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.

Rohto Melano CC Vitamin C

I was really excited to start this product. I was convinced it would be a miracle in a tube. R/skincareaddiction and R/asianbeauty had more or less given this Vitamin C serum Holy Grail status, and this serum uses the most-effective Vit C delivery method of ascorbic acid. What’s not to like? But it just didn’t do anything for me at all.

I will say I love the packaging. The tube packaging won’t allow for any light to come in to break down the Vitamin C. Just the very fact that it’s in a tube is great, I personally feel like that’s way more convenient than a dropper. For some reason, my first usage sort of surprised me: the clear liquid comes out of the tube very slowly when you push it out, but it is a serum, and is watery to the touch. Normally you don’t picture any serum to be physically slow-moving!

You only need a finger tip or two’s worth of product to cover your whole face in a layer of this. It does take a minute to dry, but once it does, it dries fully. It’s easy to put extra layers on over this (just don’t use niacinamide! It lessens Vitamin C’s efficacy). There’s a very faint copper-y smell that’s typical of Vitamin C products, but it goes away almost immediately upon application. Just wash your hands after you use it, so that smell does not persist.

I’ve been using this product for about 3 months, every other day in the mornings. Short-term, once this product dries, my face does seem pretty bright, but that could just be the sheen from the serum in general. Long-term, I just really don’t see any results whatsoever in my skin quality — I don’t notice overall brightening, fine line decreases, or noticeable acne prevention. On the plus side, I didn’t experience any negative effects, like breakouts. There was just… nothing. Nothing happened.

The price point on this tube is awesome: $10. I didn’t find that I was getting to the bottom of the tube until month three, so the amount of product is pretty impressive, particularly because it hadn’t broken down and turned orange (which is a sign that the product is starting to go bad). This product doesn’t oxidize nearly as quick as other Vit C products I’ve used in the past, so that’s another plus.

Even though it didn’t work for me personally, I would still recommend it. I would even recommend it to sensitive skin users to try out, as well. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1.5/5

Longevity: 2/5

How much I actually like this product: 3/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes