I should say right from the start that Hydropeptide’s new Hydrostem+6 ($109) is not for everyone. One of our reviewers returned it unopened with a list of the ingredients that caused her to reject it out of hand (I’ll come back to those). A second reviewer did open it, but then took one whiff and sent it back to us without even trying it. Hydropeptide Hydrostem+6 was beginning to look like the ugly, fat kid that no one wants to be friends with. Except for me. Maybe I’m an outlyer on this one, but after five or six weeks of using Hydrostem+6, I think it is excellent and it has done a very good job of smoothing my furrowed brow.

My forehead hadn’t been getting a lot of love until Hydropeptide came along. It had been a guinea pig for too many sample serums that hadn’t come up to snuff (Origins Plantscription for one) and it was beginning to show. Hydrostem+6 has really come to the rescue, fading the horizontal lines, firming the skin and making great inroads on some crepiness that was beginning on the bridge of my nose.

Unless you have been living in a box for most of 2011, you are probably aware that this is the year of the stem cell, especially plant stem cells, and those from apple in particular. Well Hydropeptide has taken stem cells from six plants for its latest serum. What makes plant derived stem cells so enticing is that they live forever. According to Wikipedia, “plant stem cells never undergo aging process but immortally give rise to new specialized and unspecialized cells, and they have the potential to grow into any organ, tissue, or cell in the body”. British scientists found that plant stem cells were much more sensitive to DNA damage than other cells. And once they sense damage, they trigger death of these cells.

Even so, harvesting their potent power is tricky; plant stem cells have to be taken from the meristem and some researchers concede that they aren’t that easy to locate. Given how pernickety Hydropeptide is about the actives in its formulations, it didn’t surprise me to see that this is one of the few potions with stem cells that actually specifies that it has used the meristem in at least three of its six stem cells. For those who want to get in touch with their inner botanist, meristems are the kind of growth engines of plants. In general plant cells can’t divide or reproduce themselves, so meristems are required to provide new cells for expansion and differentiation of tissues and initiation of new organs, providing the basic structure of the plant body.

One of the meristem cells here is edelweiss. More than a nauseating song from The Sound of Music,  edelweiss contains phytochemicals such as chlorogenic acid (antioxidant, radical scavenging), luteolin (hyaluronidase inhibition), bisabolane  (anti-inflammatory) and beta sitosterol (anti-inflammatory, antibactericidal).

Aside from stem cells, Hydromstem-6 has a powerful peptide complex that goes by the name of Syn-Tacks (Dipeptide-5 Diaminobutyroyl Hydroxythreonine) and is supposed to be more powerful in the collagen boosting department than Matrixyl 3000. Plus there’s green tea, niacinamide, licorice extract and vitamin C.

So what’s not to like apart from the smell (which isn’t very lovely, but I don’t find it off-putting). Well there’s a dominance of silicone and copolymers. There are three of my least favorite preservatives: sodium benzoate is possibly carcinogenic when it gets mixed up with vitamin C (which it does here), the irritant and possible neurotoxin, phenoxyethanol, and methylisothiazolinone, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s and is a skin sensitizer.

I do wish that Hydropeptide would address some of these issues in its formulations, because a lot of people are missing out on how good its products are. In the meantime, though, the good far outweighs the bad for me and I will continue to use Hydrostem+6 and enjoy its results.

Available to buy in the TIA shop

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