Vitamin C is one of the most popular skincare ingredients, thanks to its powerful antioxidant properties, ability to brighten and even out skin tone, and target wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging.
The Ordinary, a skincare brand known for its affordable yet effective products, offers eight vitamin C products, both derivatives and pure vitamin C formulas.
Today I’d like to discuss The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone, which contains The Ordinary’s highest pure vitamin C concentration.
In this The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone review, we’ll take a closer look at this vitamin C product, its performance, and if I think it’s worth trying.
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The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone is a thick vitamin C cream with a smooth formula that targets the signs of aging, including dull, lackluster skin and uneven skin tone.
The suspension* contains a high 30% concentration of pure vitamin C. The suspension is water-free, so it is more stable than water-based vitamin C serums.
The vitamin C is in a base of extra light silicones, which gives it a smooth texture and feel on the skin.
But since the concentration is so high, it can cause tingling or irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin.
*Suspension is a name for a skincare product that contains active ingredients suspended in a liquid, gel, or cream-like base.
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone Key Ingredients
There are only four ingredients in this vitamin C product:
Dimethicone: This common silicone-based ingredient acts as a skin protectant and moisturizer, providing a noticeably smooth texture in this vitamin C suspension.
Ascorbic Acid: Also known as l-ascorbic acid, or simply pure vitamin C, this active ingredient offers three main benefits for the skin:
- Brightens dull skin and helps fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots
- Stimulates collagen production for a smoother, firmer complexion
- Provides antioxidant protection against environmental damage
Polysilicone-11: This synthetic silicone polymer serves as a film-forming agent and creates a breathable barrier to improve skin texture and provide a soft, matte finish.
Peg-10 Dimethicone: This water-soluble silicone derivative functions as an emulsifier.
As you can see from the minimal ingredient list, this The Ordinary vitamin C product contains only vitamin C and silicone-based ingredients that help with emulsification and texture.
If you want to learn more about the rest of The Ordinary’s vitamin C products, check out my The Ordinary vitamin C guide.
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone Review
I knew going in that my skin would be sensitive to The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone after experiencing an intense tingling and burning sensation from The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%.
Unsurprisingly, when using the 30% suspension on its own, I experience a very uncomfortable strong tingling sensation. The tingling eventually lessens as it absorbs into my skin.
Its thick texture is almost putty-like, making it a little difficult to rub into my skin.
The good news is there are a few ways to reduce that uncomfortable tingling and improve the thick texture while getting the benefits of pure vitamin C.
The Ordinary notes that you can dilute it with a serum or cream (or oils if the texture feels too thick for your skin) on each application so that your skin can build up a tolerance over time.
I tried mixing the 30% formula with The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane since it has such a lightweight texture. While it did thin the vitamin C suspension out, the combo still irritated my skin.
I contacted The Ordinary, and they said you can choose the product type based on your texture preference.
They offered a few suggestions that you can mix with the suspension:
- The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (Seal/Moisturizer Step) OR
- The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics (Hydrator/Treatment Step) OR
- The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (Hydrator/Treatment Step)
I had better luck mixing the 30% formula with a moisturizer. I tried mixing it with The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA and Natural Moisturizing Factors + PhytoCeramides. (You can mix it with other gentle moisturizers, too.)
Both help reduce the irritation to a slight tingling sensation.
Due to its richer texture and moisturizing benefits, I’ll mix the suspension with Natural Moisturizing Factors + PhytoCeramides when my skin is dehydrated and needs moisture.
The Bottom Line
While I was able to make the suspension tolerable by mixing it with other skincare products, I prefer a lower vitamin C concentration due to skin sensitivity.
Since The Ordinary has so many other vitamin C products, I tend to reach for them more often than this 30% concentration.
How To Use The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone
The Ordinary recommends applying a small amount of the suspension to your face once a day, preferably in the evening.
I like to use vitamin C products during the day for their antioxidant protection, so you can do what works best for your skin.
The Ordinary notes that a very strong tingling but non-irritating sensation can be expected during the first 1-2 weeks you use the suspension until your skin tolerance increases.
If the suspension is too strong for your skin, like it was for my skin, you can mix it with another cream or serum to reduce the strength until you can build up your tolerance.
Use only on unbroken skin, and avoid your eyes and eye contour area.
Also, be sure to patch test before using it for the first time to avoid an unwanted initial reaction.
Remember to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher during the day, every day.
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone Conflicts
Since this pure vitamin C product is formulated at a low pH to be effective, it may interact with other skincare actives and compromise the formulas.
Avoid using The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% In Silicone in the same routine as products containing:
- Direct Acids (exfoliating acids like glycolic acid or lactic acid (AHAs), and salicylic acid (BHAs)
- Direct Vitamin C (other products containing ascorbic acid)
- Copper Peptides
- Retinoids, including Retinol
- The Ordinary EUK 134 0.1%
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone Alternatives
High-concentration vitamin C products like The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone can be difficult to tolerate depending on your skin type. Luckily, many other options contain pure vitamin C or vitamin C derivatives.
