Claiming to be both a moisturizer and an exfoliant, this ends up not doing a great job in either role. As a moisturizer, this contains a standard but decent emollient ingredient and a high amount of film-forming agent that lends a smooth, somewhat tight-feeling finish, which is okay but not great. It also contains some good antioxidants, but these ingredients won't remain stable because this product is packaged in a jar. See More Info to learn why jar packaging is a problem. Another shortcoming is that this also contains some fragrant plant extracts that skin doesn't need—fragrance is never skin care. As for this being able to exfoliate and improve enlarged pores or breakouts, it contains salicylic acid (BHA) and willow bark extract. Only the salicylic acid can be relied on for exfoliation, but not in this formula because the pH is not within the range for it to work in that manner. Willow bark contains a substance known as salicin, and this can be converted to salicylic acid, but only via digestion, not topical application.
This also contains alguronic acid, which Algenist claims can do amazing things for skin. Listed as algae exopolysaccharides, this ingredient does have moisturizing properties, but it isn't anything special in comparison to lots of other moisturizing ingredients.
Rather than spend this much money and end up disappointed, check out our list of Best BHA Exfoliants for superior pore-reducing exfoliants, or, if you're in the market for moisturizer that won't break the bank, consult our list of Best Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime).
- Makes skin feel smooth and soft.
- The product's pH is too high for the salicylic acid to work as an exfoliant.
- Jar packaging hinders the effectiveness of several beneficial ingredients.
The fact that it's 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; and Beautypackaging.com and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
Formulated with Alguronic Acid and multi-perfecting ingredients (salicylic acid, oligosaccharides), this oil-free gel-cream absorbs quickly to lock in moisture, smoothes away roughness and brightens dull skin. Enlarged pores are visibly reduced for a more radiant and smooth complexion.
Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, Squalane, Algae Exopolysaccharides, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Salicylic Acid, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Seed Extract, Glycerin, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract, Sorbitan Isostearate, Dimethicone, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 60, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Mica, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, 3-Méthyl-4-(2,6,6-triméthyl-2-cyclohexène-1-yl)-3-butène-2-one, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Fragrance.
Algenist is a small, rather expensive range of skin-care products sold at Sephora with a focus on anti-aging (we know, what a shock). 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 yet of course 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 can provide. Think of it like your diet: As healthy as green tea is, if that's all you eat, you'll 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, 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 options for those who don't mind spending more than they need to for effective products, but you'll find a wider, 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.