A-Force XR, Retinol Serum Concentrate

by Serious Skin Care  A-Defiance
Price:
$37.50 - 1 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Retinol Products > Serums
Last Updated:
8/28/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

This water-based serum contains an impressive amount of vitamin A (mostly as retinyl palmitate), along with a smaller but still efficacious amount of retinol. The formula also contains a good anti-irritant as well as antioxidants, including vitamin C and green tea. Although glycolic acid is present, the amount is too low for it to function as an exfoliant; however, it has water-binding properties for skin, and that's helpful. This serum is best for normal to dry skin; the castor oil will be a problem for those with oily or breakout-prone skin.

The only slight drawback is that it contains fragrance.

Our BRAND NEW A Defiance nanoXR takes the unprecedented move of joining scientifically proven wrinkle reducers with ultra modern, state-of-the-art delivery technology. By Nanofying pure Vitamin A Retinol we are able to protect this extremely volatile ingredient, all the way into the skin, assuring its strength and potency. The nanofication process shrinks down the particle size of the Retinol for superior penetration and offers a sustained release delivery, over time, for a deeper longer and gentler distribution of retinol into the skin.

Water, Butylene Glycol, Retinyl Palmitate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Xanthan Gum, Cola Acuminata Seed Extract, Chitosan Ascorbate, Ascorbic Acid, Retinol, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 80, Glycolic Acid, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Glycerin, Lecithin, Sorbitol, Disodium EDTA, Annatto, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Fragrance

Before you learn anything else about this brand, you need to know that their range of products is E-N-O-R-M-O-U-S. Few lines offer so many products that add up to so little in their entirety. The sheer depth and extent of this line (and it is deep) makes it somewhat inevitable that there will be at least a few diamonds-in-the-rough products you may want to take seriously.

Sold via the Home Shopping Network (HSN), The Shopping Channel, and directly from the company, most of my readers are aware of this brand due to its recurring television appearances. In fact, on publication of the seventh edition of Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, many readers wrote to ask why we didn't include a new review of this line (we had reviewed it in previous editions of my book). The best answer we can give (outside of the fact that our book already was packed full of reviews and heavy enough to be used as a weapon) is that we honestly didn't think there was much interest in the brand. We rarely received questions about it until it wasn't in the book anymore. But, as always, your interest made it an easy decision (though truly arduous task) for me to revisit this line. Keep in mind that this is one of the most extensive skin-care lines we've ever reviewed.

After delving into the review of the Serious Skin Care line, we quickly discovered why there is more intense interest in it than ever before: The product selection has spiraled out of control and the claims for this at-one-time far more "e;serious" brand's products have gone over-the-top. Now it's laden with ridiculous claims that, regrettably, make it very tempting for consumers, which is surely what the company intended.

Temptation aside, what you have to deal with when shopping Serious Skin Care is the company's poorly organized Web site, which makes the huge product assortment even more confusing (just ask my research assistants; few lines left them scratching their heads more than this one). Even the company doesn't know how to organize or explain what they have and why one skin type would need one product rather than another. That alone might explain why the line does better on shopping channels, where they present only one specific group of products at a time so you don't have to sort through the entire menagerie on their Web site or in a catalog (and good luck to anyone who decides to go down that path!).

A bit of background: Serious Skin Care is from aesthetician Lesa Stock and model Jennifer Flavin-Stallone, who certainly has a charming presence on television. The line began by selling anti-acne products, and has grown into the overwhelming line it is today, with all products claiming to be hypoallergenic (a completely false generality given the number of problematic ingredients Serious Skin Care includes in some of their products). From its anti-acne beginnings on Home Shopping Network, the company blossomed into claims that they have the solution to every skin problem, which of course they don't.

