Obagi vs La Roche-Posay | Which Brand Is Better?

written by: Tom Qiao
last update: February 23, 2024

As a skincare editor who’s been mixing serums into my routine for years on a quest for my best complexion yet, I’ve developed strong opinions on the ones that make […]

As a skincare editor who’s been mixing serums into my routine for years on a quest for my best complexion yet, I’ve developed strong opinions on the ones that make the cut. Obagi Professional-C Serum 20% and La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Serum 10% are two powerhouse options, but have meaningful differences that may make one better suited for your individual skincare needs and budget.

Key Actives & Primary Skin Perks

The Obagi serum stars a high dose of 20% L-ascorbic acid, the most active form of vitamin C. It’s designed to intensely brighten and smooth skin texture while providing antioxidant protection against pollution and UV damage.

Meanwhile, the La Roche-Posay formula provides a lower dose of 10% pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) also for brightening and fighting free radicals over time. The simplicity of the single-ingredient formulation minimizes risk of reactions.

So Obagi goes bold on vitamin C content for dramatic correction of uneven tone and texture. But La Roche-Posay offers an elegant formulation ideal for sensitive types needing environmental protection without additives. Both refine and illuminate skin beautifully.

Texture and Experience Applying

The Obagi serum has a smooth, watery texture with a tacky finish. A little goes a long way and it spreads easily. Meanwhile, La Roche-Posay has an almost identical viscosity but tends to pill if you use too heavy of an application. For me, Obagi feels more luxurious upon application.

Best Skin Types for Each

Thanks to its intense 20% vitamin C content, Obagi Professional-C Serum works best for normal to oily skin that can tolerate high levels of active ingredients without dryness or irritation. Those with sensitive skin may prefer La Roche-Posay for its gentle approach less likely to cause redness while still delivering glow.

What Users & Editors Report

Users and editors agree both serums lead to remarkably brighter, more even tone and texture with regular use. Some do experience pilling with the La Roche-Posay. Obagi garners glowing reviews for its fast visible results fading discoloration. But a few note irritation from such a high vitamin C concentration.

Cost Comparison

Obagi carries the luxury price tag at $108 per ounce compared to $59 for La Roche-Posay. So while Obagi works quickly for dramatic correction of uneven skin tone, La Roche-Posay offers an uncomplicated formulation at half the price for those on a budget seeking antioxidant protection with radiance over time.

In summary, those committed to intensively treating uneven tone and texture should consider splurging on Obagi. And La Roche-Posay gives sensitive skin types a glowing dose of vitamin C without additives. Both deliver impressively clear and luminous skin worthy of their skincare splurge status.

Article written by Tom Qiao
Tom is the founder and editor of TheDermDetective.com where he applies his decades of personal experience with skincare problems like acne and acne scarring to provide readers with practical advice and product recommendations.

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