The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%

I have a section in my medicine cabinet that is reserved for products that I’m unsure about keeping around for the long haul — Skincare Purgatory, I call it. The Ordinary’s MAP was soundly in purgatory. I ignored it for a few weeks (probably destabilizing the Vitamin C in that time, but, this particular product isn’t as prone to oxidation as other formulas, so I don’t feel too bad), came back to it, and I’m so glad I gave it a second chance. Although MAP is not known to be a Vitamin C powerhouse, I’ve personally had great results while using this.

There’s not a ton of product in this little tube, which kind of stinks since I find myself reaching for this lotion at least three times a week. Granted, it is only $10 , but having to frequently rebuy is still kind of annoying.

The lotion itself has a bit of an orange-tan tint, but it applies white, and absorbs relatively quick, and fully, without any leftover cast. Unlike other Vitamin C formulations, this particular lotion is not gritty, thank goodness. Now, for the downside: this lotion smells like… cardboard. Or wet paper. Or, glue, maybe? Whatever it is, it’s pretty pervasive for the first hour of wear. Maybe this isn’t the worst smell in the world, but it’s definitely not my favorite.

When you apply Vitamin C products, you should wait a few extra minutes between that and your next routine step. This is no exception, it does take a little longer to dry. But once it’s dry, it plays PHENOMENALLY with any moisturizers or foundations you layer over it. (Don’t forget your sunscreen, too!) This wears well throughout the day, and doesn’t cause any faster-than-normal makeup breakdown.

I think I’ve gotten VERY tiny breakouts — like, one or two miniscule blemishes — since I’ve started using it, but it’s far less extreme than when I use regular Vitamin C serums, and they go away quickly. I don’t foresee this being a normal occurrence going forward, and I otherwise think it’s great for sensitive skin. My skin texture seems to have gotten brighter overall.

I haven’t had good luck with The Ordinary as of late, so I’m happy to finally have a win from them. MAP is officially out of my skincare routine purgatory shelf, and onto my “use a few times a week” shelf. If you’re looking for a less abrasive Vitamin C product, I absolutely recommend this one. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: 4/5

How much I actually like this product: 4/5

Recommended for sensitive skin:¬†Yes — though you may experience some initial break outs, as it is an exfoliant.

Holika Holika Good Cera Super Ceramide Cream

In preparation for winter, and knowing that Cerave in a Tub is no longer a go-to option for me, I went on the hunt for a heavy ceramide cream. It’s a bit on the pricier side — $18 — but it had a few good reviews on r/asianbeauty, so I decided it was worth the splurge. The 2 fl oz’s go a long way.

I was surprised by the heavy jar when I got this in the mail, but I do like the yellow packaging. Nice, bright, and clean! This cream itself feels great: it’s very smooth and creamy. It is peach-colored in the jar, but the color disappears immediately once it is applied to the skin. It melts, actually, which I love. The only drawback here about the physicality of the product is how much I dislike the smell. It smells like some sort of lemony household cleaner.

The ingredient listing is where I become a bit conflicted. The ingredient listing is SO LONG and I am unfamiliar with quite a few of them, which isn’t always the best sign. I mean, it’s great that there are no drying alcohols in it, but I DO think my skin is a little sensitive to this because of how many oils they put in. Now, oils for me are hit or miss — some certainly play better with my skin than others, but this just seems like a lot:

Phew! Not listed in this screenshot is the inclusion of coconut oil and aloe vera (which both tend to be comodeogenic for my skin). On the plus side, we’ve got three types of ceramides, niacinamide, and allantoin.

Despite drying a little bit more tacky on my skin than I would care for (don’t put makeup over this one!), this does make my skin feel protected and soft. I don’t think it quite lived up to the “72 hour” claim, but the feeling did persist up to about the 18 hour mark.

As for my skin condition over all… I do think I have a bit of a sensitivity to this. Although it works GREAT as an emollient, especially overnight, I have woken up a few times with clogged pores, blotchy skin, or tiny break outs. But, I went into this knowing it wasn’t oil-free, so that was the price I paid.

If you’re not sensitive to oils, don’t mind the smell of Pine-Sol, and you’re looking for a great overnight mask, this will do the trick. Otherwise, sensitive skin users, be careful with Good Cera! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 3/5

Longevity: 3.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 2.5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: No