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It's time to share my beauty stand out of the month with you! If you've read the title, you can see it's the Pestle & Mortar Vitamin C 2 Phase Serum* | £68 (15% off with code JASMINETALKS_LF) | which was sent to my by Look Fantastic a couple of months ago. I'm about halfway through it at the time of writing, so I think I'm ready to share why I like it so much...

If you haven't yet come across Pestle & Mortar; I personally think they're criminally underrated as a brand. Their product range is very much a capsule collection of skincare essentials, as opposed to some gigantic line trying to be everything to everyone. However, everything I've tried from them has been solid, in all honesty, so I trust them to create really great formulas and quality products.

Vitamin C is a temperamental ingredient and this year I've been focused on finding truly great formulas (there will be a round-up in a few months once I've finished my testing). It's generally pretty unstable and turns quickly, so if you're splashing out on a pricey formula like this; I really recommend you use it solidly, every day until it's finished, to get your mileage out of it. Oxygen and light can both degrade the formula, hence this comes in a tinted bottle with a pump as opposed to a dropper. When it's good, I've had incredible results; not just in terms of adding an instant glow (which is nice, but not life-changing) but in terms of helping my skin's tone and texture. I suffer with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which effectively means I get red marks after my spots heal up, which take a long time to fade without any assistance. This is one of my primary reasons for using a Vitamin C as part of my routine. The Pestle & Mortar serum is a 16% formulation, so I don't recommend it for beginners, but for those whose skin is used to the ingredient already (and even then; definitely patch test!) There are three forms of Vitamin C in this serum: Ascorbyl Glucoside (this is generally used in combination with other forms of Vitamin C - it's one of the most stable forms, but doesn't always give the most dramatic results), L-Ascorbic Acid (the Vitamin C gold standard, and the most widely-researched and most often used in products, however it's very unstable) and Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (a stable, water-soluble Vitamin C that could be the most effective form for spot-prone skin).

You probably can't see it in my photo but it's in the name; there are actually two sections in the front and back of this bottle with a dual pump, so a single squirt combines both elements of the formulation (though unfortunately I've noticed one section is going down slightly faster than the other, meaning my final couple of pumps of products will contain no Vitamin C!) Obviously half of this is the orange Vitamin C blend, however there's also an oil element. For this reason, I think this serum is most suitable for normal, dry and mature skin types, as (although it's very lightweight) it's oil-based. Alongside the Vitamin C, there are some other great ingredients in this serum. The first is ferulic acid, which is often combined with other antioxidants like Vitamin C or resveratrol. It can help protect the skin against free radical damage (just like Vitamin C) but is also used because it helps stabilise ingredients like Vitamin C. Pumpkin ferment extract is also in the mix, as another antioxidant full of replenishing fatty acids. Linoleic acid is an omega-rich fatty acid and can be found in the oil phase of the serum. There's also squalane in this serum, which is a really great skin moisturiser, that's plant-derived but mimics the oils our skin naturally produces, making it a lovely, gentle option. The only ingredient I really think could cause issues (though be sure to check the full ingredient list) is the evening primrose oil, as it is a fragrant essential oil and some people are sensitive to them (particularly when combined with a strong active like Vitamin C, which can cause irritation for some on its own).

After around a month of use; I really do love this serum. Not only is it moisturising and does it give my skin a gorgeous, dewy glow, but it gives me those amazing Vitamin C benefits that take a serum from 'nice' to 'wow'. My skin tone looks clear, even and as close to unblemished as it's going to get! I've occasionally had hormonal breakouts, but even when that's happened; I've found they've totally cleared up very quickly without really scarring at all. I also think the ingredient list and formula similarities make this a great alternative to the Drunk Elephant Vitamin C, if you're no longer supporting them but really like that serum. It isn't cheap, but I'd personally pick this up again with my own money, given how good it's been for me!

Have you tried Pestle & Mortar before? Is Vitamin C part of your skincare routine?

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