If Chamonix's antiaging cream with Matrixyl was an accessory it would be a Prada purse stashed inside a knock-off Chanel handbag. Chamonix Esotique RF With Matrixyl ($99) is a good potion that is formulated with two good anti-wrinkle ingredients at center stage (the power peptide Matrixyl and antioxidant grape). The problem is that the brand, trying desperately to be upmarket (starting with using the name of the posh French ski resort) just doesn't pull it off. The tacking packaging and website, the "endorsements by celebrities" (which turns out to be a non-existent interview with 80s teenage pop singer Debbie Gibson), and the faux French, are all a little off piste.

I have been testing it now for about five weeks and believe that it is firming my skin - it does well in the pinch test. The skin looks nicely plump and smooth. So far so good. But does it really live up to a $99 price tag? Perhaps. It works, there are not too many fillers and nothing not to like. I could live without the buffering agent, pH balancer triethanolamine, which studies show to be a skin irritant at mild doses. Although it must be said that I have suffered no adverse reactions.

The thing that makes me question whether I would ever buy this product to replace the sample that I was given is that I conducted my test of Chamonix Esotique in a side by side test with another Matrixyl serum that comes in at nearly a third of the price, NCN's 20% Matrixyl 3000 ($38). I have been trying one on each hand and I think both have been helpful, but I can't really say that I see a notable difference between the two.

Unnfortunately, I gave up on my test of Chamonix's Jeunesse eye cream ($79) as it was working rather too well. It has gamma aminobutyric acid. This goes by the name of GABA and is a muscle relaxer (it works in a different way to other ingredients that inhibit expression lines such as Argireline). Jeunesse certainly seems to have a potent dollop of it. When I used it at the outer edges of my eye, I could perceptibly (and I mean perceptibly) feel my muscles responding only very weakly when I tried to squint. This is undoubtedly a helpful outcome if you want to avoid deepening of crow's feet. However, I found the sensation simply too weird.

Ingredients in Esotique

Grape seed extract, Matrixyl, vitamin E, calendula officinalis extract, purified water, caprylic capric/stearic triglyceride, cetyl alcohol, PEG-100 stearate, glycerin, cetyl palmitate, jojoba seed oil, glyceryl stearate, dimethicone, aloe leaf extract, safflower seed oil, tocopheryl acetate, panthenol, squalane, triethanolamine, carbomer, allantoin, sodium hyaluronate, caprylol glycine

Ingredients in Jeunesse

Water, glyceryl stearate, sesame oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, PEG-150, distearate, cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, gynostemma, bismuth oxychoride, gamma amino butyric acid, ethoxydiglycol, eugenol, polysorbate 60, butylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, natural fragrance.