Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum Review (2021 Update)

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Today, I'm going to discuss a hidden gem in the vitamin C world: Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum.

This diamond-in-the-rough is overshadowed by mega hits like the OG SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, blockbuster Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, and long-standing Ole Henriksen Truth Serum.

However, Vichy Vitamin C Serum is my no. 2 overall pick in the entire vitamin C serum category (second only to SkinCeuticals Serum 10 AOX+ which is a more budget-friendly version of C E Ferulic).

Here's why I highly recommend the Vichy Vitamin C Serum:

  • It uses the Best Form of Vitamin C: 15% L-Ascorbic Acid (Pure Vitamin C)
  • It includes Antioxidant Boosters... Vitamin E and Pycnogenol (Pine Bark Extract)
  • ...and Anti-Aging Powerhouse: Hyaluronic Acid (increases skin hydration and firmness)
  • Plus it's SUPER affordable: at $28.50 for a 0.34 oz bottle at Ulta Beauty

Want to learn more about Vichy Vitamin C Serum? Let's get started. ⭐


Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum

If you're looking for a vitamin C serum that's both high-quality (which, in my opinion, means having the right ingredients at the right concentrations in a clean formulation) and relatively affordable, I highly recommend Vichy's LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum with 15% L-Ascorbic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid.

As we discussed earlier in my top overall recommendation, the SkinCeuticals Serum 10 AOX+, not all vitamin C serums are created (formulated) equally. In particular, years of research by Dr. Pinnell has shown that vitamin C only penetrates your skin under certain conditions: i) using L-Ascorbic Acid, ii) at a 10-20% concentration, and iii) formulated at a pH level below 3.5 (source: Topical L-Ascorbic Acid: Percutaneous Absorption Studies, 2001 and Duke Antioxidant Patent, 2005).

Remember, SkinCeuticals holds a global patent until 2025 that prevents competitors from creating vitamin C serums with these formulation parameters. (looking at you, Drunk Elephant!)

With this in mind, Vichy Laboratories, a luxury brand born out of the mineral waters in Vichy, France, has taken a slightly different approach with its vitamin C serum:

  • Similar to C E Ferulic, you get a highly potent dose of 15% L-Ascorbic Acid
  • Unlike C E Ferulic, you don't get the stabilizing benefits of 0.5% Ferulic Acid; but you do get the antioxidant power of Vitamin E and Pycnogenol (Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract) which comes from the bark of French maritime trees
  • Vichy also added Hyaluronic Acid to increase skin hydration and soften fine lines & wrinkles
  • The ingredient list is nice and short (11 in total) but unfortunately contains drying alcohol

Overall, I do like Vichy's formulation (especially at the current price point which is $28.50 per 0.34 oz or roughly $84.00 per 1.0 oz). Obviously, the company cannot copy everything from C E Ferulic as that would be patent infringement. In particular, I couldn't find any info on the pH level of this product (which plays a significant role in how well the vitamin C will actually penetrate your skin).

I also like the mini-bottle size (0.34 oz) which means you'll have an easier time finishing this product before L-ascorbic acid oxidizes (as shown by changes in color from clear amber to dark yellow). It's also smart marketing as the price tag drops to under $30 compared to $80+ per 1.0 oz.

Now, if you have the budget and can commit to using a vitamin C serum on a daily basis, I'd still recommend SkinCeuticals Serum 10 AOX+ (currently $70 per 1.0 oz) over the Vichy Vitamin C Serum. You'll get a best-in-class formulation and better value for your money on a per oz basis.


In terms of results, here's what most users had to say about the Vichy Vitamin C Serum:

  • It absorbs very quickly but leaves behind a sticky residue
  • It helps brighten dark spots and clear up uneven skin tone
  • It helps tighten aging skin and soften rough skin texture
  • For a small bottle, it lasts quite a while and provides good value for money
  • It has a mild scent which some people found unpleasant (no fragrance is added)

In addition, I noticed that many reviews on Vichy and Ulta Beauty were from those who received free samples or submitted their review to enter a sweepstakes contest (take it for what it's worth). Many people also did not use the product long enough before posting their review.

My Verdict: The Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum offers a rare combination of effective formulation (featuring 15% L-Ascorbic Acid) at an entry-level price ($28.50 for 0.34 oz). It's the perfect way to get started with pure vitamin C serums on a budget before upgrading to SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic or SkinCeuticals Serum 10 AOX+ in the future.

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