top of page
  • Stella Lee

Review - Dermalogica C-12 Pure Bright Serum

Before spending the next 5 minutes reading this post about Dermalogica C-12 Pure Bright serum, I just wanted to make sure everyone is aware that Dermalogica C-12 is not a vitamin C serum. C-12 is a water and silicone-based serum featuring oligopeptides for skin lightening/whitening. Why is it called "C"-12 I have no idea!

(For vitamin C serums, see my reviews on Dermalogica Bio-lumin C Serum and Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum)

Dermalogica C-12 Pure Bright Serum | $146.50

Oligopeptide-34 and oligopeptide-51

The oligopeptides are the key ingredients in this $146.50 serum. Oligopeptides are small strings of amino acids (protein molecules).

Oligopeptide-34 (also called CG-TGP2): known to be capable of inhibiting the enzymes responsible for melanin synthesis in melanocytes. Melanin is responsible for skin pigmentation. They are produced by melanocytes (a type of cells) situated in the basal layer of the epidermis. Even though a few articles boasted it as a promising peptide in skin whitening / lightening, I have not been very successful in locating studies supporting the claims except those published by The International Dermal Institute (Dermalogica).

Even less could be found on Oligopeptide-51 (also known as CG-Purilux).

A study in 2017 looked at the effect of both oligopeptides, but in the context of skin repair rather than lightening.

And then of course, skin is a very effective barrier excluding foreign substances. The big question mark is always, how well can these ingredients get to where they are supposed to work (the basal layer of epidermis). I believe peptides can do amazing things if the concentration is carefully formulated and they can be delivered to where they need to be.

Other ingredients

Unlike other Dermalogica products, this serum contains only very few other active ingredients. Apart from oligopeptides, it contains:

  • algae extracts: antioxidants

  • squalane (squalene): skin conditioner

  • phytic acid: antioxidant and very mild exfoliating action (if any)

My experience

Texture and scent

Consistent with having silicone as the second ingredient, the serum feels exceptionally "siliconey", like smoothing a film on silicone on the face. The serum smells like plastic but the scent is only very faint. This is easily the most unpleasant Dermagloica serums I have used.

Dermalogica C-12 Pure Bright Serum


I used this serum twice a day religiously until I finished almost 2 x 50 mL bottles. Although I did not use the matching Pure Light and Pure Night moisturisers, I was diligent in applying my moisturisers and sunscreens at all time.

Hydration level

My skin is prone to dehydration. This serum alone does not provide me with enough moisture at all. Another hydrating serum is needed throughout the whole time.


Initially. I purchased this with the aim of reducing pregnancy pigmentation.

After the first bottle, I noticed absolutely no difference in my pigmentation spots.

Towards the end of the second bottle, my skin tone did seem to look a bit more even. However, I could not decide whether the serum was working, or my pigmentation was fading on its own due to the postnatal hormonal changes. If there had been any change due to the serum, the change was very minimal.

There was also no visible skin improvement in general such as radiance or texture.

Given the price and lack of results, certainly not one that I would consider repurchase.

What about Dermalogica biolumin-C?

For pigmentation, I noticed a visible result after only one bottle of Dermalogica biolumin-C. In addition, the scent and texture of Biolumin-C make it more pleasant to use.



  • Absorbs quickly

  • Convenient pump packaging


  • No visible lightening of pigmentation spots

  • Not hydrating enough

  • No noticeable difference in overall skin condition

  • Heavy silicone feel

  • Expensive (A$146.50 for 50 mL)

This review was written based on my opinion after using two bottles.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Oligopeptide-34, Oligopeptide-51, Squalane, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Polysorbate 60, Phytic Acid, Zinc Glycinate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol.

See my Dermalogica compilation review here.


About me

Makeup artist and hair stylist based in Sydney. Founder of the well-known award-winning bridal specialist team Faces Makeup & Hair. Beauty junkie with an obsession for skincare.

861 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Sep 13, 2020

Sheesh. That’s a pricey serum.

Stella Lee
Jul 20, 2021
Replying to

One of the most disappointing products from Dermalogica :(

bottom of page