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Drunk Elephant C-Firma™ Vitamin C Day Serum *HONEST* Review

Fine Lines and Wrinkles, Dullness and Uneven Texture, and Loss of Firmness and Elasticity

Last fall I purchased the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum during the Sephora VIB Spring sale. I was looking to update my skincare routine and just try something new. I saw all the hype around Drunk Elephant and even saw that it made it onto the Allure “Best of Beauty” List. Social media influencers were raving about it. Not to mention it was marked with the customary green “Clean at Sephora” check mark. So I thought “why not give it a try?” and was giddy with excitement as many skincare fiends are when they await to try a new skincare product.

The product is described as “a potent vitamin C day serum packed with antioxidants, nutrients, and fruit enzymes to visibly firm, brighten, and improve signs of photoaging,” which addresses skincare concerns such as “fine lines and wrinkles, dullness and uneven texture, and loss of firmness and elasticity.” At $105 CAD the serum is not exactly cheap and therefore I had very high hopes.

First Impressions

I will confess that I am a sucker for skincare packaging and upon first glance found the bottle to be cute with its neon orange lid. The bottle itself is not transparent, which makes sense given the instability of vitamin C when it's in direct sunlight. The lid twists revealing the pump, which effectively portions out the amount of product you need. It’s also great for traveling because you can twist it back down so that you don’t have to worry about other contents in your luggage accidentally pressing the pump and making a mess in your suitcase. The serum itself has a slight orange hue with the consistency feeling sticky at first touch, but absorbing well on the skin. For some reason the product has a faint scent that reminds me of smoked salmon, but it is not overwhelming and so I did not mind it.

I don’t think other reviewers experienced the same scent. So this could just be how my olfactory system interprets the scent (it does not mean you will pick up the same smells as I do).

Honest Review

After over a month of use, I noticed that my skin started breaking out and I consistently had a large pimple or two on my face. The type of acne that appeared was nodule acne. Other than the acne, I had no other side effects such as redness or irritation. However, one large pimple can mar a whole face and throw you off your game! 

As I’m sure some people may wonder: how was I applying the product? This could obviously impact the results. I made sure to carefully adhere to the instructions listed on the packaging as I have sensitive skin. Therefore I applied the product only in the morning after washing my face and applying toner. 

I didn’t want to believe my $105CAD serum could be the culprit behind the acne so I continued to use the product for another week or two. However, due to the breakouts I decided to take a break from Drunk Elephant and so the product sat at the back of my skincare organizer collecting dust.

Eventually I found the Midori Chrome extension and learned that the product contains two irritants phenoxyethanol and laureth-23 as well as a hormone disruptor (imidazole). The levels of these ingredients may have been at a higher concentration than what my sensitive skin could handle.

A neat little feature with this extension is that it recommends better alternatives! Among the recommendations was Herbivore’s Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum, which has a 100/100 MidoriScore. Needless to say I’ve added this product to my cart so that I can purchase it at the Sephora VIB Spring Sale (cause a girl is not going to pay full price when she can get a discount). 

I encourage everyone to search all their skincare products and post a screenshot of their scores with the hashtag #MidoriChallenge.

As for my next experiment, I will post a quick first impressions article on the Herbivore serum. Once I’ve tried the product for a few weeks I will update you all on the results of the Midori Recommendation!

Written by Liz, Skincare Enthusiast and Midori Fan