Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vitamin C serum and a thank you

My younger sister and I shared a room from the day she was born until the day I got married. To say she knows me pretty well even though we've been living in separate states for 9 years is an understatement. Yesterday I received a package from her for my birthday filled with some wonderful surprises.

First these beautiful dressed up sandals. Drool worthy, very drool worthy. I'm a Florida girl at heart and much to my poor mother's dismay spent my first two North Carolina winters in denial that I shouldn't wear flip flops in coat weather. I'm a bit more level headed now and save the flip flop wearing for February at the earliest. These little beauties are perfect. A little flair under my feet and a little bling on top to dress them up.

She knows me oh so well. But that wasn't all. Included with a heartfelt note was fabric money! Yes, I was instructed to spend it on fabric and I must obey the orders of the gift giver. So I'll dutifully find some luscious fabric to spend it on soon. Thank you very much H. for the wonderful birthday surprise.

Appropriately themed with my aging is this do it yourself vitamin C serum. A couple of months ago I found this recipe on the web. I wanted to try it because I tend to scar up pretty easily with blemishes and I tend to get dark splotches on my skin from the sun. I've always had great luck using chemical exfoliants like BHA and AHA but really don't want to deal with the parabens and other not so great ingredients.

I ordered my ascorbic acid, but didn't have glycerin around so I made it with 2 teaspoons of water. I put it on that evening and the next morning while rinsing my face I noticed a difference right away. A glow, smoother tone of the skin. Pretty much the post-facial glow without the price tag. Sold. I fell off the bandwagon for a few weeks but today decided to mix up another weekly batch and this time I tried it with glycerin to see if there was any difference. Glycerin is a humectant and I was curious. I will say the glycerin is too much in the original quantity. Next time I'll only use about 1/4 teaspoon of glycerin and 1 3/4 teaspoon of water for the 1/4 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder.

Now, just a few tips:

* Make sure you buy ascorbic acid powder without any additives. You should be able to find it online at supplement stores like Vitacost or locally at healthfood stores.

* The serum only lasts a week or so in the fridge. Really that's not an issue because once you try it, you'll want to slather it on your arms, the top of your hands, your chest, legs, etc. The fluid should be clear but if it turns yellowish or any other color, toss it and start a new batch as the vitamin C has oxidized.

* Be sure to follow common sense hygiene and use clean fingers, etc. so as not to cross contaminate the batch. I keep mine in a dark amber dropper bottle as vitamin C is sensitive to light. Again these bottles are available online or your local healthfood store.

* Apply the serum either at night or in the morning but apply it to bare skin and wait 30 minutes before applying any other product to allow the serum time to absorb and begin working. Adding another product before the 30 minutes would affect the PH of the serum and make it less potent.

First, mix the ascorbic acid with water. I noticed that the powder didn't dissolve as well with the glycerin so mixing it with the water first is best. Then add the glycerin. (I used a 1/8 teaspoon measuring spoon but did add 1/4 teaspoon total).

Pour into your clean bottle and proceed to slather on. Remember, store in the fridge and make a new batch each week. This is super cheap. The 8oz jar of ascorbic acid powder cost me all of $8 and at 1/4 teaspoon a week will last me quite a while. However, the most important point is that you'll always have a potent batch of vitamin C serum. Every other product on the market loses potency as it sits on the shelf and oxidizes. You end up paying $40+ for a pretty glass bottle of oxidized vitamin C that at best won't do anything for your skin and at worst might actually make things worse.

My mom and I are always sharing tips we've found for the home, beauty, health, etc. Since I've been tinkering with beauty recipes I pass them on to her and she excitedly shares them with my aunts, her friends, etc. My father has teased her saying that the day I go up in a cloud of smoke with some freaky concoction there will be at least another half dozen echo smoke clouds in South Florida.

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