Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Review 2020


Vitamin C is an excellent ingredient for getting rid of stubborn wrinkles, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation.

The problem, however, is finding a vitamin C serum that actually works.

With over 150K loves on Sephora, the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum is definitely one of the most popular vitamin C serums of all time.

But is it really worth the hype? Find out in our in-depth review!

ⓘ In this post, I’ll provide a complete review of Ole Henriksen Truth Serum to find out if it’s worth your money!

Related: Best Vitamin C Serums for Hyperpigmentation

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Truth Serum Review

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum is a premium quality vitamin C serum with two types of vitamin C derivatives to help you restore a brighter and more even-looking skin tone.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Review
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Key Features

  • 2 Types of Vitamin C Derivatives
  • Orange & Grapefruit Seed Extract
  • No Parabens, Sulfates, or Phthalates
  • Lightweight Gel Texture
  • (Artificial) Citrus Fragrance
  • Dries Quickly (~5 minutes)


  • Brightens Dull & Uneven Skin Tone
  • Reduces Appearance of Dark Spot
  • Semi-Opaque Bottle Limits Oxidation
  • All-Time Bestseller at Sephora (According to 150K+ Loves! ?)


  • Vitamin C Derivatives Are Less Potent Than Pure Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid)
  • Expensive


The Ole Henriksen Truth Serum is one of the bestselling vitamin C serums of all time. In fact, it was once the #1 selling anti-aging product at Sephora

Vitamin C serums can reduce the appearance of age spots, wrinkles and fine lines, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation. It also helps prevent skin damage by neutralizing free radical molecules.

While competitors like SkinCeuticals use L-ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C), Ole Henriksen has opted for vitamin C derivatives instead. These are less potent than L-ascorbic acid but offer a longer shelf life and are less likely to irritate skin.

Reviews of the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum are quite positive. Many people reported signs of brighter skin, increased skin firmness, and more even skin tone. 

As always, your mileage may vary (YMMV). 

Personally, I’m not a fan of the citrus scent as it’s created with fragrances (citral, limonene, linalool). These have no health benefits and can potentially irritate or damage your skin.

Overall, Ole Henriksen Truth Serum is a decent vitamin C serum for those looking to brighten dark spots, fade acne scars, or simply keep skin looking more youthful. 

For the price, however, I’d look for a vitamin C serum with L-ascorbic acid like the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum or Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster.

What Is Ole Henriksen Truth Serum?

Best Vitamin C Serums for Hyperpigmentation in 2019
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With over 150K loves on Sephora, the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum is definitely one of the most popular vitamin C serums ever created.

Vitamin C helps brighten your complexion and correct uneven skin tone. It’s effective for mild age spots, wrinkles, atrophic acne scars, and signs of hyperpigmentation.

In terms of ingredients, the Truth Serum includes two vitamin C derivatives:

  • Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
  • Calcium Ascorbate

The serum itself is very lightweight and dries within a minute or two. 

It comes in a beautiful orange and white semi-opaque bottle. This design protects the vitamin C serum from light and heat (though I’d prefer a fully opaque bottle just to be safe).

Frankly, I was disappointed by the number of high risk ingredients in this product (highlighted by the Environmental Working Group). These include fragrances used to create the “citrus” scent (Citral, Limonene, and Linalool).

What Makes Ole Henriksen Different?

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Ole Henriksen (the founder) was known as Hollywood’s skincare guru for many years.

Before rubbing elbows with A-listers in Beverly Hills, Ole was traveling the world working as a model and professional dancer.

He became interested in skincare after an esthetician in Indonesia helped him overcome cystic acne. A few years later, Ole opened his signature beauty spa in Beverly Hills and the rest is history!

You can easily spot the Ole Henriksen brand by the bright and simple packaging, a fusion of Ole’s colorful personality and Scandinavian roots.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Ingredients

Best Vitamin C Serum for Hyperpigmentation
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The key ingredients in the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum include:

  1. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C Derivative)
  2. Calcium Ascorbate (Vitamin C Derivative)
  3. Orange and Grapefruit Seed Extract
  4. Sodium Hyaluronate

You can find the full ingredient list here.

Benefits of Vitamin C

So what’s the big deal with vitamin C, anyway?

I’m glad you asked.

Vitamin C is clinically proven to brighten your skin by inhibiting melanin synthesis. This helps reverse pigmentation disorders such as melasma, age spots, and acne marks.

