At the risk of sounding obvious, don’t use brown-colored skincare. So I haven’t always been so informed about skincare ingredients. Vitamin C is popping up in lots of products nowadays due to its ability to lighten up hyperpigmentation. Turns out that one sign of vitamin C becoming destabilized and losing its efficacy is a deep yellow/orange or light brown color.
I’ve used various products without even realizing that this had happened because the product was discolored from the start and because I didn’t even realize that vitamin C was an ingredient.
The worst offender has been Philosophy. I’ve used Hope in a Jar Night and Miracle Worker Dark Spot Corrector (full size and travel size). Vitamin C is not advertised as a star ingredient, but the ingredients indeed include it (ascorbyl glucoside and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate). Both products were light yellow or beige from the start. No wonder they didn’t seem to do anything for my skin.
Most recently, I used UNT’s Ex White VCIP Boost serum, containing vitamin C in the form of ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate. Despite having an expiration date 9 months away, it was light brown when I opened it. UNT sent me a replacement bottle with an expiration date in 2017, and the serum was a fresh white. I also started using Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster (ascorbic acid), which was bright orange when I opened it. Although this might seem appropriate (it’s orange like the fruit!), the product is actually supposed to be nearly colorless.
The tough part is that even with normal storage (out of direct sunlight or extreme heat), the degradation of vitamin C can happen before you’ve ever opened the product.
Lesson learned: It’s pointless to use a deactivated active ingredient, so toss out that discolored product right away and ask the company for a replacement. Also use up the product quickly; Paula’s Choice recommends using C15 within 3 months of opening, and I’m already seeing specks of light brown in the replacement UNT serum.