C-ing is Believing : A Review of Wardah C-Defense Vitamin C Serum

C-ing is Believing : A Review of Wardah C-Defense Vitamin C Serum

Welcome, lurkers of dark alleys of the internet, it’s been a while! In contrary to popular belief, I am alive and well and sooo ready to roll out some beauty products reviews your way!

In my previous post on morning routine, I wrote that I cannot think of skipping my vitamin C serum. Let me introduce you to the vitamin C serum that starts it all : Wardah C-Defense Vitamin C Serum. It is not the first Vitamin C product I use but it definitely is the one that hooks me to the vitamin C life.

Wardah C-Defense Vitamin C Serum is a part of Wardah C-Defense line, which has been around for a while. I was not too excited about trying the other product from this line : the DD cream would probably lying around unused since I don’t really wear base make up, the face mist has phenoxyethanol 2nd on the ingredient list (UGH WHY), the face wash looks okay, but not my priority. The vitamin C serum is practically the only product attractive enough to be put in my shopping cart.

Wardah C-Defense Line
The whole line, ICYMI

I admit the price is the major deciding factor for me. At Rp 78.500 for 17 ml (price per November 2017, the time this review is posted), it is one of the most affordable, legitimate vitamin C serum around. Also, I am really curious what type of vitamin C is used in this serum, as most of beauty blogger reviews at the time did not have the complete ingredients.

Let’s examine what the serum has to offer!

Vitamin C? Which Vitamin C?

By now you probably have heard lots about benefits of vitamin C in skin care. Skin brightening, antioxidant, anti-inflammation, do your laundry and dishes and pick up your child from school…you name it. However, vitamin C comes in various types, and they are not created equal, so it is crucial to know what type of vitamin C is in your product.

Most of the benefits of vitamin C you have heard about probably are from studies on L-ascorbic acid (L-AA), the “active” form of vitamin C. All other types of vitamin C needs to be converted to L-AA before it could affect the skin. Unfortunately, L-AA is very acidic and potentially highly irritating. It is also unstable in water-based product: you have to keep it away from sunlight, preferably refrigerated, and minimize its contact with oxygen, otherwise it will oxidize quickly and become useless, if not harmful.

Ain't nobody got time for complicated vitamin C serum
Some days I even forgot to bring my laptop to work and now I have to remember to put back my vitamin serum in the fridge every. Single. Time? Thanks but no thanks

If you are a meticulous and tidy person, by all means, use L-AA type . If you are not (like me) then…well, you better look for another option

Which type of vitamin C should I use then? We have a lot of options, for example Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP), Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Glucoside etc. Differences among the types of vitamin C would be a topic for another post; now let us focus on the type of vitamin C this Wardah Serum has, which is…

Ethyl Ascorbic Acid (featuring its humectant friends)

Wardah C-Defense Serum package boasts “powerful antioxidant hi grade vitamin C which has high penetration ability into skin layer”. I don’t know whether it is actually “hi grade”, but from the ingredient list I do know that it contains ethyl ascorbic acid (EA). Judging from its position in the ingredient list, it is there in a decent amount, however the percentage is undisclosed. I haven’t found any articles regarding the ideal percentage for EA, so I am going to trust Wardah on this.

EA, like its other vitamin C siblings, is commonly used in brightening products. Some cosmetic chemical suppliers (example) even go as far as claiming that it works better than SAP and Ascorbyl Glucoside in terms of melanin inhibition, although I have yet to see the scientific receipt for that. From a few scientific articles I found, EA could inhibit the activity of tyrosinase, which is responsible for synthesis of melanin (Hatao & Maeda, 2005, Google Patents). However, it is likely difficult for it to be delivered to epidermis due to its high water solubility (Li, et.al. 2005). Still, if it is formulated well, its penetration ability could be enhanced. Again, I am going to just trust Wardah on this.

Wardah C-Defense Vitamin C Serum full ingredients list
Wardah C-Defense Vitamin C Serum full ingredients list

Other than EA, this serum sure has a lot of humectants. Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, and Aloe vera extracts, to name a few. These ingredients keep your skin well hydrated, and my skin loves them to bits.

