Plus a big dollop of marula oil that makes the texture thicker and sticker. It’s also more hydrating, so best suitable for dry skin. Available at Boots, Cult Beauty, and SpaceNK.
- MaeLove The GlowMaker ($29.95): 15% L-Ascorbic Acid, 1% Vitamin E, and 0.5% Ferulic Acid. Plus hyaluronic acid and aloe vera to hydrate skin. It’s a great buy if you’re on a budget and your skin isn’t sensitive. Available at Maelove.
- Paula’s Choice C15 Booster ($46.75): This too has 15% L-Ascorbic Acid, 1% Vitamin E, and 0.5% Ferulic Acid in a lightweight, fast-absorbing texture. It’s enriched with Hyaluronic Acid and glycerin to add a burst of moisture to your skin, making it a better alternative for dry and dehydrated skin types. Available at Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Net-A-Porter, Paula’s Choice, Sephora, and SpaceNK.
- Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($169.00): The original 15% L-Ascorbic Acid, 1% Vitamin E, and 0.5% Ferulic Acid serum. Plus, it’s infused with Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate skin. It’s a simple formula that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the other serums on here, but in terms of performance, it’s still the best on the market. Available at Dermstore and Skinceuticals.
- The Ordinary Vitamin C Serums: I DON’T recommend The Ordinary Serums. None of them contain the combo of Vitamin C + Vitamin E + Ferulic Acid. Plus, most of them use Vitamin C derivates that haven’t been much researched yet. They’re cheaper, but you’re getting a subpar performance too.
What I Like About Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum
- Lightweight, fast-absorbing texture.
- Brightens skin and fades away dark spots.
- Helps prevent premature aging.
- Slightly hydrating.
- Beautiful and practical packaging.
What I DON’T Like About Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum
- Texture feels slightly tacky.
- Smell isn’t pleasant.
- 20% L-Ascorbic Acid can irritate sensitive skin.
Who Should Use This?
A serum with this high dose of Vitamin C should be used only by women with resistant skin who are serious about anti-aging or want to fade away dark spots. Instead, I’m hesitant to recommend it to:
- Sensitive skin – 20% L-Ascorbic Acid is too harsh for you
- Oily, acne-prone skin – L-Ascorbic Acid may aggravate acne
Does Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum Live Up To Its Claims?
|Brightens dull complexions.||True.|
|Corrects hyperpigmentation and discoloration.||It certainly helps with this, but don’t expect results quickly.|
|Provides protection against environmental stressors.||True.|
Is Timeless Cruelty-Free?
Yes, Timeless is cruelty-free. They don’t test on animals, neither themselves or through a third-party.
Price & Availability
Available at: $25.95/£21.54 at Target and Yes Style
The Verdict: Should You Buy It?
If you have resistant skin and want to up your anti-aging game or fade away dark spots faster, this is a great option to consider. It just works. But make sure you buy it only when you’re ready to use it (Vitamin C spoils fast).
Dupes & Alternatives
- MaeLove Glow Booster ($27.95): The cheapest Vitamin C serum in this list, it does everything the others do, but it contains a citrus extract that may be irritating for sensitive skin. Available at Maelove.
- Paula’s Choice C15 Booster ($46.75): It’s enriched with Hyaluronic Acid and glycerin to deeply hydrate skin. Available at Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Net-A-Porter, Paula’s Choice, Sephora, and SpaceNK.
- Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($169.00): The original Vitamin C serum, it costs an arm and a leg, but it works wonders and delivers what it promises. Available at Dermstore and Skinceuticals.
Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Alpha Tocopherol, Polysorbate 80, Panthenol, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Benzylalcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid.
doesnt VIT C go bad sitting in a bottle in a formula of water? How do you know how long it sat on the shelf unopened.
Jeff, yes it does and there’s no way of knowing. I recommend buying your Vitamin C serum only when you’re ready to use it straight away, preferably from a shop with a good return policy.
I was using Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen but it did a number on my skin over the Boston winter. I’ve tried using it again now that summer is here but it still seems too strong. What is a 10% formulation you’d recommend? I’d prefer to use L-ascorbic to a gentler version of Vitamin C.
Rebecca, you can find my fave picks here: https://www.beautifulwithbrains.com/vitamin-c-for-sensitive-skin/
I’ve used this Timeless Vitamin C for several years and I took a tip from the Hot and Flashy blogger. I pour half of the Vitamin C into a second bottle and store the original bottle in the refrigerator until needed. The bottle in the fridge never turns brown. The bottle that I use on a daily basis usually stays clear. Occasionally, some of the remaining amount turns yellow. But never brown.
Was wondering about potential CEF dupes from Pure Clinica – The 20% Vitamin C Serum or The Triple Strength Vitamin C, E & Ferulic Acid Serum. Any experience or opinions on the formulae? The presence of retinol in the latter gives me pause as surely could undermine any UV defense benefits if worn in the daytime? I love Paula’s Choice CEF but the price is becoming too much of a stretch for me!
Hannah, you could use retinol during the day as long as you’re religious with sunscreen. Or you can use the serum at night instead.
What is your opinion of SVR.C compared to Vichy peptide c ampoules?