Tested on animals:Yes
Elizabeth Arden's SUPERSTART Skin Renewal Booster is one of a growing number of products being formulated to boost your skin's ability to defend and repair itself. Although that's great, the claims for this product are what you should expect from any well formulated serum or moisturizer. So, although Arden's contribution isn't bad, it's not must-have, either.
The sheer, water-based formula is suitable for all skin types, including breakout-prone skin. This booster is housed in an attractive glossy pump bottle that neatly dispenses the product while keeping light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use.
Because Arden's claims for this product center on repairing skin's barrier to strengthen its surface defenses (a strong, intact barrier equals healthier-looking skin), it's good that the formula contains ingredients that can do just that. Glycerin leads the pack, but is given able support from caprylic/capric triglyceride, oligosaccharides, ceramides, and cholesterol. All of those ingredients are excellent for repairing and replenishing skin's barrier, so they're a welcome addition.
What's not as welcome is the inclusion of fragrance—especially because its amount exceeds (at least, based on the ingredient list as printed on the packaging) the presence of a few ingredients that would benefit skin more if present in greater amounts. The amount of fragrance isn't a deal-breaker, but it is iffy enough that it did hold SUPERSTART Skin Renewal Booster back from earning our top rating.
Beyond the barrier-repair ingredients mentioned above, an intriguing standout is the inclusion of probiotics, a type of friendly bacteria. Arden included lactobacillus as well as a lesser-used probiotic known as kefiran (a by-product of the yogurt-like beverage known as kefir).
Research on topical application of probiotics appears promising; however, in the case of lactobacillus, a study has shown greater concentrations (5%) are needed for visible results on skin—and we're skeptical Arden is using that much in this booster (Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2012). In addition, a double-blind study showed that consuming this probiotic as a supplement produces greater benefits than what we've seen so far via topical application (Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, October 2015).
What about kefiran? To date, there's only been one published study pertaining to topical application, and it showed kefiran has antimicrobial and wound healing benefits, which doesn't necessarily translate to barrier repair, but there's some association. The kicker is the concentration needed to produce results was 70%, far below what's in this product (International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 2005)!
Summing up, Elizabeth Arden's SUPERSTAR Skin Renewal Booster misses our top rating due to the iffy amount of fragrance it contains—in greater amounts than some of the helpful ingredients present. However, this is an intriguing, lightweight serum-like product, which all skin types can use to boost the benefits a regular serum or moisturizer provides. Without question, this product will help repair skin's barrier—it's just not quite amazing enough to forgo your other well formulated skincare products. It is best thought of exactly as Arden positions it, as a "boost" for your other products or as a booster to help skin repair its barrier.
- Sheer, lightweight texture layers well with other products.
- Contains a very good assortment of barrier-repair ingredients supported by published research.
- Capable of making good on its claims of repairing barrier damage to skin's surface.
- Packaged so its light- and air-sensitive ingredients remain stable during use.
- Works well to boost the results from serums and moisturizers.
- Contains fragrance ahead of some proven beneficial ingredients for skin.