Ilia’s brand new C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40 has been one of my most requested products to review. I have been playing around with it for the past couple months, and am still not sure what to think. I want to like it (Ilia is my favorite!) but overall, I think it’s a no for me. My issues are mostly because of the applicator, which I hate. But the formula… it’s only medium… plus a little high maintenance! Ilia made such a big deal about it but I think their Super Serum tint is a much better product. I will get into all of the product benefits, pros & cons, etc. below.
Ilia C C Beyond Triple Serum Mineral Sunscreen Review
I was intrigued by this product for a few reasons. First of all, I am an Ilia super fan. I use their products daily and think they are one of the better brands in the clean and natural space. I love their super serum tint, their mascara, their gel eye liner, their multi-stick blush (“in the mood” is a favorite), their eye shadow palette (the warm one NOT the cool one)… their true skin serum foundation… their lip oil… there isn’t really a product they’ve made (until really now lol) that I haven’t liked! Ilia is definitely one of my top 3 favorite/most used cosmetics brands. I was also intrigued by the product because I’ve gotten a lot of requests from YOU to review it. That always pushes a product up on my to-review list.
Lastly, I liked the idea of combining two steps: Vitamin C and SPF. It sounded like an efficient product which can help save time and effort. I feel kind of bad being hard on it, but I also want to be honest. The truth is that not every product from every brand is going to be a ten.
I think that it is really important to understand what you are getting before you buy it.
The biggest thing to know is that this is NOT a tinted moisturizer. While technically it is a tinted SPF, it’s just a facial sunscreen with Vitamin C. It’s confusing (or at least it was slightly confusing to me) as it comes in shades, but all the shades really do is cancel out the white tint of the SPF so that there isn’t any white cast. So you are not going to get much/any coverage from it. I don’t like much coverage but truly: this has zero coverage, so just keep that in mind.
While there really aren’t any makeup benefits to this product, there are some great skincare benefits. The formula is packed with good for skin active ingredients like vitamin c and niacinamide, and of course… SPF 40. One product that brightens, smooths, and protects.
L-Ascorbic Acid 10%:
Encapsulated Vitamin C which visibly brightens, firms, and evens skin. It can also help to fade the look of dark spots. In my skin care routine I use a Vitamin C serum every morning before moisturizer and SPF so I liked the idea of combining two steps into one.
This is one of my favorite active ingredients for skincare as it really helps to strengthen the skin’s barrier. It also visibly smooths texture, minimizes pores, and refines uneven tone.
Non-Nano Zinc Oxide:
SPF 40. This will protect skin from UV rays, blue light, and pollution. Sun protection is so important, I apply SPF every day.
How to use it:
There are a lot of instructions with this product. It’s a little high maintenance and easy to mess up.
If you have dry skin, apply a moisturizer or oil before applying this. I find the product a little confusing because in my own skin care routine I’ve always applied Vitamin C before moisturizer and SPF afterward. In this case, you apply this (both steps) after moisturizing. The brand recommends using one of the oils that is in the formula (jojoba, squalene, or meadowfoam seed oil) as your moisturizer as they will mix well with the product. That is a hell no for me (I need my Bader/prefer a more active facial moisturizer), but if you do that it will prevent any pilling (I had a little bit of pilling when I used this and Bader together).
It’s really important to shake extremely well before dispensing the product. The brand says to shake for at least ten seconds. This is because the formula contains a high concentration of powders (suspended in oil). The powders = active ingredients, so you want to make sure they’re properly mixed!
Pat the formula lightly onto the skin – do not rub, or it will cause pilling. Once you’ve applied the product, allow it to absorb into skin on its own and penetrate the skin. Wait 60 seconds before applying makeup. See? High maintenance!!!!
There are three shades of this product. Again, keep in mind that all the shades do is prevent a white cast. This has no makeup benefits whatsoever.
Tone 1 is the lightest shade. It’s for extra light to light-medium skin tones
Tone 2 is what I have been using. It’s described as being for medium to medium-deep skin tones but I am pretty fair, just a little bit tan right now).
Tone 3 is for deep to extra deep skin tones
Pros and Cons:
Ease of Use:
This product does not get any stars for ease of use. The applicator is painstakingly annoying. I do not understand the pump; I hate it. I wasn’t sure if maybe I am supposed to put it directly onto my face vs. pumping the formula directly into my hand and using my fingers to apply. I’ve tried both ways and hate it either way. Add to that the “complicated” formula (see above: no rubbing! no patting! no touching for sixty seconds). I get that they need an air tight pump to keep the Vitamin C stable but I hate it.
I don’t love the texture. It claims to be lightweight (and it is) but I can absolutely feel it on my face. I also experienced pilling when I used it with my favorite moisturizer. My moisturizer is going to dictate the other products I use, not the other way around.
One of the redeeming qualities of this product is that there is no white cast. That’s because of the tint… as I mentioned above, there isn’t really any coverage, but the tint ensures that there won’t be a white cast.
This retails for $64. Expensive, considering that the skin tints retail for $48.
My final take:
Honestly? I liked the idea of this product (mostly the idea of combining SPF and Vitamin C into one simple step but all things considered I think this product is pretty skippable. I love Ilia but think that the Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 is a much better product than this one. The only benefit I see to this is that it contains Vitamin C whereas the skin tints don’t have very many skincare benefits but I don’t think that really matters – just use a Vitamin C serum!
I would recommend using a different, separate Vitamin C serum, followed by the Super Serum Skin Tint. While it’s nice that it combines steps, the product is high maintenance and all of those instructions above cancel out the efficiency of combining SPF with Vitamin C.
I am also, if being honest, not a huge mineral sunscreen person. That is an entirely separate conversation/post though: the texture bothers me…. Ilia’s super serum is one of the few that doesn’t bother me but for SPF I am 100% team Supergoop.. the Unseen Sunscreen is my favorite SPF and I’d rather just use that + a Vitamin C serum (the Biossance and Sunday Riley are my two favs) since this one doesn’t actually have much coverage.