Antioxidants in Skincare – The Ordinary EUK 134

Ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol Manganese Chloride is not a name that rolls easily off the tongue, but it’s touted as a powerful antioxidant and a new miracle skincare ingredient. Granted, so far the studies have been sponsored mostly by Estée Lauder, but since The Ordinary, a company it invests in, offers ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol manganese chloride, also known as EUK-134, I decided to try it.

The Ordinary EUK-134 is available as a 0.1% dilution, a transparent brown colored gel. It’s meant to be applied in the evening on clean skin. It absorbs slowly, leaving a tacky finish, and despite the color, it doesn’t stain. It didn’t make my skin react in any way–no redness, itching or spots. I’ve used it for almost two months with hardly any changes to my skincare. During the day I’ve been using The Ordinary Buffet, followed by a simple pharmacy moisturizer and a sunscreen, and in the evening, after washing my skin, I’ve been applying a thin layer of EUK-134. My skin is normal-combination, so I don’t need anything else to follow the serum.

First of all, what are the claims for EUK-134? Studies cited by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology report that it prevents UV damage from sun exposure. What’s more, this ingredient might help cells to regenerate should the exposure occur. It does so by mimicking the action of two enzymes that occur in our skin, superoxide dismutase and catalase. These are the enzymes that make free radicals harmless.

Free radicals are formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules, and since they react with the components of skin cells (including their DNA), they can damage them enough to kill the cells. The body has an arsenal of defense mechanisms, such as the antioxidants enzymes I mentioned above. Antioxidants interact with free radicals and stop the reaction that leads to skin cell damage.

Among the most well-known skincare ingredients that have antioxidant properties is Vitamin C (see my Guide to Vit C). While studies on the topical application of Vitamin C have been many and convincing, it remains to be seen whether EUK-134 will match the same performance. After two months of daily use, I don’t notice any dramatic difference, but my skin looks even and smooth. The one freckle on my cheek that always darkens during the summer months despite my vigilant use of sunscreens, hats and scarves, has so far remained invisible. I don’t see any harm in continuing my simple summer regimen based around EUK-134, and I might repurchase it once I run out. That may not be for a while, because the serum is concentrated and you need only a dime-sized amount to coat your face.

If you want to use a moisturizer afterward, I recommend waiting for at least 10-15 minutes for EUK-134 to become absorbed. Don’t mix it with anything acidic, especially The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension serum.  (If like me you’re a fan of The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension, use it in the morning.)

Since it’s the summer, take advantage of the season by eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta-carotene are potent antioxidants, and though it feels reassuring to slather them on skin, eating a bowl of raspberries or a cucumber-dill salad is an even more delicious way to ensure that your skin looks its best.

What’s in your summer skincare routine?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • Severine: Hi, I don’t know the business meaning of “family” but Brandon Truaxe made clear that Estes Laudef is “a minority shareholding” company” and doesn’t have control of Deceim’s decisions.
    Summer routine: Trying new stuff:
    Drunk Elephant Protini cream
    La Mer concentrate
    Darphin balm
    The Ordinary argirline and niacinamide
    Love these products. June 22, 2018 at 8:23am Reply

    • Victoria: It owns more than 1/4 of all shares in the company. The value of its investment for a small company is very important.

      How do you like Drunk Elephant? June 22, 2018 at 9:08am Reply

      • Severine: I find Drunk Elephant products expensive but well-made. I like their Protini cream for summer as it is light and absorbs quickly. June 22, 2018 at 1:58pm Reply

        • Victoria: That might be a good option. Thank you, I will try it. June 26, 2018 at 2:43am Reply

