This dermatologist-approved vitamin C serum is the only skincare product I'm willing to splurge on

It's on my 'forever re-buy' list

Skinceuticals Phloretin CF
(Image credit: Rebecca Fearn)

When it comes to my skincare routine, I've established a tried-and-tested system that revolves around a small number of effective formulations. For things like my cleanser, moisturiser and SPF, I actually reach for pretty affordable brands you can buy on the high street. However, when it comes to my serum (the 'treatment' phase of a regimen), I believe it's justified to spend a little more. After all, the ingredients in your serum stay on your face unlike wash-off products, and due to their make-up, they are able to penetrate skin more deeply for more dramatic results. 

Because of this, I've allowed myself to find an incredible vitamin C serum that's not exactly affordable... but it's truly something I could no longer live without. Enter: Skinceuticals Phloretin CF

But what's so special about it, and how much does it actually cost? 

There's a high chance you've heard of Skinceuticals' vitamin C serum—but it may not be this one. C E Ferulic is the brand's bestseller, with a celebrity appreciation list as long as my arm. Everybody from Gwyneth Paltrow to Ashley Graham is a fan, but if you have skin that's a little more on the combination/oily side, or tend to experience breakouts, I'd recommend opting for my favourite: Phloretin CF. 

Formulated with 2% phloretin, 10% pure vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid), and 0.5% ferulic acid, this is amazing at protecting skin from environmental aggressors like daily pollution, as well as tackling pigmentation and uneven skin tone. In addition, it aims to keep skin looking youthful by reducing the appearance of fine lines.  

As mentioned, this is a great buy for combination-oily skin or for anybody who experiences spots; for those with dry to normal skin types, you may be better off with C E Ferulic. 

Skinceuticals Phloretin CF: a beauty editor's review

I had used C E Ferulic for years and while I found it to be a good product, I was never blown away—until I realised it was not best suited to my skin type for me to reap the rewards. I was first recommended Skinceuticals Phloretin CF by a dermatologist when I was experiencing adult acne in 2020. She put me on a strict, stripped back skincare routine, which included this in the morning—and I've not been without it since. 

I suffer from sensitivity and I've never had issues with this product, as I've had with other potent vitamin Cs, and I find it works perfectly for my oily t-zone and breakout-prone skin. It noticeably brightens in the morning, and from having skin scans over the past few years, my pollution exposure seems to be considerably lower than it had been before I started using this. 

It slots nicely into my routine after my morning cleanse and before my moisturiser and SPF. It sinks into skin really quickly (perfect for busy mornings), and I find it super easy to apply thanks to the simple pipette. My top advice is to keep it away from sunlight to prevent the product from oxidising (meaning its efficacy is lowered); this is particularly important when you've spent so much money on something. 

Truthfully, I will never stop using Phloretin CF, and it's perhaps the only big splurge in my routine I am willing to pay for. 

Skinceuticals Phloretin CF

(Image credit: Rebecca Fearn)
Rebecca Fearn

Rebecca is a freelance beauty journalist and contributor to Marie Claire. She has written for titles including Refinery29, The Independent, Grazia, Coveteur, Dazed, Stylist, and Glamour. She is also a brand consultant and has worked with the likes of The Inkey List on campaign messaging and branded copy. She’s obsessed with skincare, nail art and fragrance, and outside of beauty, Rebecca likes to travel, watch true crime docs, pet sausage dogs and drink coffee. Rebecca is also passionate about American politics and mental health awareness.