Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector review

Wanna know why I like Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector? Let me ask you a question: can you ever finish a bottle of pure Vitamin C? It’s a rush against time. You use it religiously every single day but you’ve barely gone through half the bottle when you see it. The slightest brownish tinge.

It’s already started. Your precious Vitamin C is going bad. You double your efforts to finish it but you know you’ll never make it in time. Time to cut your losses and splurge on another bottle. *sighs*

There are ways around this:

Vichy has taken a different approach. They went mini. As in mini size. The new Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector is only 10 ml. You’ll have to buy it more often but you actually get the chance to finish the entire bottle before your Vitamin C goes bad. Is the trade-off worth it? I’ve put it to the test to find out:

About The Brand: Vichy

In 931, Dr Haller became the director of Vichy Thermal Centre in 1931 where he discovered the therapeutic properties of Vichy Mineralizing Water and decided to apply them to the skincare world. Vichy was born. What makes the water special?

It’s preserved 4,000m deep, in the region of Auvergne Volcanoes in France, where it is enriched with 15 minerals and mineral nutrients essential to skin health. Plus, all products are developed and tested with health professionals from pharmacists to dermatologists to make sure they perform their best without irritating skin.

Of course, there are exception. Like every brand on the planet, Vichy has its dud. But what sets it apart is its focus on sensitive skin and hydration. So, it’s always a pleasure to see Vichy jump on the anti-aging bandwagon by adding a Vitamin C serum to their line. Let’s see how well it performs, shall we?

Key Ingredients In Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector?


Vitamin C is one of the 5 antiaging superstars (you can find out more about the others here). It does wonders for your skin:

Vitamin C comes in many forms. Ascorbic Acid, the one Vichy uses, it’s the pure form. This is both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because Ascorbic Acid is the most effective form of Vitamin C out there. Hands down.

It’s bad because Ascorbic Acid is unstable and irritating. That’s why Vichy put it in such a small bottle. But if you have sensitive skin, 15% Ascorbic Acid may just be too irritating for you. If that’s the case, go with a derivative.

Related: Types Of Vitamin C Used In Skincare: Which One Should You Choose? 

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!).


This is a controversial one. If you’re a regular here, you know that Alcohol Denat isn’t one of my fave ingredients. It’s everywhere because it helps other goodies – like Vitamin C – better penetrate the skin, so it can do a more effective job.

But that doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Alcohol can be drying and irritating to the skin. Fixing the first problem is easy: just moisturise skin well afterwards.

But if your skin is on the sensitive skin, that may not be enough. Personally, I didn’t have any problems with alcohol in this serum (my skin is pretty resistant), but if it doesn’t agree with your skin or you don’t like using it, this isn’t the serum for you.

If it’s not a deal breaker, keep reading. 🙂

Related: What Does Alcohol-Free Really Mean in Skincare?


Hyaluronic Acid is a moisture magnet. It literally acts like a magnet. It attracts moisture from the air and dumps into your skin, plumping it up, smoothing it out, and hydrating it from within. Oh, and the glow! All that moisture gives your skin a beautiful radiance.

Vichy used the hydrolyzed form in this serum. Hydrolyzed means that hyaluronic acid is broken into smaller bits. That makes it slightly less effective. 

I personally didn’t find Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Skin Brightening Corrector as hydrating as other hyaluronic acid serums but, if your skin’s on the drier side, every little bit of hyaluronic acid helps.

Related: Why You Should Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine

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?!
  • Aqua/ Water: The main solvent in the formula, it dissolve other ingredients. Plus, it adds a hydrating boost.
  • Dipropylene Glycol: It improves the texture of skincare products and acts as a solvent, to dissolve other ingredients in the formula.
  • Glycerin: A humectant that draws moisture from the air into your skin. The extra moisture plumps up your fine lines, makes your skin softer, and brightens your complexion.
  • Laureth-23: It’s an emulsifier. If you remember from your chemistry lessons, oil and water don’t mix. This ingredient helps them blend together, resulting in a pleasant texture and formula.
  • Neohesperidin Dihydrochalcone: It’s used to mask the unpleasant smell of other ingredients.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: It balances the pH of the serum, so that Vitamin C can work its best.
  • Tocopherol: A form of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that boosts the effectiveness of Vitamin C and helps the formula last longer.
  • Pinus Pinaster Bark/ Bud Extract: A powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that slows down premature aging and reduces redness.


This serum has a lightweight, almost runny, texture that absorbs quickly into your skin without leaving a tacky residue behind. Like all runny textures, not always the most practical to use, but feels lovely on the skin.


This Vitamin C serum is fragrance-free. I know people have mixed feelings about this. Some fo you love your products to smell like a little piece of heaven – and why shouldn’t you? A pleasant scent is one of the small pleasures of life.

But, fragrances can also be irritating, especially if you have sensitive skin. 15% Vitamin C already has the potential to be irritating – but at least it keeps your wrinkles away, so it’s totally worth it. A fragrance has no additional benefits, so kudos to Vichy for leaving it out.

How To Use It

Like all Vitamin C serums, I recommend you use it in the morning, after cleansing, to supercharge the sun protection of your sunscreen. If daily use is too irritating, cut back to every other day.

Some people claim you can’t use Vitamin C during the day because it makes skin more prone to sun damage. That’s true only if you DON’T wear sunscreen. When you use Vitamin C TOGETHER with sunscreen, studies show you’re boosting its sun protection.


