Advanced Anti-Aging Repairing Oil is a disappointingly ordinary blend of algae oil (chlorella protothecoides oil), along with a few thickeners, fatty acids, a ceramide and fragrant plant extracts. A mix of proven, beneficial plant oils (such as borage, coconut, evening primrose, jojoba, argan, etc.) and antioxidants would’ve made this much better—but it would still be overpriced.
Although chlorella protothecoides oil isn’t harmful, just unexceptional, the blend of rosemary, geranium, and rosewood oil (that’s rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract, cymbopogon martini oil and geraniol, respectively) poses a strong risk of irritating skin, and that’s never the goal.
Algae oil seems to be the next ingredient du jour; at least, that's what Algenist would like you to believe. Derived from microalgae, algae oil isn’t as unique as it sounds—most of the research around it pertains to its benefit as a renewable energy source (think canola oil of the sea). While most types of algae provide benefit for skin in terms of moisture, anti-irritant and some antioxidant effect, it isn’t as impressive a category of ingredients once you know the reality behind the marketing campaign.
If you’re in the market for a plant-oil based product, you are better off buying pure jojoba, argan, avocado or olive oil and adding it to your well-formulated serum or non-SPF moisturizer. If you’re in the mood to splurge on an oil-based moisturizer, consider Tarte’s Maracuja Oil or Josie Maran’s Argan Oil (we stress that both are splurge products, and not more unique or beneficial than any of the dozens of non-fragrant plant oils on the market) instead.
The next generation of face oils. Formulated with patent pending Microalgae Oil, this face treatment delivers the performance of a powerful anti-aging serum with the unique experience of an oil. Fast absorbing and non-greasy, it instantly replenishes the skin with essential moisture while working to repair the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Chlorella Protothecoides Oil, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Isopropyl Isostearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ceramide 3, Alaria Esculenta Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Geraniol
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 acid—so 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 you—it 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.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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