Free shipping on all domestic orders over $39

Franbrand Sensational Serum

February 12, 2010 Reviewed by Marta 8 Comments
I've been meaning to look at Franbrand, the cosmetics by The Nanny actress 53-year-old Fran Drescher, for some time and have been putting it off because I didn't want to be confronted with yet another mediocre line fronted by a celebrity. Well, I finally took a look and my first reactions was good on ya Fran. She set out to make a line that is good for the buyer and the planet and to a large extent she seems to have succeeded. A deeper dive, however, came up with a few ingredients that she might want to reconsider.

I haven't tried any Franbrand products, but looking at the ingredients and reading some reviews I'd say that the night cream relies on palm and other oils and there is nothing exceptional about it (except the smell, according to some reviewers, and not in a good way).

The Sensational Serum ($32) gets straight to the point with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant aloe and moisturizing hyaluronic acid. But the real mission of Sensational Serum is, I would guess, is to brighten the complexion. It is packed with ingredients that lighten and whiten, but to such an extent that this serum might not suit those of sensitive skin.

A surprising ingredient that is high up the ingredient list is kojic acid. This was used a lot in the 1980s and in Asia as a skin whitener. It works but it is considered to be a severe irritant even at concentrations below its typical 4%. These days there are multiple skin-whitening alternatives to kojic acid, including asafetida, alpha arbutin, gamma oryzanol, and tetrahydrocurcuminoids.

There are four fruit extracts that act as glycolic acids. Along with the kojic acid, these exfoliants will likely do a great brightening job. I suspect horseradish extract is there to do a brightening job as well and this can be an irritant when applied topically.

There is a host of other botanicals as well. One of the most interesting in schisandra. This has been used in Chinese medicine for eons and a Hong King study concluded that schisandra, along with Chinese knotweed, was a more powerful antioxidant than vitamin E.

The jury is out on methylsulfonylmethane. This is a sulfur compound and although sulfur is stored in all our cells, there is not much evidence that it works when applied topically. Still, there is no evidence of toxicity either.For the curious or nerdy amongst us, (2s)-2-amino-5-guanidinopentanoic acid is Arginine, the peptide that inhibits the formation of expression lines.

Given that I am a dermatological princess and pea, I'm not sure that this serum is for me. I'd love to hear from anyone who has tried it though. If anyone does use Franbran's serum, a good sunscreen would recommended after all that kojic and glycolic acid. Not to mention salicylic acid, which is supposed to increase sun sensitivity by as much as 50%.


Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera), Hyaluronic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Organic Ganoderma Lucidum (Kojic Acid), Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Fruit Extract. (Glycolic Acids), Proprietary Essential Oil Blend, Acrylates/ C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, (2s)-2-Amino-5-guanidinopentanoic Acid, Organic Salix Lucida (Salicylic Acid), Organic Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice), Organic Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm), Organic Panax Ginseng (Chinese Ginseng), Organic Pimpinella Anisum (Anise), Organic Armoracia Rusticana (Horseradish), Organic Schizandra Chinensis (Schisandra), Organic Foeiculum Vulgare (Fennel), Melissa Officinalis (Melissa Essential Oil), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol.
  • April 26, 2014

    by Mia

    For the love of everything good!!!! Please bring Franbrand back!
    I can't find ANYTHING else my skin loved and responded to
    like it did these products.

  • July 1, 2013

    by Xxxxx ccccc

    I need Franbran products. Where can I find them? Absolutely love this line. It has some top brands beaten.

  • July 13, 2012

    by Carole

    I'm also looking for FranBrand products and can't find them. I'm so disappointed, I fell in love with this line, the scent of the body cream was so heavenly and feminine while still being very light and non irritating, it made me feel beautiful. I feel this product was not given enough advertising, I'd love to see it reappear somewhere else, if HSN will not carry it.
    QVC do you hear me? Department stores? ANYONE? BEULLER? I need FranBrand!

  • February 28, 2012

    by Angie

    I love the FranBrand products but can't seem to find them anymore. I was getting them from Hsn but they say they don't carry them anymore, can anyone help me out, please.

  • May 29, 2011

    by Grace

    I have tried franbrand and the only two products (out of four tried) that I can use are the sensational serum (I use it only a few times a week) and the eye cream. I like the textures of the other face creams but cannot tolerate the strong scent of them. I am very sensative to most smells and actually, allergic to many. It gets expensive having to pay to try new brands just to discard them. I do like what Fran is attempting to do and I back her efforts. I wish she could produce another scent...lighter and more common like rose or something more tolerable. I'd buy anything she produced that I could use and tolerate. I do love the serum though and was looking for more when I came across this site. Try might like it.

  • May 22, 2011

    by Julie

    I think you should try it before comenting. I am 16 and I use some of Franbran products such as the makeup removers and the acne solutions.
    I love it!

  • December 8, 2010

    by Marsha

    I have very sensitive skin and have never had a problem with the FranBrand products. I love the way my skin feels so hydrated and wonderful. I live in a very dry climate and my skin feels awesome and looks wonderful after using FranBrand products. Don't slam something until you try it.

  • December 1, 2010

    by Deborah

    I love FranBrand and would never want to be without it. Granted, some people have senstitive skin, don't try to take away from the rest of us what works and what we LOVE by bad reviews and comments. I think the scent is wonderful and I love all her products. they work great for my 58-year old face - I've never looked better!

Join the discussion! Leave a comment below.

My Comment

Add a comment...

-or- Cancel Comment
* Required Fields
truth in aging's five best

Truth In Aging's Five Best

The very best to choose from for your skin concerns.

Read More

truth in aging videos

Truth In Aging Videos

Helpful how-tos and reviews from Marta and friends.

Watch Now

meet our contributors

Meet Our Contributors

The TIA community consists of our trusted reviewers.

Meet Them

be inspired

Be Inspired

Inspiring thoughts and women who are aging gracefully.

Read More