by Erica When
iS Clinical Super Serum Advance + ($84) arrived for me to test and review, its red packaging immediately raised a red flag. The product is distributed out of Beverly Hills. Stereotypes can be powerful. To me, Beverly Hills says, "Superficial. All style, no substance."
Would my experience with iS Clinical Super Serum change my first impression or reinforce it?
Vitamin C serums are popular anti-aging skin care products because they increase collagen production, even skin tone and provide protection from sun damage. However, finding the right formula isn't easy.
iS Clinical Super Serum Advance + combines a 15 percent concentration of "next generation" L-ascorbic acid with copper tripeptide growth factor. From all I have read, L-ascorbic acid is the best way to deliver useful Vitamin C to your skin, provided it is at high concentrations and low pH. The 15 percent concentration in iS Clinical Super Serum is likely sufficient, but I have no way of assessing the serum's pH level.
iS Clinical Super Serum is a water-based product, which has not historically been ideal. Water can make ascorbic acid unstable, and such formulations are known to irritate the skin. However, this serum uses a time-released form of ascorbic acid that generally prevents these problems.
iS Clinical Super Serum appeared to have an excellent pedigree, but what was my personal experience with the product? It was problematic from the get go.
The directions indicate that iS Clinical Super Serum should be used in the morning, and optionally at night. Three to five drops should be applied to clean face and neck.
Using iS Clinical Super Serum on my face during the day was not doable. While it was not the least bit irritating, it felt tacky on my skin to the point where my hair would stick to my cheeks and forehead. For this reason, I opted to use the serum only at night, which is when I really prefer to use exfoliants.
The packaging for the serum was also a problem. iS Clinical Super Serum comes in a small brown bottle (good for protecting the formulation from degrading due to exposure to light) with a dropper to apply it. The 15 milliliter bottle is narrow though. It's almost as tall as 30 milliliter bottles of serum that I've used in the past.
Getting the serum from bottle to face was a challenge. iS Clinical Super Serum is barely thicker than water. When I applied drops to my face, they would quickly start running and dripping while I tried to get the dropper back into the little bottle. More than once, the bottle tipped over, and I lost a significant portion of the product.
Perhaps a spray bottle would be a better alternative for this serum. That way I could mist my face, set down the bottle and massage the serum into my skin without having to fiddle with getting the dropper back into its little container.
For these reasons, I cannot recommend iS Clinical Super Serum. Perhaps if it were a more user-friendly product, I could assess it for what it does and doesn't do for my skin. Unfortunately, my relationship with iS Clinical Super Serum never made it past a superficial level.
Under the circumstances, I am inclined to stick with a couple of my tried-and-true favorites: Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum and Your Best Face Advanced CE Concentrate. These products have given me great results, plus they are easy to use and cost less than iS Clinical Super Serum.