This daytime moisturizer with sunscreen contains stabilized avobenzone for reliable UVA (think anti-aging) protection, which is great. It's housed in an opaque, airless jar, a great way to keep the light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use, though the jar itself is cumbersome.
The formula has a lightweight yet creamy texture that's easy to apply, yet you may notice it tends to roll and ball up after it sets, and this can happen whether you apply makeup on top or not (although it didn't happen consistently)
In terms of anti-aging beyond the sunscreen, this daytime moisturizer contains a fairly good mix of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing substances. We weren't thrilled to see that it also contains the sensitizing preservative methylisothiazolinone, although not much of it. But, because this product contains synthetic active sunscreen ingredients (which some may find sensitizing on their own), this isn't the most gentle formula around, especially for use around the eyes (and the eye area definitely needs sunscreen).
What about Mary Kay's Volu-Firm complex? According to the company, this complex consists of three ingredients present in every Timewise Repair product: a peptide, an ingredient that helps boost skin's hyaluronic acid content (Mary Kay doesn't specify what this ingredient is), and plant stem cells.
Plant stem cells in skin-care products are fairly useless because stem cells must be alive to have an effect, and in a skin-care product that certainly wouldn't be the case (see More Info for details on this). In general, the research about peptides is at best minor, coming primarily from the companies selling the ingredients or the products containing them, which means that the research is not proof of anything. Theoretically, peptides can have benefit, but because no one knows for sure it would be a mistake to rely solely on them, in any formulation, to make a difference for wrinkles or sagging.
Many skin-care ingredients can increase the amount of hyaluronic acid in the skin, but none of that works in any way like the hyaluronic acid dermal injections you get from dermatologists. Applying a moisturizer will not fill out a wrinkle or lift sagging skin at all like dermal injections. And in terms of volume loss due to fat loss in the face (all of us have facial fat pads that shift at different rates over time, leading to hollowing and sagging), Mary Kay's technology cannot stop that from happening.
The volume-boosting and firming claims for Mary Kay's Volu-Firm complex come from a study (although it isn't published) that used only the three ingredients, not the actual product. The amount of the three ingredients in the product is much less than that used in their testing, so claiming that the actual product has benefit is a real stretch. The bottom line from just about any perspective is that Timewise Repair isn't an ingenious way to "go back in time" and "lift away the years." See More Info to learn what you can do to help sagging skin.
Note: This contains fragrance in the form of methyldihydrojasmonate, 4-T-butylcyclohexanol, and other ingredients.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Airless jar packaging keeps light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use.
- Contains a good mix of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.
- Expensive, which may discourage the liberal application necessary to achieve the sun protection stated on the label.
- Cannot lift skin or restore lost volume a la dermal fillers.
- Tends to roll and ball up once set.
STEM CELLS: Stem cells are cells in animals and plants that are capable of becoming any other type of cell in that organism and of producing more of those cells. Despite the fact that stem cell research is in its infancy, many cosmetics companies claim they are successfully using plant-based or human-derived stem cells in their anti-aging products. The claims run the gamut, from reducing wrinkles to elastin repair and cell regeneration, so the temptation for consumers to try these is intense.
The truth is that stem cells in skin-care products do not work as claimed. In fact, they likely have no effect at all because stem cells must be alive to function as stem cells. Once these delicate cells are added to skin-care products, they are long dead and, therefore, useless. It's actually a good thing that stem cells in skin-care products can't work as claimed because one stem cell study has revealed that they present a potential risk of cancer.
Plant stem cells, such as those derived from apples, melons, flowers, and rice, cannot stimulate stem cells in human skin, but because they are from plants these ingredients likely have antioxidant properties. It's a good thing plant stem cells can't work as stem cells in skin-care products; after all, you don't want your skin to absorb cells that can grow into apples or watermelons!
There are also claims that because a plant's stem cells allow a plant to repair itself or survive in harsh climates, these benefits can be passed on to human skin. How a plant functions in nature is unrelated to human skin, and these claims are completely without substantiation.
Another twist on the issue is that cosmetics companies claim they have taken components (such as peptides) out of the plant stem cells and made them stable so they then can work as stem cells. This approach is not valid because stem cells must be complete to function normally. Even if you could isolate substances or extracts from these cells and make them stable, there is no published research showing they can affect stem cells in human skin.
HELP FOR SAGGING SKIN: Many skin-care products claim they can firm and lift skin, but none of them work, at least not to the extent claimed. A face-lift-in-a-bottle isn't possible, but with the right mix of products, you will see firmer skin that has a more lifted appearance—and that's exciting! To gain these youthful benefits, you must protect your skin from any and all sun damage every day, use an AHA (glycolic acid or lactic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant, and use products that have a wide range of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients. Remember, no single product can do it all; it's the combination of products that has extensive research showing it can significantly improve many of the signs of aging, such as firming skin, reducing wrinkles and brown spots, and eliminating dullness. You'll find them on our list of Best Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Products.