Experts Debunked the Viral TikTok Vitamin C Test—Here’s What to Look for Instead

When it comes to skincare ingredients, vitamin C is one of the most popular ( and one of the most highly debated ) options out there. Yes, it ‘s been prove to offer a host of skin benefits ( it stimulates collagen production, lightens colored spots, and protects against oxidative price ). still, not all vitamin C serums are created equal. First, there ‘s the fact that the component is highly unstable and can lose its potency if exposed to heat, alight, and air out. then, there ‘s the count of finding just the right concentration of vitamin C to maximize a product ‘s efficacy ( not excessively little, not besides much ) .

It can still sometimes feel like a gamble when patronize for vitamin C products—especially when there are so many offerings on the market. then, when we came across a TikTok exploiter who claims to have found a fast, easy, and DIY way to test which vitamin C serums are actually worth the investment, we were both intrigued and doubting. To find out more, we turned to two dermatologists and a cosmetic pharmacist to get their take on the viral test. Keep reading to see whether TikTok ‘s vitamin C test holds up, and find out how else you can see if a serum works before you buy.

Meet the Expert

  • Dr. Corey L. Hartman is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, AL.
  • Krupa Koestline is a cosmetic chemist and the founder of KKT Consultants.
  • Dr. Stacy Chimento is a board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami.

The test

late death calendar month, a TikTok user ‘s DIY vitamin C experiment started gaining traction on the app. In the video, which have since racked up millions of views, the exploiter claims you can test a vitamin C serum ‘s potency by mixing it with a standard inaugural help kit out staple : antiseptic solution .

She combines a glass of water with a capful of antiseptic to conduct the test, turning the body of water coffee-brown. then, she adds a few drops of a vitamin C serum to the glass ( in her first base viral iteration, she chooses three democratic offerings : the Korres Wild Rose Spotless Serum ( $ 68 ), the Josie Maran Argan Bright Skin Vitamin C Serum ( $ 65 ), and the Paula ‘s Choice C15 Super Booster ( $ 49 ) ).

If you ‘re already cringing at the atrophied product, barely wait because this is when the “ magic trick ” happens. After she stirs all three glasses, the Korres and Josie Maran concoctions remain embrown, but the looking glass with Paula ‘s Choice serum miraculously returns to its pre-antiseptic clear color. According to the drug user, if the solution turns clear, it indicates that the serum contains vitamin C. If the solution remains brown, it ‘s purportedly lacking the all-important ingredient. unfortunately, things are never vitamin a simple as they seem on social media .

I ‘ll admit : upon my inaugural watch, I was immediately transfixed by the test ‘s likely, as were the TikTok users who flooded the comment incision with requests to test their go-to vitamin C next. The exploiter obliged and repeated the experiment with other serums, all with varying results. The cult-favorite Mario Badescu Vitamin C serum ? No dice— the mixture stayed brown. The drugstore basic serum from La Roche Posay ? A winner ! The solution turned crystal clean when assorted with antiseptic. The everlastingly popular indie nibble from Mad Hippie ? Luckily for its legion of loyal fans, it passed, excessively .

Since the initial TikTok went viral, users across the app have tried out the experiment themselves to see if their favorites passed the trial. As is equality for the course with any viral TikTok swerve, there ’ sulfur been quite the debate going on in the comments about whether the test is even accurate in the first place. To see if the DIY experiment holds up, I reached out to a handful of experts to ask the same question : could finding an effective vitamin C serum be this simple ?

What the Experts Say

In light, not quite. As noted in a TikTok from Javon Ford, an LA-based cosmetic pharmacist, the test is “ otiose ” for determining the efficacy of a vitamin C serum since it ’ s the presence of ascorbic acid—not vitamin C—that causes the concoction to turn clear. Ascorbic acid is a coarse ( though highly mentally ill ) form of vitamin C, and as Ford points out, lone Paula ’ mho Choice from the original viral TikTok contains it, which explains why the mixture turned clear .

