I was, admittedly, a little late to the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic fan party.  While I had tried the product briefly when it launched over 15 years ago, Skinceuticals used to be one of those brands that was a little harder to get hold of in Australia. It wasn’t until L’Oreal took over its distribution that it became much easier to source. It was while I was testing products for Beauticate’s Top 100 list of the greatest products of all time that I realized it was more than deserving of a place. In fact, I would go so far as to say C E Ferulic was one of the best vitamin serums I had ever tried.


I’m not alone. When I say there’s a party of fans, I’m not joking. Few products will send skincare aficionados into the same paroxysms of rapture as C E Ferulic. I remember aesthetician extraordinaire Melanie Grant, (who looks after Victoria Beckham and Phoebe Tonkin) breathlessly raving about it as she painted a peel on my skin. “Just trust me Sig, you will love it.” She wasn’t wrong.  

Then there are covert whispers among baby-skinned beauty editors at events, endless positive reviews online and a slew of medical and science experts that are only too happy to give it their professional tick of approval. I decided to hit up a couple of these industry stalwarts to get the (g)low down on what exactly makes this particular product such a rock star.


Dermatologist Dr Davin Lim has been perfecting faces for over twenty years at his Brisbane clinic Lasers and Lifts, and is an undisputed authority on what to look for in a skincare product. He says that when it comes to protection, a good antioxidant serum like vitamin C should be your second port of call after sunscreen. In fact, this superstar skingredient actually enhances the protection of sunscreen.

“Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants as it scavenges the free radicals that you get from UV radiation as well as environmental toxins and pollution. This can decrease the signs of photo-aging and aging itself by helping to preserve collagen, elastin and the hyaluronic acid,” Dr Lim explains. 

Beyond the protective capabilities, Vitamin C also boasts a host of other skin rejuvenating properties. 

“It can stimulate collagen production, so can help with wrinkles. I also really like Vitamin C as the treatment of choice for pigmentation. It improves dull skin, improves light transmission through the skin, making it more luminous. It also improves clarity, skin texture and firms the skin,” lists Dr Lim.

So far, so convincing. For a more specific understanding about C E Ferulic’s actual formulation, I turned to science educator Michelle Wong, who has the popular YouTube channel Lab Muffin.



“There are a few reasons why SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic is fantastic,” she says. “Firstly, this formula was a world first. Dr Sheldon Pinnell founded SkinCeuticals based on his pioneering research on vitamin C.” Indeed, there are over 16 clinical trials and C E Ferulic has appeared in more than 20 international peer-reviewed dermatological publications. SkinCeuticals also holds a patent for stabilised ascorbic acid composition, which is a key point of difference for this product.


“Unfortunately; vitamin C in its pure L-ascorbic acid form is quite unstable, even though it’s the version of vitamin C with the best evidence,” Michelle points out. “It can break down quickly, and once it’s broken down, it’s no longer effective as an antioxidant. But when it’s combined with vitamin E and ferulic acid it’s much more stable, so the vitamin C will last on the shelf, after you open it, and after you’ve applied it to your skin,” she says. SkinCeuticals is one of the few brands that combines its C with soothing Vitamin E and antioxidant ferulic Acid in a very specific recipe – which is why they hold the patent on it.


Another thing about Vitamin C? You need JUST the right amount in the formulation for it to work but not too much or some people can suffer from sensitivity. “Research has shown it’s got to be higher than 8% to work, “says Dr Lim. “Most formulations are between 10 and 20%. More than 20% you run the risk of skin irritation. I think the sweet spot is around 15%.” 

SkinCeuticals has researched this point thoroughly and formulated C E Ferulic to a 15% concentration with a pH of 2.0-3.5. “This particular combination is designed to deliver the ingredients most effectively into the skin,” confirms Michelle.


Simply pat a few drops on post cleanse, and before your moisturiser. The jury is still out on whether morning or evening application of C is best. Most people like it in the morning as it’s most happily paired with sunscreen and provides protection against the daily onslaught of free radicals. Others prefer it in the evening when they can apply it with a rich moisturiser to help calm down any potential sensitivity they might experience with Vitamin C. Personally I use it in the morning but when I have a bit more time, I’ll layer it into an evening routine, too. 


It’s a very lightweight, liquid, slightly sticky serum that absorbs quite quickly so it works beautifully under sunscreen and makeup. When my skin is dry I’ll notice a slight tingle, so I follow it quickly with a soothing moisturiser. Since adding it into my arsenal I’ve noticed that my skin is infinitely more hydrated and glowy than it was. I noticed the changes only a week after solid use. I’ve also noticed a slight fading of the pigment on my cheeks. I love that it reaps visible rewards as well as being a strong and silent defender of my skin every day. I only wish I’d started using it years ago.

Words by Sigourney Cantelo, photography by Claire Wallman (@claire_wallman). In collaboration with SkinCeuticals.

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