Vitamin C Serum
The Vitamin C Serum from Mario Badescu has some good aspects for all skin types, but doesn’t compete favorably with many of today’s best vitamin C treatments.
This glycol- and water-based formula is packaged in a transparent green glass bottle and dispensed via a dropper applicator. This type of packaging can let light in, so it must be stored in a dark place to preserve the vitamin C’s effectiveness.
The first ingredient, propylene glycol, is what gives this product a nice slip and somewhat moist, glow-y finish that can easily be interpreted as looking fresh-faced.
As for vitamin C, it’s present in its original form, ascorbic acid. The brand would not confirm the precise concentration, but random musings about this online seem to indicate the vitamin C is present at a 5-7% concentration, which jibes with its placement on the ingredient list. As you may know, there are higher concentrations of vitamin C available, and research indicates that higher strengths do a better job on issues around uneven skin tone, dark spots, and wrinkles.
What about the collagen this contains? It’s a nice ingredient for hydrating skin, but cannot add to or help repair the natural collagen supporting your skin, and collagen doesn’t plump (although the sodium hyaluronate this contains does).
We wish the lavender oil was left out, as it’s a fragrant irritant that can damage skin cells and interact with oxygen in the air which triggers destructive free radicals that, over time, impact skin’s appearance. A slight saving grace is that this doesn’t reek of lavender, but research has shown it takes very little to stir up trouble on skin.
- Contains a potentially helpful amount of vitamin C.
- Leaves skin looking fresh and glowing.
- Handily hydrates.
- Lavender oil is a proven skin irritant.
- Transparent packaging won’t protect the vitamin C from degrading light exposure.
Infused with powerful ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to retexturize skin and reduce visible signs of aging, Mario Badescu's Vitamin C Serum brightens uneven skin tones while diminishing the look of fine lines and discoloration. Sodium hyaluronate and collagen combine to rehydrate and plump-revealing a smoother, firmer complexion. Suitable for all skin types.
Mario Badescu At-A-Glance
Strengths: Inexpensive; the company includes complete ingredient lists on their website (though many of the ingredient lists don't follow FDA labeling requirements); most of the products are fragrance-free; a few good cleansing options.
Weaknesses: Repetitive, lackluster moisturizer formulas; terrible products for acne; the daytime moisturizers cannot be relied on for sun protection; poorly formulated exfoliants and scrubs; mostly irritating masks; boring toners; several moisturizers contain irritating ingredients.
Fashion magazines have been mentioning Mario Badescu products for some time, and in New York the Badescu salon has been around since 1967. Unfortunately for your skin, most of the products seem to be stuck in that era, when the state of skin-care knowledge was vastly different (meaning backward, simple, and naive) from what it is today. The company claims to use natural ingredients with advanced technology, but the formulas only support a small part of that assertion.
A tempting hook for this line is the number of celebrities and models who not only have facials and other services performed at the Mario Badescu Salon but also claim to use the products. We can't confirm whether or not celebrities really use these products, but even if there are some who do, plenty of other celebrities are using lots of different products, so that's no way to make an educated skin-care decision.
It probably goes without saying, or at least you won't be surprised when we mention it, that none of these products are natural in the least. They contain all the same old standard ingredients that show up throughout the cosmetics industry. The prices are more than reasonable, especially in comparison to other spa or boutique skin-care lines, but products that leave skin vulnerable to sun damage or cause irritation are never a good idea at any price. The sparse amounts of skin-identical ingredients, antioxidants, and anti-irritants included in the preponderance of products here is not in line with current skin-care science. The cleansers are unimpressive, the acne products are an irritation waiting to happen, and the AHA moisturizers either don't contain AHAs, don't have enough of the ingredient, or have a pH too high for them to be effective as exfoliants.
Several of the Badescu products contain an ingredient called "seamollient." As exotic as the name sounds, it's just a fancy term for water and algae. Given that the Creme de la Mer products also brag about algaeand charge an astronomical sum for itif you want algae on your skin, you may as well put it there via the Badescu products for far less money. (Actually, algae is not the fountain of youth for anyone's skin, which is why its continuing popularity befuddles me.)
As consumers become more savvy about ingredients and insist on examining a product's contents before purchasing, it should be pointed out that the Mario Badescu products engage in a bit of deception by disguising their use of commonplace ingredients such as mineral oil and petrolatum with trade names. For example, rather than listing mineral oil or Vaseline in their products, Badescu uses trade names such as Sonojell or Protol. Further, and most distressing, is that doing this means Badescu's products fail to meet either FDA or European labeling requirements. This act of cloaking ingredients in trade names and ignoring FDA labeling guidelines doesn't help the consumer, though it does help the cosmetics companies make their ordinary products sound more mysterious and natural.
For more information about Mario Badescu, call (800) 223-3728 or visit www.mariobadescu.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.