Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum Review
In the world of skincare, there is a fairly short list of ingredient actives that have substantial scientific evidence showing they can effectively enable collagen synthesis in the skin, and vitamin C is one of them. For this reason, and because of its antioxidant and brightening properties, vitamin C holds a firm place on my personal list of favorite skincare actives. I typically reach for L-ascorbic acid based serums as my source for this ingredient because they’re so widely accessible, affordable, and L-AA is a very bio-available form of topical vitamin C. But it’s not without its shortcomings – L-AA can be irritating, especially for sensitive skin, it’s only water soluble, and it has a very short shelf life. For this reason, I was very excited when Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum was released earlier this year – it contains a relatively new form of vitamin C that doesn’t come with the same baggage as my L-AA based serums (e.g. Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster, O.S.T. Vitamin C20 Serum). Today I’ll be talking about how the Caudalie C15 Serum measured up!
What is it?
Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum ($62) is a concentrated antioxidant serum that promises to visibly reduce existing wrinkles and prevent new wrinkles from forming. This serum also promises to defend against free radicals caused by UV rays and pollution, as well as hydrate and plump the skin.
Aqua (Water), Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Squalane, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Tocopherol, Ceteareth-20, Palmitoyl Grape Seed Extract, Parfum (Fragrance), Glyceryl Stearate SE, Potassium Sorbate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Hyaluronic Acid, Carbomer, Sodium Phytate, Sodium Hydroxide
Here are the highlights of this formula:
Glycerin is an odorless, colorless, viscous sugar alcohol compound. Its humectant properties make it a popular cosmetic ingredient. Pure glycerin is able to absorb it’s own weight in water over a period of 3 days, and has been shown in numerous studies to improve skin elasticity, moisture, and barrier function.
Glycerol accelerates recovery of barrier function in vivo
Fluhr JW1, Gloor M, Lehmann L, Lazzerini S, Distante F, Berardesca E.
Acta Dermato Venereologica, November 1999
Glycerol replacement corrects defective skin hydration, elasticity, and barrier function in aquaporin-3-deficient mice
Mariko Hara, A. S. Verkman.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, May/June 2003
Squalane is the hydrogenated form of squalene, and unlike squalene, squalane is a very shelf stable ingredient. The skin naturally produces squalane in our younger years – it’s one of the major constituents of human sebum. Squalane production diminishes drastically after the age of 30 though, which can contribute to dry skin for many adults. Squalane is a lightly textured oil, absorbs easily, and possesses moisturizing, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial properties. It can be sourced from olives, sugar cane, or shark liver. The squalane in this particular formula is sourced from olives.
This ingredient is the vitamin C source for this serum. It’s a vitamin C derivative that actually converts into L-ascorbic acid once it’s penetrated the skin. In its ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate form, it differs from L-ascorbic acid in multiple ways. Firstly, it’s fat soluble, which helps ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate better penetrate the skin than water soluble C sources such as L-AA. Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate is also far more stable than L-AA, so it has a much longer shelf life (12-18 months) than L-AA (2 weeks-6 months). Additionally, unlike L-AA, which requires a pH of around 3.5 to work effectively, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate performs well at any pH between 4.0 and 6.0. This is a significant differentiator because the low pH of L-AA can cause irritation for many (it’s the reason for the tingling/burning sensation that often comes with vitamin C serums). Because ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate appears in formulas with a higher pH, it’s less likely to cause irritation.
Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate is still young in the world of vitamin C sources, so only a few studies have been conducted so far. Some early studies show ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate to be more efficient and bioavailable than L-ascorbic acid, and equally effective as L-AA for combating signs of photoaging and enabling collagen synthesis. However, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate is an expensive ingredient. Additionally, although ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate has positive anti-aging effects in concentrations as low as 3%, one study has shown that a concentration of 10% or more is needed to achieve significant whitening effects. On its own, this isn’t a big issue (L-AA needs a concentration of 10-15% to see whitening effects), but because of the higher cost of the ingredient, most formulas that use ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate don’t contain enough of it to see significant spot lightening benefits. As for this serum, if the “C15” in the name is anything to go by, then this formula contains 15% of the ingredient (which is enough to see lightening effects).