Those with acne will find an incomplete selection of products; those with skin discolorations won't find an effective product to lighten them; there are way too many products that contain irritants (and you won't find a page of research proving those irritants are skin-care essentials); and no matter how you shop this line you'll be forced to compromise if you want to remain loyal to Serious Skin Care. That's because the sub-brands (which include some of the line's star products, at least if you believe what they say during Serious Skin Care's spots on HSN) are mostly one-note products. For example, vitamin A/retinol is offered in one group, vitamin C in another, olive oil gets its own lineup, and if you want to try glucosamine on your skin, that's its own line, too. This begs the question: Why not just put all those ingredients into a few products instead of spreading them out? Skin can benefit from all of those ingredients, and all of those ingredients can remain stable in one formula.

Also available are antioxidant-based products, vitamin B products, lifting, firming, DNA-repairing, brightening, and on and on. Oddly, with dozens of anti-aging products and their lofty claims, there is a surprisingly small selection of sunscreens or daytime moisturizers offering broad-spectrum sun protection, which, as we've told you time and again, is the critical part of any skin-care routine. We realize lots of cosmetic lines capitalize on the "star ingredient" concept to expand their line, but if Serious Skin Care really wanted to assert itself as a skin-care authority, they could streamline their lineup considerably by combining the best of multiple products into a range of truly stand-up-and-applaud products.

It's important to mention that there also are numerous peptides in many of these products. While peptides are potentially (and let me stress potentially good ingredients), they are NOT proven in any way to have an effect on skin that's on par with their anti-wrinkle claims. Please refer to the Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary on this site for detailed information about peptides.

As mentioned above, there are some gems in the Serious Skin Care line, as noted in the list of strengths in the At-A-Glance section. It's also worth noting that, for the most part, the prices aren't out of line for what you get. If you pay attention to the products this line does well, you may very well be pleased. But, even though there are some great products available, few of them are so outstanding that you cannot comparison shop and find even better formulas (sometimes for less money, too).

One more point: In late 2007, Flavin-Stallone launched the Seriesse brand of products. This multi-level marketing company (think Amway or Arbonne) sells some of the Serious Skin Care products and additional products under the Seriesse brand, which Flavin-Stallone runs with her husband, Sylvester Stallone. Although expanding into this type of business may have been a smart move for Flavin-Stallone, we can't help but wonder if her sincerity about Serious Skin Care is genuine. After all, if Serious Skin Care has everything consumers need to manage and improve their skin, why would you need to start yet another brand of products? We have not yet reviewed the Seriesse line, but the products are designed as an extension of Serious Skin Care (which, as we mentioned, should be thinking about downsizing, not expanding, their product selection). It must be that Serious Skin Care's market research indicates that women have an insatiable appetite for this stuff and, therefore, adding even more products must mean better skin. (Now seriously, does that really make any sense?)

For more information about Serious Skin Care, call (800) 540-8662 or visit www.seriousskincare.com

Member Comments

Summary of Member Comments

  1. How would you rate the results? (4 = Best)

    2 / 4 Average
  2. Was this product a good value? (4 = Best)

    2 / 4 Average
  3. Would you recommend this product? (4 = Best)

    2 / 4 Average
Page of 1
  1. LAURA P.
    Reviewed on Monday, June 09, 2014
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      4 / 4
    • Value
      3 / 4
    Love Serious Skin care
    • I used All Serious skin care products for years before I found Paula skin care items. It was the only company that when I used a product I could see the difference in a day or two. The A force and c- line were my favorite. Paulas prices were better less expensive than Serious skin care, but now Paula's prices went up so much I have to go back to serious skin care to get a deal off the tv on "kits" , They are both good but I have to go with what I can afford.

  2. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Friday, December 06, 2013
    • Value
      2 / 4
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    • Results
      2 / 4
    I broke out!
    • My mom ordered this product online and gave me this serum to try out. My skin is fair and dry and I broke out in some kind of rash/burn on my cheeks after using this product for a week. Definitely not for me.

  3. BB
    Reviewed on Sunday, October 20, 2013
    • Recommend
      2 / 4
    • Results
      2 / 4
    • Value
      2 / 4
    Yelp Broke me out!
    • Might be ok for some but I had to stop using it after several attempts. I have very mature skin, dry at that. My husband uses it every once in awhile. Also disappointed in Serious Skin care conatiner. The size of the container can fool u for the product u actully get.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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