Wrinkle Warrior 2-in-1 Plumping Moisturizer + Serum
Kate Somerville offers seven serums and several treatment products that could qualify as serums, yet Wrinkle Warrior 2-in-1 Plumping Moisturizer + Serum is said to be her "secret weapon to win the war on wrinkles". Does this mean the brand's other anti-wrinkle serums (and moisturizers) aren't as good? It seems so based on the brand's boast, but in many respects this 2-in-1 product isn't as impressive as the other serums and treatments she sells!
Housed in a metallic fuchsia bottle topped with a silver pump for easy dispensing, this product looks and feels more like a serum than a moisturizer but that distinction really depends on your point of view. It does have a lightweight, slightly fluid, silky texture that is suitable for all skin types, but isn't hydrating enough for dry skin. In addition, it lacks the outstanding mix of anti-aging ingredients seen in today's best serums or many other Somerville products.
That's not to say Wrinkle Warrior lacks beneficial ingredients, because it contains some intriguing and tried-and-true ones, it's just that the balance isn't good enough to really make this a 2-in-1 pricy product.
It's incredibly disappointing to report that this product contains fragrance with a citrus-like scent that pose an ongoing risk of irritation. Fragrance, whether natural or synthetic, is a problem for skin, even if you cannot see or feel any negative issues. See More Info for details.
Somerville mentions this product contains HA³, to "visibly reduce the appearance of three different types of wrinkles: crow's feet, fine lines and coarse/deep wrinkles". This product does contain hyaluronic acid (which is what the HA3 seems to be referring to) but any well formulated product with hyaluronic acid can improve the appearance of any type of line or wrinkle. In other words, this product's benefits can be had by many other hyaluronic acid products, several of which cost less.
What if your skincare budget is boundless? Wrinkle Warrior still isn't worth the splurge when measured against many other anti-aging products. If the formula was a better representation of a moisturizer and serum in one, the price would be easier to accept. But since it comes up short on the best parts of both products, it seems overpriced and underwhelming.
- Silky, lightweight texture contains some good hydrating and smoothing ingredients.
- Packaged to keep the light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use.
- Citrus scent and fragrance ingredients pose a risk of irritation.
- Doesn't contain a good enough mix of anti-aging ingredients to replace a separate serum and moisturizer.
- Not moisturizing enough for most cases of dry skin.
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
Kate Somerville At-A-Glance
Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists on their website; effective Anti Bac Clearing Lotion for acne; good eczema cream; some fantastic serums and moisturizers chock-full of beneficial ingredients.
Weaknesses: Expensive; irritating cleansers and scrubs; several products contain irritating ingredients with no proven benefit for skin; disappointing CC cream.
The woman behind this line is a Los Angelesbased aesthetician who owns her own clinic, which specializes not only in aesthetic services but also in cosmetic corrective procedures involving injections (dermal fillers), lasers, Botox, and the like. The clinic is staffed with a doctor and nurses, which is definitely what you want if you're considering services beyond a facial or a massage.
The selling points of this line are Somerville's years of experience in the aesthetics industry and her allegedly devoted celebrity clientele. As such, her products and famous clientele get press in the pages of fashion magazines, which explains why we routinely get asked about this skin-care line. Somerville herself is every bit as attractive as her star clients, and the information on her Web site is presented in such a way that you sincerely believe she has your skin's best interests in mind. And wouldn't you want to trust your skin's needs to a professional who also tends to celebrities?
Knowing all these details, we were anticipating that most of the products bearing Somerville's name would be state-of-the-art slam dunks. Alas, many of them are far afield from that level of formulation. When it comes to giving skin what it needs to function as healthily and normally as possible (and, at these prices, that's what you should expect), this line is, unfortunately, hit or miss. What Somerville knows about giving an amazing facial is one thing, but she clearly missed the research that proves how problematic several of the plant oils that she uses can be. A professional concerned with the health of her clients' skin shouldn't be formulating products with cinnamon, grapefruit, and lavender oils, among others.
If we were one of Somerville's clients, we'd certainly take her to task for that oversight, but we'd also want to know why she offers only one sunscreen and doesn't offer any effective AHA or BHA exfoliants. A discussion of advanced skin science and state-of-the-art ingredients is not sufficient if your product line has gaps: limited sun protection options, no reliable exfoliants, no non-drying cleansers, and a complete lack of options to treat skin discolorations (pigment irregularities, unlike blackheads, cannot be manually extracted, which makes the absence of a skin lightening product an issue).
This product line may not be the one you want to build your skin-care routine around, but there are some exceptional products. Of all the aesthetician-backed lines we've reviewed, none come as close to providing the level of formulary excellence of many of Somerville's moisturizers and serums. They're pricey, but if you're going to spend in excess for skin-care products, you should be doing so on products that stand a very good chance of markedly improving your skins appearance. We are curious to see how this product line will expand and (hopefully) improve over the years. The current mishmash of awesome and awful products makes it risky to shop this line blindly (or on the sole rationale of a celebrity endorsement), but with careful consideration to avoid irritants you can find some products of value. Hopefully, she will expand the line to fill in the current gaps (especially for sun protection) and eliminate the irritants.
For more information about Kate Somerville, now owned by Unilever, call (800) 984-5283 or visit www.katesomerville.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.