Our Rating: 5 stars

I ended my introduction to AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum ($149 for 1oz in the shop) at the beginning of last month with the words “now let’s see how it works.” Well, here’s my answer after a five-week trial: it works. I mean really works. And really what more is there to say. No ifs. No buts. AQ is an anti-aging serum that is repairing my wrinkles and improving the texture of the skin.  OK, I suppose I could say a few more things.

AQ Serum is up there with the greats – at least the ones that qualified for my Five Best anti-aging serums of 2011. There is no doubt that when I update the list later this year, AQ will be amongst them.

When Kristen did my makeup for the last batch of videos (for example the interview with Kahina’s founder), she said “whatever you are doing to your skin, keep doing it.” Mostly what I was doing was AQ – mornings only. I find that as long as I add in three or four nights a week Your Best Face Control and Skin Nutrition’s Night Cream, I don’t need to layer a moisturizer over the AQ serum.

However, I do think that most users will find the solution less oily than BioEffect and less gel-like than ReLuma’s serum. AQ is a slightly milky, very light solution. It goes a long way and, in my experience, need only be used sparingly – indeed, should be used sparingly to avoid pilling under makeup. I have used it as an eye serum and found it to be very firming (AQ has a separate product for eyes that I have yet to try).

AQ’s formula is simple: a couple of vitamins, lactic acid and glycerin with the dominant ingredient being the active human fibroblast conditioned media. According to the bumpf that came with my free sample, AQ has a concentration of 42% of these growth factors.

For a quick primer on what this is: from progenitor cells of human fibroblast, new cells are created in a laboratory and the conditioned media is, in fact, the solution (sugars, amino acids and such) secreted in the petri dish in which the cells are grown. These proteins are what make it into our serums,they supposedly contain growth factors that are said to stimulate skin cells to repair damage that has accumulated over the years, such as hyperpigmentation and wrinkles. AQ says that it uses a “cell sorting technology” to ensure that the formula only includes growth factors that are beneficial to the skin.

My (not especially elegant) plastic pump is said to hold enough for about 8 weeks. I would say it will last as least as long as that. I can also tell you that I will be using it to the end and will purchase a second bottle.

Ingredients: Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Cellulose Gum, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Phenoxyethanol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.