In her column, "Get Gorgeous with Grace Gold," our intrepid beauty reporter Grace Gold investigates products and treatments that really work to keep you looking young, sexy and fabulous.

Vichy's new serum has created buzz with its unusual preparation instructions. Courtesy photo.


Who doesn't want brighter skin?

It was this personal quest that tempted me to try Vichy Laboratoires' Aqualia Antiox Pure Citrus Serum that StyleList recently covered, which purports to use a super-potent 10% form of vitamin C to protect the stem cells -- cells that have the precious ability to renew themselves and become any other type of cell -- that are found in the nucleus of our skin cells.

Combined with thermal spring water antioxidants, polyphenols and vitamin E, the concoction is so pure that you have to keep it refrigerated to preserve freshness.

Instructions say to place the bottle in the fridge overnight before your first planned use, and then to mix in the accompanying powder packet once you crack the dropper bottle open in the AM.

This part was too much fun -- I felt like a chemist who should have been wearing one of those white lab coats that the Clinique counter girls sport. And after cutting open the powder packet, the orangey scent of Flinstones Vitamins burst intp the air. It was all I could do to keep myself from tipping the packet into my mouth like Pixy Stix.

After I poured all of the powder into the bottle -- a bit of a challenge due to the bottle's small opening -- I closed the cap and shook, to the click-clacks of what sounded like a metal nail polish ball inside.

So fancy prep aside, how did the serum actually perform?

I was surprised to see that my overall complexion didn't brighten much after continued daily use of the serum, and I have to admit that I was initially disappointed. But then a couple of hormonal acne spots emerged, and I noticed after a week that they healed and lightened up in about half the time it usually takes on my olive-toned complexion. Which made me one very, very happy woman.

On the plus side, the serum is pleasant to apply and absorbs to a non-greasy finish even on my oily skin type.

Cons include the refrigeration aspect, which I found a hassle to toy with while going through my nightly skin care routine. The label insert also says this is a strict three-week booster regime, and that the product is no longer good after the 21-day shelf-life. So if you start it, you need to commit to the time frame without skipping out a night here or there for optimal results.

Bottom line? Based on my experience, I would highly recommend this if you're looking to speed up the lightening of troublesome pigmentation issues. But if you're looking for an overall complexion brightener, it appears to perform less effectively than other pure vitamin C concentrations on the market, like Environ's C-Boost -- which also has the bonus of lasting for several months longer.

Grace Gold is a beauty writer and the author of the eBook, The Boob Job Bible: 10 Steps To A Sexy, Safe Breast Augmentation.