Review: Obagi Vitamin C Serum 5%



You could say that I am a little wary of Vitamin C serums. But I recently took the plunge and tried the Japanese drugstore brand, Obagi’s Vitamin C Serum in 5%, and I haven’t looked back.

My first experience using a Vitamin C serum was with the very popular and highly recommended, SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. Unfortunately it resulted in an extremely bad case of red, irritated skin, and ever since I have been way too nervous to dip my toe in the water again.

That said my skin is not easy going. I would actually describe it as temperamental. It is quite dry, annoyingly sensitive and prone to congestion on my nose and chin. Add to that, that I am in my late thirties and starting to get some significant fine lines and wrinkles. I can’t afford to procrastinate any longer,  it’s time to get serious about some more potent anti-aging ingredients in my skincare regime, like Vitamin C.

Vitamin C is the hero ingredient of so many anti-aging products, as it helps improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, brightens the skin and improves any roughness. But  as Vitamin C is acidic (L-asorbic acid), so you do have to be careful about the concentration of the product that you use.

Most Vitamin C anti-aging serums contain a concentration of 15-20% L-ascobsic acid (SkinCeuticals Ferulic has 15%), and for significant improvement to your skin this concentration is necessary, but for many skin types (like mine) this concentration is just to high to use as a starting point. It is recommended that you use a low percentage of 5% L-ascorbic acid and then gradually work up to the more potent concentrations when your skin is ready.



Obagi Vitamin C Serum 5 Plus V.E (10mL) ¥3,240.

Japanese skincare brand Obagi is known world wide for it’s anti-aging skincare products, and in particular this Vitamin C serum. But the difference is in Japan you can buy Obagi products from the drugstore, and else where in the world they are only sold with a prescription.

Obagi Vitamin C Serum is a Vitamin C treatment is aimed at reversing the signs of aging by deeply penetrating the skin layers to repair cell damage and to help prevent or slow any  further damage.

Obagi Vitamin C Serum contains a  L-ascorbic acid, and is available in 3 strengths (5%, 10% and 20%) to suit different skin types.

Vitamin C is often noted by skincare professionals as one of the most important skincare ingredients for as it is a powerful anti-oxidant that has many  useful skincare benefits. The main benefits of applying vitamin c to the skin, are that it:

  • Helps to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Calms inflammation.
  • Brightens skin.
  • Retains moisture.
  • Stabilises vitamin E. Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that helps with anti-aging, dryness and reducing the appearance of scars.

This clear serum has a fresh Yuzu (Japanese citrus) fragrance, and is quickly absorbed into the skin leaving it hydrated.


What did I think?

After the day of using of Obagi Vitamin C serum 5% I noticed an improvement in the texture of my skin, it felt much softer and more hydrated. Best of all, and much to my relief, there were no red irritation patches on my skin. Feeling very encouraged,  I have diligently applied the Vitamin C serum day and night for the past 3 weeks and I highly recommend this product to anyone who has dry, dull and sensitive skin. My skin has definitely improved in softness and hydration, and after about two weeks, my skin also appears much brighter and clearer. The fine lines and wrinkles are yet to significantly improve, but for results in this space you would have to use the more potent concentrations of Vitamin C.

I also love that this serum is light, fast absorbing and although it’s hydrating, it didn’t leave my skin greasy.

Once I finish the bottle of 5% serum I will definitely be moving on to the 10% formula, and I am hopeful that after building up from the low concentration formula my skin will have the ability to cope with the 10% concentration.

Overall, I feel that the Obagi Vitamin C serum is an incredible Japanese drugstore skincare product. One of my absolute favourites, as the ingredients are high quality, the price is really reasonable and most of all, I love the range of concentrations which make this product suitable for a broader range of skin types.

Definitely one to add to your shopping list next time you are going to the drugstore.


How to use Obagi Vitamin C Serum.

  1. Start with freshly cleansed skin, that has just had lotion or toner applied.
  2. Place 3-4 drops of serum in the palm of your hand.
  3. Gently rub the palms together to spread the serum over the palm and lengths of the fingers.
  4. Start to apply by cupping the face on both sides with your hand and gently pat your hands gently across the face to apply the serum evenly all over.
  5. Wait a minute before applying face cream or emulsion.
  6. This serum is designed to be applied both morning and night.


Where to buy Obagi Vitamin C Serum in Tokyo?

Available at all Japanese drugstores like Matsumoto Kiyoshi and Tomod’s.

Beauty Specialty stores like Ainz & Tulpe.




9 thoughts

  1. I live in the United States. Is there a way I can purchase the authenticity vitamin C serum from Japan?
    Thank you.

  2. I just bought it a few day ago, i hope it will work well on dark spot also. I didnt apply it on my palm just on face a massage.

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