What’s that?! A yellow tinge in the serum? I swear it wasn’t there yesterday. What’s going on?!
Yep, your vitamin C serum is a magician. It can change colour and go from clear to yellow all the way to brown. Ain’t that cool?
Not really. Cos that’s Vitamin C’s way of warning you it’s stopped working. Oops!
What The Heck Is Vitamin C And Why Should You Use It?
In case you’re wondering why you should bother using something that stop working after a while, here’s the lowdown on vitamin C:
- it’s a powerful antioxidants that fight the free radicals that cause premature wrinkles
- it stimulates the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin elastic
- It has photoprotective properties that help prevent and treat sun damage (esp when used with vitamin E and ferulic acid)
- it brightens the complexion and fades dark spots
You want this stuff in your skincare routine, trust me!
Related: 5 Antiaging Superstars You Should Include In Your Skincare Routine
Why Does Vitamin C Turn Brown?
L-Ascorbic Acid, the pure form of vitamin C, is super unstable. As soon as it comes in contact with air, heat or light, it throws a tantrum and loses a bit of its effectiveness.
Actually, it gets weaker and weaker by the day even if you don’t put it in touch with its enemies (just like food). But if you do, you’ll accelerate the oxidation process.
You know when this is happening because your vitamin C turns darker until it takes on a brown hue. In other words, the darker the colour, the less effective the vitamin c.
How To Prevent Your Vitamin C Serum From Turning Brown
You can’t stop vitamin C going bad. But you can slow down the process so your vitamin C serum doesn’t go bad before you’ve had the chance to use up the entire bottle. Here’s how:
1. Choose A Stable Form Of Vitamin C
L-Ascorbic Acid is the most effective form of vitamin C out there. But it ain’t the only one. Scientists are coming out with new types all the time. These derivates are less powerful but more stable so they don’t go bad as quickly. Some of my faves are ascorbyl glucoside, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate.
- Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum ($33.99): available at Anthropologie, iHerb and Ulta
- Paula’s Choice Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum ($38.00): available at Dermstore, Feel Unique, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice
- Peter Thomas Roth Potent C Power Serum ($95.00): Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate + vitamin E + ferulic acid. Available at Blue Mercury, Nordstrom, Sephora and Ulta
Related: Types Of Vitamin C In Skincare (And Where To Find Them)
2. Avoid Jars
You’re exposing your precious vitamin C to light and air every time you open them. And you know what happens when you do that, right? Instead, go for airtight, opaque tubes and bottles that keep it well protected.
Related: Why Jar Packaging Is A Waste Of Money
3. Opt For Sample Sizes
If you’re not sure you can finish a whole bottle, why not ask for samples? Some brands even make their serums in different sizes so you can choose the one that’s more convenient for you. You can even hunt down for gift sets with mini sizes of your fave vitamin C serums. If you find one you love and know would use daily, you can upgrade to the full size.
The Bottom Line
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that works wonders for the skin. But it’s so unstable, it goes bad quickly. Opt for derivatives packaged in tubes and bottles to get the most bang for your buck.
Has your vitamin C serum ever gone bad before you had the chance to use it all? Share your experience in the comments below.