StriVectin-AR Advanced Retinol Concentrated Serum
1 fl. oz. for $119
Last Updated:12.30.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

First, you don't need to spend nearly this much money to get a good retinol serum; however, if you choose to do so, this silky-textured serum isn't likely to disappoint, assuming you keep your expectations realistic, of course! Retinol can do a lot for skin, but no single skin-care ingredient can do it all.

We suspect StriVectin knows retinol isn't best when used solo, as they've combined it with several other anti-aging ingredients, including a form of cell-communicating ingredient niacinamide (myristyl nicotinate) plus fatty acids from olive oil, a peptide, some repairing ingredients, and a plant extracts that have anti-inflammatory action (though the ginger root may present a risk of irritation). More good news: All of these light- and air-sensitive ingredients are packaged so they remain stable during use!

This fragrance-free retinol serum is best for normal to oily or combination skin. Those with oily skin take note: The inclusion of mineral pigment mica lends a shiny finish that can make oil-prone areas look worse (so perhaps skip applying this during the day and reserve use for night, when it doesn't matter if skin looks shiny or not).

What about StriVectin's claims that this retinol product delivers all the potency of retinol without irritation? That's a loaded claim. Although this serum doesn't contain an over-the-top amount of retinol (its likely about 0.1%, which is moderate), the fact remains that some people cannot tolerate any amount of retinol, no matter how it's formulated. Retinol is an active ingredient and it's not a slam dunk for everyone—so it's good there are lots of other anti-aging ingredients to consider! Bottom line, though: There isn't any reason to buy this on the basis of it being non-irritating compared to other well=-formulated retinol serums. It may or may not irritate your skin, but it's clear StriVectin took steps to reduce this potential—if only they had included greater amounts of anti-aging ingredients for the money!

  • Fragrance-free formula.
  • Contains retinol plus other proven anti-aging ingredients.
  • Packaged to keep the retinol and other light/air-sensitive ingredients stable.
  • Silky texture.
  • Expensive given there are equally good to superior retinol serums for half the price.
  • The ginger root extract is anti-inflammatory but also poses a slight risk of irritation.

Advanced Retinol Concentrated Serum combines Retinol and patented NIA-114™ technology in an anti-aging multi-action treatment to deliver all the potency of Retinol with no irritation. Clinically proven to leave skin dramatically more refined and radiant, reducing the appearance of fine lines and smoothing texture for a reduction in the look of pores.


Aqua (Water, Eau), Cyclopentasiloxane, Myristyl Nicotinate, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Isopentyldiol, Polysorbate 20, Disodium EDTA, Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Yeast Polysaccharides, Ceramide 2, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Bisabolol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol, Sorbitan Oleate, Tribehenin, Xanthan Gum, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Polysorbate 80, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Lactic Acid, VP/VA Copolymer, Sorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide).

Brand Overview

StriVectin At-A-Glance

Strengths: A good cleanser and a couple of worthwhile moisturizers.

Weaknesses: Expensive; The original (and now the "improved" StriVectin-SD product (and every other product sold under this brand name) is absolutely not better than Botox; some of the products contain irritant peppermint oil; the Deep Wrinkle serum is terrible.

We had previously written about the original StriVectin-SD, when a reader asked about its ability to repair stretch marks. That was StriVectin's initial claim to fame, though the fame was all self-promoted, as there is not a single independent, peer-reviewed study to prove that StriVectin is an effective option for repairing stretch marks. The studies that do exist about StriVectin's benefits for stretch marks were paid for by Klein-Becker, the company that distributes StriVectin (and is associated with Bremenn Research Labs, which has a growing history of trouble with the FDA and various watchdog advertising organizations).

According to the company's ads, they were surprised to find that not only was StriVectin-SD getting rid of women's stretch marks, but also that somehow their facial wrinkles were going away, too. This discovery lead to the astounding "antiwrinkle breakthrough of the decade." What followed were the now-famous magazine ads that posed the question of whether StriVectin was "Better Than Botox?" Not surprisingly, this ad captured the attention of millions of people concerned with mitigating signs of aging "without painful injections".

Regrettably, no supportive research needs to be available to sell this kind of hyperbole. All it takes is to promise women that a product will get rid of their wrinkles and they will buy it in droves, no matter how many other product lines, infomercials, advertisements, or cosmetics salespeople pledge the exact same thing. StriVectin isn't and was never "better than Botox"!

Of course, now the original, lauded StriVectin-SD product has been replaced by what the company describes as a "super-charged comprehensive skin repair cream for stretch marks, wrinkles, and aging skin". It seems there's no aging skin concern this product cannot address, but as it turns out, the updated formula presents the same drawbacks as the original, although it is arguably a better formulation (just not for stretch marks).

As for the rest of the StriVectin line, it contains proportionately more misses than hits. It isn't the anti-wrinkle answer and in fact some of their products contain the type of irritating ingredients that hurt your skin's ability to look and function in a younger manner.

For more information about StriVectin, call 1-800-430-0227 or visit www.strivectin.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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It's not a cheap product, but you get what you pay for a lot of times, in my opinion. My skin has never responded well to most retinol products, but I have no negative reaction what so ever to this serum. A staple for sure.

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violet, c
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