Cosmetics companies are returning to basic ingredients in an effort to offer products people understand. After blinding the masses with science and technology for the last few years, they are offering a rash of products that base their effectiveness on the humble vitamin. Vitamin C is the key to the new Force C stimulating treatment from Helena Rubinstein. 'It is the first cosmetics product to incorporate pure vitamin C, which is very volatile and decomposes and loses its effectiveness in contact with light or humidity,' brand manager Doris Li said. A gel emulsion, Force C is presented in a box of four small vials. 'We put crystalline powder of pure vitamin C into a small air-tight compartment within the vial and, when you open it, you press the piston which releases the powder into the gel texture,' Ms Li said. The powder dissolves and the vitamin C stays fresh and effective for 10 days. 'It supplements the deficiency of vitamin C within your body, which cannot produce vitamin C, and has limited storage so it will just be excreted if too much is taken,' Ms Li said. The skin obtains the full benefits of the vitamin in strengthening collagen, fighting free radicals and stimulating cell activity and micro-circulation. With daily use, Force C promotes healthy skin that is radiant, smooth and firm. To make it a complete treatment, it also contains toning and tightening agents and soothing and moisturising agents. It has a pleasant citrus fragrance and is suitable for all skin types. Since its launch last month, Force C has outperformed Helena Rubinstein's star products of 1995. Lancome also reports a good response in Asia for its new Primordiale rejuvenating treatment. 'It's the idea of pure vitamin E, which is basic so people understand it easily,' marketing manager Rebecca Yip said. Vitamin E is a powerful antidote to cell damage caused by UVA rays and free radicals. Where Primordiale scores is in a new system of tiny nano-capsules to carry the pure vitamin to where it is needed - up to 30 times more than standard emulsions. On contact with the cell, they release the vitamin E progressively and evenly. Another active ingredient protects the skin from the most ageing light rays, while a mild acidic component removes dead skin cells. Primordiale also contains sun protection and is designed to be used as a daytime product under a moisturiser. 'The second innovation is that it's a fluid, which people accept more easily, and it's a layering product so it doesn't disturb their regular routine,' Ms Yip said. Immediate benefits are radiance and an even complexion and soon facial skin becomes smoother and denser, with fine lines erased. Delicately apricot, Primordiale is for women seeking to eliminate the earliest signs of ageing. Six vitamins are packed into the latest moisturiser from Guerlain, called Hydrabella. Its hydro-vitamin complex also contains honey extracts and hyaluronic acid. 'It's back to basics using natural ingredients instead of new ingredients,' public relations manager Isabelle Fung said. The honey extract is a pure, concentrated floral nectar - known for its beauty properties since ancient Egypt - while hyaluronic acid is a powerful moisturising element that helps keep moisture on the skin's surface. 'The honey has natural hydro-retentive, protective and softening benefits and all the vitamins intensify and prolong the effect.'