Tested on animals:Yes
In many ways, this serum is a very expensive play on the (much less expensive) serums from Olay Regenerist and similar (but better) serums from Nia24 and Paula's Choice. It contains a form of niacinamide known as myristyl nicotinate. Myristyl nicotinate is a derivative of nicotinic acid, a component of vitamin B3 (niacin). It isn't the same ingredient as niacinamide, but functions in nearly the same manner (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com).
Just like niacinamide, there is research on myristyl nicotinate's ability to improve skin barrier function, mitigate signs of sun damage, and reduce the incidence of atopic dermatitis, commonly known as dry skin. Niacinamide and myristyl nicotinate are both compatible with several prescription drugs used to treat various skin conditions and are believed to enhance their efficacy and/or minimize the negative side effects. Myristyl nicotinate is stabilized to prevent the release of, or quick conversion to, nicotinic acid, which can cause facial flushing, particularly in those dealing with rosacea (Sources: Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, February 2007, pages 893–899; Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy, November 2007, pages 1176–1182; and Experimental Dermatology, November 2007, pages 927–935, and June 2007, pages 490–499). In short, it's on par with niacinamide as being a worthwhile, research-proven anti-aging ingredient—but this serum isn't a great option.
Aside from its needlessly high price, this serum contains several irritants. Among them are menthol, menthyl lactate, and the super-potent menthoxypropanediol. All of these cause a cooling, tingling sensation on skin. That sensation may make you think this is an "active" product that's doing something, and it is—but what's happening is your skin's response to being irritated, not a remarkable change that will reduce pores and give you "ageless skin".
What about the plant stem cells this contains? Here's the scoop: Stem cells in skin-care products do not work as claimed. In fact, they likely have no effect at all. The reason is due to the fact that stem cells need to be alive in order 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 the potential risk of cancer they pose (at its core, cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells).
Plant stem cells such as those derived from apples, melons, or rice cannot stimulate stem cells in human skin, though being 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 to human skin. How a plant functions in nature is unrelated to human skin and these claims are completely without substantiation.
The bottom line is that this serum isn't as powerful as it seems. If you're curious about myristyl nicotinate or niacinamide, you can gain the benefits of either ingredient (and remember, they're basically interchangeable) from superior serums that cost less and don't contain irritants. One more source of irritation is the fragrance ingredients this serum contains…as if all the menthol ingredients weren't bad enough!