Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream
2 fl. oz. for $110
Last Updated:12.17.2014
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

OK, we have to say it: If this anti-aging moisturizer is the genius option from Algenist, then what are all of their other anti-aging creams and lotions for? Admittedly, a brand should offer consumers choices in terms of textures, ingredients, and benefits, but Algenist seems content to keep giving your skin its overhyped algae ingredient, this time the usual "exopolysaccharides" are joined by a microalgae oil. The oil's fatty acid content is likely beneficial for skin, but there's no research supporting that supposition—not to mention that there are lots of good plant oils for skin.

What really sets this moisturizer for normal to dry skin on the wrong path (well, other than its price) is the fact that it's packaged in a jar. See More Info to learn why you should avoid any anti-aging moisturizer packaged in this manner; it's truly a waste of money.

Although Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream contains some good emollients for dry skin, it's far from being the ultimate solution. There isn't a single best anti-aging cream out there, but because of the price and packaging, this doesn't qualify as one of the better options.

By the way, the star ingredient in this moisturizer, microalgae oil (listed by its Latin name of Chlorella protohecoides) has no research proving its worth for skin—but it is used to manufacture biodiesel fuel (Sources: Biotechnology and Bioengineering, November 2007, pages 764–771; and Bioresource Technology, April 2006, pages 841–846).

Last, know that collagen, no matter where it's from (here it's from plants) cannot firm, lift, or shore up sagging skin. Collagen in skin care cannot fuse with or build up collagen in your skin. If it could work in this manner, your skin would soon have an abundance of collagen and look lumpy and misshaped. What you want are ingredients that stimulate your skin to make its own collagen and, to some extent, repair damaged collagen. Those ingredients include antioxidants and cell-communicating substances like retinol—not collagen!

  • Contains some good emollient ingredients for dry skin.
  • Overpriced for what you get.
  • Jar packaging won't keep key ingredients stable once opened.
More Info:

The fact that this moisturizer is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so 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 which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818-829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271-288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314-321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197-203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1-32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).


This advanced, luxurious cream is the best of anti-aging biotechnology. For the first time, this powerful formula combines Alguronic Acid, a patented anti-aging breakthrough with a new source of nourishing oil, Microalgae Oil, and a plant-based collagen, to help visibly restore the skin resiliency and elasticity, delivering a firmer, tighter, more toned appearance. It visibly strengthens the most fragile skin texture and softens facial contours, minimizing the appearance of fine lines and deep wrinkles to unveil skin’s youthful radiance.


Water (Aqua), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Glycerin, Chlorella Protothecoides Oil, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Pentylene Glycol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Algae Exopolysaccharides, Vegetable Collagen, Ceramide 3, Cynara Scolymus (Artichoke) Leaf Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Astragalus Membranaceous Root Extract, Atractyloides Macrocephala Root Extract, Iris Florentina Root Extract, Bupleurum Falcatum Root Extract, Methyl Glucoside Phosphate Proline Lysine Copper Complex, Stearalkonium Bentonite, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Carbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Chlorphenesin, Fragrance (Parfum), Coumarin.

Brand Overview

Algenist At-a-Glance

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.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Love Alienist

I'm surprised by the negative the review, as I love the results I'm getting from this product. Before I tried it, my skin was dry and flakey and now it looks and feels younger and softer. I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by
Hated it, wanted to love it

Since I ran out of my Beloved resist kit and it's sold out!!! UGH,,, I ordered this from qvc.. what a mess, i woke up to pimples, puffy eyes , going back.. waste of money

Reviewed by
Cynthia L.
Love it

I am a product junkie and have tried many other brands but this has been the best yet. It feels great on the skin and my skin looks amazing. much more hydrated than what I had Nee using. I have been using this combined with an at home laser andy friends thought I had injectables again. Love love love it.

Reviewed by
I loved it!

I was fortunate enough to receive a ten day sample of this cream. Because I have a small face, I was able to use it for almost 20 days! The directions say to put it on first, and then put on your Serum. Of course, the company means their serum but I didn't have that so I used my Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum. I thought it made an amazing difference in my skin and my husband even noticed it! That's the litmus test. I think it's overpriced and would never buy it but I liked it!

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