In a world filled with skincare products ranging from essences to toners to serums to masks, I believe that serums are still an indispensable step of your daily regimen. Often with a higher price tag, the concentrations, ingredients, and delivery systems of a serum aim to target more difficult skin problems like discoloration or signs of aging.
One of the brightest new stars on the scene in 2019 is the TATCHA Violet-C Brightening Serum 20% Vitamin C + 10% AHA. Launched in January 2019, TATCHA launched a brand-new serum “Violet-C Brightening Serum 20% Vitamin C + 10% AHA”. The brand advertised it as a brightening serum made with acids derived from seven types of fruits, along with a uniquely added Japanese Angelica Root Extract. After seeing a myriad of blogs and video reviews praising this product, I decided to give this $88 serum a try, and examine if it’s really worth the hype.
Lactic Acid (AHA): Always A Great Ingredient
Mentioned in the name of this product “20% Vitamin C + 10% AHA”, AHA acid plays a significant part in this serum. Less intimidating than it sounds, alpha hydroxy acids are actually extremely hydrating (especially in lactic acid form). Here, the lactic acid is natural and plant-based as well, as naturally-occurring acids that are mainly derived from fruits and milk.
According to the Derm Review, lactic acid benefits the skin by providing the exfoliating effects and thickening the surface of the skin. I believe the reason TATCHA chose lactic acid is that it has larger cells and can’t penetrate to deeper levels of our skin, and therefore won’t cause the irritation caused by “deep penetration” like other types of AHAs (i.e. glycolic acid, malic acid, mandelic acid, etc.). Hence, it mainly works on the surface level of our skin and won’t be irritating, particularly when used in conjunction with such a high concentration of vitamin C.
With these properties of lactic acid, this serum is able to help brighten the appearance of skin without irritation, and may gently de-escalate the appearance of hyperpigmentation and discoloration.
Saccharomyces: Not a Must-Have, But Still a Beneficial Skincare Ingredient
In Korea, Saccharomyces was used in skincare as early as the Joseon dynasty, which began in 1392. With the influx of Korean beauty products to the western countries, the fermented ingredients like Saccharomyces were also introduced and became a mainstream ingredient in the late 20th century in the U.S. Today, Estée Lauder, Origins, and La Mer have all launched their fermented-based products.
Saccharomyces has several skincare benefits that are worth knowing. Saccharomyces serves as a solvent that can break down substances and facilitates other ingredients in the formula to be absorbed better. The fermented ingredients’ bacteria releases enzymes, which then break down the other natural ingredients. This helps Saccharomyces work together with other natural extracts to magnify their effects on the skin.
In addition, the fermentation process itself produces skin-exfoliating acids, skin-firming peptides, and skin-building amino acids. As a result, this ingredient has been shown in peer-reviewed research to effectively help restore nutrients into our skin and create anti-aging benefits. Would I say it is as beneficial as, say, retinoids or AHAs? No, definitely not. But it sounds beneficial at this point, particularly when used in conjunction with other natural ingredients, which TATCHA Violet-C Brightening Serum 20% Vitamin C + 10% AHA has.
Japanese Beautyberry: A Substitute for Vitamin E
TATCHA describes this ingredient to be “Rich in polyphenols and antioxidant activity, Japanese beautyberry helps stabilize vitamin C, maximizing its effectiveness.”
Japanese beautyberry has the ability to protect vitamin C and reduce the cell’s reactions to UV light. Therefore, this is a perfect combo because the product contains vitamin C. With a high concentration of 20% vitamin C in this serum, it’s vital to have an ingredient like Japanese beautyberry (or vitamin E, or coenzyme Q10) to stabilize it.
Another bonus fact about this ingredient is that Japanese beautyberry possesses excellent skin-lightening effects in peer-reviewed research. Proven by dermatologists, Japanese beautyberry inhibits the melanin production of the skin and contributes to lightening the skin tone.
How To Use
I love how gentle and clean this product is on my skin, so I use it early in my routine to serve as a base that helps other products to soak in better. According to TATCHA and Sephora’s recommendation, this product should only be used in the evening. The high concentration of vitamin C and AHA in this product may cause skin to be more sensitive and vulnerable to sunlight. So I wouldn’t recommend using it without solid UV protection or pair it with another high concentrate vitamin C product in the same routine.
Personal Use and Opinions
The texture of this serum is more of a water gel instead of an oil. When I used it, the serum itself felt quite liquidy. As I massage it throughout my skin, the serum absorbed very quickly and left a light finish.
So far, by looking into its ingredients and formula, I believe that the gentle properties of TATCHA Violet-C Brightening Serum 20% Vitamin C + 10% AHA very much guarantee the product will work on every skin type, even on sensitive skin. If you’re looking for a natural vitamin C product with mild hydrating properties, this is an excellent one.
Ingredients in TATCHA Violet-C Brightening Serum 20% Vitamin C + 10% AHA: Water, Bis-Glyceryl Ascorbate, Saccharomyces/Camellia Sinensis Leaf/Cladosiphon Okamuranus/Rice Ferment Filtrate*, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Callicarpa Japonica Fruit Extract, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Crataegus Cuneata Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Juice, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Juice, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Juice, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Artemisia Capillaris Flower Extract, Morus Alba Root Extract, Ziziphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lactic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Carboxyethyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Disodium Edta, Ppg-6-Decyltetradeceth-30, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol. *Hadasei-3.