Melanin is an important pigment that determines our skin color and protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. 

Vitamin C also promotes collagen formation. It influences gene expression (i.e. DNA) and provides essential inputs for collagen production. This helps improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines as well as atrophic (pitted) acne scars.

Finally, vitamin C protects our skin from the sun’s UV rays. It has antioxidant properties that prevent UV-induced free radical damage. UV rays are known causes of sunburn, dark spots, and skin cancer.

1. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C Derivative)

Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) is the first vitamin C derivative listed on the label. It is a salt derivative of L-ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C).

But why use a vitamin C derivative instead of L-ascorbic acid? 

While L-ascorbic acid is more potent (our body prefers vitamin C in this form), it comes with a number of issues. 

For one thing, it oxidizes (spoils) rather quickly which means a short shelf life. Also, you need to be careful with storage (keep it in a dark and cool place). 

For another, L-ascorbic acid can be irritating as it requires a fairly acidic pH (below 4) to properly penetrate our skin barrier.

Vitamin C derivatives, like sodium ascorbyl phosphate, address some of these issues. 

SAP is more stable and does not oxidize as quickly as pure vitamin C. Once absorbed into the skin, SAP is converted into L-ascorbic acid by enzymes in the body. From there, it provides the same benefits as pure vitamin C. 

SAP is effective at a pH of 6-7 which means less skin irritation compared to L-ascorbic acid. For reference, our skin’s normal pH is around 5.5.

As a bonus, if you have active acne, research shows that SAP can limit sebum oxidation by up to 40% (one of the key factors behind acne).

2. Calcium Ascorbate (Vitamin C Derivative)

Number two on our ingredient list is another vitamin C derivative, calcium ascorbate.

Also known as Ester-C, calcium ascorbate is often used in nutritional supplements.

Like SAP, calcium ascorbate is a stable form of vitamin C. This means a longer shelf life but lower potency as it must be converted into L-ascorbic acid by the body.

Unfortunately, there is not as much research on calcium ascorbate’s effectiveness in skincare.

One study in 2006 showed that calcium ascorbate was more hydrating than L-ascorbic acid but less than vitamin E when used in topical creams.

3. Orange and Grapefruit Seed Extract

Orange extract is used to “nourish skin”, according to Ole Henriksen.

This is confirmed by CosmeticsInfo, which lists orange extract as a “skin conditioning agent” that helps restore suppleness and reduce flakiness.

Grapefruit seed extract, on the other hand, is used as a preservative.

Paula’s Choice, however, notes that grapefruit seed extract is a poor preservative, even when used in sealed, pump-style packaging.

4. Sodium Hyaluronate

Sodium hyaluronate is a salt derivative of hyaluronic acid, an abundant and naturally occurring substance in our skin.

Thanks to sodium hyaluronate’s smaller molecular size, it can more easily penetrate the skin. 

Sodium hyaluronate can hold up to 1000x its own weight in water, making it an excellent hydrating ingredient. By retaining more moisture, your skin will appear smoother with fewer wrinkles and fine lines.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Reviews

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“This serum does it all…”

“This serum does it all. Brightens, hydrates, nourishes, fades away scars & blemishes. Was apprehensive because of the citrus ingredients on my sensitive skin but it was gentle enough. Saw an improvement in the quality of my skin overall very quickly. Only con is that it is so expensive.”

Sephora Reviewer

“Includes potentially irritating ingredients…”

“The Ole Henricksen Truth Serum is just an okay vitamin C serum, in my opinion. What I don’t like about this serum is the fact that they have included many potentially irritating ingredients, such as: grapefruit seed extract, orange fruit extract, fragrance, linalool, citral, and limonene. Skin doesn’t gain any benefit in the inclusion of these ingredients and for some people these ingredients can cause damage and irritation – sometimes even when you don’t see or feel it.”

MakeupAlley Reviewer

“Lightened a large amount of acne scars.”

“Absolutely love this product! This is the holy grail of all my beauty products! With a great citrus scent, it wakes your skin up and gets it ready for the day. I’ve also had a large amount of acne scars and it has lightened them quite a bit! While a bottle is a bit pricey, I highly recommend investing and your skin will thank you!”

Influenster Reviewer

My Verdict on Ole Henriksen Truth Serum

We hope you enjoyed my Ole Henriksen Truth Serum review. 

This is a good addition to your skincare routine that helps brighten dark spots, fade acne scars, and protect skin from UV damage.

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