Skin Adrenaline Anti-Aging Concentrate

Price:
$185 - 1.7 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Serums > Serums
Last Updated:
7/29/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

Skin Adrenaline Anti-Aging Concentrate is a good anti-aging product for people with normal to oily or combination skin, although it's not nearly the blockbuster product Sunday Riley claims it to be!

There is quite a bit of flowery branding jargon for this product on Riley's website (an example is the phrase "Maximum concentrations of key actives … upregulate epidermal growth factors"). Just to be clear, none of the plant extracts in this product are "active," any more than dozens of other plant extracts, and none of these "upregulate" growth factors, which is a good thing because stimulating growth factors can potentially be a serious problem for the skin. The other issue with the "active" claim is that it makes a rather ordinary collection of plant extracts seem more special or potent than they actually are.

Once you cut through the hype, what you have is a lightweight moisturizer that contains an intriguing blend of antioxidants. Many of these antioxidants are part of the NV-5 Ageless Complex, which is included in many of the brand's products that aren't this absurdly overpriced. See the brand summary for Sunday Riley for a discussion of this product's NV-5 Ageless Complex (in short, it is neither complex nor ageless).

Skin Adrenaline also contains many moisture-binding agents, which keep skin looking plumped and hydrated, though none of them is exclusive to this product or worth paying this moisturizer's steep price.

Unfortunately, not all the ingredients in Skin Adrenaline are good. This contains arnica, which can be a skin irritant (Source: IFA—International Federation of Aromatherapists, www.int-fed-aromatherapy.co.uk), and mugwort, which can cause a reaction in people allergic to ragweed, marigolds, and daisies (Source: naturaldatabase.com). The good news is that both the arnica and the mugwort are present in relatively small amounts, but it's something to consider if your skin is sensitive, or if you have these types of allergies. There's also the issue that the potentially intriguing copper tripeptide-1 is the last ingredient listed, which means there probably isn't enough of it present for it to have much, if any, benefit.

In the end, this is a good moisturizer, but for what you're paying you should be getting so much more!

Pros:
  • Contains an intriguing mix of antioxidants and smoothing agents.
  • Several of the ingredients bind moisture to the skin for a plumped, hydrated look (but most of them aren't unique to this product).
  • Fragrance-free.
Cons:
  • The arnica and mugwort extracts pose a risk of irritation.
  • For what this costs, it's disappointing that the copper tripeptide-1 is the last ingredient.
  • Drastically overpriced for what you get.

A lightweight moisturizer and instant radiance booster, perfect for normal to oily skin. Maximum concentrations of key actives which rejuvenate lackluster skin, upregulate epidermal growth factors for fibroblast development, build youthful, dense collagen, accelerate healthy skin growth, and provide skin nutrition for regeneration and glow.

NV-5 Ageless Complex (Opuntia Tuna Fruit (Prickly Pear) Extract, Agave Tequilana Leaf (Blue Agave) Extract, Cypripedium Pubescens (Lady’s Slipper Orchid) Extract, Opuntia Tuna Fruit, Opuntia Vulgaris (Cactus) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract & Saccharmyces Cerevisiae (Yeast) Extract), Centella Asiatica Extract, PEG-75 Meadowsol, PPG-12/SMDI, Copolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Glucosamine HCL, Algae Extract, Yeast Extract, Urea, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyl Dimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Arnica Extract, Algae Extract and Artemisia Vulgaris (Mugwort) Extract, Glycerin, Lactic Acid, Thermus Thermophilus Extract, Hexapeptide-11, DMDM Hydantoin, Phenoxyethanol, Astaxanthin, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Propyl Paraben, Methyl Paraben, Copper Tripeptide-1

Sunday Riley is a brand that has captured the attention of women with its seductive mix of high-priced, luxury-positioned skin-care products and its ties to today’s top fashion designers. This coupling, plus the brand’s cult-like status among beauty editors, has led many of our readers to ask us whether Sunday Riley products are deserving of the hype and worth the cost. The answer: yes and no, but mostly no, because skin care doesn’t have to be this expensive.

