Vitamin C is one of my favorite skincare powerhouse ingredients. It’s one that has been well studied, and so its benefits are well known and actually backed up with scientific evidence. I consider a vitamin C product to be absolutely essential to my skincare routine because the benefits are far too good to pass up.
Full Disclosure: This review contains no affiliate links, and the product was purchased by me. All opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal use and testing of the product.
What is it?
NuFountain’s C20+ Ferulic Vitamin C Serum is a serum containing 20% L-Ascorbic Acid and Ferulic Acid. NuFountain claims this serum “improves clarity, texture, fine lines and wrinkles and promotes a supple, resilient, youthful, lit-from-within complexion.”
This is a pH dependent product, and therefore should be applied immediately after cleansing. A pH-adjusting toner may be used to prep the skin beforehand.
- Size: 30 mL
- Price: ~$27 CAD per bottle if you purchase 3 at once (which I do)(includes shipping)
- pH: 2.5-3.0
- Texture: A watery serum
- Scent: None
- Packaging: A small dropper bottle, colored glass
- Longevity: ~6+ months, at 6 drops twice a day
Ingredients and pH
Purified Water, 20% L-Ascorbic Acid, Ethoxydiglycol, DL- Panthenol, Glycerin, Magnesium Sulfate, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid.
CosDNA breakdown. No flags for comedogenicity or irritation.
NuFountain claims this serum to be formulated at a pH of 2.5-3.0. That is consistent with my pH strip testing, which looks to be between 2-3.
Let’s talk about some of the benefits of topically applied vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which helps reduce and prevent damaged caused to the skin by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules with an unpaired electron that causes them to interact with other molecules, which causes biological damage. Vitamin C, as well as other antioxidants, work by donating an electron to the free radical, which stabilizes the molecule and prevents (or at least reduces) the damage.
When skin is exposed to UV light, free radicals are created. Vitamin C, being an antioxidant, can help prevent the damage done from the free radicals as noted above. This is a function that is not provided by sunscreen alone, and so using vitamin C in conjunction with sunscreen provides more optimal sun protection than sunscreen alone.
Collagen synthesis regulation
Vitamin C has been shown to stimulate collagen production, which is no easy feat. Collagen is what helps give skin its firmness and elasticity, making vitamin C an excellent anti-aging ingredient.
Prevention of hyperpigmentation
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation refers to the discoloration that occurs after trauma to the skin. This includes dark spots that persists after a pimple has healed, or a mark or coloured ‘scar’ after a cut or lesion. Vitamin C works by inhibiting the production of melanin in the skin cells, thereby preventing the formation of these dark marks.
Seems pretty freakin’ great right? There’s just one downside. L-Ascorbic Acid is extremely unstable, and therefore difficult to formulate into a skincare product. It oxidizes quickly, turning a clear and colorless serum into a yellow one. There are a number of ways to get around this, and NuFountain’s solution is the inclusion of ferulic acid.
Ferulic acid on it’s own is already another powerful antioxidant, but it does some fantastic things in combination with vitamin C. It can greatly reduce the oxidation of L-AA, which gives this serum a much, much longer shelf life. Even better, is actually boosts the antioxidant effect of L-AA, giving more protection than either ingredient would alone.
The only thing to dislike about the ingredients in this serum is a lack of Vitamin E, or alpha-tocopherol. This is due to the patent for a stable Vitamin C + E + Ferulic serum with the appropriate pH being currently held by Skinceuticals. (And I’m not about to drop almost $200 Canadian dollars on one ounce of product!) Vitamin E also boosts the effectiveness of vitamin C, and a serum with 15% vitamin C, 1% vitamin E, and 0.5% ferulic acid is the gold standard for this kind of serum. Note: Timeless has a C + E + Ferulic serum at a reasonable price, if you’re interested in trying that one out.
This serum comes in a 1-ounce dropper bottle. The fluid is clear and watery, and has no discernible scent. Which is great, because other serums I’ve used in the past have a distinct ‘hot-dog water’ smell. It dries down pretty matte, and isn’t sticky or unpleasant to use. I store it in the door of my fridge.
I use this serum by looking up and dropping it straight on to my face, then spreading around with my fingers. I do one drop for nose, chin, each cheek, and each side of my forehead, and I do this twice a day with at least a 15 minute wait time. Many people will use Vitamin C only in the morning, which is totally fine. I chose to use it in the morning for the photoprotective benefit, and at night for the long term antioxidant benefit, because I felt that sun exposure would be breaking the vitamin C down and not leaving much to combat the free radicals from all other sources. Totally up to you to see what is appropriate for your skin.
My favorite thing about this serum is the stability. It takes SO LONG for me to get through a bottle of this stuff, and I use 12 drops everyday!! The stability means I don’t have to worry about this stuff oxidizing before I can use it up. Definitely worth the price when you consider similar vitamin C serums that turn color after only a few weeks. Also, NuFountain makes these serums to-order, meaning when you order from them you are never getting something that has been sitting on a shelf for too long. Absolutely no risk of getting a product that has already started to oxidize.
The most noticeable effect of using a vitamin c serum is going to be the brightening and reduction in redness and pigmentation. All the other effects are pretty long-term, and so won’t be too measurable for a good long while.
I’ve had a lot of issues with PIH in the past because of my rosacea. I would constantly get tiny bumps on my chin and forehead that I’d pick at compulsively, leaving plenty of little brown spots on my skin. I’ve stopped producing new spots for the most part, now that my rosacea is controlled with medication, and the pigmentation from old spots has reduced drastically over the past few months. My skin, barring any redness, is much more even toned since I’ve been using this serum. This absolutely is an effective vitamin C product.
Would I Repurchase?
Definitely yes. This is my most repurchased product, actually. It’s stable, effective, doesn’t smell, and comes at a reasonable price. I plan on using this until I’m ready to be a bit more adventurous and try some other vitamin C products.