Today, I’m going to discuss my No. 1 vitamin C serum pick: SkinCeuticals Serum 10 AOX+.
In short, Serum 10 AOX+ is a more budget-friendly version of C E Ferulic (at less than half price 🤑) with much of the same formulation parameters and expected benefits for your skin.
So does this product live up to the bestselling SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic? Let’s find out. ⭐
ⓘ In today’s post, I’ll share my 2¢ on SkinCeuticals Serum 10 AOX+!
SkinCeuticals Serum 10 AOX+
(The following review is taken from my post on the Best Vitamin C Serums for Hyperpigmentation)
If you’ve done any research on vitamin C serums, you’ll know that SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic is one of the most highly recommended products among dermatologists and beauty editors alike.
However, the main issue with C E Ferulic, is not its outstanding formulation, but its outstanding price, which makes this popular vitamin C serum out-of-reach for most people (currently retails for $166).
If you’ve ever wondered why SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic is so damn expensive, here is my theory: 🕵️♂️
- SkinCeuticals (through its parent company, L’Oréal USA Creative) owns a global patent on formulations of 10-20% pure vitamin C (a.k.a. L-Ascorbic Acid) in combination with various cinnamic acids (notably, Ferulic Acid) and the antioxidant Vitamin E, at a pH < 3.5.
- This patent is known as the Duke Antioxidant Patent (US Patent No. 7,179,841 B2) and was filed by Dr. Sheldon Pinnell (the founding scientist of SkinCeuticals) and Jan E. Zielinski in January 2005. Like most utility patents (relating to inventions), it’s valid for 20 years from the date of application and is scheduled to expire in March 2025 (source: Google Patents).
- This patent is significant because Dr. Pinnell’s years of research has shown that vitamin C serums formulated under these parameters are more stable and more readily absorbed by the skin (source: Topical L-Ascorbic Acid: Percutaneous Absorption Studies, 2001 and UV Photoprotection by Combination Topical Antioxidants Vitamin C and Vitamin E, 2003).
By holding this patent, SkinCeuticals can prevent competitors from creating vitamin C serums with similar formulations (i.e. 10-20% L-ascorbic acid, cinnamic acids, and vitamin E, at a pH below 3.5).
In fact, SkinCeuticals recently filed a lawsuit against Drunk Elephant in 2018 over allegations that the brand’s popular C-Firma Day Serum violated the Duke Antioxidant Patent (source: The Fashion Law).
Alright, so back to my theory on SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic: once the patent expires in 2025, other competitors will be able to freely replicate the original formula and sell “knock-off” versions of this vitamin C serum (much like how generic drugs are way cheaper than brand name ones).
That’s why SkinCeuticals is charging an arm-and-a-leg for its products today, while it’s still covered by patent protection, before competitors like Drunk Elephant move in with their own versions.
But this review is not for SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (even if I did spend 90% of my time on it 🤦♀️). As I said earlier, C E Ferulic is just too expensive for most consumers, even as an occasional splurge.
Instead, I’m recommending the lesser-known (yet still very effective) SkinCeuticals Serum 10 AOX+ which currently retails for less than half the price of C E Ferulic! ($70 at the time of this review)
The Serum 10 AOX+ features 10% L-Ascorbic Acid and 0.2% Ferulic Acid for powerful antioxidant protection against environmental stressors like UVA/UVB radiation and free radical damage.
It’s the perfect daytime vitamin C serum for brightening dark spots, improving uneven skin tone, and reducing common signs of aging like sun spots, wrinkles, and fine lines.
The best part is that Serum 10 AOX+ is also formulated according to the Duke Antioxidant Patent (notably, at a pH below 3.5 which is required for vitamin C to penetrate your skin). That means you get to enjoy an effective formulation based on years of research for a fraction of the price. 👍
- It’s very suitable for sensitive skin due to the lower concentration of active ingredients and simple ingredient list (11 in total with no parabens, dyes, fragrances, or alcohols)
- It helped many users achieve brighter skin with more even skin tone, reverse sun damage, keep skin looking younger and smoother, and reduce pore sizes
- It’s quickly absorbed by the skin and doesn’t just stay on the surface like thicker serums do
In addition, users shared some of the common drawbacks to Serum 10 AOX+, including how:
- It has a watery consistency that some may find difficult to apply (SkinCeuticals recommends adding 4-5 drops to the palm of your hands and patting over your face, neck, and chest)
- It has a mild smell (some say it’s like hotdogs) due to the lack of fragrances or perfumes that are commonly used in the industry to mask scents (this is a good thing, in my opinion)
- It’s best used within 3 months of opening (but has a full shelf life of 12 months). This is because L-ascorbic acid oxidizes over time which reduces its antioxidant abilities. One clever user suggested transferring this serum into separate UV-tinted glass spray bottles to minimize oxygen exposure (which happens every time you open the dropper bottle)
My Verdict: If you want the best vitamin C serum on the market, you really can’t go wrong with the classic SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (just make sure you buy from an authorized retailer like Dermstore). But if you’re looking for a balance between effective formulation and reasonable affordability, I’d recommend SkinCeuticals Serum 10 AOX+ as the better vitamin C serum for most people. 😍
Bonus Tip: If you want a stronger vitamin C serum, check out SkinCeuticals Serum 20 AOX+.