Here are some alternatives from The Ordinary that may work better for you:
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
If you want a vitamin C product with added nourishing ingredients to offset the potent acidic nature of pure vitamin C, then The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is a great choice.
Comparable to The Ordinary’s 30% vitamin C formula, this 23% version also offers antioxidant support and fights the signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, dullness, and uneven skin tone.
The formula is enriched with moisturizing squalane and hydrating sodium hyaluronate (the salt form of hyaluronic acid).
Please note that it does have a gritty texture (vitamin C powder is suspended in an oil-like base).
For more details on this vitamin C suspension, please see my The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% review.
What’s the difference between The Ordinary’s 23% vitamin C and 30% vitamin C? Continue reading for a comparison between the two products.
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone vs The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone contains a 30% concentration of ascorbic acid versus the 23% concentration of ascorbic acid in The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%.
But when all is said and done, the two formulas end up delivering about the same amount of vitamin C since the lightweight silicones in the 30% concentration formula interfere with the absorption of some of the ascorbic acid.
One of the main differences between the two products is how they feel on your skin:
The smooth silicone feel of the 30% formula is a nice alternative to the gritty feeling you get from the 23% formula.
Also, the 23% concentration contains more ingredients, including actives that hydrate and moisturize your skin, like squalane and sodium hyaluronate.
While both are a bit strong for my skin, if I had to choose between them, I would go with the 23% concentration, even though it has a gritty feel because it contains hydrating and moisturizing ingredients to offset the potential irritation.
The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%
If the texture of The Ordinary’s pure vitamin C suspension format is not your favorite, then The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% will be a pleasant alternative.
The serum contains ascorbyl glucoside, a water-soluble derivative of vitamin C that offers antioxidant support and similar anti-aging and brightening benefits as pure vitamin C.
Although this is not a pure vitamin C product and is less potent, ascorbyl glucoside converts to ascorbic acid once in the skin.
It is formulated at a pH of 6.00 – 7.00, which is much closer to our skin’s natural pH, so it’s much less likely to cause irritation.
The water-based formula is lightweight, non-sticky, and quickly absorbed, making it great for combination and oily skin types.
The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%
If dullness is a primary skin concern and you want to brighten your skin, The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% is an excellent choice.
You get the benefits of pure vitamin C in a much lower concentration at 8%, plus 2% alpha arbutin, a natural skin-brightening agent derived from the bearberry plant.
Alpha arbutin inhibits melanin production to help correct existing discoloration and reduce the appearance of dark spots.
The duo helps to reduce signs of aging, brighten dull skin, even out skin tone, and visibly reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F
The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F is a very lightweight oil serum that contains 20% ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, also known as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a vitamin C derivative.
This derivative converts to vitamin C in your skin and is less likely to cause irritation than pure vitamin C. The serum also contains vitamin F, which is omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
These fatty acids help to keep skin nourished and moisturized, making this vitamin C serum excellent for dry skin types.
See my Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F review post for more details on this serum.
The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder
If you want a more customized vitamin C product, The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder is a very affordable product to try.
This powder allows you to customize the concentration of your vitamin C serum based on your own skin’s needs and tolerance.
All you have to do is mix the powder with another serum, cream, or moisturizer to create your own custom product.
Just be sure to avoid mixing it with direct acids, pure vitamin C products, copper peptides, The Ordinary EUK, niacinamide products, peptides, and retinoids.
I prefer mixing it into hyaluronic acid serum or a moisturizer like Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA or Natural Moisturizing Factors + Phytocermaides to make my own vitamin C cocktail.
The powder dissolves easily into other formulas, making it easy to use and feels comfortable on my skin.
The Ordinary Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution
Ethylated ascorbic acid is a vitamin C derivative that acts like direct vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
Unlike direct vitamin C, ethylated ascorbic acid is stable and is less likely to cause irritation than pure/direct vitamin C.
The Ordinary Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution contains 15% ethylated ascorbic acid (also known as ethyl ascorbic acid) and only one other ingredient: propanediol, which is a solvent and natural moisturizing agent.
This serum helps to reduce the look of dark spots, improve skin tone and texture, and give you brighter, more youthful-looking skin.
The serum has a lightweight, fluid texture that feels slightly oily upon application, even though no oil is in the serum. This is due to propanediol.
Once absorbed, the serum leaves a smooth and slightly tacky finish: perfect for layering other products.
The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%
The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% is being reformulated, so it is not currently available for purchase. It’s a vitamin C derivative cream that converts into vitamin C once applied to your skin.
More Vitamin C Serums
Of course, these are just The Ordinary vitamin C options.
There are so many effective vitamin C products on the market today. And you don’t have to pay through the roof for a good one.
See my post on the best affordable drugstore vitamin C serums for some great drugstore options.
Should You Try The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone?
If you’re looking for a product to help brighten and even out your skin tone, The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone is worth considering if you don’t have sensitive skin.
This lightweight silicone-based serum contains 30% pure vitamin C, one of the most powerful antioxidants.
However, it’s important to use this product cautiously as it may cause irritation unless you’re using other products to buffer the pH and dilute its potency to build your tolerance.
Thanks for reading!