    • behemot: I tried a few samples from Drunk Elephant and liked them a lot. I ended up purchasing their eye cream, eye serum and Protein Polypeptide Cream. After a week of consistent use I see results. My skin is more even and I have less redness. My skin is extra sensitive and most products irritate it. I alternate Drunk Elephant C-Tango Eye Cream with Sisley Sisleya, and still use Ordinary Vitamin C twice a week. I mix it with my other moisturizers for sensitive skin and apply it only at night. I cannot use it more often. SPF 50 during the day is a must. So far so good. June 22, 2018 at 1:37pm Reply

      • Sandra: What sunscreen do you use? June 22, 2018 at 4:38pm Reply

        • behemot: Shiseido Anessa SPF 50. Unfortunately, it works great as a sunscreen, but leaves some redness on my cheeks. June 23, 2018 at 12:55am Reply

      • Victoria: Good to know! Thanks a lot. June 26, 2018 at 2:43am Reply

  • Austenfan: I had kind of been waiting for this. It’s a hard one to work out as its effects are not as visible to the eye as with either vitamin C and Retinol, but I love it for how gentle it is, and my skin is sensitive. I still struggle with the 23 Vit C for instance but this one is fine. So I tend to use it at night when I want to give my skin a rest, sort of. And thanks for the review! June 22, 2018 at 9:15am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, exactly. What I like is that my skin feels comfortable, not dry, not tight, not overly shiny. Vitamin C, on another hand, is a radiance boost. June 22, 2018 at 10:26am Reply

      • Austenfan: Deciem has come out with another interesting product, a TO hair serum, I’m actually considering getting it, just to see what will happen if I apply it to my hair! June 22, 2018 at 12:21pm Reply

        • Victoria: What, do you want even more? 🙂 June 26, 2018 at 2:43am Reply

          • Austenfan: Of course 😉

            Actually, out of academic interest, or sheer childish curiosity, I would love to find out what it will do. June 26, 2018 at 5:21pm Reply

    • Kayliz: I had problems with the Vitamin C suspension too on some areas of my skin but now dilute it with squalane and find it works just as well — might be worth a try. June 23, 2018 at 5:09am Reply

  • Mj: I’ve been using it for several months now, and I’m not in love. This is a first as I have liked all of the TO products I’ve tried so far. It takes a lot to absorb and I get a warm sensation (along with red skin) that is not confortable. Trying to finish it, I’m putting a few droid in my moisturizer every morning. I won’t repurchase. June 22, 2018 at 11:27am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s not a good sign. I would stop using it altogether. June 26, 2018 at 2:42am Reply

  • Michael: I tend to opt for more moisture based skincare and use a higher SPF sunscreen during the summer. So far, the Clarins range has worked very well for me. I move from the Blue Orchid to the Lotus Facial Oil and I use their Hydra Essential range.

    I also switch from cream or oil based cleansers to foam based ones. June 22, 2018 at 11:36am Reply

    • Victoria: I use an oil based cleanser for my first cleanse, but yes, in the winter, I can sometimes use it for both. June 26, 2018 at 2:42am Reply

  • Raquel: I read that there is an spanish company that launched a factory to produce Aleppo soap in Gaziantep, Turkey, near the border with Aleppo. 50 syrian refugees families work there trying to keep alive this tradition. I know it’s has nothing to do with the subject but I was happy when I read about it. I’d love to have this soap. June 22, 2018 at 5:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: This is such an old tradition and such an excellent soap. I hope that this factory flourishes. Do you know its name? June 26, 2018 at 2:45am Reply

    • Sandra: I am curious to know too! Would love to support them and buy some soap! August 7, 2018 at 8:55am Reply

  • Eric Brandon: I’m on my second bottle of this! I seem to have missed applying it at night, since I’ve been applying it during the day. I’ll be honest, I don’t have much to say about this one, other than it lasted me a long time and it doesn’t break me out. If it’s doing what it is supposed to do, I’m not aware of it. However, since it is preventative, I keep on dutifully applying four drops to my face every morning after my Niacinamide. 🙂 June 23, 2018 at 4:02am Reply

    • Victoria: I can’t even guess when the bottle will be finished. I’ve been using it for two months, and it’s still more than 3/4 full. June 26, 2018 at 2:47am Reply

  • Kayliz: Thank you for this review, Victoria! The information that it takes a long time to absorb is good to know — together with the fact that it can‘t be used with acidic serums, that rules it out for me, I reckon.

