I have just been sent the most intriguing set of samples from a company called E’Shee Clinical Esthetic. I’d never even heard of them. Inside the package were two beautiful, white boxes and inside them were the tiniest – positively Liliputian – glass bottles. Something told me they’d be expensive (I have a well-honed instinct for zooming in on the most expensive item in any category), but I was quite taken aback to find that the Vitalizing C Serum is $119 and the Serum Cellular Repair is $179 (available in the TIA shop)  for – now get this! – 10 ml or 0.34 fl oz.

These teensy 10 ml ampoules must be full of something mighty powerful – or we’ll have to consign them to the Dept of Daft. Only a couple of drops are required, so they should last (looking at them it’s hard to tell) a month or so. Or so I would hope. I have every intention of starting on the serum first thing tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s take a look at what’s inside these valuable little vials.

The Serum Cellular Repair is curious to be sure. At first glance, there are none of those fashionable peptides or apple stem cells. The most dominant ingredient after water is  humble witch hazel and we have to get the end of the line to find that it has a killer app’ as they say in technology circles: a recombinant human growth factor. Growth factors decline in our skin as we age and cosmetic growth factors and proteins considered to be potent wrinkle reducers. However, they remain rare in cosmetics, perhaps because the cells are genetically engineered in laboratories and originated from human cells at some point. Dermophisiologique uses one in its Optyma eye cream, they also feature in Hydropeptide products, as well as Reluma and I have had very good results with all of these.

I am interested to see horse chestnut playing a central role. This could make Eshee’s serum useful as a repair for broken capillaries. Horse chestnut trees (particularly the seeds) contain a saponin called escin. This is supposed to strengthen veins and capillaries by blocking an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which can breakdown of proteoglycans (part of the structure of capillary walls).

The only other botanical is mulberry. This is typically used in skincare as a whitener. Studies have been shown mulberry leaf extract to inhibit tyrosinase activity. Additionally, several phenolic flavonoids, such as gallic acid and quercetin, and fatty acids, such as linoleic acid and palmitic acid, have been isolated from its leaves.

With sodium lactate and lactic acid providing exfoliation and sodium hyaluronate, this formulation certainly covers most bases. All that remains to be seen is what it actually does to my skin. I’ll report back in a few a weeks and hopefully will get chance to try one or two other the others in the set of E’shee ampoules (there’s a very enticing one with gold flecks in it, called Hydra Gold, that I’ve got my eye on too.

Ingredients in Serum

Aqua, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Distillate, Propylene Glycol, 1.3 Butylene Glycol, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Glycerin, Morus Alba (Mulberry) Extract, Tinocare GL, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triethanolamine, D-Panthenol, Lactic acid, Carbomer, Allantoin, Phenoxyethanol, FGF 1 (Recombinant Human acidic Fibroblast Growth Factor).