One of the most disconcerting and dividing questions among skincare enthusiasts is, “What color should vitamin C serum be?” And it is easy to see why. You see, while fancy color-changing cocktails are all the rage and gaining a ton of popularity in the bar scene, most of us will prefer consistency when it comes to our skincare regimen. Normally, unlike cocktails, we don’t particularly take well to our serums or lotions changing color after some time of using them. Actually, most of us reading this are not even sure what color is vitamin C serum in the first place. So, let’s get to the bottom of this, shall we?
First things first, it is important to acknowledge that serums that are laden with vitamin C tend to vary widely in odor, texture, consistency, and color. Speaking of which, the serum color can vary widely from one manufacturer or brand to another. This has led to the ever-present dilemma of how to tell if the vitamin C color of the serum you just purchased signifies its freshness or potency. In fact, it is so confusing that even seasoned skin care specialists can barely claim to confidently know what color is c. The good thing, nonetheless, is that you won’t have any of these concerns at the end of this excerpt.
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What Color is Vitamin C Serum?
Contrary to what most people tend to think, vitamin C or ascorbic acid is not orange. Yes, far from the common misconception being peddled around, ascorbic is not orange in color. And this is taking into account that citrus fruits such as oranges rank as some of the best natural sources of this vitamin. Actually, eating a diet rich in ascorbic acid sources can help prevent scurvy—a condition that is usually brought about by a lack of vitamin C. Without ample vitamin C, collagen can start breaking down making your skin age prematurely and your wrinkles may start becoming more noticeable.
Seemingly, this association of vitamin C with one of its most available natural sources (i.e. oranges) has led to most people starting to assume that all vitamin C serums ought to be orange in color. However, in reality, pure ascorbic acid is perfectly clear as water. In other words, now you know the answer to the question, “What color is vitamin C serum?”
But that’s not all.
How long does vitamin C serum last?
Now that you know the expected color of fresh and potent vitamin C, the next question that will naturally pop into your mind is; how long does vitamin C serum last?
Here’s the crux, the shelf life of your vitamin C serum will mostly depend on how efficient the manufacturing process was and, as expected, the accompanying ingredients in the serum. That said, all serums will, of course, have an expiry date which is usually listed on the packaging. It’s your duty to take keen notice of this and start planning the usage of the serum around the manufacturer’s expected shelf life. Besides, that’s the reason it is advisable to prioritize vitamin C serums from brands with a reasonably long enough time frame of usage to avoid having a pile of expired tubs of ascorbic acid lotions in your bathroom. One such excellent example of this is Maryann’s vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid which is guaranteed to last you at least six months of assuring potency.
How to Know if Vitamin C Serum has Oxidized?
One of the easiest ways to tell that your vitamin C serum is no longer good to use is through its color. As discussed earlier, potent and fresh ascorbic acid is clear or (at the very least) pale orange in color. So when it starts turning orange brownish in color (sometimes dark yellow), you should know that it is no longer fit for use. This process, which is known as oxidation, is often the result of exposure to air, light, and heat that gives it that characteristic pronounced color and thicker consistency.
Having answered the question of how to know if vitamin C serum has oxidized, it’s only fair to mention that the rate of oxidation of vitamin C is dependent on a few controllable factors, which we will get into shortly. Nonetheless, remember that vitamin C serum oxidation is a completely natural process that is bound to happen sooner or later. That’s why it is important to pay particular attention to the expected expiry date of the serum that you are intending to purchase to avoid ending up with an already oxidized product a few weeks later before you have even had the chance to use it.
So, does vitamin C serum expire? Yes, it does! And knowing exactly when does vitamin C serum expires by checking the expiry date can help you avoid purchasing expired vitamin C serum.
How to Keep Vitamin C Serum from Oxidizing?
Given that you are now familiar with the vitamin C serum color and consistency after oxidation has occurred, it is only expected for one to start thinking of ways how to keep vitamin C serum from oxidizing. And here is where it gets a little interesting. Your usage habits will determine how fast you end up with orange vitamin C serum, all other factors held constant, including the manufacturer’s expiry date. If you are the type to leave your serum uncapped and exposed to air for long periods, don’t get so surprised when you have oxidized vitamin C sooner than expected.
Therefore, the idea here is to prevent vitamin C oxidation if you are to extend the longevity of your serum. You can do this by storing your serum in a cool, dry and dark place (preferably a refrigerator) and screwing back the cap tightly as soon as you are done using it.
There’s no doubt that vitamin C oxidized is hardly as effective or potent as it is in its fresh and pristine state. That’s the reason it’s your job to practice the right usage and storage habits of the serum to keep it from expiring prematurely.