FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum
Finding a good retinol serum can be a bit of a challenge, with some brands offering options that include irritating ingredients along with the good stuff; or the packaging isn't air tight, which is so important in general but especially for an ingredient like retinol. That's not the case with First Aid Beauty's FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum, which checks off all the boxes when it comes to doing retinol right!
This lightweight lotion comes in an opaque pump-style container, meaning its delicate ingredients will be protected from light and air. The lotion is fragrance free and sinks into skin quickly without leaving any sticky residue behind.
The star ingredient here, of course, is retinol, which is included here in a .25% concentration. It's not the most potent percentage, but it's still effective at helping prevent and, to some extent, repair visible signs of aging. This is a good option if you're new to using retinol because starting with a lower amount would allow you to see how your skin responds to this bio-active ingredient.
Rounding out the ingredient list are skin-conditioning ingredients, antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, skin-restoring ingredients, and skin-soothing ingredients. We love when companies include a well-rounded mix of the beneficial ingredients skin needs to look and feel younger, so we commend First Aid Beauty for following this track instead of focusing exclusively on retinol (skincare isn't as simple as one ingredient, however good the one ingredient may be).
- Has an effective amount of retinol for anti-aging results.
- Contains several beneficial anti-aging ingredients.
- Packaged in a container that will protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
- Fragrance free.
First Aid Beauty At-A-Glance
Strengths: Several fragrance-free products; relatively reasonable pricing; sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection; wonderful fragrance-free body wash.
Weaknesses: AHA pads contain a low amount of glycolic and lactic acids; some products contain fragrant plant extracts; every product contains feverfew extract, which has benefits, but also can be an irritant; jar packaging; for a line meant for sensitive skin, their use of common irritants is disappointing.
With a name like First Aid Beauty (FAB for short), it's obvious this line is meant to rescue your skin from distress, and, indeed, these products are targeted toward those who have sensitive, easily irritated skin, but who still want an elegant, department-store flair. Ironically, FAB falls short on both ends of the spectrum.
Despite the company's claims of providing "therapeutic action" for "tough skin conditions," some of the products contain irritating ingredients that are extremely problematic for any skin type, especially for those with sensitive or compromised skin. It was disappointing to see known irritants like sulfur, balsam resin, and witch hazel in products claiming to calm your skin and reduce redness. "What were they thinking?" was a question that came up more than once while reviewing this line!
On the bright side, First Aid Beauty does have a very good fragrance-free body wash. There are also a few products that omit the fragrance, which is a definite must for sensitive skin, although, in fact, all skin types do best with fragrance-free products. Unfortunately, the fragrance-free formulas in this line come up short on important ingredients, like antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.
It is best to avoid their Ultra Repair Cream, the SPF 30 sunscreen, Detox Eye Roller, Blemish Eraser, and the Anti-Redness Serum because they all contain enough irritating ingredients to make conditions like acne, redness, and sensitivity worse.
For more information about First Aid Beauty, visit your local Sephora or Ulta or call (800) 322-3619 or visit www.firstaidbeauty.com.
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.