Why I’m Breaking My “No See-Through Packaging” Rule For This Vitamin C Serum

by Gio

OMG, did Gio sell out, too?

I hear ya. There was a time when I wouldn’t have touched a vitamin C serum in a see-through bottle with a ten-foot pole. Vitamin C is terribly unstable and loses its effectiveness quickly when exposed to light. “Only get a bottle when it’s opaque,” I ranted for years.

And yet, here I am, raving about Zelens Power C High Potency Vitamin C Treatment Drops, which, as you can clearly see, doesn’t come in an opaque bottle. So, how much was I paid?

Nothing (unless you count the PR sample as payment – I don’t). I just reserve the right to change my mind as new info comes to light. That’s what science peeps do, right?

Should Vitamin C Come Only In Opaque Bottles/Tubes?

Here’s what happened. Usually, at blog events, you get to talk to a PR who hits you will all the nonsense the marketing department has come up with to make an ordinary serum sound like the most revolutionary thing ever (like we can’t see through it 🙄 )

The Zelens event was different. Dr Marko Lens, creator of Zelens, showed up and entertained us with a long talk about all things skincare. When he nonchalantly mentioned that he didn’t understand why women are so obsessed with opaque packaging, we all ganged up on him (no worries, it wasn’t violent).

“But, doesn’t vitamin C become useless when it comes in contact with light and air?,” we all wanted to know?

Pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), absolutely, yes. That’s a pain to work with because it’s extremely unstable and won’t be effective for long. You want that packaged in an opaque bottle.” Dr Lens confirmed. And then added, “but the newest derivates of vitamin C are a lot more stable. As long as the product has a good preservative system, the vitamin C derivative will remain intact and effective even if exposed to light.

Now, I’m not one to believe anyone who’s trying to sell me something at face value. I don’t care if they’re doctors or not. I’m a sceptic by nature.

But, he was so completely honest about everything else, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Plus, he’s right when he says the new generation of vitamin C derivates is a lot more stable than pure Vitamin C. Science says so.

And, after two months of waiting for my Zelens vitamin C serum to turn brown (it’s the tell-tale sign that tells you Vitamin C has left the building and doesn’t work anymore), I’m starting to think he has a point. Both the colour and performance of the serum have remained the same throughout the two months I’ve been using it.

But, I have a little confession to make. I’ve kept it in its box for all this time. I take it out only when I use it and then, quickly, back in it goes. Maybe that helped it last a big longer? Either way, this is not something that goes back after a couple of weeks, so why shouldn’t I recommend it?

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, the new Vitamin C Kid On The Block

So, what type of vitamin C does Zelens use?

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate. Yes, It’s a mouthful, so we’ll call it AT. AT is a new form of vitamin C. It’s made by mixing it with isopalmitic acid.

AT stands out from all the other forms of vitamin C because it can penetrate your skin the fastest. It’s not as effective as pure vitamin C (derivates almost never are), but it still does everything a good form of vitamin C should do:

  • It fights the free radicals that cause premature aging
  • It boosts the production of skin-firming collagen
  • It brightens the complexion and helps fade dark spots
  • It boosts UV protection (when used with sunscreen)

Zelens has put a whopping 20% here. That’s definitely enough to do the job.

One more thing: AT is gentler than pure vitamin C, so most of you will be able to use the serum without experiencing any negative side effects, like irritations. But, if you have sensitive skin, do a patch test, first. Just in case.

Let’s Put It To The Test: Personal Use & Opinion

The serum comes with a drop applicator that only picks up the small amount you need for each application. Its lightweight texture sinks immediately into the skin, leaving no residue behind.

I put it on in the morning to boost the effectiveness of my sunscreen. But I quickly noticed it makes my makeup go on more smoothly, too!

That’s cos vitamin C does wonders for the texture of your skin. It smoothens it out, hydrates skin and makes it glow. It’s a subtle glow, don’t get me wrong,  but it’s enough to make my face look healthy and fresh.

Plus, the serum is very hydrating. Vitamin C takes all the credit, but the serum is chockfull of moisturizing stuff (such as phospholipids and essential fatty acids) that makes skin softer and plumper. As an added bonus, this makes my fine lines look smaller, too.

I’d never thought I’ds say this but yep, this see-through vitamin C serum is BWB approved!

Price & Availability: £125.00 at Cult Beauty and $210.00 at Barneys


Ingredients: Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Caprylyl Caprylate/Caprate, Isoamyl Laurate, Linoleic Acid, Isoamyl Cocoate, Phospholipids, Glycolipids, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Brassica Oleracea Acephala (Kale) Extract, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, Malpighia Emarginata (Cherry) Fruit Extract, Psidium Guajava (Guava) Fruit Extract, Ribes Nigrum (Blackcurrent) Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Lipids, Glycine Soya (Soybean) Sterols, Linoleic Acid, Tocopherol, Pelargonium Gravelons (Geranium) Leaf Oil, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool.

PR Sample. Affiliate links.

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SherryG May 3, 2017 - 5:48 pm

I realize it’s fine for most people, but it’s not an option for me because of the essential oils and fragrance. I’m highly allergic to linalool. And the price! Ouch, lol. I’ve been interested in The Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F. However, it has coconut in it and I’m afraid it might clog my pores. It also has a tomato extract, which could be potentially sensitizing. I’ve ordered their Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% and Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% to try out. I’ve read that even if L Asorbic Acid is clear, it could still have oxidized. I noticed that my Skin Deva 20% Vitamin C didn’t seem to work as well after a month, even though it was still clear. Vitamin C is certainly an interesting subject!

Gio May 5, 2017 - 6:56 pm

Sherry, it really is. A lot depends on what form of vitamin C you use. L Ascorbic Acid is very unstable but if you use one of its derivates, it will stay effective for longer. Of course, those a bit less powerful. There’s always a trade off. Either way, this is something you have to use up quickly. Can’t afford to be wasting time – going back to it six months later may be too late.


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