Meanwhile, the C.E.O. Afterglow Brightening Vitamin C Cream has a bouncier, custard-like texture that instantly absorbs into skin, creating a satin finish without leaving behind a greasy feel in the process. As its name suggests, this formula contains vitamin C to, of course, brighten your complexion, but there’s more to this powerhouse ingredient than its radiance-boosting abilities. According to Macrene Alexiades, MD, board-certified New York City-based dermatologist, vitamin C also fights free radicals like sun exposure and pollutants and acts as a co-factor for collagen synthesis, keeping the skin firm and plump.
If dark spots and hyperpigmentation are your concerns, you’ll be glad to know that this vitamin also has skin tone-evening abilities to help fade stubborn spots faster. With that being said, Dr. Alexiades also notes that it’s important to utilize a product with an active and stable form of vitamin C in order to see the best results. That’s why Sunday Riley’s new cream is infused specifically with THD ascorbate, a stabilized and potent form of the antioxidant.
Since this is a moisturizer, it, of course, has moisturizing properties, all thanks to sodium hyaluronate. This ingredient is a form of hydrating hyaluronic acid found naturally in your skin that draws water from the air into the surface layer of your skin. Dr. Alexiades notes that this form of hyaluronic acid penetrates the surface layer of skin deeper than other forms of the ingredient, making it more effective. “As a humectant, it draws in water and keeps skin hydrated,” she says.
Rounding out the formula is lutein, a carotenoid antioxidant. “Reported to be able to absorb blue light and handle oxidative species, there is some clinical efficacy in improving skin tone especially when taken orally,” Dr. Alexiades says. As for topically, a 2021 study reports that carotenoids, like lutein, can neutralize free radicals on the skin, provide photoprotective benefits, and act as an anti-inflammatory to calm redness. The latter benefit is especially important for me since I have rosacea, so this information made me all the more willing to test out the moisturizer.