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Today we're talking about a revamped classic and a new formula from staple French pharmacy skincare brand: Vichy!
Let's kick things off with the reformulated Liftactiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector* | £39. I don't want to get too into it here, because I will be doing a dedicated post on Skinceuticals alternatives, but ultimately: pure form Vitamin C (AKA ascorbic acid) is notoriously unstable and difficult to formulate with and the stabilised, non-irritating way of doing it is patented by Skinceuticals. That formula also costs 3x as much as this product! So, although Vichy's version isn't cheap (and it's definitely at a higher price-point than many other Vichy products), it's definitely cheaper than Skinceuticals. And both brands are owned by L'Oreal, so although this isn't the patented formula, I went in with a fair amount of confidence in it. Pedalling back slightly, let's talk about Vitamin C, why it's great and why everyone is specifically searching for the holy grail of a stabilised ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning it protects the skin from free radical damage and therefore from accelerated skin ageing. It can also work synergistically with your sunscreen in that respect, improving the effectiveness of both steps. It's also a great ingredient for evening out the skin tone and reducing the appearance of discolouration. The most effective form of it is ascorbic acid, both in terms of antioxidant potential but also because this is the form of Vitamin C that can stimulate collagen production in the skin (which depletes over time, leading to loss of plumpness and elasticity).
I really like the new version of this packaging; ascorbic acid really does need the dark bottle and a dispenser that prevents oxygen from getting in, and this style of dropper also helps application of this fluid, watery formula. This was light in colour when I cracked it open and now I've almost finished the bottle it's only darkened slightly and it's not that deep, almost brown orange I associate with oxidised Vitamin C. Alongside the 15% ascorbic acid in here, we have Vitamin E to stabilise it and boost its antioxidant potential. I was also pleasantly surprised to see it's formulated with pycnogenol, an antioxidant derived from maritime pine tree bark that I personally love for my skin. We also have glycerin and a hyaluronic acid derivative in here to pull water into the skin, but there's not much else going on; it's really all about the Vitamin C bolstered with other antioxidants, and there's not much in here that could be irritating. I felt this made my skin glow and it looked healthy and bouncy during the time I was using it, plus it definitely helped with fading little post-spot marks I experienced. Whilst it's hard to comment on antioxidant benefits during a single product round, I trust that one day using products rich in them will help my skin! If you're looking for a cheaper alternative to Skinceuticals, this is on the pricier side but it didn't irritate my skin and it didn't oxidise. You'll have to wait for my dupe post for a full breakdown and to find out if this is the best of the alternatives, though!
A brand new product from Vichy is their Liftactiv B3 Serum for Dark Spots & Wrinkles* | £30. Although I guess it's not absolutely essential with these ingredients, it has the exact same airtight tinted packaging as the Vitamin C. This is formulated with 5% niacinamide as its star active, which is in that sweet spot: it's unlikely to irritate your skin but is proven through studies to be effective. Niacinamide can encourage your skin to produce more ceramides, which are a fundamental component of the skin barrier, which in turn keeps your skin happy, healthy and hydrated. It can also help with hyperpigmentation by stopping it spreading through the skin so your blemishes don't become even bigger scars. Additionally, it can also help regulate oil production in the skin if you're more spot-prone and oily. All-in-all, almost anyone can benefit from incorporating this ingredient into their routine.
That's not all! Alongside niacinamide, we have a little bit of glycolic acid, which is an AHA exfoliant; although it's not a really strong glycolic acid formula, I'd still stick to this as an 'every other day' treatment at most. As an advanced user of skincare, I can apply this before my retinoid in the evening without it irritating my skin. The glycolic acid will help with that increased skin cell turnover so your skin tone looks more even over time, plus you get an immediate smoothness and glow-boost. We also have urea, a natural moisturising factor which can condition the skin but also has a mild exfoliating action if it's used in a concentration >10% (though I'm not sure if this is). There's allantoin in here to soothe the skin and balance out the stronger actives we have in the mix here. This also contains tranexamic acid, a supplementary tyrosinase-inhibitor, meaning it interferes with the hormone that makes your skin produce excess melanin when it's injured or irritated. Overall, this is a really impressive multi-active formula that can target a number of issues and condenses down your routine a little.
It has a water-light texture, and doesn't feel harsh or drying, so should suit most skin types. For me, it brings the glow, it brings the smoothness, it assists with texture and helps fade blemish marks quickly and effectively. This could be one of my standout drugstore-available actives and has to be one of my favourite products from Vichy that I've tried so far!
Overall, both of these formulas really impressed me and hit so many beats I look for in my skincare products across just two steps in a routine. Have you tried any of Vichy's serums?