Drunk Elephant’s Beloved Vitamin C Serum Just Got a Major Makeover


Attention all C-Firma fans (and I know there are thousands of you): Drunk Elephant has completely reimagined the way it wants you to use its beloved vitamin C product, and as a result, a new product is launching today. Named C-Firma Fresh Day Serum ($78)—there’s an emphasis on the newly added word “fresh” that I’ll explain below—the serum is actually now two separate products that allow for users to play mixologist with their skin care. Here’s the scoop.

Though the OG C-Firma was one of the brand’s best-sellers, one of the big drawbacks with any vitamin C product is that the ingredient can be very unstable (it can degrade when exposed to oxygen or certain types of light) and it has to be formulated just right because it tends to prefer a more acidic environment than our skin provides.

According to Drunk Elephant CEO Tiffany Masterson, the “why” behind the product change is because she was never satisfied with the shelf life and wanted to find a way to deliver a “fresher” C-Firma to customers, especially as the brand expands overseas and shipping takes longer (it’s made here in the U.S.). 

To make it “fresher,” Masterson and her team designed a two-step product where the user actually mixes a liquid serum base into a vial containing 15-percent l-ascorbic acid powder, which maximizes the potency of the ingredients (do not pour the powder into the liquid). It’s important to note that the percentage and type of vitamin C has not changed in the new version, just the delivery system. Once that step is complete, you screw on the top of the vial and shake the mixture until the powder is completely dissolved (you’ll probably see bubbles). Lastly, insert the vial into the C-Firma airless vacuum pump bottle, snap it into place, and voila! “Once mixed, the formula will stay fresh for six months, and there’s no need to refrigerate it,” says Masterson. “This new dual-phase process allows the product not to be exposed to oxygen until it’s in your bathroom, versus during production.”

The formula also contains the same ferulic acid (0.5 percent) and vitamin E (1 percent) from the original, which is considered by dermatologists and skin-care pros to be one of the ultimate ingredient trios for skin brightening and antioxidant protection. “In tweaking the formula, I was also able to make it vegan and adjust the consistency so it’s faster-absorbing and easier to blend with other products,” Masterson explains.

I’ve tried the new serum and love the concept (I was also a fan of the OG)—I’m for anything that makes a skin-care product more stable so you can get the biggest bang for your buck. It’s also $2 less than the first iteration, so the price actually went down instead of up!

I also agree with Masterson that the newbie does absorb faster, which I can appreciate because I did have issues layering the original with some of my other skin-care products. I like to apply it in the morning as recommended, as it adds another layer of protection under SPF thanks to its robust antioxidant properties. One thing I do miss a little bit is the orangey tint that gave my skin an instant glow, which I did not get with the new formula. But if this one is more powerful in the dark spot–reducing, radiance-inducing department, I’m a fan!

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