(Click here for full COSDNA analysis of ingredients)


So I religiously put it on my skin almost every morning for around 3 months. I used 2 drops for my whole face and another 2 drops for my neck upper chest (because, hey, gotta keep collagen production smooth there too). I finished 2 bottles in total, before I moved on to another vitamin C serum.

First impression was not so good. It was a bit sticky and heavy for my oily skin, actually. It needed waiting time before putting another products, not really to ensure it is working optimally, but because it was so sticky I could not bear the feeling of another product on top of it before it was (sort of) absorbed. If you were late in the morning (and I was usually late), the waiting time could be really, really painful. If I were a type of girl who NEEDS to wear base make up everyday, I figured I would dislike this serum for making my morning prep extra long.

IMO, the culprit is GLYCERIN. It is really a great (and cheap) humectant, but it has this sticky feeling that might be too much for people with oily skin, especially those who live in the humid tropical climate like yours truly. I have read other reviews who stated that this serum made their skin oilier–it actually does not, but indeed glycerin (mainly) makes my skin shinier than I’d like it to be (especially if you have spent almost your whole life trying to make your oily skin looks matte).

After spending around 15 minutes letting it absorbed, though, I found that my skin had a quite nice glow! Also, this having so much humectants means I could skip essence and moisturizer step. Some days I just put this serum on, and then sunscreen, and I was good to go! My face looked more glowy than shiny, though admittedly I used mineral sunscreen which would tone down the glycerin-shine a bit.

When I almost finished my first bottle, I started received compliments on how my skin condition improved and the damned PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) were fading. I noticed that people started to ask me about products I was using around the same time as well, haha. So I think…it works. This also convince me to buy another bottle instead of getting other products from my long Vitamin C serum wishlists.

If you have dry skin, this would be really fantastic! I think I would love it even more if my skin is dry. Vitamin C + lots of humectants = LOVE.

Other consideration

Wardah C Defense Vitamin C Serum

Packaging-wise, I don’t really have complains. The tiny glass bottle contains 17 ml. It is opaque so you don’t have to worry about lights degrading your product (I have not found any sources on EA photostability, but I assume it is more stable than L-AA). The droppers are fine, too. The bottle opening is quite wide so it is easy to force out every single drop when you have too little products to use dropper. It is not leaking easily if you make sure that you close it tightly.

Fragrance-wise, from the packaging I kind of expected this to be strongly orange-fragranced.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was not. I could barely smell anything, actually.

Where to get this product?

Wardah products are widely available in Indonesia, so I think you can easily find it in cosmetics shops and supermarkets near you. The following online shops carried it, if you really need to buy it online :

1. Sociolla

2.  Wardah Official Shopee

3. Wardah Official Tokopedia*

This list is not exhaustive, and only provided here as an information. I am in no way affiliated or compensated by the online stores I listed above.

Have you tried Wardah Vitamin C Serum? Do you have any suggestion of Vitamin C Serum to add to my long Serum Wishlist! Leave some comments below; I would really love to know XD

6 Replies to “C-ing is Believing : A Review of Wardah C-Defense Vitamin C Serum”

  1. […] in this serum is Ethyl Ascorbic Acid (EAA). I have talked a little bit about ethyl ascorbic acid on my post about Wardah Vitamin C Serum, which also use the same type of vitamin C. Long story short, ethyl ascorbic acid potentially has […]

  2. Ng.. what is PIH (?)

    1. Hi! PIH is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, excess of skin pigmentation which is often an aftermath of acne breakout (among other causes). Thank you for bringing this to my attention, I have added small explanation and links for more detailed info on the post!

  3. Wonderfully informative post. The only one Ive seen that had broken down the ingredients to their use and told us whats theyre for. From someone that appreciates information and knowing what goes on her skin, Thank you. You know your stuff! Keep it up! 👍🏻

    1. Hi Kristin, I am glad you find this informative. Your comment made my day, thank you for sharing your thought 🙂

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