Max LS Overnight Renewal Serum
1 fl. oz. for $60
Last Updated:11.26.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Although the Paula’s Choice Research Team doesn’t review a lot of men’s lines, we do keep general tabs on what’s available. Without question, if you’re sold on the idea that men need their own skin-care line, Lab Series gets it right far more often than its competitors, which almost always fail abysmally.

All other men’s line, pay attention: this serum is a very good example of a great product for a guy! The formula is loaded with antioxidants, repairing ingredients, and lightweight soothing agents men with normal to oily skin need to look and act younger (but guys, please don’t forget the sunscreen step, or using products like this is a waste of time and money).

In terms of overnight renewal, you’ll wake up to smoother, softer skin—which can be said for many serums, but in one night’s time don’t expect more than that. With ongoing, nightly use (and sun protection every morning) you will, over time, see notable complexion improvements.


  • Loaded with proven anti-aging ingredients, including several antioxidants.
  • Lightweight, non-greasy texture.


  • None.

Reclaim your younger looking skin with this intense overnight renewal serum.


Water, Dimethicone, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Sucrose, Sorbitol, Squalane, Acetyl Glucosamine, Hypnea Musciformis (Algae) Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Gellidiela Acerosa (Algae) Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Lycium Chinense (Wolfberry) Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Juice Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Micrococcus Lysate, Sea Whip Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Extract, Caffeine, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Lecithin, Yeast Extract, Algae Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin, Tromethamine, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Arginine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Salicylic Acid, PEG-8, Sodium Hyaluronate, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Butylene Glycol, Phospholipids, Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Maleate, Carbomer, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol

Brand Overview

Lab Series At-A-Glance

Strengths: One good cleanser; some outstanding moisturizers, including one with sunscreen; very good shave cream and shave gel; well-formulated post-shave lotion; good absorbent mask and lip balm; many products are fragrance-free; packaging that keeps light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use (and it is masculine-looking).

Weaknesses: Cleansers, scrubs, and toners with irritating ingredients; lack of products for men with dry skin; some of the pre- and post-shave products contain irritants such as menthol; only one sunscreen; no effective anti-acne products.

Owned by Estee Lauder Corporation, Lab Series Skincare for Men used to be called Aramis Lab Series for Men. Lauder also has other brands that offer male-specific products, including Clinique Skin Supplies for Men and Aveda Men, but the Lab Series products by far have the better formulas. That's not to say there aren't any missteps to watch out for, because there are plenty, but given that the formulas of most men's products fall far behind those of women's products in terms of basic good skin care, a few good products in a men’s line is something out of the ordinary. Compared with Clinique's soap- and alcohol-laden toner routine and the incomplete, overly fragrant offerings from Aveda, Lab Series is the Lauder-owned men's line most deserving of your consideration.

Originally launched in 1987 (well before the industry was taking the men's skin-care market seriously), the people behind this brand now are described as "an elite team of doctors, scientists, and skin-care specialists" who join forces at the Lab Series Research Center to create advanced products tailored specifically to men. However, lofty descriptions don't necessarily make for great skin care. In fact, all that these "specialists" needed to do was look at the well-formulated products from the best Lauder has to offer. In some cases, it's clear they did just that, but in other cases ... well, it should've been an across-the-board strategy but that's now how it shakes out.

In terms of ingredients, there is nothing in these formulas that you don't also find in products marketed to women. Regardless of gender, skin is skin. Hormonal elements do play a role, such as male hormones making a man's skin thicker and more oily than a woman's skin, just as female hormones make a woman's skin smoother and softer, and, more often than not, with smaller pores than a male. But, in terms of what either gender needs to create and maintain healthy, protected skin, there is no fundamental difference. When it comes to acne, sun protection, free-radical damage, growing older, rosacea, psoriasis, and on and on, there is no research showing that men require products that are different from those women need.

Quality aside, what generally differentiates men's products from women's is packaging, and Lab Series Skincare for Men follows that theme. They offer masculine, no-nonsense packaging and plenty of products to deal with the morning shaving ritual. And considering all the talk about elite doctors and scientists endeavoring to create superior products for men, it's disturbing that these so-called experts formulated several products that contain irritants such as alcohol (which also generates free-radical damage), menthol, sandalwood, and peppermint. Those bracing, invigorating ingredients may seem manly, but it's only sensory perception. The reality is that the amount of these irritants in many of the problematic Lab Series products makes them damaging to skin, especially when applied immediately after shaving, causing "razor burn" (which is not really only about the process of using a razor. Think about women shaving their legs; they don't get red bumps unless they use overly fragrant moisturizers afterward.)

It is worth mentioning that Lab Series offers sensible advice about the best ways to shave skin on their Web site. Some of their other information about men's skin having special needs is off base and not at all rooted in fact, but it works within the context of getting guys to become more interested in keeping up their appearances using a sensible skin-care routine.

For more information about Lab Series, call (866) 316-4819 or visit www.labseries.com.

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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A bit more fragrant than I expected...

I really wanted this to work for me because of the truckload of antioxidants, but I really think the inclusion of fragrance was a big misstep on the part of Lab Series. I have the kind of sensitive oily T-zone that kicks into high gear anytime I use anything the least bit sensitizing. After stopping use of this serum, I no longer look like an oil slick 1 hour after washing my face.

Reviewed by
Austin O.
contains Myrtus and fragrance?

Why is this given a "best" rating when it contains Myrtus and fragrance which are denounced by this website? Also, Lab Series changed their ingredients on many reviewed on this site as "best".

Reviewed by
Beautypedia Team Response

You’re right, this serum does contain a potentially problematic plant extract and fragrance; however, as with every product we review, we take the entire mix of ingredients into account as well as what can be gleaned about likely percentages of ingredients in a given formula. In the case of this serum, we felt the amount of the plant extract and for sure the amount of fragrance were too low to be much, if any, cause for concern. This decision was also influenced by the preponderance of outstanding ingredients in this product.

—Paula's Choice Research Team
awesome ingredients, packaging, texture and finish

Looking at the ingredients, I think this is the twin brother of Clinique Turnaround Concentrate Visible Skin Renewer & Estee Lauder’s Idealist. The triplets are from the same company anyways. It has very light texture, hence the invisible, clean finish. The fragrance is somewhat sophisticated but is bare minimal, it's gone once set, which is great. the airless pump packaging is fully functional; awesome. i wish it was cheaper though, i got this when it was almost 50% off.

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