Gwyneth Paltrow

I love a good origination myth and was delighted to find that Restørsea, for which 41-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow has just been appointed as the new face, has a particularly amusing – and implausible – one.

Here goes: One day Restørsea’s boss, Patti Pao, just happened to be touring a Norwegian salmon hatchery. While this was doubtless a fascinating experience in its own right, eagle-eyed Patti couldn’t help noticing the workers’ “ageless hands”. Now, given than your average dock worker is not known for youthful looks, Patti was “mesmerized” and vowed to discover their secret. I bet at this point you can totally get why Gwyneth Paltrow is willing to be in Restørsea’s ads.

The secret turned out to be an enzyme in baby salmon that, when in contact with human skin, exfoliates and hydrates. The enzyme is the key ingredient in Restørsea’s “Vibransea Complex”. It all sounded a bit fishy to me.

Remembering, of course, that Gwyneth Paltrow loves sushi, I wondered whether eating super fresh salmon would simply do the trick. To give Restørsea the benefit of the doubt, I needed to take a closer look at Restørsea’s Rejuvenating Day Lotion SPF 30 ($150).

Baby salmon enzyme isn’t exactly listed in the ingredients for Restørsea’s Rejuvenating Day Lotion, but hydrolyzed roe is. Or fish eggs, to you and me. So the baby salmon is so young it isn’t even born. In good faith, I am assuming that the hydrolyzed roe used by Restørsea is from salmon (although, according to Wikipedia, the most common roe in Norway is from cod) as it is very high in omega 3 fatty acids.

I’ve come across the fish roe as exfoliator theory before with a skincare line called LiftLab. Apparently, the enzyme acts as an exfoliator by mimicking skin enzymes and degrading corneodesmosomes, the “mortar” in the skin’s “bricks and mortar”.  It is also the key ingredient in Dr Perricone’s Blue Plasma line.

My guess is that Restørsea’s Vibransea Complex also includes alaria esculenta and algin, both derived from seaweed. Algin has a myriad of industrial uses, notably for preventing ice cream from crystalizing and as a thickening agent. Alaria esculenta is a bit more interesting – an edible seaweed, studies have shown it to be able to protect against UV damage.

The only other ingredient of note is honeysuckle extract, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It is sometimes used in skincare as a preservative, as honeysuckle has paraben-like qualities. Anyway, that’s about it for Restørsea’s Rejuvenating Day Lotion. Unless, you put a lot of faith in fish eggs, $150 seems like a lot to pay for this day lotion.

And, for my part, I still can’t overcome the logic of this ingredient. Restørsea says that the miracle enzyme is “released by salmon at birth”. Yet aren’t roe really pre-birth? Maybe the presence of Gwyneth Paltrow will cause the scales to fall from my eyes.

Active ingredient: Zinc oxide 20%. Other ingredients: Water, Dicaprylyl Ether, Glycerin, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Hydrolyzed Roe, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Alaria Esculenta Extract, Algin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Glyceryl Caprylate, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Honeysuckle Flower Extract, Honeysuckle Extract, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Sodium Citrate, Triethoxycapryl silane, Xanthan Gum