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Hydropeptide Hydrostem+6 - reader reviewed and recommended

Reviewed by Emily October 24, 2011 16 Comments
To start with, I’ll out myself as the unnamed, to-be-heard-from tester Marta referred to in her fascinating October 10 post “What’s currently working for my face” in which she anointed Hydropeptide’s Hydrostem+6 “a show-stoppingly effective serum.”  After exactly one month’s use, I can confirm Marta’s hunch that this product will get my vote as a “candidate for a future Five Best.”  In fact, I find it amazing.

I actually almost sent in my notes after two weeks’ trial—something I’ve never been tempted to do.  And ironically, I wasn’t even particularly looking for a serum.  I’d been exploring the bounty of TIA’s August round-up of Five Best anti-aging serums for 2011, with predictably positive results.  At that point I’d already started using Reluma earlier in the spring, and began alternating with LiftLab after that post as well.  I felt that each produced real and differentiated improvements – with wrinkle repair, and with overall skin condition.

And with all things in life, I tend to be almost pathetically, or at least boringly, loyal.  So when I like a brand or regimen, I tend to stick with it, and I like having a set routine that I feel I’m committed to—rather than a flirtation.  So when Hydrostem+6 came along, I wasn’t eager to make room for it in the medicine cabinet.  Nor was I encouraged by some of the caveats in Marta’s initial post in September—particularly after reading that the original reviewer was so put-off by the scent, she’d sent it back untried.

But I did make a promise.  So I held my nose, and followed through.

First of all, let’s get that matter of the scent out of the way.  I consider myself to have as dainty and sensitive a nose as any I’ve known, and while Hydrostem’s fragrance is distinctive, it is not, in my opinion, unsavory.  What it isn’t is sweet, or artificial: I assume thanks to all those plant cells, it has a smell that I would call vegetal (with maybe a tiny medicinal note).  But not like moldering-compost-heap vegetal.  More like the clean and slightly astringent smell of fresh cucumber peels.  Not really appealing, but not unpleasant.

So yes, I was able to get past the odor (which doesn’t linger after application, anyway).  I started by plunging in twice a day, pretty much all over the face and neck, but paying particular attention to my worst problem area—the deep horizontal lines across my forehead—as well as the usual suspects (crows’ feet, nasolabial lines).  And after a couple of weeks, I was genuinely surprised.  More than the modest improvement I’d have hoped for, Hydropstem+6 made a noticeable difference.  I believe that lines are less pronounced; that my skin is plumper and firmer; and that I look fresher.

As late-September end-of-summer has become real autumn, I am planning to stick with it.  Even when I have to replace it on my own nickel, I should add.  [Not sure how long the bottle will last.  Like most of the better serums, Hydrostem is packaged in an attractively designed, efficient airless pump, but there’s no way of telling how much is still left; it’s opaque. At $160 for an ounce, I’m guessing that on a price-per-dose basis, Hydrostem will be roughly comparable to Reluma, which is $199 (in the TIA shop) for the comparable quantity.  The LiftLab serum is substantially cheaper ($85 in the TIA shop).]  As the weather gets colder and drier, my skin is already feeling older, sadder, and more weathered, and I am counting on it to see me through the change in seasons.  I should add that in the last few weeks I’ve been alternating -- using Lift Lab instead some mornings, and Reluma some evenings too.  I think they offer different and perhaps complementary benefits and I’m eager to see what combination will work best.

Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Trimethylpentanediol/Adipic Acid Copolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Panthenol, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Silica, Palmitoyl Dipeptide-5 Diaminobutyroyl Hydroxythreonine, Palmitoyl Dipepitde-5 Diaminohydroxybutyrate, Niacinamide, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Cell Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Cell Culture, Echinacea Angustifolia Meristem Cell Culture, Gardenia Jasminoids Meristem Cell Culture, Leotopodium Alpinum (Edelweiss) Meristem Cell Culture, Malus Domestica (Swiss Apple) Fruit Cell Culture, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopherol Acetate, Allantoin, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Menthyl Lactate, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Isomalt, Sodium Benzoate, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone
  • November 8, 2011

    by spo

    Thank you so much for you insight into this, Dr. Sanderson!

    My nursing and biology background definitely led me to conclude that fruit stem cells would probably have little to no effect on skin rejuvenation, but the other ingredients seemed potent....

    I did not want to think too much about the silicone present, but what you say makes total scientific sense.

  • November 8, 2011

    by John Sanderson, M.D.

    Hi Spo,

    Well, it could be the first ingredient (water). And the glycerin (great moisturizer). Tons of silicone & silicate in this, which actually has a nice feel, even though it can cause problems if overused. Whole bunch of antioxidants, adding protection & etc. The one true active is Syn-Tacks, which has some science behind it. Maybe that is causing the difference. Definitely not the Malus domestica (swiss apple) fruit cell culture. (As an aside -- did you know that the seeds of Malus domestica are poisonous? While mildly so, according to standard poison plant resources, it is possible to ingest enough seeds to provide a fatal dose. They don’t use the seeds, but still a poor marketing choice, IMHO).

    As to why any product would result in the subjective sense that wrinkles are disappearing after just a few weeks makes little sense to me. The active peptide would take at least several months. What I have seen in clinical trials is that early in a product trial (first month) often the most striking effect is improved hydration and skin thickening and toning. I believe Emily noted her skin was plumper and firmer. I hear and see that a lot. But it is also likely that plumping tends to blur wrinkles. Fills them in. Not with collagen (too early for that) but with plumper skin itself, modifying the surface architecture of the skin. Hyaluronate is an excellent hydrator, present in this product, and many others.

  • November 8, 2011

    by spo

    Dr. Sanderson, I know you think the science behind this product is hocus pocus, but what I want to ask you is what could possibly be causing the positive results that Marta and Emily are having, in your educated opinion?

  • November 7, 2011

    by John Sanderson, M.D.

    Tackiness occurs as water evaporates while lipids stay behind. The lack of tackiness in this product is due to the presence of large amounts of silicone based chemicals. I'm not sure that's such a good thing. Most cosmeceutical scientists are staying away from silicone these days.

  • November 6, 2011

    by spo

    Promise, will do, Junko ;-)

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