Anew Ultimate 7S Elixir

1.00 fl. oz. for $ 34.99
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Brand Overview

This serum is similar to Avon's Anew Genics Treatment Concentrate, yet the claims mention sirtuin technology (discussed below) and boosting skin's youth proteins rather than stimulating "youth genes," which is what the Anew Genics product is supposed to do. How confusing (not to mention that both sets of claims are far-fetched and not proven by published research). Despite the very different claims for similar formulas, this remains one more Avon serum to consider (though it still doesn't rank as one of the better formulated serums; it's just a good formula, not a great one).

Sirtuins are proteins that help regulate certain biological processes by controlling the chain of events that cause these processes to happen, which is why they're often referred to as information regulators. The anti-aging connection has to do with their potential to regulate the cellular processes responsible for aging. It is believed that if certain sirtuins can be modified to work against the mechanisms of aging, then the results may be visible on skin (think fewer wrinkles, less sagging, and greater resiliency). However, it's much more likely that any research into sirtuin manipulation will be carried out primarily in an effort to reduce or control age-related degenerative diseases. At best this research is in its infancy and there is no evidence that it is possible or even safe. Of course, those annoying facts don't stop some cosmetics companies from jumping on the youthful skin connection and parlaying the research about sirtuins into skin-care products.

What seems promising is that topical application of specific sirtuins derived from yeast and the red grape component of resveratrol (Avon doesn't use either source) seem to have a protective effect on skin in the presence of oxidative and ultraviolet light stress. However, far more research is needed before we'd suggest anyone run out and look for products that increase sirtuin activity in their skin.

Not only is there limited research showing how much and what type of sirtuin is needed topically to cause desirable (as opposed to the potential for undesirable) cellular changes leading to younger skin, but also the bioavailability of a topically applied source of sirtuins is questionable given that we don't know how efficiently they penetrate intact skin. (Testing skin cells in a lab setting with concentrated doses of ingredients that stimulate sirtuins often doesn't translate into how it works in skin-care products.)

An even bigger concern is that whenever normal cellular processes are manipulated, you run the risk of causing a potential overproliferation of cells, which is the blueprint for cancer. In other words, how would the sirtuin-influenced cells know when too much of a good thing becomes a health-threatening problem?

(Sources for the above: Current Medicinal Chemistry, 2008, pages 1887–1899; Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, June 2007, pages 14–19; and Nature Reviews: Drug Discovery, June 2006, pages 493–506).

Getting beyond the sirtuin story (and there's no reason to believe any ingredient in this serum will have the claimed effect), this is really just a standard, but good, serum for all skin types except sensitive. It contains a nice mix of hydrating ingredients plus a silicone-enhanced film-forming agent that makes skin look and feel smoother (just like what most serums can do). Also present are cell-communicating peptides along with natural and synthetic antioxidants.

Like many anti-aging products, this also contains the mineral pigment mica for shine. Although shine isn't skin care, the cosmetic effect can be attractive—just don't mistake it for a sirtuin-influenced miracle!

  • Contains a good mix of anti-aging ingredients.
  • Hydrates without feeling slick or greasy.
  • Helps smooth skin texture.
  • Avon's sirtuin/youth protein-stimulating claims are ambiguous and unproven.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

2X the concentration of Pro 7 Sirtuin Technology* formulated to boost skins Youth Proteins. See deep wrinkles and age spots diminished. Use AM and PM before Ultimate 7S moisturizers.

Water, Glycerin, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Propanediol, Dimethicone. Isododecane, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Phytol, Dilauryl Thiodipropionate, Thiodipropionic Acid, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Cell Extract, Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture Extract, Eclipta Prostrata Extract, Palmitoyl Lysyl Aminovaleroyl Lysine, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-10, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Melicope Hayesii Leaf Extract, Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Thiazolylalanine, Mesyloxybenzyl Isobutylbenzenesulfonamide, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Divinyldimethicone/Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Glyceryl Stearate, Isohexadecane, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PEG-40 Stearate, Steareth-2, Behenyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 80, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 20, Isomalt, Lecithin, Steareth-20, Xanthan Gum, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Parfum/Fragrance, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Caramel, Red 4

Avon At-A-Glance

Strengths: Broad-spectrum sun protection from most of the SPF products; a selection of good cleansers, moisturizers, and serums; a phenomenal concealer and a handful of other excellent makeup products at bargain prices; the company provides complete ingredient lists on its Web site and offers some of the most helpful Customer Service associates in the industry.

