If I Won the Million-Dollar Jackpot, I’d Buy 6,000 Bottles of This Cult-Fave Serum

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Photo: Getty Images/Monique Jaques
There are certain skin-care products that are considered the "holy grail" of the beauty world. Those few things that editors love (and dermatologists can't stop recommending) like Elta MD Sunscreen, P50 Toner, and Bioderma Micellar Water all spring to mind. Then there's Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum ($166).

In my half decade working as a beauty editor, no product has been raved about as much as this stuff. Every time I ask pros to name their top three products, they mention it, and no lie, nearly every editor keeps it stocked in their routine 365. So, it would be an understatement to say that it has glowing reviews—if you scour the Internet hard enough, you'll see that it comes with approximately 10,000 of them.

So why is C E Ferulic so phenom? For starters, it's got an exceptionally high concentration of vitamin C, which means it's packed with all of the usual antioxidants you'd expect from the powerhouse ingredient. This allows it bring on all the benefits—like brightening, skin-tone evening, and all-around anti-aging. The addition of Vitamin E, though, means that it's also ultra moisturizing and  great for treating inflammation.

But even knowing all of this, I resisted hopping on the SkinCeuticals Vitamin C serum train for, well, a half of a decade. I mean, I'm not going to sugar coat it: It's expensive. I had a hard time justifying spending $166 on a vitamin C serum knowing that there were far more affordable dupes on the market, (oh, people also describe the scent as "similar to that of dirty hot dog water"). But after listening to approximately the 300th person gush about how great it is (hi Ali!), whose opinion in skin care I value above all else, I figured I had to give it a try.

There's science behind how vitamin C works. Everything that your skin encounters on the day to day can cause longterm damage in the form of hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines, a loss of collagen, and the list goes on. This happens because sun, pollution, wind and the like all create "free radicals," which are unbound electrons that scavenge their way across your skin looking for an electron to pair with. When you apply antioxidants onto your skin, these electron-rich serums are able to donate one of their electrons to neutralize the free radical, and stop it from creating damage on your skin. So, essentially your vitamin C serum is coupling off the microscopic bad actors, and setting the foundation for your skin to stay in tact and youthful for longer.

Phew! Now that's out of the way:   feel like I need to preface the following by saying that I am a big believer in affordable beauty, and that a solid 80 percent of the products in my daily skin-care routine were plucked straight from the drugstore shelves. But this stuff worth every penny of its lofty price tag (despite the eau de hotdog). No matter how exhausted or hungover or meh I'm feeling (or, ok, looking) in the morning, a thin layer of SkinCeuticals wakes up my skin almost immediately.

It makes my look instantly brighter, which I always appreciate (especially when I'm hungover), and unlike the other vitamin C serums I've always sworn by, I don't need to top it off with a hydrating agent like hyaluronic acid to feel like I've got enough moisture on my face. Even though it's expensive, I'm at least shaving a few dollars off of my skin-care bill by limiting my a.m. routine to one serum instead of two. Not only does it offer instant gratification, but in the 10 days since I started using it I've also noticed a long-lasting glow that has rendered my radiance-inducing primer virtually useless.

TL,DR: There's a reason why so many beauty pros swear by—and are willing to spend $166—this cult-fave.

For a vitamin C serum that won't break the bank, try one of these options from Amazon. Plus, the other skin-tastic vitamin that may not be in your routine yet, but should be. 

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