The big promise of this serum is that it will perfect skin while "correcting" enlarged pores (as if the pores did something wrong and need to be set straight!). Despite a very silky texture and weightless finish, you're not getting much for your money—and you may even be making matters worse!
One of the main ingredients in this product is daisy flower extract. Also known as tansy, this plant extract is sometimes found in skin-lightening products. There's only anecdotal evidence of its skin-lightening ability, yet in any product this plant extract can cause severe contact dermatitis (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com). Also, when mixed with water (as is the case here) this plant extract can form peroxides that incite free-radical damage (Source: Natural Product Communications, January 2010, pages 147–150). None of this is good for skin and there's no research proving this plant extract can tighten pores.
What will make pores feel tighter once this is applied are the range of polymers and film-forming agents this serum contains. These can help (to some extent) fill in and refine pore size, but the effect is temporary and may be barely visible depending on what else you apply.
Although the formula contains the exfoliating ingredient salicylic acid (which absolutely can reduce enlarged or clogged pores), the amount is likely borderline for efficacy and this product's pH is not within the range salicylic acid needs to work as an exfoliant. Please see our list of Best BHA Exfoliants for superior pore-reducing options.
- Very silky texture and super-smooth, weightless finish.
- Does little to reduce pore size.
- The daisy plant extract poses a strong risk of irritation.
- Amount of salicylic acid is borderline for efficacy, plus the pH is not within the proper range.
A lightweight, oil-free serum that tightens pores, smooths roughness, and refines skin texture.
Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Algae Exopolysaccharides, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Salicylic Acid, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Seed Extract, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract, Squalane, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 60, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Sorbitan, Isostearate, Potassium Sorbate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Sodium Phosphate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.
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.