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Formulation Corner: Vitamin C

Formulation Corner: Vitamin C

You’ve probably heard by now that vitamin C is essential for healthy skin. It protects against sun damage, prevents signs of aging and so much more. But you’ve probably also heard that L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C’s purest form) is tough to formulate with. Chemists will tell you it’s an unstable molecule which basically translates to: it goes bad quickly unless it’s formulated right. And that’s where we come in. 

Our co-founder Kayla Bertagna oversees the chemists and research and development teams of all Soon Skincare products. She gave us the 4-1-1 on formulating effectively with L-ascorbic acid and she had some pretty juicy inside scoop on what makes Phoenix 15% Vitamin C + E Serum so effective. 


Why was it so important to use a 15% pure L-ascorbic acid in Phoenix Vitamin C + E Serum?

Vitamin C is a fundamental ingredient to good skin health. You hear it often referred to as the powerhouse antioxidant, and it truly is. Vitamin C reduces signs of aging, corrects hyperpigmentation, repairs skin damage caused by pollutants, and accelerates the body’s natural collagen production, all while protecting from harmful free radicals and giving your daily broad spectrum SPF a boost. As an avid user of Vitamin C, it was important to me that a daily use Vitamin C serum was launched early on for Soon. 15% is a clinical grade concentration of pure Vitamin C that can sustain the stability and potency necessary to fight the free radicals taking hits on our skin on a daily basis. The development process was somewhat of a fight itself, but necessary to formulate a product that won’t breakdown, give a foul odor or irritate the skin as so many pure Vitamin Cs on the market do. After all, the best Vitamin C serum is the one a person will want to use every day, and it can be clinical grade without breaking the bank.


How did your research shape the formula? What research did you do?

Vitamin C has been studied across many areas of health and wellness both topical and transdermal. It was important to me to cast a wide research net to learn what groundbreaking approaches to ingredient pairings and delivery systems are available and how they could be innovated for a daily use Vitamin C serum. This led us to an ingredient called DMSO (dimethyl sulfone), which in our formula specifically, delivers the L-ascorbic acid to the deeper layers of the skin. Deeper penetration of the skin layers has less product sitting on the top of the skin, lessening irritation for sensitive skin types and enabling the Vitamin C to do what it does best, correct and protect. 


Many Vitamin C serums on the market only contain a derivative of Vitamin C as the key ingredient. Phoenix 15% Vitamin C + E is formulated with the additional key ingredients Vitamin E (pure tocopherol) and ferulic acid. Why is this important?  

I had always been taught and heard that pure L-ascorbic acid was unstable and difficult to formulate, which is one of the reasons why so many brands use derivatives. During my research journey with our chemists, it was a bit eye-opening at just how unstable and difficult it is unless it is paired with a Vitamin E and taken even one step further pairing with ferulic acid. Similar to bringing in DMSO for deeper penetration and efficacy, stability was a key property in formulation.

Ferulic acid and Vitamin E stabilize pure L-ascorbic acid better. They are very effective in delaying the oxidization of the Vitamin C once the bottle is open to keep it effective on Day 1 and also on Day 30.  So, in the Phoenix formula, you have Vitamin E and ferulic acid preserving the vitamin C and DMSO taking it deeper into the skin. That’s powerful. 


How do you incorporate Phoenix 15% Vitamin C + E into your regimen?

Vitamin C is a morning must. Daytime is when it is most effective and advantageous for good skin health, and it helps add to my morning glow. After cleansing, and depending on the day, some masking, I apply a few drops full face and then layer with our Mermaid Marine Collagen Serum. And I always follow with a broad spectrum SPF 50. That’s another great benefit of Vitamin C, it’s a wonderful booster to a broad spectrum SPF for added sun protection. I am a big supporter of protecting the skin from the sun in any way possible. Skin cancer runs in my family, so I do what I can to protect my skin at all times. Our Phoenix 15% Vitamin C + E gives me that added protection. Plus, it gives the skin a nice healthy glow.

  • Post author
    Kelley Moore