More like sorry, not sorry, because we’re all free to love and hate what we want.
Hate is a little strong here, but I was definitely disappointed. This waterless vitamin c serum contains 20 % ascorbic acid and sounded so promising, but it just misses the mark for me. Keep reading to see why.
Table of Contents
What is it
The Universal C Skin Refiner Brightening Vitamin C Serum is the first 20% vitamin C serum containing stabilized L-ascorbic acid (the purest form of vitamin C) through a patented encapsulated system promising maximum potency delivering the fastest anti-aging results.
Best suited for
Non sensitive skin types looking for a strong vitamin c formula with ascorbic acid.
Things to note
Alcohol free, fragrance free, and cruelty free. Very silicone heavy though.
A plastic air-tight pump bottle. However the pump can be finicky, either dispensing no product or way too little. It’s a struggle every time.
No noticeable scent. Maybe a very faint citrus if you sniff really hard?
Like a silicone based primer. Light, smooth, and velvety, with just the tiniest hint of a dry oil feel as you spread the product on your skin. There may be slight stinging if your skin is sensitive.
Velvet finish, similar to using a primer, thanks to the silicone-heavy formula. Will probably pill depending on other products used.
BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner Ingredients
Obviously the key ingredient here is the 20% ascorbic acid, the most powerful and well studied form of vitamin c that can help with hyperpigmentation, collagen production, and protecting our skin against free radicals.
It’s also the least stable, but this is remedied by the fact that there’s no water in the formula. Without water, the vitamin c degrades much slower, so you can enjoy its potent benefits longer. It’s also in an airtight container.
To boost the antioxidant benefits there’s green tea leaf extract, and we’re looking specifically at its active component Egcg. This is what gives green tea its powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and UV protecting benefits.
There’s also hyaluronic acid, but don’t expect this to feel or event act like your typical hydrating serum. What you’ll really be feeling instead is this almost occlusive texture, thanks to the abundance of silicones and petrolatum, one of the most occlusive ingredient known today.
Now none of these occlusives are bad, I actually rave about petrolatum in my favorite Nivea creme, but it is a little weird seeing so many of them in a serum. But hey if it means the vitamin c stays fresh longer I have no complaints.
Overall a simple formula with just no extra fluff, just proven ingredients.
- Start with clean, dry skin. Apply your water-based toner/essence first.
- Press down once (or as many times as necessary when the pump is being a pain) to dispense 1 pumps worth of product. Apply with minimal rubbing motion as this will increase the chances of it pilling.
- Follow up with your usual moisturizer and sunscreen in the morning!
- Start with using this once a day, increasing it to twice a day once your skin gets used to it.
I would avoid using other actives (eg. AHAs, BHAs, and retinols) in the same routine to minimize irritations.
Usage Experience & Results
This isn’t my first time using a waterless vitamin c formula, and since all past experiences have been positive, I was super excited to see what the hype was with this one. And of course, my first impression was anything but.
First the pump was finicky, it must have taken at least 5-6 presses to finally get the serum out, and then only half the amount came out anyways. Thought this was a fluke but it just kept happening. On the good days product would come out with one pump, and on bad days, I’d get a great hand workout.
Next is the texture. This isn’t my first time using a primer-like vitamin c, but this was the only one that would pill. No matter what I layered (or didn’t layer) before, it’d pill, it’s just a matter of how badly it pilled.
I tried to remedy that by mixing it with a hydrating serum but nope, it refused to blend and turned into this weird streaky paste. So it’s like, damned if I use it alone, and damned if I mix it. I just can’t win.
These two issues might seem minor at first, but when you’re just trying to get ready for work in the morning, the last thing you need is for your skincare to be a pain in the butt. Trust me, the frustration will wear you down to a point where you just want to chuck the bottle at the wall.
The only way the BeautyStat Vitamin C would work is if I used it at night, on bare skin with maybe a water-like essence/toner beforehand. And even then I can’t layer anything else over it due to some of its occlusive ingredients. But, doing this always gave me smooth glowing skin the next morning. Which sucks, because now I have to choose between using this or my beloved retinols. This is why I much prefer to use vitamin c in the mornings!
Result wise, I did notice improvements to my skin tone and texture when used in the evening, but no changes to the appearance of dark spots . I didn’t see any changes in fine lines and wrinkles though, despite their “fastest anti-aging results” claim.
I’m sure I was getting the antioxidant benefits and maybe if I kept using it, I would eventually see decreased appearances of fine lines and more even skin tone, but given what a pain in it is to use, I honestly couldn’t stick it out for more than 4 weeks.
What Others Say
Reviews sourced from Ulta to provide different perspectives
It has a creamy texture but it doesn’t feel too heavy. My skin does feel softer and more healthy but I will probably have to use it longer to see more significant visible results.sensitive/acne prone
I thought I was doing something wrong and I tried so hard to make this product work, no matter what I do it beads up, doesn’t absorb, and turns into this yucky waxy consistency.
By the time I was done testing, some major changes had taken place: My complexion was overall much smoother and more radiant, some of my dark spots had slightly lifted, and the scar on my chin from stress-picking a blemish had faded significantly.
Vitamin C Products I Actually Recommend
Algenist Blue Algae Vitamin C Serum
If you want an airtight, ascorbic-acid based formula that brightens and actually feels nice on the skin, this is it. Light milky texture, doesn’t pill, doesn’t sting. Expensive, but worth it if you can get it on sale (25% off with my Skinstore code JENNY!)
The INKEY List Vitamin C Serum
They both have the same waterless formula and primer-like texture, except Inkey List packs 30% AA instead of 20, and is much more affordable. A great pick if you want something really strong, just make sure you dilute this one with a hydrating serum.
107 SOSEO VINBIOME Vitamin C Serum
Not an ascorbic acid formula but still delivers brightening benefits plus some barrier support + hydrating boost too! An excellent all-in-one serum that would work even for sensitive skin types.
Maelove The Glow Maker
If you prefer the standard water-like 15% ascorbic acid serums, this Maelove formula is the most well-rounded and pleasant to use imo. I will say, my skin never has had much luck with these formulas, but this is one of the better ones I’ve tried.
- Waterless formula and airtight packaging minimizes oxidization and keeps the vitamin c potent.
- Uses the best studied and most effective form of vitamin c, ascorbic acid, at a potent dosage.
- Brighter and smoother skin when used in the evenings.
- Terrible texture that pills easily and doesn’t layer well.
- Faulty pump design that requires multiple pumps each time dispense any product, and often in the wrong amount.
- Slight tingling sensation if your skin is damp or sensitive.
Scores & Summary
I’d love to say I found my holy grail but the usage experience was honestly one of the worst, which is kind of infuriating considering how pricey this is. While I did see improvement in skin texture or tone, it was at the expense of giving up my retinol, because I was only able to use this in the evenings. Had the price been lower, or the texture just more compatible with other products, I think this may have been a winner, but the finicky nature makes this a pass for me.