“ The serums being tested are using two different versions of Vitamin C, ” says Dr. Corey L. Hartman, a board-certified dermatologist and the collapse of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, AL. “ It ’ s like comparing apples to oranges, and besides a waste of all three perfectly good products. ”

Krupa Koestline, a cosmetic chemist and the collapse of KKT Consultants, agrees. “ This is a good at-home test to check for the presence of ascorbic acidic, ” she tells us. “ however, a fortune of brands rely on more stable forms of Vitamin C, or Vitamin C derivatives, in their products, which would not produce the same results in these tests, despite containing senior high school amounts of vitamin C derivatives. ”

Bottom lineage, the DIY experiment ca n’t actually tell you if a serum contains vitamin C or not, since it merely tests for one class of the component. however, while this viral TikTok examination might not live up to the ballyhoo, the experts did recommend a few other qualities to look out for when searching for the best vitamin C products on the grocery store.

What to Look For

The concentration

While it ’ south natural to assume that a higher concentration of vitamin C makes for a more effective merchandise, that ’ s not wholly the case, says Dr. Stacy Chimento, a board-certified dermatologist based in Miami. “ For any vitamin C intersection to be effective, the assiduity should be between 8 and 20 percentage, ” she explains. “ Anything less is ineffective, while anything above it can begin to dwindle. ” Chimento recommends the La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Serum ( $ 42 ), which contains a concentration of 10 percentage pure vitamin C to boost radiance.

La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum

La Roche-Posay

Pure Vitamin C Face Serum


shop class

The promotion

According to the experts, the bottle that holds your vitamin C serum can actually affect how well it works. “ The packaging may seem like a small letter component, but the reality is that the bottle should be night or even slenderly opaque to avoid light exposure, ” says Chimento. “ The hood should besides be tight to prevent premature oxidation. ” Koestline agrees that an opaque, air-restrictive bottle or pump container is ideal for ensuring that ingredients remain staple : “ A vitamin C cream that comes in a jar, unfortunately, won ’ thyroxine remain effective for long. ”

Vitamin C serum
Liz deSousa / Byrdie

The Added Ingredients

” The presence of other ingredients can make or break whether a vitamin C serum is effective or not, ” Chimento explains. “ Ingredients like vitamin E or ferulic acerb can stabilize vitamin C and strengthen the antioxidant reaction while being easy on the skin. ”

Koestline agrees that one of the most effective ways to increase the potency of a vitamin C product is to combine it with other antioxidants. “ There have been several studies that have proven the combination of antioxidants works better than just vitamin C entirely, ” she says. One of her current favorites is the Allies of Skin 35 % Vitamin C Perfecting Serum ( $ 118 ), a arid formula that ’ s made with two different vitamin C derivatives, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione. “ It ’ s a simple, however effective merchandise, ” says Koestline.

Allies of Skin 35% Vitamin C Perfecting Serum

Allies of Skin

35% Vitamin C Perfecting Serum



The Formula

From serums to oils to creams, there are a overplus of different vitamin C products to choose from. According to Hartman, however, one character of rule rises above the rest when it comes to effectiveness .

“ Choose a vitamin C serum over a moisturizer, ” he recommends. “ A serum absorb deep into the dermis where fibroblasts that produce collagen and elastin reside. ” Plus, Hartman adds, the molecular size of a serum lends itself to better penetration and absorption than a lotion or a moisturizer. His top picks include the best-selling SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ( $ 166 ), which he calls the “ aureate standard ” of vitamin C serums, and the Heraux Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum ( $ 250 ), which combines vitamin C with a “ potent cocktail ” of ingredients for firm, plump, and smooth clamber.

Heraux Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum


Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum



The Results

While it might not be the fastest method acting, waiting to see visible results is undeniably one of the most effective ways to tell if your vitamin C serum is working. Chimento says that with time, you should start to notice a more even skin timbre and a decrease in the appearance of wrinkles and finely lines.

” The best manner to tell if your intersection is effective is to use it over an unfold period ( about three months ) and note any changes in your hide and any reactions you may have, ” she explains. “ If not, you should consider meeting with your dermatologist to discuss changing your product for something more potent and effective. ”

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