It was just a couple of years ago that Robin McGraw, best-selling author and wife of Dr. Phil, first dipped her toes (or fingers, really) in skin care. Under the umbrella of her women’s lifestyle brand, Robin McGraw Revelation, she launched a fairly basic line of products, including a cleanser, scrub, serum and oral supplements. At the time, Marta dubbed the core products — the cleanser and the serum — as decent. While they were both formulated with beneficial botanicals and common anti-aging actives, you were not going to find anything particularly groundbreaking on the ingredient lists. Fast forward to the present and you will no longer find the original regimen. Instead you will see shiny blue bottles with catchy (some may say kitschy) names like OMG! Is This Really Me?
This is more than a simple facelift, though. Robin has launched 14 new products that range from a standard anti-aging serum to a more focused skin brightener and retinol treatment. What’s more, she has teamed up Jessica Wu, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California, to develop more sophisticated formulas. “Robin and I realized that by working together we have the opportunity to help women everywhere with an offer of professional-grade skin care products at attainable prices,” Wu said in a press release.
At first glance, the products do appear to be powered by some persuasive ingredients, including peptides, plant stem cells and potent antioxidants, but let’s take a closer look at one of the more notable treatments to determine its potential efficacy and safety.
Face It, You Look Amazing ($38)
The revitalizing serum is said to give skin a softened, more relaxed appearance by plumping and reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. A combination of anti-aging actives and antioxidants — including gotu kola, ginseng, vitamin E and a derivative of vitamin C — increase collagen production, strengthen the skin and repair the effects of environmental damage. An interesting inclusion is commiphora mukul resin extract from Mukul Myrrh tree. One study showed it can inhibit human elastase expression and is therefore promising for treating degenerative skin conditions and wrinkle formation.
Toward the top of the ingredient list you will also see a substance called aminobutyric acid, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for muscle tone. Applied topically, it has been shown to assist greatly in wound healing and skin recovery. Further down the list you will find a handful of peptides that work to relax muscles, thus reducing the appearance of expression lines and wrinkles. One of those is acetyle hexapeptide-8, commonly called Argireline, which is believed to inhibit the release of neurotransmitters. Dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate is said to block the body's uptake of Na+ to prevent the formation of expression lines, and palmitoyl Hexapeptide-19 is a relatively new compound that has been shown to stimulate cell migration, collagen synthesis and fibroblast proliferation.
It appears Face It, You Look Amazing may provide some instant gratification as well. Water-binding ingredients — such as sodium hyaluronate, konjac root and saccharide isomerate — temporarily plump and soften the appearance of lines while sorghum bicolor stalk juice creates a stretchy film for an immediate micro-lifting effect.
Face It, You Look Amazing is formulated without parabens, artificial dye, SLS or mineral oils; however, it is not for purists. There are several synthetic conditioning agents (such a silicone) and potentially irritating preservatives, including phenoxyethanol (although in a relatively low concentration). At such a modest price, though, the good does appear to outweigh the bad. The formula is definitely a step up from what the previous collection had to offer and seems to have real potential.
Other notable upgrades include Welcome Back Youth, a time-released retinol serum, and a stabilized, 10-percent vitamin C treatment called Let There Be Bright. Another standout, OMG! Is This Really Me, is said to be like shapewear for your face, providing instant lift, tightening and blurring effects. I’m skeptical of such products, though, as they use synthetic chemicals (in this case, sodium silicate) to pull skin taut and often leave an unflattering film on the skin. Plus, the results are short lived (ahem pointless).
Overall, it looks as if McGraw has succeeded in creating a more serious skin care collection than her first. “Women often look at self-care as a chore, but not only is it extremely important, it can be fun,” she tells us. “I know that women are busy, so for my new skin care line I wanted to create something that is a luxurious experience from start to finish. It is my hope that women find joy in using my products and realize that they deserve to look and feel their best!” They may not rival top-rated brands, but the products seem in line with what you would typically find in a department store.
Have you tried any new products by Robin McGraw Revelation? If so, tell us about your results in the comments below.