SKINCARE | Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum

I didn't think I would do more than my Instagram review of the new Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum, but over the 7 weeks of use I came to really enjoy how versatile this serum was. In general, I don't give into the hype of "trendy" skincare brands and while I get excited just like any other skincare lover when a flashy brand releases a new product, I look beyond what other influencers say as I am finding that more and more people just say "OMG, thank you Brand X for this amazing product" and are "so grateful" without actually doing some critical thinking. Either they are afraid that they won't receive PR anymore or merely read the marketing jargon that's given to them or better yet, don't realize that they are already 90% sold on the product because it looks pretty on their Instagram feed. Taking all this into account, I was VERY excited when I was selected to review this for Influenster back in March because the ingredients list was a lot more impressive than I thought it would be! This was a REAL vitamin C serum that also had PHAs and I was READY.

Ole Henrikson Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum
 Product provided by Influenster

Vitamin C serums have been all the rage for the last few years and the technology is only getting better. While I used to think I had to choose just ONE serum for my skincare routine, vitamin C has become an almost mandatory component of any skincare routine as it has a multitude of benefits like brightening, acting as an antioxidant, boosting collagen production and even fading pigmentation and age/brown spots. The issue with vitamin C was always that while potent, it was horrifically unstable in the presence of light, air and in solutions with water or a pH of 3.5 or higher. It's definitely a sensitive flower this vitamin C, but ways of preserving it in skincare have only improved over the years and while this serum isn't the first to have a fairly high concentration of stable vitamin C at 15%, this was the first time I had tried it in a blend with polyhydroxy acids or PHAs.

PHAs are the gentle younger sibling of AHAs and come in the forms of lactobionic acid and gluconolactone (what's in this serum). PHAs are larger in molecular size than AHAs and work more on the superficial layers of the skin. Their larger size means they also work a little slower at sinking into the skin and do not penetrate as deeply. This ALSO means they are less irritating than AHAs and are perfect for those with sensitive skin (even rosacea) or those who like to keep a baseline level of exfoliation in their daily skincare routine. They are also great at keeping things calm with their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and even moisturize and repair the skin barrier! While I normally exfoliate in a separate step, I thought it was so cool that I could potentially brighten, hydrate AND exfoliate my skin all with one serum!

Ole Henrikson Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum

Most of the vitamin C serums I have tried have a sticky or tacky consistency, but this serum is like a light cream and while there is a whisper of tackiness left behind, I barely notice it. There is also a hint of orange fragrance from the sweet orange oil which I know some might find irritating, but it did not bother me. The vitamin C that is used in this serum is 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid which is a newer and incredibly stable form of vitamin C in both water and oil which I liked as this form of vitamin C has a ton of scientific literature supporting its potency in topical applications.

The question I saw most often in various skincare forums was "How different was THIS serum versus Ole Henriksen's main claim to fame - Truth Serum?". Having used Truth Serum years ago, it was hard for me to remember exactly what my experience was, but the main takeaway is that THIS serum is much stronger, has more functions and does not have an artificial citrus scent. I always know when I am using a stronger vitamin C serum when I cannot use it everyday which was the case with this one. I slowly had to phase it in at every other day for a week before I could switch to every morning as I would get red in the cheeks. While it does not specify whether to use this serum day and night, vitamin C serums are most effective in the morning as they work to neutralize free radicals your skin encounters in the environment and can boost sunscreen protection when layered underneath UV protection (Incidecoder, June 2020).

Ole Henrikson Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Gluconolactone (PHA), Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Triethyl Citrate, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Betaine, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyacetophenone, Aminomethyl Propanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Gluconic Acid, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Glycerin, Succinoglycan, Phytic Acid, Mica, Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid, Caramel, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sodium Phytate, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Yellow 5 (Ci 19140), Red 4 (Ci 14700)

Ole Henrikson Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum

Final verdict: This is a more expensive serum at $89 so I really wanted to make sure that it was something I enjoyed before I said anything positive on Instagram and I can honestly say that now that I have had to move on to something else, I miss it. I loved that I could get a fairly high concentration of vitamin C on a daily basis with PHAs that were ALSO in high concentration. While I had hoped that I could get away with no additional exfoliation, I still needed to add in one round of exfoliation per week while using this serum which compared to my regular routine was still less than what I would normally have done. Once my skin got used to it, I felt like my skin brightness levels were maintained and that I needed just a light moisturizer on top.

Overall, I found the formulation interesting and it is probably one of my favourite vitamin C serums to date. While I didn't care too much for the "banana bright" portion of the serum (pigments to illuminate the skin), I truly enjoyed using it and will go back to it again once I am done with my current rotation of vitamin C products as it checked all of the boxes for what I would want in a vitamin C serum!

You can find the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Vitamin C Serum at www.sephora.com and www.olehenrikson.com

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