Worth it? Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day SerumDrunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $80

I mentioned in my June favorites that buying Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. I adore this damn serum. A colleague and paled at the cost when I sang its praises; I understand. I love it, plan to repurchase, and still recoil from the price tag.

Gun Shy

Short of tools like my Luna Mini or Clarisonic Mia2, I don’t tend to spend much on individual products. With a few exceptions, I’m generally of the opinion that beauty need not break the bank.

Being young (enough – and only for now, don’t worry, this isn’t a cocky statement) and skeptical of products promising miracles, I pass on a lot of prestige and luxury skincare. Aside from my tools, none of my skincare routine is prestige at this point!

Too Young?

Never. As far as I’m concerned, mid-twenties is a perfectly reasonable time to reconsider your approach to skincare even if you aren’t suffering a skin mutiny as I was.

Once my acne was under control, I decided my skin could use a boost in the liveliness department. Although I find makeup fun, I much prefer to have healthy, radiant skin than to need to slap on product to fake it.

Mid-twenties is not too young to start anti-aging products – and with a demanding career, my skin was looking a bit tired. I don’t want or need anything hardcore. No retinol here (at this stage in my life). But I do have under-eye circles, some dullness and uneven tone, etc. I decided that Vitamin C was the place to be for my needs right now.

Influences on my Purchase Decision

A blog I’ve followed for years and implicitly rely on touted Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum but when I got into reviews and other comparisons, many sources seemed to suggest the Drunk Elephant product to be superior. Part of this is packaging, part is the concentration and type of Vitamin C itself, and the other part of are the other ingredients. I was leery about spending that much on a type of product I’d never tried before, so I kept searching.

Interestingly, although Stefanie Nicole (check out her channel here) has a YouTube channel, she works in the beauty industry on the manufacturing and distribution side of things. She also has a no-nonsense attitude that resonates with me. I appreciate her willingness to say, “I didn’t care for this,” or, “This product didn’t perform well for the price.” We need more of that! In this case, Drunk Elephant C-Firma does, in her opinion, perform well for the price.

Upon hearing her ringing endorsement of Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, I decided to splurge during the Spring BI/VIB Sale. My skin was consistent at that point (not as stable as it is now, but better!), and I felt comfortable adding a variable.

Benefits, Stability & Degradation

Many people think Vitamin C is useful to boost immunity when you’re ill, but it goes beyond that. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can protect our skin from UV damage. It boosts collagen production, can treat photodamage, even skin tone, and may even help prevent skin cancer. It’s a damn workhorse.

L-Ascorbic Acid (a form of Vitamin C very common in skincare applications) is volatile when exposed to light, and many forms are sensitive to UV exposure. Light can cause it to degrade, so an opaque bottle that shields it from light is key. Likewise, UV exposure causes natural Vitamin C as well as applied products to degrade, so it is important to apply after sun exposure, not before. Drunk Elephant C-Firma is contains 15% L-Ascorbic Acid and is packaged to avoid degradation.

If you’re interested in the science of it, this article from the National Institute of Health is illuminating on the benefits of Vitamin C as well as how to maximize efficacy when paired with other substances (like ferulic acid and Vitamin E).


The key to Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum’s packaging is twofold:

  1. It is a vacuum pump
  2. It is opaque

Because I’m crazy risk-averse, I also store it in a dark, cool drawer.

On a nifty note, it is fun to twist the square top to have the pump ascend out. I don’t believe there is any functional or integrity-related piece to this aspect of the packaging, but it is novel and fun.


High concentrations of Vitamin C work with the skin to produce a reservoir effect; Drunk Elephant C-Firma works the same way. You use it daily for 3-5 days when you first get it, then you can go 2-3 days between reapplications. This is possible due to the half-life of the compound. Every now and then I’ll reapply a few days in a row, particularly if I’ve had more sun exposure.

REMEMBER: You still need to use sunscreen! SPF 50 is ideal, but SPF 30 will suffice.

When I reapply, I use one pump 2-3 times per week in the morning, after a micellar cleanse, depending on where I am in my weekly skincare routine. (For instance, if I’m hitting my face with the ReVit the next day I won’t use it – but I typically do apply the day after the use of the ReVit.) I dispense onto my fingertips, distribute it to the fingertips of the other hand, and pat onto, then massage into, my skin.

After that, I top with sunscreen and maybe moisturizer (my sunscreen is pretty moisturizing on its own).


Immediately, my skin looks more awake. Some people report a stinging sensation with C-Firma (and other Vitamin C serums) but I have not experienced that. Throughout the day, my skin stays hydrated and fresh looking; my dark circles exist, but are less obvious due to how radiant my skin appears.

Over days and weeks of use, my skin appears more plump and my fine lines aren’t quite as obvious. The latter is a welcome bonus for those of us suffering from the condition colloquially known as Resting Bitch Face. The dark circles diminish as well – meaning less concealer! Woo!

The Bottom Line

I feel that Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum lives up to its claims, wholeheartedly recommend, and will be repurchasing myself. THAT SAID, the $80 price tag makes me weep. I’m going to repurchase anyway (next time with my hoarded birthday gift card, ha!) because I am really happy with this product, but I aim to do so during sales where I can get at least 15%, but ideally 20% off. Even with sales it is more than I’m excited to spend but since a tiny amount goes a freakishly long way and does so much for my skin I can make a concession.