Algenist currently offers several serums and serum-like treatment products. With the addition of POWER Advanced Wrinkle Fighter Serum, you'd expect something new and exciting—but what you end up with isn't as special as it seems. In fact, this is fairly similar to other serums from Algenist (particularly their Concentrated Reconstructing) Serum, some of which also claim to address the concern of deep wrinkles. Let's explore this latest formula a bit further…
Housed in an opaque black bottle topped with a dropper-type applicator, this thin-textured, water-based serum looks more like a lotion than a traditional serum. In fact, it contains some classic hydrating ingredients found in many moisturizing lotions. In a way, this product is a cross between a serum and a lotion, and is best for normal to slightly dry or combination skin.
The formula spreads easily and feels light and silky as it set to a non-sticky finish. The finish layers well over or under moisturizer. But, for a "new generation" serum, it doesn't contain many ingredients with substantiated research proving they can improve deep wrinkles, restore skin's density and elasticity (this isn't a cure-all for sagging)—though it can leave skin looking smoother and more radiant. The catch? So can lots of other serums and moisturizers that cost half the price!
You might be wondering what you're getting for your money if you decide to invest in this product. Answer: Not much that cannot be found in other anti-aging products across the price spectrum—as well as a few ingredients that you don't want in your wrinkle-fighting treatments. POWER Advanced Wrinkle Fighter Serum contains its share of beneficial ingredients, such as niacinamide, peptides, beta-glucan, and green tea (Camellia sinensis) but it's also a bit bogged down by potentially problematic ingredients such as citrus extracts and fragrance.
Getting back to the research, we couldn't find anything to support the brand's claim that their Peptide 3D Complex improves deep wrinkles. Theoretically, the peptides in this serum have cell-communicating ability and may indeed play a role in helping skin look and act younger. But for improving deep wrinkles, we wouldn't opt for peptides over ingredients like retinol or vitamin C. Curious about the brands' much hyped alguronic acid ingredient? See the More Info section for our explanation (spoiler alert: it's not so hype-worthy).
Actually, it would've been great if Algenist had added retinol to this serum to work in tandem with the peptides—but the surprising lack of more intriguing anti-aging ingredients is the key disappointment for this rather underwhelming (for the money) serum. For what this costs, you really should expect and be getting more for your money.
Bottom line: POWER Advanced Wrinkle Fighter Serum isn't a bad serum, but it's not a great one, either. Consider it an OK option for normal to combination or slightly dry skin, but for over $100, "OK" doesn't feel quite good enough. See our list of Best Serums for superior options.
Alguronic acid is present in every product from Algenist. The story about this ingredient is similar to that for the algae included in La Mer products. In Algenist's case, alguronic acid was derived from a specific type of micro-algae originally studied as a source of renewable energy.
Not surprisingly, the only information about this ingredient being effective for skin comes from Algenist. There is no independent, published research supporting the anti-aging claims being made, and the studies Algenist claims to have carried out are not available for full review (plus most of the studies were done in a petri dish, instead of on human skin).
Please keep in mind that, regardless of the claims, skin needs more than one ingredient to help it look and act younger—there is no miracle ingredient that can do it all. Alguronic acid isn't a harmful ingredient, but how beneficial (or not) it is for skin remains to be seen.
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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