Sunday Riley is a real person, born and raised in Houston, Texas. She used her own money to buy her first wrinkle cream at age 12 (she’s now in her mid-30s), stating recently in an article in The Wall Street Journal, “I was interested in makeup and beauty at a young age.”

That article went on to note that Riley studied chemistry at the University of Texas, and, after college, found work in cosmetics labs, although the article doesn’t say exactly what she did in those labs, and it’s not explained on her own website either. Nonetheless, her work apparently involved helping communications between cosmetics chemists and cosmetics company marketing teams. It was during this time that the seeds were planted for Riley to begin her own line, using only top-quality ingredients. (After all, who’d want to start a skin-care line using inferior ingredients, right?)

The product assortment Riley devised for her line consists of skin care and a growing collection of makeup. In this set of reviews, we review only the skin-care products because we get many more questions about them than we do about the makeup products.

A big marketing draw for Riley’s products is the NV-5 Ageless Complex. Despite the number “5” in this trade name, the complex contains a mix of seven plant ingredients: prickly pear extract, blue agave, lady’s slipper orchid extract, opuntia tuna fruit, cactus extract, aloe, and a type of yeast extract (Saccharomyces cerevisiae).

We explored the research on each of the ingredients in the NV-5 Ageless Complex, and we can state up front that this isn’t going to make anyone look ageless! While all of them have some benefit for skin, they’re not miracles in any way, they’re not expensive to include in formulas, and there’s no compelling reason to seek out products that contain them; they’re just some of the dozens of beneficial plant extracts. To repeat: These are not the ultimate answer by any means; it’s a sucker punch to believe otherwise, and it’ll hit you in your pocketbook.

Breaking them down, we found that the research shows prickly pear extract (also listed on the labels as Opuntia fruit and cactus extract) is the most beneficial ingredient in the NV-5 Ageless Complex because it has antioxidant properties and can also stimulate collagen production on sun-damaged skin, thanks to its ferulic acid content.

The lady’s slipper orchid and blue agave extracts have zero research pertaining to any benefit for the skin, but, like all plant extracts (even the fragrant ones), each likely functions as an antioxidant. The cactus extract has documented antioxidant ability when consumed orally, but there’s no research regarding topical application.

Aloe is a decent water-binding agent and a minor source of numerous beneficial compounds for the skin, but it’s certainly not unique to Sunday Riley. Finally, the form of yeast (Latin name Saccharomyces cerevisiae) isn’t all that exciting for skin either, as we discuss in our Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary.

Obtaining accurate ingredient lists for Sunday Riley products proved more challenging than for most products. Not only were we dealing with ingredient lists on their packaging statements that did not fully comply with FDA regulations for ingredient disclosure (for example, “NV5 Ageless Complex” is a trade mix, not an individual ingredient), but also many of the sites that sell this brand do not include accurate ingredient lists. Very frustrating for us, as well as for consumers, who are entitled to the truth about what a product contains, no matter where they shop.

Another wall we ran into: Just when we thought we had stumbled upon accurate lists on a reputable website that retails the brand, we found another trusted online retailer that had completely different lists! Adding all those issues up, and as you might expect, we were thoroughly confused. Emails to the company were ignored when we inquired about the ingredients, but, not surprisingly, we got near-instant replies when we asked about product prices. Despite all this, we’re reasonably confident that the ingredient lists we have assembled (and on which we base our reviews) are as accurate as they can be based on what Sunday Riley has divulged and what is printed on the products themselves.

The bottom line: This brand has some intriguing products and many of them contain beneficial ingredients that are packaged to maintain their effectiveness, but in no way is this the must-have, end-all anti-aging line to invest in. Even the highly rated products are on the pricey side for what you get, but at least if you choose to indulge you’ll know which products are worth buying!

For more information about Sunday Riley, visit www.sundayriley.com. The company currently does not provide a Customer Service phone number.

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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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