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Versed Skincare

Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum

1.00 fl. oz. for $ 21.99
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Versed’s Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum is one of the brand’s better products that includes an impressive mix of skin-beneficial ingredients, plus smart packaging that means this is one to consider.

The opaque bottle with a pump dispenser protects the light- and air-sensitive ingredients, exactly what retinol needs to retain its potency. This serum has a lightweight, lotion texture that makes it suitable for most skin types (though those with very oily skin might find it a bit too hydrating), and it works well both over and under other skin care products.

This looks to contain a good amount of retinol, though Versed doesn’t say what the exact percentage is.  It doesn’t take much to make a visible appearance on the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

This also contains bakuchiol, a naturally-derived ingredient that not only mimics some of the anti-aging benefits of retinol, but also helps stabilize retinol so it’s more effective. While it’s been touted as a gentler alternative to retinol itself, they’re not quite the same – though seeing both in a product together is a great thing.

In addition to these two anti-aging ingredients, there’s  also antioxidant plant extracts, among them samphire, prickly pear, and aloe, as well as shea butter, sea buckthorn, and rosehip oils. There are also sugars (among them xylitol) that help skin retain moisture over time. Even better: this formula skips out on fragrance and other irritants so that just its star ingredients shine.

One note: though this is labeled as a gentle retinol product for first-time users, it’s still important to observe skin’s response, as some people cannot tolerate any amount of retinol. But a lot of us can easily use and benefit from retinol, making this is an impressive product to consider!

  • Lightweight lotion texture works for most skin types.
  • Includes gold-star anti-aging retinol.
  • Contains bakuchiol, which mimics many of retinol’s benefits and helps stabilize it.
  • Includes antioxidant plant extracts and moisture-retaining sugars.
  • Packaged to protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
  • Fragrance free.
  • None.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

A creamy, gentle retinol serum specifically formulated for sensitive skin types and first-time retinol users. The duo of microencapsulated retinol, which sends the active ingredient deep down into skin sans surface irritation, and natural retinol alternatives, arophira and bakuchiol, delivers the best of all worlds. We've also added antioxidants and anti-inflammatories for good measure. Essentially, it's a non-irritating (non-scary) and effective nightly treatment that reforms skin texture, (softening lines and wrinkles, while boosting collagen production and evening skin tone—all without dryness. Use it night after night alone, over water-based serums, or under a rich moisturizer.

Water, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Retinol, Bakuchiol, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Glycerin, Paeonia Suffruticosa Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carica Papaya Extract, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Opuntia Conccinellifera Fruit Extract, Rosa Canina Seed Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Chlorophyll, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Nylon-12, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Trehalose, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

Versed Skincare is the creation of Katherine Power, former West Coast fashion editor of Elle magazine and co-founder of the LA-based fashion company Clique Brands. Versed is positioned as the sister brand of the company’s Who What Wear clothing line sold at Target, and so Versed is sold there as well as other retailers.

Versed’s philosophy is straightforward: offer affordable, effective skin care products that are both vegan and, in the brand’s words, clean. “Clean” is an ambiguous phrase in the beauty industry that lacks a standard, regulated definition (it varies from company to company), but in this instance it means that there are no so-called “toxic” and “questionable” ingredients in Versed’s products.

While some of these ingredients – such as formaldehyde and artificial fragrance – are certainly best avoided, others are labeled as bad based on outdated research, poorly designed or inconclusive studies, or simply anecdotal evidence, and not on the conditions (or concentrations) in which these ingredients are actually used in real-world skin care applications.

That aside, Versed has an attractive aesthetic that goes along with this clean philosophy: pastel-colored packaging with plain type that explains what each product’s purpose is and calls out key ingredients in each. For the most part, Versed products are packaged to protect their light- and air-sensitive ingredients; however, there are a few instances of clear and jar packaging, which compromise the benefits of some ingredients, particularly antioxidants.

The formulas from Versed are  a mixed bag. Some contain a host of beneficial ingredients while totally avoiding irritants, others are good but basic, and some others include fragrant plant extracts and oils that pose a risk of sensitizing skin (and we should be clear – fragrance, both synthetic and natural, can irritate skin). It really is a situation where the products are best judged on a case-by-case basis, as the hit-or-miss nature of the line requires more scrutiny than simply choosing based on product claims and skin type.

Despite the extra effort needed, Versed does have some good products to offer, and the convenience of being available both online and in a major retailer like Target, will have a lot of appeal to a good number of people. You can learn more about Versed at

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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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