This pricey scrub contains ground-up diatoms (skeletal remains of algae) as the abrasive agent, and despite what you read in the claims, the formula isn't clay-based. The scrub particles are buffered by emollient thickeners that help protect skin, but that also makes this tricky to rinse completely. Abrasive scrubs can be problematic because of the way they tear into the surface of the skin, which can be more damaging than cleansing or exfoliating.
The claim that this scrub diminishes enlarged pores sounds better than it is. This works no better than hundreds of other scrubs, which means it doesn't work very well because scrubs are a poor way to reduce pore size. A far better approach is to use a leave-on exfoliant that contains salicylic acid (also known as BHA), which can penetrate the pore lining to free blockages that cause the pore to expand and remain enlarged. Clearing the blockage and keeping the pore lining from getting clogged up again means pore size decreases and stays that way.
Just to clarify, although this scrub does contain salicylic acid, it's of little benefit in a rinse-off product like this because it is just rinsed down the drain before it has a chance to work; for best results, salicylic acid must be left on the skin. Check out our list of Best Exfoliants.
This is an OK scrub for normal to oily or combination skin, but scrubs are an outdated way to smooth and refine skin texture.
- Leaves skin feeling smooth and soft.
- Abrasive scrub ingredient is buffered to protect skin.
- Expensive for what you get.
- Scrubs are an outdated way to perfect skin and reduce pore size.
This clay-based, oil-free exfoliator is formulated with exfoliating granular mineral from algae to gently resurface and visibly diminish pore size, while multi-perfecting ingredients (salicylic acid, oligosaccharides) renew the skin surface for brighter, more even skin tone. The skin is left feeling smooth and looking luminous.
Water/Eau (Aqua), Silica, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Isopropyl Isostearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Squalane, Titanium Dioxide, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Kaolin, Butylene Glycol, Diatomaceous Earth, Algae Exopolysaccharides, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Salicylic Acid, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Seed Extract, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beet Root) Extract, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbitan Isostearate, Disodium EDTA, Polysorbate 60, Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Fragrance (Parfum).
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.