Saturday, November 7, 2015

Michael Todd Vitamin C Complex Plus Retinol Rejuvenating Serum Review

Vitamin C and I don't always get along. For some reason, whenever I use a serum that is mainly Vitamin C, I breakout without fail. So of course, seeing a Vitamin C serum tends to make me shake in my boots a little bit. Now, many people will tell say that this reaction to Vitamin C is just my skin "purging", and that it's common with Vitamin C. I've been told that with almost every product I've ever used that has broken me out, including the Clarisonic! I'm here to tell you that it's a crock. I'm not a scientist nor an expert on skincare, however I have done research into clinical studies, spoken to quite a few dermatologists and a close friend who is a long-time esthetician and all of them have told me time and time again that purging is a myth in almost every case.
Accutane and retinoids are pretty much the only things where purging periods have been clinically identified and studied over many years. This is because they thin the epidermis (upper layer of the skin) and thicken the dermis (lower layer of the skin) and increase cell turnover. This naturally pushes acne that is still in its beginning stages from the lower layer to the upper layer where you can see it.
Please don't buy into the purging myth, guys. If your skin is showing signs of irritation or it is breaking out badly and you're not using accutane or a retinoid, please, please stop using the product!

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, we're here to talk about this serum from Michael Todd. It not only contains Vitamin C, but Retinol. So this could potentially be breakout/acne city for me. Even so, there are quite a few benefits to a serum like this, especially if it's ingredients are formulated to work to the best of their ability.

About Michael Todd
I was first introduced to Michael Todd products years ago when their Pumpkin Enzyme mask was featured in an Ipsy bag. I really enjoyed it, and ended up looking into more of their products. While I tend to be kbeauty focused, I always love when I find a western brand with interesting, high quality products!
Michael Todd Skincare was created with the idea that the right blend of potent actives and natural ingredients would be the key to achieving extraordinary skincare results. Michael Todd is a luxurious line of highly effective formulations combinting the finest ingredients and leaving out parabens and potentially harmful additives.

Michael Todd Skincare believes in the balance of science and nature, and their formulas blend potent actives with a precise concentration of 100% organic ingredients to deliver high performing, efficacious products with clinically validated results.  Ther formulas are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrance and artificial dyes. They do not use water as their main ingredient nor do they use alcohol or mineral oils as a base for their products. They are also cruelty free!

Also, their skincare line is no joke. Their website features various lotions and potions in sleek, purple packaging. Just briefly visiting the site for the purpose of this review had me buying the Blue Green Algae Toner before I even knew what was happening! While some of their products are very affordable (the toner was under $20, some of their more potent products may reach higher price points. The serum I'm reviewing today is one such product with a price tag of $37.
 The Vitamin C Plus Retinol Rejuvenating Serum is a new product to the Michael Todd line.

What It Does
 Rejuvenating anti-aging serum formulated with brightening Vitamin C and resurfacing Retinol. With daily use skin will appear brighter with a more even skin tone and smoother texture. Reduces the appearance of fine lines, enlarged pores and dark spots.

40ml | 1.3 fl oz

Key Ingredients
-Vitamin C Complex
-Macadamia Nut Oil
-Vitamin A
-Vitamin E
Full Ingredients
Water, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, 3-o-ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Sodium Ascorbate, Retinol, Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Lactobacillus/radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Macadamia Ternifolia Nut Oil, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Niacinamide, Ascorbic Acid, Retinyl Propionate, Acrylates/c10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide.
This serum comes in a matte lavender bottle with a pump top. The package is really quite sturdy and sleek-looking which I really like. I'm a weirdo when it comes to packaging. I also swoon for pump-tops because it keeps the product sanitary and make it super easy to dispense and apply.
The serum itself is completely clear/transparent and has no noticeable scent. It's actually quite thick in terms of consistency- pretty close to a gel. It spreads across the skin easily and absorbs surprisingly fast, which I'm a fan of. By the time I get to serums in my skincare routine, I've already loaded on a first treatment essence, toner, AHA, BHA, sheet mask, and regular essence. My face is usually pretty loaded by that time, so the serums I choose to use have to be fast-absorbing or I'll be waiting way longer than I want to move on to the last steps of my routine.
Results and Overall Thoughts
I'll be straight with you guys: I received this serum through Tomoson, which is this website I use very occasionally when there's a product I'm really interested in testing. Bloggers basically apply to review a product and then have a specific time frame to do so. I only had 14 days from the day this shipped to have my review finished. By the time I got the serum in my hand, I only had 10 days to test the product, review it, and submit the review. This bothers me personally because there's no way for me to tell you the long term results of this product, but it also hurts the company because I feel that more people will be interested in the product if they know the long term results.
Having said that, I have been using this serum every single night since I got it, and it's been about a week now. Here's what I can say: It hasn't broken me out. That really blew me away on it's own because Vitamin C doesn't usually play nice with my skin, and retinol is also known to irritate my skin. Since those are the main stars of this serum, I'm very pleased that I haven't woken up to find my skin looking like the surface of Mars. 
Other than being seemingly gentle on sensitive skin, it also feels really moisturizing! I'm not sure if that's even suppose to happen, but I've also been using this on the back of my hands to help brighten them and combat any future dark spots, and my hands always feel crazy-soft after I use this!

In terms of the intended effects, I don't have many dark spots on my skin so I can't speak on that, but I have definitely seen an obvious brightening to my skin, even after the short amount of time I've been using it. My fiance even said, "Your skin has been glowing lately!" which is probably the nicest thing you can say to a girl who is obsessed with skincare, am I right? 

So yeah...while I was a little miffed I didn't have more time to really check the long-term results, I can say that this is a great serum for my skin. If your skin sometimes struggles with these ingredients too, I would definitely recommend trying this serum out. Vitamin C and Retinol are great for anti-aging and brightening the skin, but if your skin doesn't play nice with them it can be a pretty big bummer. If I see some long-term results with this serum, which I get the feeling I will, I'm definitely going to repurchase this. I'm already a big fan of this brand, so I feel confident spending the money and knowing I'm getting a quality product. And you know...any skincare product that would normally break me out and yet doesn't is a huge plus in my book!

To check out this product and the rest of the huge line from Michael Todd, please visit their website!
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All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are genuine and belong to Harlot Beauty. No monetary compensation was received, although goods and/or services have been provided and accepted for purpose of review through Tomoson. Post does not contain affiliate or referral links.


  1. Love this serum, great review too thanks!

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  3. Thanks for the detailed review mate. Vitamin C has a number of different functions in body and is equally important as Vitamin B complex or Vitamin D.