I have thin skin that is very oily in the t-zone and normal to dry everywhere else. My skin is somewhat sensitive and is prone to redness and blotchiness, so I have to be careful with what I use. Now that I’m in my late 30s, my main concerns include wrinkles (especially around the eye area), loss of firmness, hyperpigmentation and mild rosacea. I was delighted to test and review Ao Skincare Restore Serum ($119.95 in the shop) for the Truth In Aging community.
Ao Skincare uses cold processing to manufacture their products. Cold processing uses low or no heat in order to preserve the integrity and efficacy of active ingredients more so than traditional ingredient processing at higher temperatures. Restore Serum includes several anti-aging actives — such as niacinamide, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, antioxidants, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and peptides — along with several moisturizing and anti-inflammatory ingredients. Notably, the formula does not use controversial preservatives and is also formulated without sulfates, PEGS, TEA, DEA, mineral oils, petrochemicals or artificial fragrance.
Niacinamide is a great, multitasking ingredient. It has been shown to be useful in combating rosacea, wrinkles, fine lines, acne, dry areas and redness. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is a derivative of vitamin C that is compatible with niacinamide. It provides antioxidant protection, promotes collagen synthesis and disrupts melanin production. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is more stable and gentle than l-ascorbic acid. Ferulic acid, also included in the Restore Serum, increases the stability and potency of vitamin C and also provides additional antioxidant protection. Other antioxidants included are algae extract, grape seed extract, green tea leaf extract and spin trap.
Also included are a few powerful peptides. Acetyl Octapeptide-3 (SNAP-8) is a neuropeptide that inhibits muscles contraction thereby reducing wrinkle formation from repetitive facial expressions. SH-Oligopeptide-1 has been shown to increase the rate of healing and skin renewal. Palmitoyl tripeptide-37 boosts collagen production.
Ao Skincare Restore Serum is a honey-colored liquid that absorbs quite quickly into bare skin, so you have to spread it pretty quickly if you want to disperse one pump across your entire face. After spreading on the skin, there is a slight stickiness until the serum is fully absorbed, which usually takes about 30 seconds. Once absorbed, it was very easy to layer additional skin care products over Restore. The serum has a light scent that reminds me of honey mead and it dissipates quickly.
Per Ao Skincare’s recommendation, I used the Restore Serum both day and night. Within the first week of use, I noticed that my skin was brighter and redness was reduced. I did not experience the flushing that can occur with niacinamide nor did I experience an increase in dryness or oiliness that can occur with some vitamin C serums. After a couple of weeks, I saw some fading of sun spots. However, I did not notice a change in my wrinkles. My oily t-zone did not see a reduction in sebum production (one of the supposed benefits of daffodil extract).
I have received similar results in skin brightening and lightening and reduction in redness from other products at a lower price point that include niacinamide or a form of vitamin C. However, there aren’t plethoras of products that include both ingredients in their formulation and, of those that do, I haven’t seen quite the same formulation as Ao Skincare Restore Serum — other products don’t include as many hydrating and anti-inflammatory ingredients and/or they include ingredients that some people try to avoid like phenoxyethanol, retinol and silicones.
Overall, the Ao Skincare Restore Serum has a solid ingredient list that I think would work well for all skin types and its fast absorption makes it super easy to incorporate into any existing skincare routine.