4

Algenist

Elevate Advanced Lift Contour Cream

2.00 fl. oz. for $ 98.00
Expert Rating

Expert Reviews

Community Reviews

Claims

Ingredients

Brand Overview

Elevate Advanced Lift Contour Cream makes some bold claims that don't mesh with what skincare products can really do, but its luxuriously silky texture feels amazing and capably hydrates skin. The overblown claims aren't the only issue this overpriced moisturizer for normal to dry skin has going on…

Problem one is jar packaging. As we explain in the More Info section, this type of packaging won't keep the formula's light- and air-sensitive ingredients (including the called-out alguronic acid) stable once opened. We discuss alguronic acid further in the brand summary for Algenist.

The second issue is the inclusion of gold. Although this metal has an air of luxury that this product's premium price emotionally reinforces, gold is actually a fairly frequent contact allergen. Surprisingly, the reaction can take time to develop, but it's happening nonethelesss. Moreover, gold has no special anti-aging benefit when applied to skin, and it isn't necessary to deliver peptides to skin as claimed; in fact the whole notion is rather silly.

Rounding out the issues is the fact that this cream cannot lift skin—that's beyond what even the best skincare can do—and that it contains several fragrance ingredients known to irritate skin (see More Info) and that causes skin damage instead of renewal. In short, despite some impressive peptides and unique algae-derived ingredients, this overpriced moisturizer is one that should stay on the shelf. See our list of Best Moisturizers for superior alternatives.

Pros:
  • Luxuriously silky texture capably hydrates skin.
  • Impressive mix of intriguing peptides and water-binding agents.
Cons:
  • Jar packaging won't keep the light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable once opened.
  • Gold can be a strong contact allergen.
  • Cannot lift skin.
  • Fragrance ingredients pose a risk of irritation.
  • Overpriced for what you get.
More Info:

Jar Packaging & Anti-Aging Moisturizers: Beneficial anti-aging ingredients, which include all plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients, are unstable, which means they begin to break down in the presence of air. Once a jar is opened and lets air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective. Routine exposure to daylight also is problematic for these ingredients.

Jar packaging is also unsanitary because you dip your fingers into the jar with each use, contaminating the product. This stresses the preservative system, leading to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.

Remember: The ingredients that provide the most benefit in addressing visible signs of aging must be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging to remain effective throughout usage. Buying products in this type of packaging means that the ingredients have the best chance of remaining effective—to the benefit of your skin!

References for this information:

Pharmacology Review, July 2013, pages 97–106

Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, pages 252–259

Current Drug Delivery, November 2011, pages 640–660

Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, May 2011, pages 4676–4683

Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82–88

Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1–10

Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.

This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin's barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin's surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.

A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.

References for this information:

Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419

Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175

Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80

Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832

Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202

International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43

Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475

American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

References for gold as a contact allergen:

Dermatitis, March-April 2015, pages 69-77

American Journal of Contact Dermatitis, March 2001, pages 3-5

Cutis, May 2000, pages 323-326

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: Yes

This luxurious cream visibly improves skins elasticity, while alguronic acid and tripeptide-2 combine in a glycoprotein matrix to help promote and reinforce a firmer skin structure, visibly minimize signs of aging, and rapidly tone skin with proven visible lifting effects. A smart technology, gold delivery system provides continuous and extended activity of peptides and anti-aging microalgae to help fortify skin texture for a smoother, plumper-looking, and contoured appearance in as little as 10 days.

Water, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, Parachlorella Beijerinckii Exopolysaccharides, Dunaliella Salina Extract, Plankton Extract, Trifluoroacetyl Tripeptide-2, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Tetradecyl Aminobutyroylvalylaminobutyric Urea Trifluoroacetate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Sodium Hyaluronate, Gold, Arginine/Lysine Polypeptide, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Hydrolyzed Oat Protein, Potassium Palmitoyl Hydrolyzed Oat Protein, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Silica, Acetyl Hydroxyproline, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Tocopherol, Sodium Ascorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citric Acid, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Sodium Polyacrylate Starch, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Polysorbate 60, Adenosine, Sorbitan Isostearate, Lecithin, Panthenol, Magnesium Chloride, Dextran, Pantolactone, Titanium Dioxide, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Citronellol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool.

Algenist At-a-Glance

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 acidso 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 youit 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.

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.