Located on the campus of prestigious Ewha Womans University is the lab of skin and haircare brand Vitabrid C12. The Korean beauty market is vast, but Vitabrid C12 stood out to Barneys’ Chief Merchandising Officer, Jennifer Sunwoo, back in 2017 due to its science-backed treatments developed by chemist Dr. Jinho Choy. The line ranges from shampoos to serums to masks, and the secret behind the products is a patented formula that stabilizes vitamin C, a highly effective but also volatile ingredient. This compound captures the nutrient’s potency, allowing it to work on the skin and scalp for over 12 hours.

With rave reviews from beauty editors on Vitabrid C12‘s skin-brightening effects and technology-based products, the line has quickly become a cult favorite. Even our own staffers became hooked after the Barneys Stateside launch, so on my most recent trip to Seoul with Merchandising Manager Michal Kurtis, we were eager to visit the brand in person.

Upon arrival, the Vitabrid C12 team took us through the university’s main campus. As we passed through a striking main entryway and drove up a hill to the lab, we paused to take in the incredible view of Seoul. Once inside the Vitabrid C12 facilities, we wasted no time getting to know a bit more about the products. Kurtis is an avid user of the Vitabrid C¹² Face Brightening Powder and noted how easily it can be incorporated into a daily moisturizer or serum of choice.

“Each morning I tap the powder onto my palm and mix it into a face cream I already have. It’s a simple extra step that advances my existing skin care,” Kurtis says. Demonstrating the powder, the team shared that the appropriate amount to use is a “dime-shaped” size, and it can be used at night, too.

We then learned about the Dual Serum, and as the product’s name suggests, it offers multiple benefits. To freshly activate upon first use, simply twist the bottom of the container to release a yellow serum into the clear portion, and shake. Here, vitamin C and peptides are the star ingredients that deliver anti-aging, firming, hydrating, and brightening benefits. Team Vitabrid C12 explained that the natural ingredients also help calm and protect the skin from external stressors, something I’m drawn to, as I have sensitive skin. Multipurpose products are a theme at Vitabrid C12, making them highly valuable for someone short on time.

As we walked down a corridor to the lab facilities, we saw chemists hard at work, developing even more products to add to the line. Though the team can’t yet reveal what those will be, they’re sure to be cutting-edge using Vitabrid C12‘s proprietary biotechnology.

Once back in New York, Kurtis added even more products to her routine, including the Age-Defying & Firming Dual Mask. The results, she reports, are impressive. “After a month of consistent use, my complexion looks smoother with fewer breakouts,” she says. “A facialist even commented that my skin had an extra bounce with tighter pores. I still use my Vitabrid C12 Face Brightening Powder daily but started the Dual Serum and indulge with a mask once a week. The brightening effects are noticeable, and I love the glow I’m seeing from healthier skin. The results are like a natural highlighter.”


A view of Seoul from the Vitabrid C12 offices.

The entryway of Ewha Womans University.

Touring the Vitabrid C12 HQ.

We peeked inside the lab to see products actively being made.

A chemist hard at work.

Vitabrid C12 staffer Rosa talks Michal Kurtis through the latest products.

Tapping out the Face Brightening Powder.

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