There’s a reason the cult-favorite SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Acid serum is so coveted—just do a quick Google search for this beloved cult classic and you’ll find endless glowing reviews from beauty editors, derms, and loyal fans of the pricey product adamantly defending its lofty price tag. Touted for its laundry list of skin-enhancing benefits, from erasing dark spots to ironing out fine lines (and of course, backed by ample before and after pics), this serum is without a doubt a worthy investment for many, but let’s be honest—it’s tough to justify dropping almost $200 bucks on a skincare product—regardless of how miraculous it may be.
Topical vitamin C is an active ingredient that’s earned the seal approval by derms and skincare experts for its effective skin-transforming superpowers, but unfortunately, it’s also one that’s notoriously difficult to formulate and stabilize, which means that effective formulas are often priced steeply and that vitamin C serums are not all created equal.
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With that being said, however—and as someone who’s already gone through a bottle of Skinceuticals C E Ferulic—there are a few solid alternatives that come pretty close to the O.G. formula, but the best one I’ve found is the Timeless 20% Vitamin C Plus E Ferulic Acid Serum that retails for about $21 a pop on Amazon.
Like the SkinCeuticals serum, this budget-friendly serum is formulated with 20 percent vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid, one percent vitamin E, and 0.5 percent ferulic acid. It also earns some bonus points in my book because it’s also infused with plumping hyaluronic acid for added anti-aging benefits. It also absorbs quickly and doesn’t pill up when you apply other skincare products and foundation on top of it, unlike so many other vitamin C serums I’ve used.
Thanks to over 3,000 customer reviews and a solid four-star rating, this product is prone to going out of stock. The highly-anticipated restock is slated for October 15, but you might want to buy it now if you want to avoid getting stuck on a waitlist.