When we saw this products name, "Sublime Defense Anti-Aging Blurring Moisturizer," we figured it was going to be expensive—and we were right. (We hoped it would be fragrance free, but we were wrong about that one—this is fragranced, albeit in a lower amount.) This daytime moisturizer with sunscreen does provide broad-spectrum protection, but can it also blur lines and does the "special algae" it contains work to reduce wrinkles? Let's dive in to find out!
This contains zinc oxide and octinoxate for reliable sun protection, and its whipped cream-like consistency is best for normal to dry skin that's not prone to breakouts. If you're worried the amount of zinc oxide (10%) will leave a white cast, fear not; the formula has a very subtle pink tinge that offsets the whiteness as it simultaneously brightens skin.
Perhaps most impressive is this product's silicone-enhanced texture absolutely has a smoothing and temporary "blurring" effect on fine lines, large pores, and even deeper wrinkles. The sun protection this provides will keep wrinkles from getting worse (always a plus; we've yet to meet someone who bemoans how subtle their wrinkles are). However, as cool as the blurring effect is, you can get this from other, less costly products—though we're not aware of any that also provide this level of sun protection along with a decent mix of water-binding agents and antioxidants.
Back to the price: Our concern with any expensive daytime moisturizer with sunscreen is that you may stop short of applying this liberally, yet that's key to ensuring your skin gets the amount of sun protection stated on the label.
So, let's say you're fine with the price and willing to apply this liberally as needed. You still may want to think twice before purchasing because some of what you're likely paying extra for are the light and air-sensitive ingredients this contains—the very ones that this product's jar packaging will cause to deteriorate form the first use. See More Info to learn why jar packaging is the wrong way to go for anti-aging product.
As for the Algenist-touted alguronic acid (listed as algae exopolysaccharides) and "Extremophile Algae Complex," both ingredients have merit for skin but neither, unfortunately, is the anti-wrinkle answer it's made out to be here. We couldn't find research proving either ingredient is the one to look for if you're concerned about wrinkles, though each has basic water-binding properties for skin. It's important to keep in mind that skincare, whether for anti-aging or other issues, is never as simple as one ingredient—just like a healthy diet isn't as simple as only eating one food.
The only other lingering concern Sublime Defense Anti-Aging Blurring Moisturizer SPF 30 presents is the small amount of fragrance ingredients it contains that are known to irritate skin. Their presence isn't of great concern at this amount, but it does linger on skin, and keep us from recommending this for those with sensitive or rosacea-affected skin.
Closing this out, we have a daytime moisturizer with a weighted list of pros and cons. You get broad spectrum, in-part mineral-based sun protection in a truly innovative "blurring" cream texture that's easy to apply and brightens without a telltale white cast. On the other hand, this is pricey, the jar packaging is disappointing, and the algae ingredients aren't going to turn back the tide on wrinkles (but the silicones + SPF can help improve their appearance). From our perspective, this isn't worth the investment; however, it has enough good qualities that you may want to give it an audition and look to it more for its cosmetic benefits, as this could make for an excellent makeup primer for those with normal to dry skin.
The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria that further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.
The vast majority of ingredients that are most beneficial for your skin are not stable in the presence of light and air, which is exactly what happens when you take the lid off a jar (Pharmacology Review, 2013 & Journal of Biophotonics, 2010).
One of the critical factors in any anti-aging or skin-healing formula is the amount and variety of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients, and the more the better. These function in a variety of ways to reduce the effects of the constant environmental stresses your skin experiences (Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012 & The Journal of Pathology, 2007).
Once you open that jar you bought, you immediately compromise the stability of the anti-aging superstars it contains. (You can visualize their benefits disappearing like puffs of air each time you open up that lid!)
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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