Look, face serums are confusing. Most of them promise a whole lot in a tiny bottle after taking a sizeable chunk of your money. I just want nice skin. I want that woman-laughing-at-salad stock image kind of skin — casually radiant, you know? As far as one-and-done face serums go, I'd heard a lot of good lip service about __Drunk Elephant's C-Firma Day Serum before I got around to trying it. According to reviews, people with all variations of skin types and skin issues were praising how this one vitamin C serum basically solved whatever it was they were dealing with, giving them bright and clear "I woke up like this" skin. They were posting smiling makeup-free selfies with accolades in all caps and exclamation points like it was a liquidation sale on punctuation.
Here's the deal with this complexion corrector: It's a serum where the star is vitamin C, which is a great antioxidant that repairs sun and environmental skin damage (there are tons of articles on allure.com about this, just saying). The formula contains 15 percent L-ascorbic acid (that's the "C") and ferulic acid to brighten signs of photoaging caused by pollution and other environmental stressors like the sun. Pumpkin ferment and pomegranate extract act as enzymes that loosen any dead skin cells cluttering up your radiant complexion. Sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer is a more compact form of hyaluronic acid with a smaller-size molecule so it penetrates deeper into the skin to really tuck all that hydration in there. There's also some virgin marula oil in the formula for extra moisture. That's the Cliffs Notes version, but consider this the equivalent of getting bumped up to first class from coach. You're supposed to use in the morning (hence the "Day" in the name) to help protect your skin from UV damage, along with your daily SPF.
The bottle has a cool twist-open dispenser that locks without a cap. It's an orange liquid with a watery consistency that's the slightest bit oily when applied. There's a bit of a coppery scent but nothing overpowering, the way lots of vitamin C serums can be. After cleansing and toning, I pat this serum on and then layer moisturizer and sunscreen over it every morning. I started to notice after just two weeks that my skin was indeed noticeably brighter, smoother, and more even-toned. Pesky acne marks were just faint ghosts of what they were, and my skin had a nice plump bounce to it. I don't really have sensitive or reactive skin, so I didn't experience any burning or stinging — vitamin C serums especially ones with a higher percentage of the stuff in it can sometimes cause inflammation for sensitive skin types.
Around week three, I audibly exclaimed to my bathroom mirror, "The reviewers were right!" I now understand the alchemic magic of Drunk Elephant's C-Firma Day Serum. I mean, there are lots of things in life to be stoked about, but finding a skin-care serum that finally delivers is definitely top five. And when you narrow it down to beauty, this well-loved serum taking home an Allure Best of Beauty Award this year is an obvious choice — the people have spoken. I never would've imagined myself to be the type of woman so inspired as to laugh with abandon while eating salad alone, but that's what happens when you're just eating lunch and thinking about how good your skin looks, I guess.