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SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Review

Everyone swears by this vitamin C serum for glowy, smooth skin—but it’s $170

A amber glass bottle of serum in front of a background that's three shades of yellow deepening from top to bottom. Credit: Reviewed / SkinCeuticals

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  1. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

When it comes to skincare, I’ll try anything once—and as Reviewed’s beauty editor, it’s my job. The only caveat is that I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg—unless I know something is going to give me the stellar results it promises. The price—along with its more than 4,000 rave reviews on Dermstore—is exactly what drew my attention to the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum. The 1-ounce vial costs a hefty $169, yet reviewers swear by it and repurchase it over and over for their skincare routine because it’s that good. Its dazzling reputation made me wonder if I’d see results worthy of the price, so I put it to the test.

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What is the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic?

An amber glass bottle of skin serum with a white label standing on a white vanity desktop.
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Kasparian

The SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic claims to protect and brighten the skin.

SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic contains three key ingredients that are all antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, i.e., molecules with uneven electrons that cause signs of aging on the skin: 15% L-ascorbic acid (a.k.a. vitamin C) to brighten and firm the skin, 1% alpha tocopherol (a.k.a. vitamin E) to moisturize, and 0.5% ferulic acid, which can be derived from nuts or seeds, to stabilize the two former ingredients as they’re prone to oxidizing and spoiling.

SkinCeuticals claims that this serum is effective for a minimum of 72 hours post-absorption, meaning it should protect your skin from the free radicals in pollution and reduce skin damage from UVA rays for up to three days (though it isn’t a sunscreen). The brand says it’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, and recommends applying four to five drops to the face, neck, and chest after cleansing in the morning.

How did I test the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic?

For just shy of two months, I applied the serum all over my face every day after cleansing with Tula The Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser and before following up with a sunscreen, like EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 or Supergoop Glowscreen Sunscreen. The only exception to this was one week in the middle of testing that I forgot to bring it with me while traveling and an occasional day here or there that I got lazy in the morning and skipped skincare (yes, it happens to us beauty editors, too). I snapped photos of my bare face with seven weeks in between the before and after images—plenty of time to see a difference in my skin—but I plan to keep using the serum till the bottle is gone and see if I notice further improvements.

What I like about the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

A side by side image of the right side of the author's face, showing more redness on the cheeks in the left image.
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Kasparian

I noticed an improvement in old dark spots after (right) using the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum compared to before (left) using it.

My dark spots appear to have lightened

I have flat, red spots on my skin known as hyperpigmentation from now-healed acne, with some from about 10 years ago and others from just the last few months. They’ve always been an insecurity of mine, along with my indented acne scars. After looking at the images side by side of my skin before and after using C E Ferulic, I can see that some of my darkest red marks have faded to a duller pink. It’s not a 100% improvement, but I’ve seen a more noticeable difference in the seven weeks than in the years using various other products since the oldest ones appeared. I asked my friend to compare the photos without telling her what I saw, and she reported back that my skin looks overall brighter and more even.

It was easy to integrate into my routine

The word “serum” may call to mind a concentrated treatment you need to gradually implement into your routine to avoid irritation. A metered increase is a good idea with any skincare product, especially if you have sensitive skin, but I found it unnecessary with this serum. I simply started using it every day with zero skin irritation. The texture is tacky for several minutes post-application, but otherwise, I’d forget I even applied it—it was that gentle on my skin.

It works well under skincare and makeup

Prepping for makeup application with good skin care (think: moisturizer, sunscreen, and primer) is vital. But some of these items cause complexion products to pill or look patchy—something I never saw while using this, regardless of what products I applied on top of it.

What I disliked about the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

A side by side image of the left side of the author's face, showing more redness on the cheeks in the left image.
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Kasparian

Though I saw some new acne marks appear, I again saw a reduction in old spots between before (left) and after (riht) using the serum on the left side of my face.

The price, the price, the price

I have to say it three times for emphasis—and because this is a $$$ product. The results I saw and the easy application make this an appealing product to keep in my routine long-term. However, I don’t see myself ever spending $169 on a product that essentially gets washed off at the end of the day—even if SkinCeuticals claims it continues working for 72 hours after absorbing in. (My test bottle was provided to me by the company.) The results were good, but they weren’t that good to me.

Also, I think you could find similar products at a fraction of the price. Some vitamin C serums that also contain vitamin E and ferulic acid include Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum for $24, Maelove Glowmaker Antioxidant Serum for $30, and Paula’s Choice C15 Vitamin C Super Booster for $52. To my eye, all of these look comparable and may provide similar brightening effects while protecting your skin—though I can’t promise that, as I haven’t tested them.

Is the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic worth it?

Yes, if it’s in your budget

I don’t cast any judgment on those whose priorities include splurging on skincare. So if you have the extra cash or you can snag this during a sale, I say go for it. I like the results I saw and I’m curious to see if I notice even more of an improvement in my skin’s tone with continued use—after my seven weeks of use, I’ve only used a third of the bottle.

Get the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic from Dermstore for $169

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

  1. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

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