Vitamin C and acids are two of my go-to ingredients for glowing skin. As an antioxidant, vitamin C is well-known for its ability to brighten skin tone, fade dark spots, and fight the free radicals in the environment that can lead to premature aging and pigmentation. Acids work by exfoliating dead surface skin cells (which can make skin look dull and uneven) to reveal the fresh, new cells underneath.
Beautycounter’s All Bright line—which is all about brighter, more even skin—just so happens to feature these exact ingredients. The hero product is the All Bright C Serum, a bestselling vitamin C serum, and now there’s a new acid-based toner, the All Bright Triple Acid AHA Toner.
Here’s what you need to know about the brand, each product, and my results.
If you’re not familiar with Beautycounter, here are some quick facts.
Beautycounter was founded in 2013 with the mission of getting safer beauty products into everyone’s hands. It all started when founder Gregg Renfrew learned that the US personal care industry is woefully under-regulated. (At the time, only 30 ingredients were banned, compared to 1,400 in the EU.)
She set out to not only create clean, high-performing beauty products, but to also advocate for stricter legislation that would shift the industry away from harmful and questionable ingredients.
Currently, there are more than 1,800 ingredients on the brand’s Never List that you will never see in its formulas. They include:
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
- Synthetic fragrance
Beautycounter is also cruelty-free, and by 2025, 100% of its packaging will be recycled, recyclable, refillable, reused or compostable.
All Bright C Serum
Beautycounter’s All Bright C Serum is a potent, 10% vitamin C serum that any skin type can use. It is clinically proven to both even skin tone and improve brightness in as little as eight weeks. It does so with two forms of vitamin C, plus turmeric and camu camu extracts.
Here’s what you should know about the key ingredients:
- 5% Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate: This is a vitamin C derivative that has been shown to brighten, even skin tone, fade dark spots and boost collagen production. Compared to L-ascorbic acid, it is more stable, and penetrates more deeply.
- 5% Bis-glyceryl ascorbate: This is another vitamin C derivative, which not only brightens, evens tone and protects from free radicals, but also hydrates your skin. It, too, is more stable than L-ascorbic acid.
- Turmeric: Long used in Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric (Curcuma longa extract) has antioxidant and radiance-boosting properties.
- Camu camu: As a type of Amazonian berry, camu camu (Myrciaria dubia extract) is a powerful antioxidant and a rich natural source of vitamin C.
The rest of the ingredients include glycerin and hyaluronic acid to bind moisture, and no silicones or synthetic fragrance:
Aqua/Water/Eau, Propanediol, Bis-Glyceryl Ascorbate*, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate*, Pentylene Glycol, Coconut Alkanes, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Myrciaria Dubia Fruit Extract†, Curcumin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Phytic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Decanal, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Ionone, Ethyl Lactate, Vanillin, Isoamyl Acetate, Ethyl 2-Methylbutyrate, Methoxyphenylbutanone, Dec-9-en-2-one, Dimethylhydroxy Furanone, Ethyl Propionate, Ethyl Cinnamate, Hexenyl Acetate, Triethyl Citrate, Benzyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate. Citral+, Limonene+, Linalool+ *Vitamin C †Camu Camu Extract + Naturally occurring in essential oils & natural materials as defined by International Organization for Standardization
All Bright Triple Acid AHA Toner
Beautycounter’s All Bright Triple Acid AHA Toner is a brightening, exfoliating and pore-refining toner for all skin types. The company conducted studies on this one, too. It is clinically proven to improve the look of pores after just one use, and to improve skin brightness after four weeks (when used once daily).
Rather than vitamin C, this product contains a blend of acids, niacinamide and kombucha. Here’s what each one does for your skin:
- 8% AHA complex: A blend of two alpha-hydroxy acids—lactic acid and glycolic acid—works to chemically exfoliate dead skin for a softer, smoother, glowing surface.
- 5% phytic acid: This is an ultra-mild AHA (even gentler than lactic acid) that also exfoliates and increases cell turnover.
- Salicylic acid (BHA): As a beta-hydroxy acid, salicylic acid exfoliates for a brighter surface look. It deep-cleans and purifies your pores, too.