Combating photoaging with percutaneous collagen induction (PDF)
Desmond Fernandes, MB, Massimo Signorini, MD
Clinics in Dermatology, March–April 2008
Benefits of Combinations of Vitamin A, C and E Derivatives in the Stability of Cosmetic Formulations (PDF)
Mirela Donato Gianeti, Lorena Rigo Gaspar, Flávio Bueno de Camargo Júnior, Patrícia Maria Berardo, Gonçalves Maia Campos
Molecules, February 2012
Hyaluronic acid (also called hyaluronan) is a polysaccharide naturally produced in the human body. Able to hold 1000 times its weight in water, hyaluronan plays an important role in wound healing as well as maintaining the structure and integrity of our skin. Like many of our naturally occurring beneficial skin components, we produce less hyaluronic acid as we age. Thankfully, we can topically apply some forms of hyaluronic acid and still obtain its hydrating, smoothing, wound healing, and barrier strengthening effects.
According to CosDNA, there are a couple low grade possible irritants or acne triggers in this formula. Tocopherol (vitamin E) scores a 2 out of 5 as both a potential irritant and acne trigger, and glyceryl stearate SE gets a 3 out of 3 as a potential acne trigger and a 2 out of 5 as a potential irritant.
Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum comes packaged in a green, glass jar with a dropper dispenser. The glass is thick and sturdy, and though it’s obviously breakable because, well, it’s glass, I’m extremely clumsy, especially in my tiny bathroom, and my bottle survived a fall to the floor and at least 2 sink dives. It’s possible I’m just lucky.
The product itself is white and nearly opaque. The consistency is considerably thicker than water, but much thinner than a typical face lotion.
Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate need a pH between 4.0 and 6.0 to function optimally. Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum has a pH of ~5.0.
Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum does contain fragrance, so if you’re sensitive to parfum ingredients, you’ll want to sit this one out. I’m not sensitive to fragrance, thankfully. I’m extremely smell driven when it comes to most things in life, except for my dog, who stinks 100% of the time, but I still love her. Unlike my dog, Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum smells enchantingly like a white floral blend. If I had to name notes, I’d guess daisy and chrysanthemum.
I used Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum every morning for the duration of the bottle, which lasted me about 5 weeks. I use this serum for Step 5 in my Morning Skincare Routine, so after my hydrating toner (when I use one), but before my face oil.
To apply, I squeezed a “dropperful” of serum onto my fingertips and spread it over my face. The reason “dropperful” is in quotations is because it’s really not a full dropper’s worth of serum that gets sucked into the glass pipette when the top is squeezed. It’s probably more accurate to say, “one squeeze’s worth of serum,” but without context, that phrase makes absolutely no sense.
This serum definitely has some hydrating and emollient properties, but not so much that it could act as a standalone moisturizer. Dry skinned folks like myself will rejoice; those with oily skin may find that they need less moisturizer when using this serum. The serum absorbs quickly and is not greasy. It has a slightly tacky finish once it absorbs, but it’s completely undetectable once I’ve applied the rest of my routine.
After using Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum for a little over a month, my skin felt consistently smooth. I noticed some subtle smoothing of the fine lines in my eye and lip areas. My skin did appear somewhat brighter after the first 4 weeks, but not as dramatically as it has with other L-AA based serums in the past, or as visibly as it has with other, more powerful brightening products such as AHA treatments. This serum did not significantly lighten my existing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation marks within the 5 weeks I used it. I experience absolutely no irritation from using this serum – not a single tingle. Those who are sensitive to L-AA serums will certainly appreciate this. I did not experience any breakouts as a result of using Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum.
Overall, my feelings about this serum are a bit mixed. I think someone who is solely interested in the anti-wrinkle benefits of a vitamin C serum will adore this formula. It’s extremely pleasant to use, and I love how gentle it is. Its shelf stability is a big selling point, and I also really appreciate its moisturizing properties. If you have existing lines, this serum does a great job plumping the skin to obscure them in the short term while providing collagen synthesis benefits in the long term. However, I’m currently more interested in the brightening/lightening benefits I get from topically applied vitamin C, and that’s not this particular serum’s strength. I enjoyed this Caudalie serum, but I’ll be sticking with my L-AA based formulas for now.
Pros & Cons
Skin & Tonics Rating
|B+||18/20 Efficacy||13/20 Ingredients||20/20 Application||20/20 Wear||18/20 Packaging|
|Total: 89||Rating system details »|
Where to Buy
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|SkinStore||$62||Get $20 off your entire order with code JUL20||buy|
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