Weaknesses: The Clearskin products are mostly irritating and poor choices for anyone battling blemishes; the Anew Clinical lineup isn't as impressive as its made out to be; an over-reliance on jar packaging diminishes the antioxidants found in many Avon moisturizers; endless, unnecessarily repetitive moisturizers with exaggerated, outlandish claims; some of the foundations look unnatural.

The last few years have been an interesting time for the world's largest direct seller. Avon is sold in 120 countries and has an enormous range of products that goes beyond skin care and makeup, all sold by five million Avon representatives racking up annual sales of over $8 billion (Source: www.avoncompany.com). Yet due to several quarters of lackluster or poor financial performance, the company announced a multiyear restructuring plan in 2006. The anticipated cost of these changes is upwards of $500 million, which includes downsizing under-performing areas and focusing on re-marketing their star products. In recent years, those key products have had "cosmeceutical" appeal, with claims that have gone beyond reality (but over-exaggerated claims sell big in the cosmetics industry).

The Anew Clinical line ushered in several products claiming to work like (or, in some instances, better than) cosmetic corrective procedures. Whether you are considering laser treatments, Botox, Thermage, collagen injections, or even liposuction, the ads for Anew Clinical were designed to make you rethink that decision.

It is definitely impressive that Avon invested $100 million on a state-of-the-art research and product development facility in New York, but despite some innovative products that compete with the best of the best (typically for much less money), no cosmetics company has (or will) produce skin-care products that rival or beat the results obtainable from medical procedures. It's admittedly easier to slather on a cream or stroke a pad over your face than to make an office call and shoulder the expense for a cosmetic corrective procedure, but in this case convenience and savings don't equal - or even come close to - comparable results. And lest we forget, despite the onslaught of so-called cosmeceutical products claiming to mimic the results such procedures provide, the number of these procedures being performed increases each year. If any of these works-like-(insert cosmetic corrective procedure here) products did work, the number of procedures would be declining, not rising.

The National Advertising Division (NAD) took issue with several claims Avon made in ads for their Anew Clinical products (Source: www.nadreview.org/default.asp?SessionID=1149178&DocType=1&CaseType=1). In some cases, Avon reworded their claims in ad reprints, while in others they "respectfully disagreed" with the NAD conclusions but agreed to take their comments into consideration for future ads. We'll see how this turns out, but, based on their current ads, the message remains that Anew Clinical products are at the forefront of making cosmetic corrective procedure results as easy as calling your Avon representative and reciting your credit card number.

As a major international cosmetics company, Avon has several initiatives in place that prove its commitment to women and the environment. Whether donating to women's health concerns (most notably breast cancer), surpassing environmental regulations, or financially supporting alternative methods to animal testing, Avon's principles are responsible and admirable. If you pay attention to the best of what they have to offer, you will not only be supporting Avon's mission to improve the lives of women but also gaining some wonderful products, making it a win-win situation.

For more information about Avon, call (800) 500-AVON or visit www.avon.com.

Avon Makeup

Avon may be viewed as a skin-care innovator, but when it comes to makeup they're more follow-the-leaders than trail blazers. Admittedly, their foundations, powders, blush, and lipsticks have smoother, more state-of-the-art textures than ever, but with few exceptions none of them are setting a precedent that other, more innovative companies are likely to follow.

You will find some outstanding Avon makeup products to consider, but perhaps due to the sheer size of the collection there are far too many mediocre products, especially among the eyeshadows, pencils, and mascaras. Given that Avon isn't as easy to obtain as comparable products at your local drug or department store, many of the makeup items end up being a tough sell. After all, who wants to go out of their way for average products? Turning to what Avon does really well, you'll find their loose and pressed powders have amazingly silky textures and natural finishes. Their blushes are wonderful, and a few of the lipsticks and foundations are definitely worth talking about with enthusiasm. Another positive point is that Avon regularly discounts their makeup, often upwards of 50% during any given campaign (Avon's campaigns run for two weeks and the specials change each time). If you shop at the right time, the best of Avon color can be yours for less than you'd pay for most low-cost drugstore makeup.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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