Drunk Elephant C-firma Review

See My review of Drunk Elephant C-Tango™ Multivitamin Eye Cream : First Impression+Allergic Reaction.

C-Firma™ Day Serum $80/30ml

Not sponsored.

I’m a big big fan of VC serums, they are easy to work with, help me a lot with fresh acne scars. I started to use VC serums in my skincare long before I got hormonal acne. I think around age 20, for a brightening, even complexion. Although the anti-aging benefit needs time to be seen and proved, the brightening effect is real. Of course, now I mainly expect VC serum to do its magic on fading out fresh(I mean within 1 month) acne scars. This review was original in my another post  Drunk Elephant Brand Review, as I had more new information/experience about those products, for a “too much information” product like C-firma, I’d like to review it individually. Thank you for stopping by.

1,Information list:

1, Educational information about VC products, from Into the glossWhat Are Vitamin C’s Benefits For Skin? If you are interested or feel confused about VC products, it sure will help.

Quotes From this article — -“When in doubt, look for Ascorbic Acid. That’s really the one you want.” “Defends against free radicals, Boosts collagen production, Reduces brown spots”

2, The right color of C-firma should be “golden clear”, with 12 months shelf life. Once it’s opened, C-firma should be used up as soon as possible, best in 4–6 months.

3, the Active ingredient in C-firma: 15% potent antioxidant complex of l-ascorbic plus ferulic and vitamin E at ph 3.3-3.5, very similar to Paula’s choice C15 which has A blend of 15% stabilized vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid) at a pH of 3.0. 

4, Click to watch Drunk Elephant Founder Tiffany talking about all the products.
Youtube link(not a live show anymore): DermstoreLIVE with Drunk Elephant’s Founder Tiffany Masterson.

2, Tricky details — Color, shelf life and once opened.


8 months old 👆👆👆Dark orange NO

Just opened 👇👇👇Light orange✅Right, golden clear=perfect

I appreciate that DE always keeps their costumers updated, according to DE Instagram Q&A, the right color should be “golden clear”, with 12 months shelf life. My first bottle completely lost its power after 10 months, then I opened a new one in Late April- May 2017, which I actually bought on black Friday week 2016. But the color wasn’t “golden clear”, more a light orange. So I emailed Drunk Elephant about the color issue. info@drunkelephant.com, email them if you have questions, great customer service.

Here’s the answer.

Trick 1: You’ll never know the accurate expire date of your C-firma unless you email them, I highly recommended. My second bottle will be good until September 2017 even if I didn’t open it. Which means I only have 4 months to finish before $80 plus tax down the drain.I don’t think it’s the best for customers that we have to pay $80 plus tax and have to check up the date very carefully yourself. VC serum will oxidize over time, it’s VC products’ natural process, therefore be aware of the expiry date is extremely important. We don’t want waste time on ineffective products.

Trick 2: Magic 72 hours stay on power. According Products description on DE’s own website: C-Firma™ has a reservoir effect, which means it will stay active on the skin for up to 72 hours and cannot be washed or rubbed off. I assume we only need apply it once in 3 days then? Yet we have to finish it in 4–6 months…That’s why I didn’t finish the first one.If you decide to purchase full-size C-firma , make sure this is the only one you are committed to, I’ll just buy the travel size after this bottle.

3, My experience with C-firma

Texture: Besides the light orange color, C-firma has an almost oil like consistency, with a light citrus scent. It glides on easily but tingles a little bit, I’ve been using this serum for over a year now, still tingles a little, even when I’m not using any acid treatment, sometimes it has a warm feeling on the skin. It does leave a light orange cast on the face which I didn’t notice at first with my skin tone(Loreal W2-W3). Until one day I used Bioderma micellar water as my morning cleanser, there was some orange color on a cotton pad. It won’t tint skin, can be washed off. Unlike TLC serum, C-firma serves more like a normal serum, no need to add Marula oil or additional moisturizer.

How I use it: DE suggests to use C-firma at daytime under a sunscreen to against UV damage. I personally don’t like to use any serums or treatment at daytime to increase any unnecessary skin sensitivity to sunlight. Even though I wear sunscreen every single day.  I use it in my night routine, If it does have magic 72 hours stay-on power, then it will still l add up power with sunscreen against UV damage right? I used to use 2 times a week(still prefer this frequency), now once every other day(because it will expire in 3 months).

Results: 1, It does light up/fade out fresh acne scars fairly fast, and brighten up my whole complexion. With its help, fresh acne scar is one less thing to worry about. Do not put VC serum on freshly picked pimples(open wounds) though, it won’t fasten the process and will irritate skin. 2, It didn’t help much with old acne scars(over 1 month)  though, I don’t feel any significant improvement on brown spots, either.

Thoughts: 1, I do like this serum a lot, it’s a powerful VC serum. 2,I repurchased it because I thought it would be good for 12 months once opened(It does have a 12M sign on the side of the bottle, they really should change that). I feel the price is a little too high for 4-6 months use, I will probably go back to my old favorites, HAbA white lady and Paula’s Choice C15 till DE updates the “expire date checking system”. I still think the product itself is good.

4, Similar products comparison:

I think those 3 products are similar to DE C-firma because they brought me very similar results mainly in fading out fresh acne scars and brightening the whole complexion, not only because they are all VC serums. For example, Glossier also has a VC serum Super Glow, which is nowhere close to DE C-firma, at least in my own experience.

1,MyChelle Perfect C™ 17% $44/15ml +MyChelle Perfect C™ Pro Serum 25% $52/15ml

Picture from http://www.mychelle.com

Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 12.54.26 PM.png

This is the closest dupe for C-firma in my opinion, it smells like C-firma, tingles like C-firma, powerful like C-firma, changes color like C-firma. It’s pricey like C-firma,  you can find it at Whole Foods Market, Pharmaca store or online,  http://www.mychelle.com. Usually with a good sale price at 20%-30% off. I’ve used up a full-size 15ml 17% version, I like the 15ml packaging, that’s about the time it changes color and power.

2,Paula’s choice C 15 20ml/$49 cosmetics math 30ml/$73.13

Paula’s choice C15 has A blend of 15% stabilized vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid) at a pH of 3.0, DE  C-firma is 15% potent antioxidant complex of l-ascorbic plus ferulic and vitamin E has a pH level of 3.3–3.5. The formulas are quite close if not exactly the same. Prices are close, results are close too! What I like better about C 15 is it’s in a 20ml bottle and easily catch it on a sale(usually 20% off, 20ml/39.2, 30ml/58.5 Plus tax).

3, COSRX Triple C Lightning Liquid $27.00/30ml

Formulated With 20.5% pure Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) Picture from Sokoglam.com

Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 1.14.18 PM

It has a clear, watery consistency, almost like toner, I used up a half bottle, then I decided to cut back on acid involved products, after a while, it changed to a deep orange color. I just order another one, will update later.

Come to fade acne scar and brighten the whole complexion, it’s a good option, and it doesn’t sting as much as C-firma.

4,, HABA white lady 6% VC serum,$44/30ml. Not easy to find anymore. HABA is Japanese beauty brand, famous for good for sensitive skin. I used to purchase it through a beauty counter in my local Japanese grocery store.  “White lady” is a best-seller brightening serum with 6% water-soluble vitamin C. It’s good for 3 months once opened(written right on the bottle). It has a very watery consistency,  in a light-protect brown-red bottle. The serum itself is translucent, no scent, no tingling sensation.  Faded out fresh acne scars just as good as DE C-firma, even though it’s only a 6% VC serum.


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