Is Your Vitamin C Serum Not Doing Its Job? Here’s How You Can Tell If It Has Lost Its Potency

At some point of time in our lives, we’ve dabbled between a few Vitamin C serums in high hopes of bringing back our dull complexion from the dead. For some, it did wonders to their skin — which has garnered a cult following that swears by its properties, deeming Vitamin C serums something their skin can’t live without. Then, there others who can’t seem to wrap their heads around the importance of Vitamin C — reason being that it didn’t do anything for their skin at all, or in other worse cases, it deteriorated their complexion, a true nightmare on its own.

Now if you’re still exploring the beauty realm and you’re a Vitamin C virgin, you must be thinking, “Oh hell no, I’m not going to put my skin through that”. Obviously, a breakout or even an allergic reaction is the last thing you’d want from your new skincare routine, well duh, but before jumping into conclusions, you might want to chill and get your facts right first.


For the unacquainted, Vitamin C serums are mainly acidic, and they work to slough away dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, resulting in smoother and brighter skin. Upon application, these serums actually trigger cell regeneration, boosting collagen and elastin production which are responsible for making your skin firm, plump, soft, and supple. Hello, baby skin! To top it all off, these Vitamin C serums are also equipped to deliver UV protection, anti-ageing and damage-repairing properties to your skin — what more could you ask for?


But if you’re no stranger to this cult beauty product that everyone’s been giving high praises about, you might be thinking, “Well, then why isn’t it working for me?” The answer is: the ones that you’re using might just have lost its potency.


What this means is that the product you’re using has probably oxidised, making its skin-revitalising effects very limited and sometimes, ineffective. It’s honestly hard to grasp the fact that you’ve been using a product that doesn’t do any good for your skin without even knowing, but as long as you’re more aware of it now, then you’re better off taking extra precaution with your skincare regime in the future.


As powerful of an antioxidant as it may seem, Vitamin C serums can sometimes be the kryptonite of its own. To spot an oxidised bottle, first, you need to note that Vitamin C is sensitive to light and needs to stay at a stable pH level to maintain the litany of benefits that these serums come with.

Adding on, these serums oxidise very easily when it’s exposed to air so you might want to opt for a product with a tight seal or a more secure dispensing mechanism.

Another sure way of telling is the bottle itself. If it’s made from clear glass or plastic, light can penetrate through the bottle easily, which makes it more susceptible to oxidation — this then diminishes the potency of the Vitamin C serum. For a better solution, opt for dark or opaque bottles instead.

(Photo Courtesy: Drunk Elephant Review Part 1 | Marula, Juju, Pekee, C-Firma, TLC Framboos!)

So how can you tell if your bottle of Vitamin C serum is oxidised at first look? Well, it’s pretty simple. If your serum started out clear and now looks amber or orange, then it’s time to toss out that bottle of yours, stat. Reason being: the Vitamin C serum has started to oxidise, and at times may smell or feel different on your skin; which may not provide the same benefits you were looking to reap out from this bottle of liquid gold.

You can also store your Vitamin C serums and other skincare essentials by investing in a mini skincare fridge to keep your products cool. (Photo Courtesy)

So if you find that your vanity table where you have your arsenal of skincare products being exposed to strong sunlight or temperatures, we’d suggest you either store your Vitamin C serum in a dry, cool place or opt for serums with opaque packaging to maintain the longevity of your serum.

Here are some Vitamin C serum options for you to consider switching to:


1. Skinceuticals C E FERULIC ©, $248. Available at Skinceutical counters and online at
2. PIXI Vitamin-C Serum, $47.50. Available at Lookfantastic.
3. Two L(i)ps Diamond Gentle Vitamin C Serum, $120. Available online at
4. Drunk Elephant C-Firma™ Day Serum, $114. Available at Sephora.
5. Kora Organics by Miranda Kerr Noni Bright Vitamin C Serum, $89. Available at Sephora.
6. Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Serum, $149. Available at Sephora.
7. Omorovicza Daily Vitamin C Serum, $157.50. Available at Lookfantastic.
8. Lumene Nordic C [Valo] Glow Boost Essence, $54.50. Available at Lookfantastic.
9. Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster With Pure Vitamin C 10%, $100. Available at Sephora.
10. Skinceuticals Serum 10, $178. Available at Skinceutical counters and online at