Do you have a skincare product that everyone swears by but leaves you underwhelmed? I do: the cult favorite SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic. No stranger to Vitamin C serums (a huge fan of them, actually), this particular formula was just a daytime no go for me. It felt oily, heavy, sat on top of the skin, and made me want to wash my face and start over, regardless of how long I waited before applying sunscreen. I even gave it a try in my PM lineup. If you can relate to this, keep reading because not all hope is lost.
Earlier this year, SkinCeuticals launched Silymarin CF in Europe to rave reviews that have been impossible to ignore. When Skinstore kindly asked if I’d like to trial it before the US arrival, I was excited, and well, skeptical. Over a month later, I am here to report this newness is an absolute game-changer. A more in-depth review below.
What is it?
SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF is a daytime Vitamin C serum that is tailor made for anyone with oily, combination, or problematic skin. I will also appeal to those who find the cult favorite CE Ferulic too heavy. It’s significantly more lightweight than the original and similarly is meant to be the AM treatment you layer under daily SPF. If your endgame of using a powerhouse serum (one that is also a splurge) is brighter, more even toned skin (but wait, your skin also happens to be breakout prone), this new SkinCeuticals formula should be on your radar. Immediately.
What’s in it?
Similar to the OG, the new Silymarin CF includes 15% L-Ascorbic Acid, one of the most studied, stable, and proven effective forms of Vitamin C used in topical skincare. Since Vitamin C tends to oxidize over time (which does lower its efficacy), you may want to use it up within 3-4 months of breaking the seal. When you open a fresh bottle, be sure the liquid is a light champagne yellow in color. When it becomes darker yellow or orange, it’s time for a replacement. After using the product for six weeks with a half dropper full per application, just under half the bottle remains. The bottle will easily support 3 months of daily use.
Paired with Ferulic Acid, the formula truly becomes an antioxidant superstar that tackles existing signs of aging and protects from free radical damage ahead of time. For this reason, SkinCeuticals has earned its reputation as the gold standard for this serum — the stuff works. It’s the addition of .5% Salicylic Acid for me though. My combination skin is prone to congestion so the Beta Hydroxy exfoliation within the pore goes a long way. Not only is this new masterpiece brightening and protective, it also clarifies the skin.
Silymarin has been getting quite a bit of press for these past few years. My first encounter with it was in the PCA Skin c & e formula (which unlike SkinCeuticals, is waterless). Later, I discovered the gorgeous Tammy Fender Plant Milk serum. A compound of Milk Thistle Extract, Silymarin is now known for its antioxidant properties which can minimize the damage caused by UV exposure. You still need to wear sunscreen daily but it’s a good perk. Those with oilier skin types will appreciate this unique botanical as it appears to help regulate sebum production, which seems to be helping with my glow-in-the-dark T-zone.
Application, scent, etc
I still find Silymarin CF has a very specific ‘hot dog water’ scent. It may be slightly less prominent in comparison to CE Ferulic. It has definitely not been a dealbreaker for me. Since receiving my bottle, I added this serum to my morning routine and have been very diligent with daily application. One thing I learned about Vitamin C serums is that you really have to give them a solid try to see visible results. Hence my review arriving weeks later.
After cleansing (really enjoying the Fulvic Acid one from The Inkey List at the moment) and toning (Royal Fern Essence all the way), I apply half a dropper full of Silymarin CF, wait a minute for it to absorb fully (which it does), and follow with sunscreen (my go-to is EltaMD UV Clear tinted). This routine seems to work really well for me and I can absolutely see my skin looking brighter and more even. Time will tell how oil control works the second the days get warmer so stay tuned.