review : TIA'M My Signature C Source + Vita Red Sunscreen

October 15, 2021

TIAM My Signature C Source + Vita Red Sunscreen |
As someone whose main skin concern is hyperpigmentation, I'm always on the lookout for good brightening skincare products. While there are a lot of new products out on the market, there's one product that really worked for me but I couldn't commit to 100%. This was the TIAM My Signature C Source Serum. I first tried it in 2016 after reading about it on Fernanda Ly's Tumblr (this was EONS AGO), and I remember having a love-hate relationship with it. But back then I didn't know much about actives and skincare in general, so I've always wondered if I could make it work for me now. Thankfully I got another chance to try it thanks to StyleKorean, who sent me two products from TIAM to try, the My Signature C Source and the My Signature Vita Red Sunscreen 💕

TIAM My Signature C Source + Vita Red Sunscreen |
Originally known as the OST C20, the brand is quite popular in r/AsianBeauty for its Vitamin C serum, which is something of a cult favorite in the community. In 2017, OST C20 rebranded as TIAM, which comes from the Persian word tia'm which means "a twinkle in the eye when you meet someone for the first time".

TIAM My Signature C Source + Vita Red Sunscreen |
After the rebranding, TIAM also renamed their best-selling Vitamin C serum as My Signature C Source, but kept the same formulation. I actually tried this serum before the rebranding, and then tried it again after that. This is my third bottle of this serum, and my thoughts on this product pretty much haven't changed since then.

Active ingredients: Ascorbic Acid, Ethanol, Sodium Lactate, Butylene Glycol, Glucose, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Rosa Davurica Bud Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius. View full list of ingredients here.

The My Signature C Source contains 20% of L-Ascorbic Acid, which is the highest concentration of L-AA that the skin can take. This means it's a lot stronger than most Vitamin C serums, so you'll see results a lot faster. True enough, after using this every other night for ~2 weeks, some of my dark spots have actually begun to fade. But because it's such a strong concentration, it may be irritating for those with sensitive skin. I didn't get any breakouts while using it, but that's largely because my skin is already used to actives. If you're only starting with a pure Vitamin C serum, I recommend starting slow (once a week) and gradually working up to daily use.

TIAM My Signature C Source + Vita Red Sunscreen |
This serum works exactly as I remember it, which is both good and bad. While the My Signature C Source is still as effective at fading acne scars, it's still just as troublesome to use. First of all, the serum itself feels very sticky on the skin. It doesn't absorb completely into the skin, which is why I have to rinse it off before applying anything else over it. (I'll talk more about this later.) Second, because it's pure Vitamin C, it oxidizes SUPER FAST. I've only been using it for ~2 weeks and the serum is already a pale yellow. For this reason alone I've been using a full dropper of product for my face (which only adds to the stickiness) and another dropper for other parts of my body that need lightening, like my elbows and ankles. From past experience this product only lasts 3~4 months before fully oxidizing, even when kept in the fridge. Which is a shame, because it's P783 for one bottle!

TIAM My Signature C Source + Vita Red Sunscreen |
What my My Signature C Source looks like after just 2 weeks after opening.
Lastly, I hate the whole ~*process*~ of using it. L-Ascorbic Acid is very pH dependent, so for it to be able to work properly you have to keep things like your skin's pH and the order of your other actives (if any) in mind. This is how I use it: after cleansing, I wait around 10~15 minutes for my skin's pH to go back down, apply the My Signature C Source, then wait another 20 minutes for it to do its job, rinse it off with water, and then move on with the rest of my routine. (The reason why I rinse it off is because the serum just kind of sits there on your skin no matter how long you wait for it to absorb. I've done my research and the concensus is that rinsing or wiping off actives after they've done their job doesn't make them any less effective, so that's what I've been doing.)

As you can see there's A LOT of work involved. For someone as lazy as I am, I hate that it's such a hassle to use. But at the end of the day, it still works. Compared to other actives, I've seen the best results with the My Signature C Source in the shortest amount of time. Even with my beloved Melano CC, you'll need at least 3 months to see visible results. With this one it's only 2 weeks, and I'm not even using it daily yet. If you're willing to put up with it, and if your skin can take it, this is great. If your main concern is PIH, I recommend trying it at least once.

TIAM My Signature C Source + Vita Red Sunscreen |
A vitamin-infused sunscreen with powerful SPF50+ PA+++ sun protection. The My Signature Vita Red Sunscreen is a hybrid sunscreen, meaning it uses both physical and chemical filters. Physical sunscreens create an instant physical barrier between your skin and the sun's UV rays, while chemical ones work by converting UV rays into heat to protect your skin from damage. With this sunscreen, you get the benefits of both.

Active ingredients: Aloe Arborescens Leaf Extract, Vitamin C Derivatives, Vitamin E. View full list of ingredients here.

If your main concern is hyperpigmentation, sunscreens are a must! While stuff like Vitamin C serums and other actives can help with fading PIH, all that can go to waste if you don't wear sunscreen regularly. Personally, what I look for in a sunscreen is that it should 1) have at least SPF50 PA+++, 2) be non-comedogenic, 3) be lightweight, non-greasy, and non-sticky, and 4) not leave a white cast. I find that the Vita Red Sunscreen ticks all these boxes!

TIAM My Signature C Source + Vita Red Sunscreen |
Texture-wise, it's a creamy lotion type of sunscreen, so it feels a bit thicker than my usual gel type sunscreens. But once you spread it out it's actually quite lightweight! This is because of the aloe, which is one of its key ingredients. After application it gets absorbed into the skin well, and doesn't affect my makeup application in any way. It has a scent that reminds me of the lotions my titas from the US use, but it's not bothersome in any way. If anything, my only issue with this sunscreen is that it's a bit expensive at P870 for just 50ml.

TIAM My Signature C Source + Vita Red Sunscreen |
Now that I've tried the My Signature C Source for the third time, I can now definitively say that this product is just not for me lol. I thought maybe I could make it work for me now that I've come equipped with both my personal experiences and the knowledge I've gained from r/AsianBeauty, but it's just not working out. While the results I get with this one product is amazing, I would rather not have to go through what I have to go through just to get visible results. That being said though, I will still continue to use this until it eventually completely oxidizes, just to give you an update of how it works out. But would I repurchase? No. Honestly, I'd much rather use something less finicky and involves less work to use, even if that does mean that I'll take longer to see results. If it were on half-price sales, maybe. Would I use it if someone gave to me for free? Yes, of course, why not lol.

As for the My Signature Vita Red Sunscreen, while it's a beautiful sunscreen and I really do like it, it's a bit out of my budget. There's actually a really similar sunscreen with the same level of sun protection and same amount of product from COSRX (which is, by the way, TIAM's sister brand), and that one's around P400-ish.

You can get the TIAM My Signature C Source and My Signature Vita Red Sunscreen from the official store here.

DISCLAIMER: Products were sent to me by StyleKorean for review, but the opinions expressed here are 100% my own. Also, this post contains affiliate links. Clicking those links before you make a purchase means that receives a small commission, which helps to support the blog. Please see my full disclaimer for more information.