    I generally use the 23% Vit C suspension diluted with squalane, and a few drops of Resveratrol & Ferulic Acid at night, and Niacinamide & Zinc in the morning. Experiments with Retinol (alternate nights) are ongoing:)

    I‘m currently trying the Azelaic Acid serum by Garden of Wisdom (Victoria Health have switched to GoW now they no longer have Deciem) and find that although it works no better for me than the TO version, I much prefer the consistency: it‘s an easily-absorbed lotion. I‘ll be trying their peptide serums next.

    I‘m all bunkered up with the 23% suspension at the moment since it has made such a marked difference to my skin, but I‘ve seen that there is a Vitamin C product available in pharmacies here in Germany that looks promising and won‘t break the bank — if it layers well, that would be brilliant. June 23, 2018 at 5:03am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ll try it too. It’s a good idea to switch and experiment with other brands. June 26, 2018 at 2:52am Reply

  • Kayliz: … oops, hang on a minute: the first ingredient listed is “aqua”? I love the fact that there are only five ingredients, but isn’t this kind of Vitamin C supposed to be unstable in a water solution? Am getting a sinking feeling… June 23, 2018 at 5:21am Reply

    • Rosie: This isn’t vitamin C. It’s an antioxidant like vitamin C, but other than that they’re pretty different. June 24, 2018 at 3:46am Reply

      • Kayliz: Rosie, its main active is indeed Vitamin C, as ascorbic acid:

        Aqua, Ascorbic Acid, Penthylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate June 24, 2018 at 6:43am Reply

        • Rosie: Um? The only active ingredient of EUK 134 is just EUK (Ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol manganese chloride). And it only has 2 ingredients – the EUK plus the carrier propanediol – not 5. I think you must be looking at a different product? June 25, 2018 at 8:23am Reply

          • Victoria: I think Kayliz’s original comment referred to a different product, the one that she found searching online for a Vitamin C serum. June 25, 2018 at 10:55am Reply

            • Kayliz: Yes, sorry for the confusion!
              Victoria, would you try a product that has ascorbic acid dissolved in water? June 25, 2018 at 1:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: I wouldn’t use such a product. I don’t know how they’ve stabilized it, but water shouldn’t be one of the first ingredients. June 26, 2018 at 2:56am Reply

      • Kayliz: OK, thanks! Another one bites the dust. June 26, 2018 at 4:48am Reply

  • Aurora: This product seems promising, thank you fo much for testing it for us. My routine in the summer changes mainly in my using water to remove my cleansing product and/or micellar water and being more careful about sunscreen. My favorite product from The Ordinary so far is the MAP which I find really user-friendly and use morning and night, also I tend to exfoliate less in summer since it makes skin more sensitive to light. June 24, 2018 at 12:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like it too. Like you I don’t use any exfoliants in the summer, because it makes my skin more sensitive. There are other ways to take care of one’s skin in the summer and ensure its radiance. June 26, 2018 at 2:57am Reply

  • Dania Syafiera M. Jeffrey: Hi. I usually spend my time reading your reviews on perfumes. Few days ago I was given this EUK134 by a friend, knowing only this is for skin treatment and nothing else, so I started to google and look for more info esp what is EUK134 etc. Apart from what I get from the official webpage, which quite a challenge for me to comprehend, then
    I happened to see your page on the search list and I was beyond happy, and now at least I know more on this potent anti oxidant. Many thanks for your reviews. Love reading them all. December 3, 2018 at 12:08am Reply

  • Shirin: Hi,
    What’s the shelf life of this product.. At what temperature it has to be stored?
    Thanks. December 15, 2018 at 9:14am Reply

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