Night Renewal Facial Cream
2 fl. oz. for $79
Last Updated:03.25.2013
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This overly expensive AHA moisturizer contains 20% glycolic acid. It is formulated at a pH of 3.8 so it is an effective exfoliant, but the concentration of AHA is higher than what the FDA considers safe for long-term daily use; the FDA recommends 10% as a maximum concentration). Routinely applying 20% AHAs in an effective acidic base (pH of 3 to 4, which allows AHAs to be effective) may result in pronounced stinging, redness, and irritation. Such irritation to the skin, if continued, can cause negative results, just the opposite of what you want. Using higher concentrations can be overkill—and there just isn’t any research to support the safety of using such high concentrations daily on a long-term basis.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review board (a cosmetic industry based group) assessed the available data on the effectiveness and safety of glycolic acid, and concluded that AHAs are safe as used provided that the concentration of glycolic acid does not exceed 10% in a pH of 3.5. Higher concentrations were deemed safe if used “in products designed for brief, discontinuous use followed by thorough rinsing from skin, when applied by trained professionals, and when application is accompanied by directions for the daily use of sun protection”. The FDA concurs with this assessment, but goes further, stressing the importance of sun protection while using any AHA product (Sources: 2007 CIR Compendium, 2007, pages 117–120; and www.fda.gov). The high concentration of AHA in this Facial Cream is what keeps it from earning a Best Product rating. It is worth considering if the expense doesn’t bother you (though it should, because MD Formulations offers a 20% concentration AHA product for far less) and you plan to use it, say, once per week as a “booster” to your lower strength but still effective AHA product.


Night Renewal Facial Cream is an extra-rich formulation that promotes overnight maintenance and repair of skin tissues. Contains 20% glycolic compound. To be used once daily, in the evening.


Purified Water, Glycolic Acid (And Ammonium Glycolate), Cyclomethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Bis Hydroxy Ethoxypropyl Dimethicone, Saccharide Isomerate, Stearyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Acid Triglyceride, Ceresin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Algae Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Octyldodecanol, Irvingia Gabonensis Kernel Butter, Hydrogenated Coco Glycerides, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, C13 14 Isoparaffin, Laureth 7, Titanium Dioxide, Serecin, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Sodium Pca, Urea, Trehalose, Polyquaternium 51, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium Edta, Olea Europaea Leaf Extract (Olive), Super Oxide Dismutase, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben

Brand Overview

Vivité At-A-Glance

Strengths: Fragrance-free; good selection of pH-correct AHA products with effective amounts of glycolic acid; good water-soluble cleansers.

Weaknesses: Expensive; the sole sunscreen option does not provide sufficient UVA protection; using the company's recommended routine will result in AHA overload; jar packaging won't keep ingredients stable.

Vivité (pronounced 'Vee-va-tay') is a small skin-care line developed and owned by Allergan, the pharmaceutical company behind Botox and the lash-enhancing drug Latisse, among other products. This isn't the first time Allergan has forayed into the skin-care market; they previously partnered with Clinique on that company's "Medical" product line. Clinique Medical is medical in name only, and there isn't anything medicinal or pharmaceutical about Vivité, either. These products aren't akin to getting dermatologist-strength results at home. Besides, dermatologist-strength skin-care products are not sold without a prescription, so the whole notion is nothing more than a marketing sham. So, please don't buy into that hype.

The main reason to consider Vivité products is if you're interested in well-formulated, pH-correct alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) products. Several Vivité products contain effective blends of glycolic acid and ammonium glycolate. Although glycolic acid is a great way to exfoliate skin and offers multiple benefits for sun-damaged skin, it isn't the only ingredient you should focus on. Skin care at any age is much more complex than simply supplying one key ingredient. For example, despite glycolic acid's multiple benefits, it cannot protect your skin from sunlight, it doesn't rebuild skin's healthy barrier on its own, and it cannot defend skin from oxidative damage. Think of skin care as you would a healthy diet, if you ate only one type of food you wouldn’t be healthy for long; skin acts the same way. Skin is a complex organ that requires a complex array of substances to function in a younger manner and to be as healthy and normal as possible.

Allergan took an interesting angle with Vivité, using something called GLX Technology™. They have the patent on this and they claim it will partially neutralize the glycolic acid so that the acid releases into the skin over an extended period of time and at a pH closer to that of our skin, which is about 5 to 5.5. While that sounds like a gentler way to use AHAs (because the pH is closer to that of our skin), research shows that AHAs have optimal exfoliation when formulated in a base with a pH less than 4. As it turns out, all of the Vivité products with glycolic acid have a pH of 3.8, which means you can ignore the point-of-difference about pH and GLX Technology™—it certainly seems that Allergan did—and be assured that these products will exfoliate as claimed (Sources: Dermatologic Surgery, February 2005, pages 149–154; and Cosmetic Dermatology, October 2001, pages 15–18).

Allergan wants you to think their AHA products have an edge, but they don't. However, their leave-on AHA products will certainly exfoliate skin and also provide AHAs' other benefits, though some precautions are warranted, as you'll see in the reviews.

For more information about Vivité, owned by Allergan, call (877) 345-5372 or visit www.viviteskincare.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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I am glad I tried it

Paula's line is the only one I have used in years. Recently, my dermatologist recommended a couple of products that she sells at her office and I thought I'd give them a try. This cream is one of them and I am so happy I decided to buy it. It has a beautiful, rich, moisturizing texture which is great in the winter. It does a great job exfoliating my skin making it look flawless in the morning. It has no fragrance, which is a huge plus for me. The only downside is the price and jar packaging.

Reviewed by
Seems great but in a jar

Bought before discovered Beautypedia so I buy only those items deemed best now. I read this review; don't understand why no mention of jar packaging Does it not matter since it is generally antioxidants/Retinols that break down due to air/Does the glycholic in this become pointless after a while? This review answered none. Dr Irwin who was on Paulas show uses this personally per her site.So that's why I bought it and am happy so far tho I see now it is quite expensive considering others

Reviewed by
Kimberly T.
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