For the uninitiated, Vitamin C is one of the most important skincare ingredients and serves multiple purposes, including improving the overall tone and texture of the skin, slowing down the ageing process, increasing the skin’s defence against UV damage, and reducing hyperpigmentation and blemishes. For more information on the benefits of Vitamin C, and when/how to use it, you can read this post by Dr Nikolic.
Clinique’s latest release, the Fresh Pressed System, harnesses the full power of Vitamin C at their highest concentration. The Fresh Pressed System contains two components: a Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C, and the Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%. I undertook to complete the #FreshPressed 7 Day Challenge, whereby you use one sachet of Powder Cleanser a day, and add two drops of the Booster into your moisturiser twice a day, for one week. Clinique claims that you can expect to experience the following results:“from the first application, experience brighter, more radiant skin. With continued use, see transformative de-aging results: skin that’s noticeably firmer, more even-toned, smoother, with visibly diminished lines and wrinkles and a radiant, youthful glow.”
Before we get started on how to use these products, let’s have a look at what they contain:
Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) to restore radiance, brightness and luminosity;
Kaolin Clay to purify and gently polish the skin; and
Salicylic Acid to break apart dead skin cells and excess oil.
Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%
Vitamin C and Salicylic Acid as above;
Molasses to break up existing dark spots into microscopic particles that are diffused throughout the skin;
Mulberry Root Extract, Scutellaria Extract and Grape Fruit Extract to help fend off oxidative damage and prevent future discolouration;
Sucrose, Betaine, Algae Extract and Caffeine to calm and soothe the skin.
Due to the fact that Vitamin C naturally degrades when exposed to oxygen, the Powder Cleanser and Daily Booster are both housed in air tight, light-protected packaging to ensure that the Vitamin C remains stabilized and at its most potent.
So as you can see, the Powder Cleanser is packaged in individual sachets to ensure zero exposure to light or air prior to cleansing. You empty the sachet into your wet palm, add a bit more water to lather, and apply. Clinique advises that you leave the Powder Cleanser on the skin for approximately one minute to ensure that your skin “captures the potency of pure Vitamin C”.
I enjoyed the application ritual of the Powder Cleanser first thing in the morning, and I did feel like it added some pep to my complexion. However, I found it to be a little too drying for everyday use (I have dry skin), and for that reason I wouldn’t use it long term. Perhaps if alternated with a creamier cleanser every other day or so, it would be better suited to my skin type.
I think it would be remiss of me not to mention the packaging. I understand the technology behind it, but individually packaging 28 sachets of cleanser seems excessive to me. The amount of waste generated from using one months’ worth of this cleanser is completely disproportionate to the results you could ever achieve, in my opinion.
Next up, we have the the Booster. In order to ensure maximum potency, the 10% Vitamin C powder is isolated in a sealed chamber within a lightproof vial (sounds like something out of a James Bond film) and is only released into the soothing emulsion for mixing when it is ready to use. The idea behind this is that you only activate the Vitamin C immediately prior to the first application, meaning that its potency is guaranteed for the following 7 days.
Coming back to my previous point about the Powder Cleanser packaging, the same applies here. Due to the fact that one bottle only houses enough product for 7 days, it means that you need 4 of them in order to use the product for just 1 month. Again, I understand the logic behind it, but it is something to consider if packaging waste is one of your bug bears.
You activate the product by removing the foil and firmly pressing the inner bulb twice to release the Vitamin C powder into the soothing emulsion. You then shake well for 15 seconds, as well as before each use. You can either mix two drops into your moisturiser morning and evening, or you can apply it directly onto the skin.
I loved using the Booster, and I will continue to use it over the next three weeks in order to test it more fully (as with all skincare, it takes a few weeks to see proper results). The formula feels beautiful on the skin, and although I can’t say that I noticed drastic changes over the past 7 days, I definitely feel like I look a little bit healthier and glowier than I normally do. If you’ve been using Vitamin C for some time, as I have (Environ C-Boost Clarifying Cream), then your skin will already be accustomed to it and you will most likely already have relatively clear, bright skin. For that reason, you might also not notice huge changes within the 7 day period, but I do think that with continued use, your skin will certainly improve.
If you’re concerned about sensitivity issues, you needn’t be. I have sensitive skin and was concerned about the potency of this product, but I haven’t had any adverse reactions to it at all (but bear in mind that my skin was already comfortable with Vitamin C). If you’ve never used Vitamin C before, you can wean your skin onto it and see how you go – you don’t have to go into it guns blazing and use it twice a day right from the get go. You’ll know relatively quickly if the dosage is or isn’t working for you, and you can the adjust accordingly. My only concern with this approach though is that one bottle of the Booster only lasts for 7 days, so if you’re not using it twice a day, you might end up wasting quite a lot of it.
So, to summarise: I would recommend the Booster, but I’m not sure I would recommend the Powder Cleanser – I think there are better cleansers out there. Of all the Vitamin C products I’ve tested to date, the Booster is my favourite. I definitely prefer it to Environ’s C-Boost – it’s a far nicer product to use and it feels better on the skin. I am excited to see what the next three weeks hold, and will update this post then to keep you updated on my progress with the Booster.
If you’re interested in trying the #FreshPressed 7 Day Challenge for yourself, you can either pop into your nearest Clinique counter, or order it online here. It retails for R455.00. The Powder Cleanser retails for R410.00 for 28 sachets (which works out to almost R15 per cleanse…hmmm) and the Booster retails for R855.00 for a 28 day supply (which works out to R30 per day if used twice a day).