Shani Darden’s Texture Reform is a sibling product to the brand’s best-selling Retinol Reform, but marketed as a gentler version. In many ways it does mirror that product, but falls short on delivering retinol’s benefits due to the form of vitamin A chosen.
Like Retinol Reform, Texture Reform comes in opaque packaging with a pump dispenser, which protects its beneficial ingredients from light and air exposure. It’s also fragrance-free and has a lightweight lotion texture that isn’t sticky or filmy at all – it just sinks into skin quickly, making it a good complement to other products in your skin care routine.
Where Retinol Reform has pure retinol, this product contains retinyl palmitate, a vitamin A derivative that also includes palmitic acid. It can provide some of the same surface benefits as retinol but is not considered as effective as retinol due to reduced penetration.
Interestingly, acting as a strong support here is a stronger concentration (7%) of lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that refines skin’s surface and helps improve uneven skin tone. More to love: the lactic acid is formulated at a pH of 3.67, putting is solidly in the optimal range (between 3-4) for exfoliation to occur. The 2% concentration of lactic acid in Darden’s Retinol Reform is too low to improve cell turnover, but does have hydration benefits.
There isn’t a lot else here, and it’s disappointing that the supporting antioxidants like coffee extract and beta glucan are present in low amounts alongside a small amount of niacinamide and acetyl glucosamine - both too low to really benefit skin.
As with Retinol Reform, the price is steep, but you are likely to see results you’ll like if you try it.
- Light lotion texture absorbs quickly without stickiness.
- Includes proven anti-aging retinyl palmitate.
- Contains 7% lactic acid at a pH that’s optimal for exfoliation.
- Packaged to protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
- Fragrance free.
- Form of vitamin A this contains isn’t as effective as retinol.
- Low amount of supporting antioxidants.
I created Texture Reform™ for my sensitive skin clients who want all the anti-aging benefits of my signature Retinol Reform serum in an even gentler form. Formulated with 5% retinyl palmitate, a mild retinoid, this serum helps boost collagen production and improve cell turnover to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, acne scars, and uneven texture. It also contains 7% lactic acid and soothing ingredients such as aloe vera to gently exfoliate for brighter, more youthful-looking skin.
Shani Darden Skin Care is the namesake brand of Shani Darden, an LA-based aesthetician to the stars who got her start working for one of Hollywood’s top dermatologists. As the story goes, Darden struggled with her skin during her teen years and says working with clients with severe skin issues – particularly acne - inspired her to create a line with those concerns in mind.
Starting with the brand’s flagship product, Retinol Reform, created in 2013, the Shani Darden line has expanded to include a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and exfoliant - all catered to those with combination, oily, or acne-prone skin. As a result, the line features lightweight formulas with a focus on improving skin texture.
For the most part, the small lineup of products is good; we’re impressed with the packaging, which across the board features opaque, pump-style containers that protect beneficial ingredients from light and air. The two products featuring alpha hydroxy acids are formulated at optimal pH levels for exfoliation to occur and contain some good supporting ingredients to further improve skin health.
The drawbacks for this line are relatively minor, though still worth noting; fragrance is included in one product, and the cleanser contains a surfactant known to be drying to skin. Still, overall, while the price tag of these products attests to its Hollywood origins, this line is a solid option for those looking for promising options for combination to oily skin.
Check out our individual product reviews for more details, and visit shanidarden.com for more information on the brand.
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