The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
- Valjean Labs Glow Facial Serum utilizes vitamin C and magnesium in its formula and claims to subtly brighten hyperpigmentation, reduce inflammation, fight free radical damage from pollution, and prevent wrinkles.
- The formula is priced at $12 and is meant to be used after cleansing and toning and before moisturizing, in order to deliver active ingredients deep into the skin.
- The main ingredients are dermatologist-approved and have been shown to be effective in reviving dull, tired skin.
I've struggled with "problem skin" for most of my adult life, and as a result, can usually figure out what it needs at any given time. Pimples popping up? I reach for tea tree essential oil to soothe inflammation. Dry skin? A moisturizer packed with hyaluronic acid will do. Fine lines creeping into the corners of the eyes? Retinol-infused night cream to the rescue. But recently, I noticed my skin was just blah — you know, dull, tired, a little lackluster — and I didn't know where to turn.
When nothing is technically wrong, how do you set skin right?
I found the answer in the bottom of a bottle — a bottle of Valjean Labs Vitamin C + Magnesium Serum, that is. Priced at just $12 and emblazoned with the word GLOW in nearly inch-high letters, the product met all of my requirements: cheap enough to try on a whim, with packaging that not-so-subtly promised perfect skin.
As a serum, Valjean Labs Vitamin C + Magnesium formula is meant to be used after cleansing and toning and before moisturizing. Traditionally, I'm not a huge fan of serums; I often find the texture to be too sticky or tacky for my liking, and tend to skip this step. (I know, I know — skincare blasphemy!) But this one changed my mind. It features an almost-watery texture that has a little bit of slip and bounce, which allows it to absorb into the skin in just a few seconds. I wasn't expecting much the first night I used it, but I had to raise an eyebrow when I checked myself out in the mirror the next morning. Was I glowier? Did this vitamin C and magnesium combo actually help?
The change in my skin was subtle, but two nights later I was sure: This stuff was working. And after digging a little deeper into the potent combination of ingredients, I know why.
"Vitamin C has three major effects on the skin," Dr. Aanand Geria of Geria Dermatology in New Jersey tells INSIDER. "First, it's an antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals created by UV-induced sun damage." In layman's terms, vitamin C is one of the most effective ingredients on the market when it comes to fighting the harmful effects of light and air pollution on the skin, which include dryness, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation.
"Second, it reduces the activity of an enzyme that creates excessive pigment, which helps brighten the skin and diminish dark spots," Dr. Geria says. (So that explains the glow.) "And third, vitamin C is required for collagen production, making it a wrinkle fighter as well."
While all three benefits of topical vitamin C aren't immediately visible, the brightening effect does take place fairly quickly. Over time, users will notice fewer fine lines and wrinkles along with generally hydrated, healthy skin.
The advantages of magnesium are a little harder to pin down from a dermatological standpoint, as the ingredient hasn't been studied in the skincare space the way vitamin C has — but Valjean Labs claims that magnesium "regulates cellular replication, reduces the likelihood of breakouts, clears skin, and reduces free radical damage, which helps to prevent wrinkles."
Dr. Geria speculates that magnesium could do all of the above if it was properly absorbed into the skin, due to the fact that the nutrient actually combats the body's stress hormones. "With respect to acne and wrinkles, the beneficial effect of magnesium would be through decreasing the adrenal glands' production of the stress hormone cortisol," he says. Stress is proven to cause dullness and inflammation of the skin, so a daily dose of magnesium might be just what the doctor ordered.
This serum is most effective if used at least once a day. I choose to incorporate it into my nighttime routine for the simple fact that magnesium has been shown to improve sleep, as well. And I swear it does: I always sleep better knowing I'll wake up with that vitamin C and magnesium glow.
Subscribe to our newsletter.
You can purchase syndication rights to this story here.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.