True Story: This Budget Vitamin C Serum Lightened My Dark Spots in Just 3 Weeks

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Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum Hero

Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

We purchased Mad Hippie's Vitamin C Serum so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.

I struggle with stubborn post-acne hyperpigmentation, so I'm always on the hunt for a vitamin C serum that can brighten and even out my skin. I'd been seeing Mad Hippie's Vitamin C Serum all over the Internet for a while but couldn't bring myself to commit—TBH, I wasn't sure a budget natural serum would be enough to make a difference.

However, when I got the chance to test it out, the first thing that struck me was that it's so much more than a vitamin C serum—its antioxidant blend is designed to brighten and smooth skin, with everything from vitamin E to ferulic acid to konjac root. But would it be enough to even out my skin tone? I tested it for three weeks to see if it would fade my pesky pigmentation. Read on for my honest review.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum

Star Rating: 4.5 / 5

Best for: All skin types

Uses: Anti-aging, dullness, dark spots

Key ingredients: Vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, konjac root, chamomile extract, clary sage

Potential Allergens: Grapefruit

Byrdie Clean?: Yes

Price: $34

About the Brand: Mad Hippie is a natural skincare brand that creates products without parabens, synthetic fragrance, dyes, petrochemicals, PEGs, SLS, or other additives.

About My Skin: Prone to breakouts and pigmentation

While I’m prone to breakouts, my biggest problem comes after they heal and linger on as pigmented red spots. I’ve used dark spot correctors in the past, including a vitamin serum from Cosrx that helped (and has since been discontinued, sadly), but this serum from Mad Hippie intrigued me because it’s full of good-for-the-skin ingredients—not just vitamin C.

While there are some ingredients I can’t use (like SLS), my skin isn’t very sensitive, so I can use most products safely without irritation. I mention this because vitamin C sometimes causes tingling and sensitivity, so depending on your skin, you may have to work up to using it twice a day.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum $34

Ingredients: More than just vitamin C

While this product is a vitamin C serum, it’s packed with many more key players than that. But before we get to those, though, let’s talk about that vitamin C. This serum in particular uses sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable form of vitamin C. This means it’s less prone to oxidation or irritating the skin.

The other major ingredients include vitamin E, ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, konjac root, chamomile extract and clary sage. Vitamin E reduces the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration—plus, when combined with vitamin C, it helps the ferulic acid to have an antioxidant effect. From there, Hyaluronic acid hydrates and plumps the skin, nutrient-rich konjac root protects and softens, chamomile extract calms, and clary sage acts as a natural toner to balance the skin out.

TL;DR: That’s a lot of benefits. 

Of course, the ingredients need to be present in effective concentrations to deliver results, and Mad Hippie doesn’t share those numbers. The brand does say, however, that this serum is comparable to other 15-20% vitamin C serums.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
 Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

The Feel: Leaves skin feeling tacky

The serum is a light gel which makes it easy to apply. It can feel slightly tacky even with a small amount, so be careful of overapplying. The feeling lasts for less than an hour after applying, but it continues to leave my skin feeling dry, so following it with a moisturizer is a must. If you’ll be using makeup after, give yourself some time to let the product sink in.

The Results: Slow but steady

I tested out the serum day and night for three weeks. Just like with similar products, I found myself wondering when I’d start to see results. But then towards the end of the three-week mark, I noticed that my dark spots really were lighter, and my skin tone was looking more even.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
 Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

I think this product works well as a serum that gets things done. Along with lightening dark spots, it helped my skin look more even overall, and its ingredients have long term anti-aging benefits, too.

Best of all, I never experienced any breakouts or irritation while using the serum. Those new to vitamin C may feel some tingly on the first few applications (I did the first time) but my skin is accustomed to vitamin C and other major active ingredients.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
 Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

The Value: It's definitely worth it

For its quality and list of ingredients, the price of Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum is practically a steal. Other vitamin C serums can go for around the same price, but those often lack anything other than vitamin C itself. And still, others are often much, much more expensive.

Plus, a little goes a long way. I use this serum almost every day and night, and I suspect one bottle will last me for about two months.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
 Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum vs. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

This cult-favorite SkinCeuticals serum, which Byrdie contributing writer Jenna Igneri reviewed and loved, also packs in vitamin E and ferulic acid—but it comes with a $166 price tag. It also has a ton of research behind it, as well as clear ingredient percentages, so you can be confident that you’ll get results. If you can swing it in your budget, this is an excellent alternative.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum
 Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

Our Verdict: Try it out

Because of its affordable price tag and multifunctional use, Mad Hippie's Vitamin C Serum is definitely worth a try. I was impressed that I saw results after just a few weeks, and the long list of active ingredients means that it’s working hard to improve the appearance of my skin, from dark spots and fine lines to that even-toned glow.

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