The serum comes in an UV-tinted bottle that keeps Vitamin C safe from the sunlight that would make it go bad faster. It has a dropper applicator for ease-of-use (a must when the texture is runny). Plus, the small size makes it very travel-friendly. You can easily take it everywhere with you. It also means you can actually finish the bottle before the Vitamin C inside goes bad (you don’t want to spend $169.00 and waste a third of it!).

Performance & Personal Opinion

Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Skin Brightening Corrector is a slightly yellow in colour. That’s NOT a sign it’s gone bad already. It’s the colour of the ingredients.

The lightweight texture sinks into my skin quickly. As I’ve said, I don’t find it particularly hydrating for my dry skin. You may see more of a benefit in this area if your skin’s normal or oily.

But it definitely does everything a vitamin C serum is supposed to do. After only a few days, my skin is already brighter. If you have tired, dull skin, this serum will give it that much-needed pick-me-up. With regular use, this much Vitamin C also keeps my skin younger, prevents wrinkles, and slows down sagginess. 

If you’re looking for a simple Vitamin C serum you can finally finish and won’t break the bank, I think you’ll like this. Just use it with a moisturizer or serum with ferulic acid, so you can supercharge it even more!

vichy liftactive vitamin c skin brightening corrector

How Does Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector Compare To Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Specialist Collagen Night Cream?

Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Specialist Collagen Night Cream is the other product in the Vichy line with Vitamin C. If you’re wondering which of the two you should go for, or whether it’s worth investing in both, hear me out.

Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Specialist Collagen Night Cream barely contains Vitamin C – and not even the pure form. It uses a derivative that’s less powerful than L-Ascorbic Acid, the form used in the serum. Plus, there’s absolutely nothing else in the cream that can boost collagen. Bummer!

Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector is a wonderful Vitamin C serum that prevents wrinkles and brightens skin. Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C Specialist Collagen Night Cream is a basic moisturising cream with a few added drops of a Vitamin C derivative so it can claim to have Vitamin C (and attract more clients that way). Just saying…

How Does Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector Compare To Skinceuticals CE Ferulic?

I know it costs an arm and a leg ($169.00!), but Skinceuticals CE Ferulic wins here, hands down. Why? 15% Vitamin C + 1% Vitamin E + 0.5% Ferulic Acid (the combination Skinceuticals uses) is more effective than 15% Vitamin alone (which Vitamin C uses). Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still results with Vichy, but if you want to go the extra mile, I recommend Skinceuticals or one of its dupes, like Paula’s Choice C15 Booster ($55.00) or MaeLove The Glow Maker ($29.95).

The main advantage Vichy has over its competitors is its small size. If you know you won’t use it daily, then Vichy is the best option. You’ll actually be able to finish the bottle before the juicy inside goes bad.

What I Like About Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector

  • Lightweight, fast-absorbing texture.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Brightens skin and helps fade away dark spots.
  • Helps prevent premature wrinkles.
  • Small packaging – you can actually finish it before Vitamin C goes bad!

What I DON’T Like About Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector

  • Doesn’t contain ferulic acid (science shows that Vitamin C + Vitamin E + ferulic acid works better than Vitamin C alone).

Who Should Use This?

This Vitamin C serum is best for dry and normal skin types looking for a L-Ascorbic Acid serum they can actually finish before it goes bad. Instead, I DON’t recommend it for:

  • Oily skin: L-Ascorbic Acid may cause breakouts
  • Sensitive skin: L-Ascorbic Acid may irritate skin

Does Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector Live Up To Its Claims?

In 10 days, skin is brighter, complexion looks rested, fresher and more radiant. True.
More Vitamin C than in 20 oranges. May be true, but it means nothing. Putting orange juice on your skin won’t give you brighter skin. It’ll only irritate it! Why? Pure oranges contain L-Ascorbic Acid, but also a bunch of fragranced components that irritate skin. Eating too many oranges doesn’t result in brighter looking skin, either. The claim sounds impressive, but you can’t really compare L-Ascorbic Acid to an orange.
Hypoallergenic, minimalistic formula, no perfume, no silicone. Mostly true. But hypoallergic doesn’t mean anything. There is no regulation that says what products can use this claim. You can pack a product with irritants and still call it hypoallergenic.
Efficacy proven under dermatological control. What does this mean? How were these tests done? Where the results impressive or did they show only a marginal improvement?

Price & Availability

$34.00/£31.20 at Dermstore, Look Fantastic, Sephora, and Ulta

The Verdict: Should You Buy It?

If you’re tired of buying Vitamin C serums that go bad before you can finish them, you’ll like this. It misses ferulic acid, but it can still do a great job at preventing wrinkles and brightening the skin tone.

Dupes & Alternatives

All the serums below contain 15% L-Ascorbic Acid + 1% Vitamin E + 0.5% Ferulic Acid. Which one is best for you?

  • MaeLove The Glow Maker ($29.95): The cheapest Vitamin C serum in this list, it also has 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 ($55.00): A lightweight, fast-absorbing Vitamin C serum that brightens skin, prevents premature aging, and boosts sun protection. 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 BeautyDermstoreNet-A-PorterPaula’s ChoiceSephora, and SpaceNK.
  • Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($169.00): The original 5% 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, but in terms of performance, it’s still the best on the market. Available at Dermstore and Skinceuticals.


Aqua/ Water, Ascorbic Acid, Alcohol Denat., Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Neohesperidin Dihydrochalcone, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopherol, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Pinus Pinaster Bark/ Bud Extract