These new vitamin C serums will add brightness and bring cheer

Sali Hughes: ‘Murad’s Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum may just be my skincare launch of last year.’ Photograph: Alex Lake/The Guardian

Experience, disinclination and laziness mean I am never going to be someone who engages in complex 12-step skin routines. Nothing will convince me that using a dozen products, some containing hundreds of ingredients, then a heap more at night, is conducive to happy, calm skin. It might not make for an exciting Instagram “shelfie”, but my morning routine is pared back and straightforward: cleanse, exfoliate with fruit acids, treat with vitamin C serum, protect. However, there’s a new crop of vitamin C products that aim to streamline things even further by adding in exfoliating acids to kill two birds with one serum – and I’m excited.

Ole Henriksen’s relaunch into Boots has been so focused on younger consumers that I was sceptical about the gimmicky-named Banana Bright (£53 for 30ml). But three empties later, I can confirm it’s lovely. It has a good 15% dose of vitamin C and the all-important hyaluronic acid (I want this in everything) for hydration. These stalwarts are joined by polyhydroxy acids: gentler exfoliants for treating flakiness or dullness and encouraging the light-bouncing glow of smooth skin. Barely perceptible yellowy pigments give instant brightness. It’s a great morning step that allows you to ditch a separate acid (though I’ve used this in addition to acid and my skin has been perfectly happy, so your options are open).

A similar idea, executed to perfection, is Murad’s Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum (£72 for 30ml), which may just be my skincare launch of last year. Fragrance-free and suitable for all, it offers two stable forms of vitamin C and adds in exfoliating glycolic acid, but doesn’t stop there. The hydrating base is exceptionally smooth and plumping, and the natural mica particles add an immediate cosmetic glow on application. My only grumble on both this and Banana Bright is cost. There’s no doubt that the additional benefits of these new vitamin Cs come at a high price.

La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C10 Serum (30ml), with exfoliating salicylic acid, is the least expensive I could recommend, at £28.50, which is hardly bargain-bucket and not quite the same. You could perhaps argue that exfoliating vitamin C serums combine the benefits of two products usually sold separately. In any case, I fully expect high street brands to offer their own versions as the tech trickles downwards. I will certainly tell you when that happens.

Source: The Guardian