We’ve become a picky bunch when it comes to cosmetics, with our lotions and potions often leaving us spoiled for choice when they boast multiple beauty benefits in one compact creation. Gone are the days when a good moisturiser was simply expected to keep dry skin at bay. They now come packed with added key ingredients to combat problems like wrinkles, acne, and uneven skin tone – and The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser seems to be no exception.

The Claims
The Body Shop claim that this cream can help us to wave goodbye to ‘grumpy, dull, fatigued looking skin’ by hydrating, energising and boosting its glow. But is this topical treatment really enough to combat that over-tired expression that we wear on our face after a stressful week (month, year… life?!)? It’s science-seeking time!

The Science: Virtuous little vitamin C
By bigging it up in their title, we’re expecting a lot from vitamin C in this product! Listed as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, The Body Shop utilise their star ingredient in this lipid (fat) soluble form, which is more stable than other forms of vitamin C (such as water-soluble ascorbic acid). It is believed that using lipid-soluble forms allows the ingredient to penetrate skin more easily when applied topically (as its structure more closely mimics that of the skin’s natural lipids).

Its stability in this form protects the vitamin C component from a chemical reaction known as oxidation. Preventing oxidation of this ingredient allows it to remain active, retaining its properties for longer. As a powerful antioxidant, there’s a wealth of studies supporting the use of vitamin C in topical applications. It has been shown to be equally effective at neutralising the reactive oxygen species (ROS, those photo-damage-inducing demons) formed by exposure to both UVA and UVB rays. If left to roam skin unchecked ROS and free radicals can cause damage that eventually manifests as ageing, so keeping on top of these critters is an anti-ageing priority! Learn more about the action of anti-oxidants against free radicals in our “Free radicals, Antioxidants and Ageing” feature here.

Well what about that promised ‘glow’ then? It would seem that we have vitamin C to thank for that too. Its vast array of beauty benefits includes lightening hyperpigmentation by blocking the action of an enzyme (that’s a biological busy-body!) called tyrosinase. The normal action of tyrosinase is to help form the skin pigment melanin, which is responsible for giving skin its natural colouring. When too much melanin is created however (e.g. when skin is over-exposed to UVA and UVB) hyperpigmentation can occur, allowing for the dreaded age-spot to develop. Over-production of melanin can make skin appear dull, uneven in tone and put an end to any hopes we had of that clear, bright and youthful complexion. Looks like the Body Shop are on to something with their stable vitamin C concoction.

If all this wasn’t enough, topical applications of vitamin C can also help to promote collagen synthesis (a major skin component that’s production decreases as we age) and is also associated with improvements of a variety of inflammatory skin conditions. Trials using topical vitamin C have shown it produced clinically visible significant benefits for improving skin wrinkling – that’s a ‘glowing’ report if ever we heard one!

Mega-moisturisers: Glycerin and sodium hyaluronate
For all its skin-brightening effects we can’t forget that this product is first and foremost a moisturiser, so we were pleased to spot some of the beauty world’s best established humectants (water-retaining ingredients) on the list. Widely recognised as one of the the most effective humectants at increasing moisture levels in the stratum corneum (very outermost layer of the skin), glycerin has been the go-to hydrating ingredient in cosmetic formulations for many years. Humectants are crucial for decreasing the process known as transepidermal water loss (or TEWL to the clued-up beauty-buffs), which is simply the loss of water across the skin barrier and into the environment.

More recent to hit the hydrating scene however is similar skin-loving sugar and hydration-sensation sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), which has a slightly less ‘sticky’ feel than glycerine and is capable of holding a huge 1000 times its own weight in water. Sodium hyaluronate supports the major skin components like collagen in the skin’s deeper layers (the dermis), helping to maintain healthy skin structure. And with all that water added into the mix, it also serves to plump out these layers of the skin, helping skin to appear fuller. Glycerin + sodium hyaluronate = power hydration combo.

Other ingredients included to condition the skin – like Aloe vera and sesame seed oil – are well known players on the beauty scene, and are always a welcome sight on an ingredients list! Sesame seed oil is rich in fatty acids and is an excellent skin emollient, whilst aloe vera has been traditionally used for centuries to calm stressed skin.

Finished off with a fruity fragrance…
This moisturiser also packs a whole host of fragrances like linalool, citral and benzyl salicylate to name but a fruity few who help to give the product its signature uplifting zesty scent, leaving your face feeling fresh and ‘energised’ just as we’re promised.

The Verdict
Retailing at a reasonable £16 for 50ml and with reviewers on their site praising its ‘wonderful moisture surge’ and ‘delicious smell’ it seems that many users were as satisfied with the product’s performance as we were with its science. Top quality cosmetics require top quality ingredients, and The Body Shop have impressed us by making the most of star ingredient vitamin C and using a stabilised form. Other reviewers however seemed split, with Makeup Alley shoppers giving a pretty average 3/5 *’s and just 50% saying they would repurchase this product.

Body Shop, you can’t please them all – but you’ve pleased The Geeks with your solid science and that certainly counts for something – consider Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser Geek-approved

Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser is available exclusively at Body Shop and can get bought online HERE in the UK or HERE for our American Beauty Geeks!