One of my skincare goals for 2019 is to incorporate more vitamin C into my routine. 

Outside of the occasional sheet mask, I’ve shied away from this ingredient, despite reading so many testimonials on how effective it is at fading acne scars and brightening the complexion.

After much research, I decided on my very first regular vitamin C product: Ole Henriksen Truth Serum.

What Is Truth Serum?

In Ole Henriksen’s own words:

OLEHENRIKSEN Truth Serum is like a daily multivitamin for the skin and our #1 age-defying & vitamin C face serum. Ole was an early adopter of vitamin C in skincare, believing that its antioxidant properties and role in promoting collagen make it a crucial ingredient. This potent True-C Complex(TM) and collagen serum helps brighten and firm the skin as it delivers all-day hydration.

Note the True-C Complex. This isn’t merely straight-up vitamin C. Rather, Truth Serum contains “stabilized vitamin C derivatives.”

Lab Muffin elaborates that it’s actually a combo of sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) and calcium ascorbate. As she explains, SAP is “much more stable” than the L-ascorbic acid typically found in vitamin C serums.

The exact concentration of SAP is hard to track down from an official source, but per My Awesome Beauty it’s 1.5%. Relative to many other vitamin C serums of the market, this is a very low figure.

However, it’s a reason I went for the Truth Serum (aside from the glowing reviews). As this was my first foray into regular vitamin C use, I opted for something low-level to ease myself into it. (That’s how it should work, right?)

Other key ingredients include collagen, orange and green tea extracts, and aloe juice. It contains no parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. Ole Henriksen is cruelty-free.

What Are Truth Serum’s Intended Effects?

According to the Ole Henriksen web site:

Brightens, firms, improves concealer wear and instantly reduces look of fine lines and wrinkles.

As I already stated, I was seeking to brighten my skin while fading those pesky acne scars. Any other positive result would be a bonus.

The anti-aging claim is likely due to the collagen. However, it’s come to light that topical application of collagen doesn’t really do much to fight wrinkles. (It will keep skin better hydrated, though!)

Truth Serum’s Effects After a Month


For (almost) all of February, I used the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum as a part of my evening routine. Now it seems that the recommended time of usage is during the day, but I’ve seen mixed opinions on that. Personally, I prefer to do all my heavy lifting products-wise at night, thus, my decision to use this product in the PM.

I say (almost) because there were maybe three or four nights — most of them after the second week — when I skipped this product. In most cases, it’s because I was tired and opted for a barebones routine (a problem when, again, I prefer to do all my heavy lifting products-wise at night). And one night, I did a deep-exfoliation routine that I shared on Instagram — which somehow got me shadowbanned — so I chose to go without it then.

A note about the photos: They are all untouched and were taken in the same spot in my bathroom every time, but I have no idea why lighting tended to differ in some shots. My bathroom has no window. Yes, I know, it sucks sometimes.

Day Zero


First off, wow, was my skin in a bad way here. :cry emoji: Also, yes, I know I need to invest in a good eye cream. (Hit me up with your recs.)

These photos weren’t taken too long after I had the bright idea to pop a pimple on my chin, which (surprise!) led to a small cluster of breakouts in that area.

For the next month, I wanted to minimize the inevitable scarring from my botched whitehead extraction while overall brightening and evening out my tone.

Day Nine


Well, my breakout cleared up considerably after about a week, but I still had plenty of bumps and other texture to deal with. (Was I purging?)

It’s difficult to tell if my skin was becoming more even or bright, due to the poor lighting at my disposal. (I WILL INVEST IN A RING LIGHT, OKAY?)

The In-Between

No photos here, because I wasn’t as diligent about taking (decent) progress pics. My skin slowly but surely started to show signs of improvement as far as acne was concerned. Yes, I still had scarring to deal with, but those spots were gradually (and I mean gradually) fading.

Day Thirty + Impressions


I’ll be real: This is actually the first time I’ve sat down and actively compared all of these photos against each other. And it’s the first time I’m seeing how effective the Truth Serum actually has been on my skin.

To me, they’re not huge changes, but they’re present. Admittedly, I’d probably have sufficed with better lighting to get a sense of how more even, and even smoother, my skin is after a month. I’m also seeing those scars starting to fade, especially on my left side.

Because this was such a low concentration of vitamin C — or to be more specific, a vit C derivative — the Truth Serum certainly took some time to work its magic.

Likes + Dislikes

♥ The smell. Oh, does this smell good. I can see why this would be the perfect morning skincare product. It’s a very citrus-y scent that can wake you up in an instant. (Not very useful for bedtime!)

♥ Regarding the claim that it “improves concealer wear,” I’ve found that my base makeup has been going on much smoother!

♥ For my first venture into vitamin C, I feel like this was sufficient. It’s fairly straightforward to use. Of course, I was still mindful of crossing ingredients that don’t play well with vitamin C, even if this was a stabilized variation of it. (Better safe than scarred!)

⊗ I didn’t hate the gel texture, but sometimes it would feel sticky, to the point of discomfort. My skin absorbed the Truth Serum well overall, but I wonder if it may have contributed to some fresh pimples along my jawline and even on my cheek. (Per CosDNA, it does contain a mildly comedogenic ingredient in hexylene glycol.)

Other Notes

I used the Truth Serum right before my moisturizer and after either applying a sheet mask or snail essence. For the last month, I’ve swapped between the Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream and the companion Ole Henriksen C-Rush Gel Moisturizer. You can read my thoughts on both of those products here.

Final Verdict

The Ole Henriksen Truth Serum served as a good first step into the world of vitamin C products. The results are there, if not minimal and very slow to appear.

However, I think I’m ready to try something a little different in the vitamin C realm. And very soon, I will be.

I was one of 60 lucky people chosen to try and review the new Jumiso All Day Vitamin Brightening & Balancing Facial Serum. It’s made with vitamin tree extract, which contains an alphabet soup’s worth of vitamin complexes (including C). I should be receiving it in the mail soon. Keep an eye out for a detailed review within the next month, and follow along with my progress on Instagram (WHEN IT STOPS SHADOWBANNING ME).

Try it for yourself

Ole Henriksen direct has Truth Serum in a 0.25-oz. size or 0.5-oz. bottle, which I purchased.

Now It’s Your Turn…

Have you used the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum? How well did it work for you? Is there anything I could have done differently in order to maximize this product? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Update 8/25/19:

I have since gifted my future sister-in-law with the remains of this because I couldn’t bear to leave a half-full bottle of perfectly good serum just sitting there. I trust it will treat her skin well.

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I am not a professional. All opinions are my own.

2 Replies to “My Honest Review of Ole Henriksen Truth Serum”

  1. I took a course of ole henriksen vitamin C serum, I liked it as a regular serum. A friend suggested nourishmax vitamin c serum. She said when she started using nourishmax vitamin c serum, her acne decreased. So I want to give a chance to nourishmax because this is what I was looking for in a vitamin C serum.

  2. I took a course of ole henriksen vitamin C serum, I liked it as a regular serum. A friend suggested nourishmax vitamin c serum. She said when she started using nourishmax vitamin c serum, her acne decreased. So I want to give a chance to nourishmax because this is what I was looking for in a vitamin C serum.

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