- Niacinamide: Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide has an array of skin benefits, including minimizing pores and fading dark spots.
- Kombucha: This is an extract of fermented black tea, which helps to smooth and brighten.
Other than that, the ingredients list is very simple—with no alcohol, oil, silicone or fragrance:
Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Phytic Acid, Lactic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycolic Acid, Saccharomyces/Xylinum/Black Tea Ferment*, Niacinamide, Salicylic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Amylopectin, Dextrin, Polydextrose, Biotin, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate. *Kombucha
How to Use Beautycounter’s All Bright Products
- Swipe or pat on Toner: After cleansing and drying your skin, pour the All Bright Triple Acid AHA Toner onto a cotton pad and swipe it over your face, neck and décolletage (avoiding the eye area). Alternatively, you can pat it on with your fingertips, the same way you’d use a facial essence.
- Apply Serum: After cleansing and toning, you can either apply All Bright C Serum on its own, or layer it over your regular serum. Dispense a small amount and smooth it over your face, neck and décolletage (avoiding the eye area).
- Finish with moisturizer and sunscreen: Sunscreen is always essential for daytime—especially after using the Toner, since AHAs make your skin more sun-sensitive. Be sure to wear sunscreen on areas where AHAs have been applied prior to exposure and for a week after use.
Should All Bright Products Be Used Morning or Night?
The All Bright Triple Acid AHA Toner can be used morning or night—it’s up to you. The All Bright C Serum is meant to be used in the morning, since its antioxidant properties will help to protect your skin from daily sun exposure and environmental free radicals.
How Often Should You Use the All Bright Products?
If you’re new to acids, start by using the Toner just once or twice per week. As your skin adjusts, you can gradually increase the frequency of applications to as often as once per day. The Serum can be applied once a day, every day—no adjustment period necessary.
My Experience and Final Verdict
As a beauty editor, I’ve tried countless vitamin C serums over the years, but I have to say, the All Bright C Serum stands out.
First of all, you can’t help but feel happy when you see the bright yellow packaging. And the serum itself is yellow, too (probably from the turmeric?), although rest assured that it does not show up on your skin once you blend it in.
I find the texture very light, non-greasy and fast-absorbing. It might feel a tad sticky for a few seconds, but that goes away as it dries down. Being acne-prone, I’m always nervous that a new serum might clog my pores or make my skin oily, but this doesn’t.
Since vitamin C was already part of my routine before I tried this product, I don’t have a dramatic before and after to show you. However, it’s definitely something that will help maintain my results, since it has the minimum concentration of vitamin C that I always look for (10%). I also love that it has a longer shelf life than L-ascorbic acid, which I can never seem to use up before it turns brown!
I would recommend this Serum to anyone looking for brightening benefits and a lightweight, non-irritating and stable formula.
As for the All Bright Triple Acid AHA Toner, I was able to dive right in and use it every day, since acids have been part of my daily routine for years now.
I love that it’s almost a cross between a toner and an essence, right down to the packaging—which is so luxe. If I’m applying it at night, after washing my face at the sink, I use it on a cotton pad to remove any traces of cleanser residue. But if I’m applying it in the morning, when I’ve washed my face in the shower and don’t have any residue to swipe off, it’s fun to pat it on as an essence.
Since I use a BHA every day to keep acne in check, this product gave me a little extra exfoliation, but not enough to cause any irritation. The texture is clear and watery, and I don’t experience any stinging, redness or dryness whatsoever.
For that reason, I think most skin will be able to tolerate this Toner. I’m the biggest advocate for toning after cleansing, and daily gentle exfoliation, so I think it could be a real game-changer if you are not currently doing these things! It would also be a great standalone exfoliant for sensitive types, or anyone who is just starting out with acids.
Where to Buy + How to Get 30% Off
And if it’s your first time shopping at Beautycounter, you can score 30% off your purchase from now until September 30! All you need to do is subscribe to the email list, and you’ll receive a promo code in your inbox. You’ll also get updates from the brand on new launches, product tips and future offers!
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