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AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum- reviewed and recommended

Reviewed by Marta May 2, 2012 53 Comments


A high concentration of growth factors


May pill under makeup if not used sparingly
One of 2012's top serums

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.


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  • February 12, 2017

    by eric ainge

    Hi Everyone,
    Does this serum last one month or two? I am using Regenica's Rejuvinating Dual Serum and I love the results but it only lasts 4-6 weeks cause of the thickness. I am thinking of switching to this or Reluma's Skin Illuminating Anti-Aging Serum. Many thanks in advance and any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

  • November 1, 2015

    by Susan

    My nurse uses this on me after I get needled for 6-8 weeks and I use after I roll with my roller every night. 45 and loving the results!

  • June 10, 2014

    by lorimac45

    Question. Is there a shelf life on this product? I have some that I purchased at a discount but I'm not sure how "fresh" it is.

    Thank you.

  • March 15, 2014

    by Maggie

    I have been using AQ Skin Solutions for about two years and was just wondering whether it is a good idea to take a break from it periodically. I have had great results and now use it only at night. I was wondering whether I should use it even less--say a couple of times a week, or take a month off and start over. Do you have any recommendations?

  • August 28, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Nanci, I think there is always a risk when layering too serums. Plus I think there is a law of diminishing returns. As always, you should find a regimen that seems to work for you, but I would suggest using one serum at night and one in the morning. A little moisturizer on top though should be fine.

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