The Ordinary is a skincare brand that offers many targeted treatments for skincare concerns ranging from acne and hyperpigmentation to wrinkles and fine lines. Their products are very affordable, as they come from a company that has set out to strip all the filler and unnecessary additives from their line to offer effective products for a much lower price than traditional brands.
The Ordinary’s popular Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is a highly concentrated Vitamin C suspension formulated to brighten, even out skin tone and texture, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In this The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension review, I will discuss my experience with the 23% vitamin C suspension.
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The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is a highly concentrated water-free suspension of 23% pure l-ascorbic acid powder. It targets the signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines while brightening your complexion.
This vitamin C suspension also contains 2% dehydrated hyaluronic acid spheres. The spheres have a soft-focus effect that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while smoothing out your overall complexion and enhancing the effects of vitamin C.
The Ordinary notes that this topical vitamin C formula provides the most direct exposure of extremely high concentrations of Vitamin C. So it may cause an intense tingling sensation before your skin builds a tolerance (within the first few weeks of use). The Ordinary states that this should be a non-irritating sensation.
L-ascorbic acid (also called ascorbic acid) is water-soluble. This suspension is formulated in a way that keeps ascorbic acid stable in a waterless suspension. The resulting texture is not like a serum, cream, or lotion (it feels like a powder) and will take a few seconds to feel absorbed.
If you don’t love the powdery feel, The Ordinary offers a Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone that avoids that powdery feeling on your skin. Note that silicone entraps the vitamin C and interferes with vitamin C exposure to the skin, so this silicone suspension contains a higher 30% vitamin C concentration (instead of 23%) to offset the reduction in vitamin C availability.
My The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% Review
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is different from any other vitamin C product I’ve ever tried. It has a thin liquid consistency and a slightly greasy, gritty, and powdery feel that takes some getting used to. Upon application, it makes my skin sting to the point that I have to wash it off. I’ve tried this product many times, and my skin always reacts the same way.
What worked much better for me was mixing it with a gentle moisturizer or water-based cream, such as The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors, to dilute it. The gritty, sandy feeling on the skin isn’t noticeable, and neither is the stinging, picky feeling on my skin when I use about 2/3 moisturizer to 1/3 Vitamin C Suspension. You can dilute it based on your skin tolerance.
Since my skin is somewhat sensitive, I have learned that undiluted high concentrations of pure ascorbic acid, usually over 10% to 15%, make my skin red, irritated, and uncomfortable. So I think using this suspension undiluted is not the best choice for those with sensitive skin.
If you don’t have sensitive skin, this vitamin C suspension could be an excellent treatment to smooth and brighten the skin while acting as an antioxidant to protect the skin from damage from UV exposure and other environmental factors that can cause wrinkles and fine lines.
If you have more sensitive skin or can’t tolerate the tingling and texture, the good news is that there are several The Ordinary vitamin C products to choose from. So chances are, you’ll be able to find one that works for your skin type.
How To Use The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension
The Ordinary recommends using The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% in the evening.
Apply this suspension after cleansing, toning, and any water-based serums or treatments. Follow with a moisturizer and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 in the AM.
If this vitamin C product is too strong for your skin, you can mix it with your moisturizer or another cream-based product to dilute its strength until your skin can build a tolerance.
Do not use Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% on broken skin. The Ordinary recommends patch testing this and any new skincare product before using it on your face for the first time.
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% Ingredients
Ascorbic Acid, Squalane, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Coconut Alkanes, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glucomannan, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Trihydroxystearin, Bht.
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% Conflicts
You should not use The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% with copper peptides, peptides, The Ordinary EUK134 0.1%, niacinamide.
Also, alternate usage with potent actives like exfoliating acids such as AHAs and BHAs (i.e., glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid), pure/ethylated vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids including retinol.
Related Post: Olay Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Review
Where to Buy The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
Which The Ordinary Vitamin C Is Best?
Since The Ordinary offers 8 vitamin C products, you may be wondering which is best. The truth is that it all depends on your skin type, tolerance, and skin concerns. The strongest treatments will be Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% and Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone.
Here’s a quick look at the other 7 vitamin C products from The Ordinary. For more details on The Ordinary vitamin C serums and suspensions, please see my Complete Guide To The Ordinary Vitamin C Products.
As previously noted, Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone is an alternative to the 23% powdery vitamin C suspension if you are bothered by the gritty texture. It has a high concentration of pure vitamin C (a portion of which does not reach the skin due to the stabilizing silicone in the formula, hence the higher 30% concentration), which can irritate sensitive skin types.
Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% is an excellent choice if you deal with hyperpigmentation and are looking for a brightening serum. It will target dark spots and discoloration with a lower and less irritating concentration of pure ascorbic acid at 8%, plus brightening active alpha arbutin at 2%. Alpha arbutin is a derivative of hydroquinone, but it is considered a safer alternative.
100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder is a little more hands-on but also customizable. You must mix it with other treatments before application, so you can create a unique vitamin C treatment based on your skin tolerance. The Ordinary recommends mixing between a quarter to half a scoop with 5-10 drops of serum or a pea-dime size of emulsion-based products. Avoid mixing with products containing peptides, niacinamide, or The Ordinary EUK 134.
Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution is a new and unique vitamin C product that is supposed to provide the same antioxidant benefits as pure ascorbic acid. However, it has a much more stable bond with fatty acids thanks to an esterification process called ethylation. The texture is silky smooth and spreads easily without any gritty feeling.
Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% serum is a vitamin C derivative serum that is much more stable than pure ascorbic acid but must be converted to ascorbic acid in the skin, making it less potent than pure ascorbic acid. The serum texture is a non-sticky water-based serum. Ascorbyl glucoside is known for its brightening properties. (This is one of my favorite vitamin C derivative products. You can read my review here.)
Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F contains an oil-soluble vitamin C derivative that has a potent concentration of ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, a stable vitamin C derivative. It also contains vitamin F (essential fatty acids), which help restore and retain moisture in the skin. This would be a great choice for those with dehydrated and dry skin.
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% (currently being reformulated) is a vitamin C derivative that balances out the skin tone and brightens skin. It works as well as Vitamin C derived from l-ascorbic acid but it does not irritate the skin as pure l-ascorbic acid can.
The Benefits of Vitamin C
If you are an avid skincare enthusiast, you may be aware that there are many benefits to incorporating vitamin C into your skincare routine. Vitamin C has 3 main benefits for the skin:
- First, using vitamin C in your skincare routine can help to brighten your skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation and dark spots. It interrupts melanin (pigment) production in the skin, so it can help to fade discoloration spots, acne scars and reduce uneven skin tone.
- Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant, so it helps fight the free radicals in the environment which damage skin cells and contribute to sun damage and premature aging, like wrinkles and fine lines and a reduction in skin elasticity.
- Vitamin C helps stimulate collagen production. Collagen is a structural protein that is essential for healthy, youthful skin. Many people see a reduction in collagen production as they get older (thanks to sun damage), which is why wrinkles start to set in and the skin loses its firmness. Collagen can improve firmness and elasticity in your skin.
Final Thoughts On The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension Review
Vitamin C is one of the best over-the-counter ingredients for brightening dark spots and evening out skin tone. While this undiluted formula was too strong for my skin, it could be a great vitamin C product for someone who can tolerate higher concentrations of pure ascorbic acid.
There are other vitamin C derivatives in The Ordinary skincare line that may be better for you if you have sensitive skin or if you don’t like the texture and strong tingling that this product causes. Also, you can try one of The Ordinary antioxidant serums if this product does not work out for you but you still want antioxidant protection from UV rays during the day.
Thanks for reading!
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