An email from a reader last week prompted me to look at and compare 20% Matrixyl 3000 serums. A few months ago, I reviewed NCN’s 20% Matrixyl Serum and now I have found that there is a near identical one by Firm Skin. Things really started to get interesting when I spotted one from Isomers. Three very similar products, but some very different price points.

Matrixyl 3000 is a collagen building formula based on two peptides. Although there is no independent research on Matrixyl 3000, the anecdotal evidence is persuasive and it has become one of the “it” ingredients of the cosmetics industry.

Matrixyl 3000 is made by a company called Sederma and its own trials show very positive results (30% reduction in wrinkles) at a 4% concentration. I don’t know whether there are exponentially greater benefits to having so much more Matrixyl 3000 in a serum. On the contrary, it is conceivable, that the law of diminishing returns could kick in. Either way, the makers of 20% Matrixyl solutions are clearly banking on the fact that we’ll believe that more is more.

So what’s in these serums and how do they differ? Well, Sederma’s precise formulation (the INCI) for Matrixyl 3000 is Glycerin (and) Water (and) Butylene Glycol (and) Carbomer (and) Polysorbate 20 (and) Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (and) Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7.  NCN, Firm Skin and Isomer’s 20% Matrixyl 3000 serums all contain these ingredients.

What does differ is the base: linseed extract in the case of Isomers Matrixyl 20% Solution, water and aloe for NCN and water for Firm Skin. The preservatives are all slightly different too. NCN has added a couple of additional ingredients, cucumber extract and chrysin, an anti-inflammatory.  Although not identical product twins, they are as you can see from the ingredients listings below, very similar.

As for pricing, NCN’s 20% Matrixyl Serum comes in at the best value at $38. Firm Skin’s 20% Matrixyl 3000 is $44.95. But Isomers, a much bigger brand, with airtime on Shop NBC, is an audacious $187.87.

Ingredients in Firm Skin 20% Matrixyl 3000

Distilled water, Palmitoyl oligopeptide, Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, Carbomer, Sodium hyaluronate, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis, Butylene glycol, Polysorbate 20, Triethanolamine, Benzylalcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid.

Ingredients in NCN

De-Ionized Water, Aloe Leaf Gel, Vegetable Glycerine, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Chrysin, Hydroxysuccinimide, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Butylene Glycol, Steareth-20, Polysorbate- 20, Carbomer, Opitphen (natural preservative).

Ingredients in Isomers Matrixyl 20% Solution

Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Extract, Glycerin, Aqua/Water/Eau, Butylene Glycol, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Palmitoylpentapeptide-4, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Phenoxyethanol, Tropolone.