Face off: Vitamin C vs. Active Botanical Oil Serum

One of the most popular private label skincare products on the market is the vitamin C serum. There are literally hundreds of variations on this one product alone, with brands competing with each other and customers trying their best to find their favorite. But the days of vitamin C reigning unchallenged are over. There's a new product in line, and it promises to be as big of a deal as ever. It's the active botanical oil serum; the flowery smelling, oil based competitor of our time. 

One of the reasons vitamin C serums have become so incredibly popular is because they do such a good job addressing pigmentation and other signs of photo aging. And in a world where all of us are exposed to photo aging elements, this is a really big deal. Whether you live in the city or the country, your skin encounters things like pollution, harsh weather and sun every single day. And all of those things contribute to aging it quicker. And while there's nothing wrong with aging (it's gonna happen to all of us!), you probably want to do it as gracefully as possible. Which is where vitamin C comes in. From sun exposure to pollution to emotional stress, daily application of vitamin C is a huge help for those of us who want to slow and soften the effects of life's clock on our skin.

Similarly, an active botanical serum can also help soften the marks life's clock makes on us. But unlike a vitamin C serum, where it will always have vitamin C and thus its effects can always be at least partially predicted, an active botanical oil serum has more wiggle room because the only real constant in any formula is that it contains oil. And while you could say that you can always expect an oil serum to be moisturizing, the reality is that different oils are just that- different. Rosehip seed oil for one person will feel more or less different to another, depending on their skin. The same goes for any oil.

With vitamin C, there is a greater degree of predictability, but that doesn't mean there still isn't room for innovation. For one, the type of vitamin C used in the formula will have a significant impact on the results delivered. As well as any potential for irritation. See, some people find even the most gentle forms and concentrations of vitamin C to be too much for their skin. For customers like this, an active botanical oil serum is a great option! Especially since there are plenty of botanical oils, like sea buckthorn berry, that contain naturally occurring vitamin C already. 

Aside from this, any supporting ingredients added to the formula, as well as the base used, will inform the quality of the final vitamin C serum. It's why not all vitamin C serums are created equal, and why there's such fierce competition between brands to be the "best". If you're looking to purchase or create your own vitamin C serum, give special consideration to how simple or comprehensive you want it to be. Some serums are basically just a base, preservative and vitamin C. Others have a long list of additional ingredients that work with the vitamin C. 

Similarly, an active botanical serum can be as comprehensive or straight forward as you want. It could have 4 oils, or 20. It could have essential oils, or just carriers. It could include CO2 extracts, or just cold pressed oils. There really is a large variety of what's possible, all of which determines the final product. In short, you want to make sure your active botanical serum feels soothing, moisturizing and anti aging. It shouldn't feel greasy, and you should ideally be able to wear it during the day if you'd like. The smell should also not be overwhelming, and it shouldn't contain artificial fragrances.

If you're a stickler about purity and "natural"-ness, then go for an active botanical serum. Because it's oil based, with no water at all, there's no need for preservatives. On the other hand, if you're the type of person who likes individual ingredient isolates and extracts, then a vitamin C serum might be the way to go for you. And if you're on the fence, try both! As long as both are high quality formulas, there's not necessarily one that's inherently better than the other. It all comes down to your personal criteria.
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