This Caffeine-Packed Vitamin C Serum Wakes Me Up More Than My Morning Cup of Coffee

It depuffs and brightens skin almost instantly.
By Christie Calucchia
February 18, 2021
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

My morning routine centers around having a cup of coffee. The thought of a fresh brew is enough to lure me out of bed, and it perks me up so I feel ready to take on the day. Unfortunately, now that I exclusively work from my kitchen table, that cup of coffee doesn't always prepare my skin for early morning video calls, especially when I've just rolled out of bed. That's where my new favorite skincare product, a brightening serum from Youth to the People, comes in handy. 

The Vitamin C and Clean Caffeine Energy Serum brightens, firms, and depuffs skin with two small pumps of its lightweight formula. It has a glossy texture that my skin drinks up before I even have my first sip of coffee, leaving the area underneath my eyes less puffy and my entire face plump and glowy in all the right places.

The formula's key ingredients include vitamin C, yerba mate, guayusa, squalane, passion fruit, and dragon fruit. If you're familiar with vitamin C serums, you already know that the additive brightens and evens skin tone. But what separates this serum from others is its use of yerba mate and guayusa, two antioxidant-rich plant-based ingredients that are naturally high in caffeine. That's what helps deflate under-eye bags. Passion fruit and dragon fruit, also packed with antioxidants, tackle free radicals and moisturize the skin. Finally, squalane, another buzzy skincare ingredient, hydrates the skin.

The ingredient list may have tipped you off, but Youth to the People's products are vegan and cruelty-free. Not only are the formulations about as "clean" as it gets, but they're also biodegradable and packaged in glass bottles and jars rather than plastic, making it easier to recycle them when you've used every last drop.  

Credit: sephora.com

To buy: $68; sephora.com

To get the most out of the brightening serum, proper application is key. The brand recommends you use two to three drops in the morning, tapping the serum into your skin with your fingers. Then move up your face from cheek to temple to really take advantage of the depuffing and contouring effects. And while there's no added fragrance, you'll get notes of ginger and citrus when putting it on, which I find also naturally awakens the senses.

Though the product just launched this past December, it's tallied up nearly 600 reviews and 27,100 "loves" on Sephora. Many users also noticed a difference in their complexion with regular use and confirm it doesn't upset sensitive skin.

"My skin is brighter and more plump," wrote one reviewer. "I look forward to putting this on every morning, and it never irritates my reactive and sensitive skin."

Another shopper called the serum "perfect," adding that "the bounciness, smoothness, and firmness it gives your skin is worth the money."

Pick up a bottle of this clean and caffeinated vitamin C serum today to perk up your morning routine.