I Tried Hailey Bieber's "Holy-Grail" Vitamin C Serum, and Now I'm Obsessed
When it comes to her fashion and beauty aesthetic, Hailey Bieber has two trademarks. The first is a minimalist wardrobe that's comprised of elevated staple pieces. (I'm talking about oversize leather jackets, baggy jeans, and white T-shirts.) The second is a glowing complexion. (Bright, light-reflective skin is the foundation for every single one of her makeup looks.)
Seeing as I'm a beauty writer, I have a tendency to focus on the latter. Can you blame me? I write about skin for a living, and Bieber is basically the poster child for that lit-from-within look. Plus, I work pretty tirelessly to achieve that look for myself, so of course, I'm going to perk up and pay attention when she talks about the products and devices she uses.
Imagine my delight when, in a recent YouTube video, she revealed the exact vitamin C serum she uses to maintain her exceedingly even complexion. She went so far as to call it a "holy-grail" product. Since vitamin C is known far and wide for its brightening and anti-aging benefits, I knew I had to give it a try to see if it made any difference in my skin, which tends to look rather dull and uneven.
So that I did. Just a few weeks ago, I started using it both morning and night after cleansing. And even though it's only been a short time, I can already see a visible improvement in the appearance of my skin. Keep scrolling to see which under-the-radar vitamin C serum it is.
Here it is—the BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner. It contains a whopping 20% L-ascorbic acid, which is a pure and effective form of vitamin C. It also contains green tea, which is a potent antioxidant, and squalane, which is known for its superb moisturizing capabilities.
Why You Should Be Using a Vitamin C Serum
Before I talk about what makes this serum special, I want to talk about why it's worth using vitamin C in the first place. According to Brendan Camp, MD, of MDCS Dermatology, vitamin C is special because it helps preserve collagen. "Collagen is a structural protein that provides structural integrity to the skin. Without it, skin sags, and this leads to the formation of lines and wrinkles," he says. Its anti-aging effects explain why it's found in so many eye products—the thin skin in the eye area is particularly susceptible to showing premature signs of aging.
Vitamin C also functions as a powerful antioxidant that can protect against photodamage from UV rays. "In particular, it may help prevent the formation of sunspots that contribute to an uneven complexion," Camp says.
Celebrity aesthetician Candace Marino, better known as the LA Facialist, seconds this. "Vitamin C is an antioxidant that works to protect the skin against environmental aggressors like the sun and pollution," she explains. "It's like a second layer of defense (after SPF) that protects the cells to prevent their breakdown. Vitamin C helps produce collagen, inhibits pigment production, evens and brightens the skin tone, and helps keep the skin soft, healthy, and radiant."
Now, do you see why I was so psyched to learn about Bieber's favorite vitamin C serum? While there are many effective anti-aging and brightening products out there, vitamin C is one of the very best. Its whole purpose is to give the skin that healthy-looking lit-from-within glow that I so desperately desire.
Now, let's talk about this vitamin C serum specifically. What makes this product so special (aside from the metaphorical Hailey Bieber seal of approval) is the formulation. It contains 20% vitamin C. This is an incredibly high percentage compared to other vitamin C serums on the market, which usually clock in at a lower concentration.
A high concentration of vitamin C means little to nothing if it's not stable, though. This ingredient is notorious for oxidizing, meaning it easily degrades and loses efficacy. "Vitamin C can become unstable when exposed to heat, light, or air," Marino says. "This is why most vitamin C products will come in dark glass bottles with a UV coating or in air-tight pumps, which is the best option."
Marino says a surefire sign that your vitamin C serum has oxidized is if it darkens in color, turns orangey-brown, or develops a strange smell. If that happens, "it's time to throw it out," she says.
Luckily, you don't have to worry about oxidation with the vitamin C in this formula since it's highly stable and comes in an air-tight pump. That's just another perk of the product; you'll never have to worry about it losing potency.
Even with such a high concentration of vitamin C, this serum didn't irritate my sensitive skin. That's huge, especially considering I have a tendency for dehydration and a mild case of rosacea going on. It's even more impressive when you consider that I used it both morning and night, per the instructions, rather than just in the morning like I do with most other vitamin C products.
After just a few weeks of use, I can already see a visible difference in the state of my skin. The blotchy hyperpigmentation that usually litters my cheeks and chin has lightened up considerably. Plus, in a more general sense, my skin looks like it's brighter and has more clarity. So yeah, I'll definitely keep using it in my quest for Hailey Bieber–level skin.
3 More BeautyStat Products I Love
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a few other BeautyStat products I've been using in conjunction with the vitamin C. Even though I just recently started using these as well, I'm a big fan.
Let's start with the Universal C Skin Refiner's companion. Just like the serum, this eye cream contains vitamin C. But don't worry. It's not included at such a high percentage. (That could prove too irritating to the delicate eye area.) This time, it's included at 5% concentration. The formula also contains green tea, hyaluronic acid, and anti-inflammatory hemp oil.
I've also been loving this gentle cleanser. It whisks away oil, sweat, and sunscreen, yet it doesn't strip moisture from my skin. I like the fact that it's fragrance-free and includes cool ingredients such as medical-grade silver and lecithin from sunflowers. The former provides antibacterial effects, while the latter provides skin-softening moisture.
Finally, there's this moisturizer. Just like the name says, it's a universal face cream that's safe for all types of skin. It's formulated with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, green tea, and pomegranate sterols, which help protect and repair the moisture barrier for smooth, soft skin.
Eight Other Vitamin C Products to Shop
Marino recommends this professional vitamin C serum. "This is the first vitamin C product on the market that contains extrinsic and intrinsic free radical protection, so not only oxidative stress but the free radicals within the body that multiply and degrade our skin," she says. "This formula is water-, enzyme-, and lipid-soluble, meaning it can penetrate into the deeper layers of tissue where they can coat and protect the cells to prevent damage. This technology helps support the skin's natural renewal cycle and includes DNA repair components that will make the skin behave like its younger self."
This vitamin C–infused toner also contains other natural skin-brighteners like kojic and azelaic acid, AHAs, and bearberry extract, which is an alternative to hydroquinone (a powerful brightening ingredient).
This face oil moisturizes and brightens skin with a mix of vitamin C, pomegranate-seed oil, golden turmeric, evening primrose oil, and gingerroot extract. It's chock-full of antioxidants to help protect and soothe the skin.
This face wash can brighten dark spots and fight fine lines and wrinkles thanks to the inclusion of vitamin C. It also contains salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid to keep breakouts at bay and hydrate the skin, respectively.
This is a new launch from the cult-favorite natural skincare brand Herbivore Botanicals. It contains a stable form of vitamin C as well as the superfood turmeric for a kick of brightening antioxidants.
For a true multitasking product, reach for this hybrid from Supergoop. It offers the benefits of a vitamin C serum with SPF 40 in one simple step. (On that note, check out the best sunscreen serums I'll be shopping all summer long.)
Why not bring the benefits of vitamin C down to your body? This sweet-smelling oil is my favorite way to treat the skin from my neck down to my favorite brightening antioxidant.
Rest assured you can find budget-friendly vitamin C serums, too. This one is only $16 and contains the same brightening antioxidant that's found in other more expensive formulas.