Price: 4 ($105 CAD/30 mL)
Buy again: Yes
I am in my 30s, and still suffer from oily, acne-prone skin. I wanted to include some better anti-aging things in my routine since I am getting older and want to stay as youthful looking as possible :) I have tried a few Vitamin C products before, and either found their results were short-lived (Ole Henrikson Truth Serum), or the products were not enjoyable to use (Paula's Choice C15 Booster). I purchased a Drunk Elephant Rise + Glow mini set from Sephora, and I am in love! I actually purchased the full size as well!
The formula of this product contains 15% L-Ascorbic Acid (L-AA), 1% Vitamin E, and 0.5% Ferulic Acid, along with some other things like Marula oil, Pumpkin ferment extract, and a whole host of other wonderful things. A lot of people complain that this product "arrives at their doorstep oxidized". That is untrue. It is true that when Vitamin C oxidizes, it does turn an orangey colour. However, the colour of this serum is a very light golden colour, that is the result of the tetrahydro-curcuminoids (Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane) that are used as an anti-irritant agent, and naturally has a light colour to it. So, NO it is NOT oxidized, it is just naturally that colour. L-AA is the chemically active form of vitamin C and is notoriously unstable, but studies have shown that when it is paired with 1% Vitamin E and 0.5% Ferulic acid (as it is in this formula), all three ingredients help to stabilize and further the effect of each other. Vitamin C is water-soluble, and has a resevoir effect in the skin whereafter it penetrates, it is active and cannot be washed or rubbed off for up to 8 hours (i.e. this is not a special effect unique ONLY to Drunk Elephant).
The texture of this serum is thin and easy to spread. Some describe it as oily, but I don't think it's that bad. I take one pump (2 pumps if using the mini) and spread it all over my face. It has a slight smokey kind of scent to it. I doesn't burn or sting, or leave any weird tint to my face (the Paula's Choice one turned colour on my face). After I apply it and let it sink it for a minute, I apply a few drops of Sunday Riley Juno Oil or DE's Marula Oil with wet hands so it spreads easier. I apply my Biore Japanese sunscreen on top, which I normally find drying, so with this product underneath it's perfect.
The packaging of this product is really nice. The pump is airtight, and twists into the bottle so you're never losing a cap, or worried that it might squirt out in your bag when you travel. And, the packaging is opaque, so the contents are protected from light.
I have not had any issues with additional breakouts since using this product. I breakout if I don't use Benzoyl Peroxide daily, so as long as I have that, I'm fine. I did not experience any burning or itching or anything from this product either. I feel like after using it for a week, my skin is more firm, and the colour of my skin is more even. I still have some redness around my nose and mouth, but it's not as bad as it was. I had lots of post-acne hyperpigmentation marks as well, and this (along with the DE T.L.C. Framboos serum) is helping to fade them nicely.
The cost of this product isn't pretty but that's what you get when you pay for a nice, stable formula with excellent packaging. I know that The Ordinary has much cheaper formulas, but they're also in old-school dropper bottles that introduce air with every use, and don't include Ferulic Acid in the formula. Oddly enough, it's actually cheaper to purchase the mini sets, rather than the full size bottles. The full size is $105/30 mL, or $3.50/mL. The mini set comes with 8mL of C-Firma, and 8mL of B-Hydra serum for $30 CAD. The full size of B-Hydra serum is $68/50mL, or $1.36/mL. Going by these prices per mL, for the same 8mL of each, I would actually be paying closer to $39, instead of the $30 (B-hydra is $10.88/8mL; C-Firma is $28/8mL). So it's actually a better deal to buy the minis, not to mention that it's recommended to finish using Vitamin C within 3-4 months of opening.