So first a little back story…Tiam are a company that I only became aware of a few months back, when I saw that they would be at the K Beauty Expo in Seoul in May, and I learned that they are little sister company of Cosrx. Needless to say I was intrigued, having been a huge fan of Cosrx for the past few years.
*This product was kindly gifted to me, but this does not affect my review in any way. See my disclaimer tab for more details of how I collaborate.
I met Luna from Tiam when I visited their booth at the expo, and she very kindly gifted me with some products of my choice (the two Bubble Packs and the Anti-Pollution Salt Facial Scrub). After testing the products, I was suitably impressed.
And then, about a month ago, something caught my eager eye- Tiam had rebranded the famous O.S.T. Original Pure Vitamin C20 serum and were selling it. Having just dipped my toes in the Vit C pool, and been overwhelmingly excited at the brightening effects, I was ready to plunge in head first and buy this 20% serum. But duh, Katherine, of course it’s not available in Korea because of the strict laws (EDIT: this is now being sold in Korea, woohoo!). That’s when Tiam offered to send me the product in return for honest reviews. So here I am, almost four weeks in, and here you are, ready to read my review…lesgo.
Vitamin C serums are predominantly used for brightening, helping reduce PIH and acne scars, light exfoliation, and overall evening of skin tone. Whilst my skin is already reasonably bright (as a result of my three year affair with my k-beauty routine), I frequently deal with mild PIH and red marks from small pimples. My skin tone is also quite uneven with redness, and it’s something I’m conscious of.
The packaging states:
Tiam My Signature C Source delivers a multitude of complexion benefits for beautifully healthy skin. Pure Vitamin C refine, brighten, balance, and tone skin for a radiant appearance.
Product Details and Ingredients
Full name: My Signature C Source
Ingredients: (No changes from the original C20 product)
Water, Ascorbic Acid, Alcohol, Sodium Lactate, Butylene Glycol, Glucose, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Xanthan Gum, Diethoxyethyl Succinate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Flower Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Glycerin, Zinc PCA, Panthenol, Niacinamide, t-Butyl Alcohol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Beta-Glucan, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ubiquinone, Diisopropyl Adipate
So with 20% Ascorbic Acid, it contains about the highest concentration of Vitamin C you can buy, which is great! Next is alcohol. Now personally, I don’t have a problem with alcohol in certain formulas, and I’m okay with it in this, but of course it’s a personal choice. There’s also a few other ingredients I’m happy to see- sodium hyaluronate and camellia sinensis leaf extract in particular, for moisturizing and antioxidant properties.
Niacinamide is featured here, which is really quite confusing, considering its widely thought that using niacinamide and Vitamin C together could be problematic. There has been some discussion on this, and I don’t pretend to know the science behind it. Luckily we have highly knowledgeable bloggers like Stephen at kindofstephen.com to help us non-science-minded folks understand the science behind what we’re putting our faces. His article about Vitamin C and niacinamide really helped me, and I’ve decided to allow a short wait time between using the serum, and any niacinamide product (virtually all of my products contain niacinamide). I’m not too concerned about using them together, nor the small (?) amount of niacinamide in this product.
How to use:
You have to be quite particular with how you use and store Vitamin C, and I’ll admit I felt a bit nervous initially.
Vitamin C can oxidize very quickly, and should therefore be stored in a cool, dark place. I keep mine in the refrigerator, in its box. It does come in a dark glass bottle to help protect the product.
For use, I drop several drops directly onto a clean face, about 15 minutes after I’ve cleansed. I expected a slight tingling sensation, but this just seems to happen occasionally, and oddly only on my forehead- I guess my skin is more sensitive there. The tingling only lasts a couple of seconds for me. For sensitive skin, it is suggested to mix the serum with a toner. I had been using 10% Vitamin C pads beforehand, so this may have helped build my tolerance, and I’m sticking with using the serum alone.
It definitely needs mentioned that there’s no room for slacking on sunscreen application if you’re using this serum. As I already use minimum SPF factor 50 PA+++ sunscreens every damn day (and the correct recommended amount-so important), this wasn’t a concern for me, but something you need to be aware of if you don’t religiously use sun protection. I do use this in the morning despite the night time recommendation, because of my acid use at night. But I’m rarely in the sun for long on a daily basis, only for about 15 minutes during my commute.
Fact, I love dropper serums. They’re hygienic, easy to use, and easy to control amount of product. As I mentioned earlier, the dark colored glass also helps protect the product from oxidization.
The amount of serum provided (30ml) is reasonable, seeing as the product should be used up fairly quickly.
Texture and Scent
This scent, man, I love it. It’s a fresh and fruity, citrus orange scent, and it really hits you when you first use the product. It fades quite quickly, but that first whiff is glorious.
The texture is a thick, clear, classic serum texture and spreads smoothly and easily. However, as noted in many of the reviews I’ve seen, it does leave a distinctly sticky residue. It’s not pleasant. BUT, oddly, as soon as you layer products over the top, the stickiness completely disappears and it doesn’t affect the rest of my routine or make up application. It’s really bizarre, and there’s no heaviness at all. Used on it’s own- not the best. Used within a routine (as I always do)- no problem for me.
Gotta admit, it lived up to all of my expectations. As I said, my skin is already fairly bright, but I’ve noticed SERIOUS overall glow coming through over this four week testing period that wasn’t there before I started using the serum. The before and after photos actually really surprised me because I hadn’t realized how dramatic the brightening has been. FYI I’ve been using it almost every morning.
You can definitely see some of the redness and also some of my freckles are significantly lighter and my skin is generally more even-toned.
It has also helped fade pimple marks significantly quicker. When I break out on my forehead or on my chin, the red marks tend to linger and irritate me (you can see the red PIH on my chin in the photos above, and how it’s more even and faded in the later photos). With the serum, the marks fade so much faster. The same can be said for the pimples I experience on my chest. I break out on my chest more than anywhere else, and I’m often left with red marks where the spots have been. I’ve been testing the serum here as well as my face, and the results have been even more dramatic with fading the marks so quickly.
In terms of exfoliating, my skin does feel slightly smoother. I don’t think Vitamin C has particularly affected my (more frequent, as of late) breakouts in terms of prevention, but rather just helped control the redness and marks from those breakouts, which is what I expected. I didn’t use my BHA or AHA for two weeks when I was testing this, and I definitely needed to reincorporate those to help with my pores and skin texture, and use them at night, whilst using the Vitamin C in the morning. Using all three together has been perfect.
I have zero complaints about the serum…it’s reasonably priced, well packaged, and provided me with some fabulous brightening results. It’s helping keep the redness in my skin at bay, and fading any marks so much quicker. It’s easy to use, and, with my schedule, can be slotted into my regular routine easily. I’m super happy with it, and will def never be without Vitamin C in my routine again!
Have you used the Tiam/OST serum before? How did it work out for you?