The big question—whether or not this moisturizer tightens and lifts skin—can be answered with a resounding: "No." We know that is disappointing, but at least it keeps you from wasting money on a product that cannot make good on its most enticing claims. Check out our More Info tab to learn what you can do to improve sagging skin—the answer may surprise you!
Although this moisturizer isn't the face-lift-in-a-jar it purports to be, it does contain several intriguing ingredients, from those that create a silky-soft finish to those that help skin look and act younger. That's why it's sad to report that this is rated average due to the unfortunate choice of jar packaging. See More Info to learn why jar packaging isn't the way to go.
Ultimately, Firming & Lifting Cream is an expensive letdown. The lightweight cream formula has merit for normal to combination skin, but you can spend a lot less and get a well-formulated product in packaging that will keep its key ingredients stable during use—that approach will get you noticeable anti-aging results while also saving you money!
Help for Sagging Skin:
Many skin-care products claim they can firm and lift skin, but none of them work, at least not to the extent claimed. A face-lift-in-a-bottle isn't possible, but with the right mix of products, you will see firmer skin that has a more lifted appearance—and that's exciting! To gain these youthful benefits, you must protect your skin from any and all sun damage every day, use an AHA (glycolic acid or lactic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant, and use products that have a wide range of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients. Remember, no single product can do it all; it's the combination of products that has extensive research showing it can significantly improve many of the signs of aging, such as firming skin, reducing wrinkles and brown spots, and eliminating dullness. You'll find them on our list of Best Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Products.
Why Jar Packaging is a Problem:
The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; and Beautypackaging.com, www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
This ultra-firming and restructuring cream tightens and lifts while reinforcing the skin structure.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Isohexadecane, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Algae Exopolysaccharides, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Tripeptide-1, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-9, Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phospholipids, Phytosterols, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Polyacrylate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Sorbitan Laurate, Dextran, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Aminomethyl Propanol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Fragrance (Parfum)
Strengths: Good facial cleanser and toner; select serums and moisturizers formulated with an impressive mix of anti-aging ingredients; Targeted Deep Wrinkle Minimizer really does make wrinkles less apparent.
Weaknesses: Expensive; the star ingredient (a modified form of algae) doesn't have reliable research to support its anti-aging efficacy; jar packaging; some of the moisturizers contain eucalyptus oil, which can be a potent irritant.
Algenist is a small, rather expensive range of skin-care products sold at Sephora with a focus on anti-aging. Like several other cosmetics companies, Algenist has based their brand on a single ingredient, an ingredient they claim has superior benefits for skin and that, therefore, is worth the steep price tag. In this case, it was the "accidental" discovery of a substance found in algae. As the story goes, a group of biotechnology scientists were looking for ways to use something called microalgae as a renewable source of energy when they stumbled upon a compound known as alguronic acid. Their research revealed that alguronic acid is one of the compounds responsible for regenerating and protecting algae cells.
Figuring they were on to something, the company did further in vitro testing (although the details of their tests are not available, so you only have a science-fiction style story, not facts) and, of course, found that alguronic acid had anti-aging benefits on skin, too. Aside from having no idea what their studies did or didn't really show, in vitro means this ingredient was examined in a petri dish, not directly on human skin. They did limited testing on human skin, but many key details of these "studies" are not available. Instead, we're asked to accept that their ingredient made a remarkable difference. At the time of this writing, there isn't a single published study attesting to the claims Algenist makes for alguronic acid—so you're taking an expensive leap of faith in buying these products!
Before you get seduced by Algenist's claims and their explanation about how algae reproduces, let us tell you—it has no relation to how human skin works. Algae is about as related to human skin as a 747 jetliner is to roller skates.
Whether the story about alguronic acid being the answer for your skin is true or not, it is critical to keep in mind that skin, and skin care, is far more complex than one allegedly miraculous ingredient. Think of it like your diet: As healthy as green tea is, if that's all you consumed, you'd soon be malnourished. Just like your diet should contain a healthy mix of nutritious foods, your skin (which is your body's largest organ) needs a wide array of helpful ingredients to become and remain smooth, healthy, and, yes, able to look and act younger.
To Algenist's credit, their products contain more than just alguronic acid. Most of them have a good blend of skin-repairing and antioxidant ingredients, although the ones they call out as key ingredients (such as apple stem cells) have no real published research proving their efficacy. Despite the fact that their products contain some tried-and-true anti-aging ingredients, Algenist makes the same mistakes as many other lines, such as using jar packaging (which won't keep any of the beneficial ingredients stable during use) and including fragrance or fragrant plant extracts to give the products an appealing scent. Fragrance isn't skin care and, in fact, more often than not, will cause irritation that hurts your skin's ability to look and act younger!
In the end, Algenist is not a must-have line, and it certainly isn't worth expanding your beauty budget to afford. There are some acceptable to impressive options for those who don't mind spending more than they need to for effective products, but you'll find a wider, often better range of options on our list of Best Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Products.
For more information about Algenist, call (877) 650-1837 or visit www.algenist.com.
Note: Algenist lists the alguronic acid in their products as algae exopolysaccharides, which is the accepted cosmetic labeling name for alguronic acid.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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