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Isomers, NCN and Firm Skin 20% Matrixyl serums compared

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
Reviewed by Marta March 8, 2011 22 Comments
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.
  • February 21, 2017

    by Ilene

    Isomers at now Evine as previously stated is an AWESOME DEPENDABLE SKINCARE LINE! You can get affordable deals when the owner/chemist comes on to do their presentation. They have an extremely wide range of products. Their serums and creams can be cocktailed together and used with other brands of skincare if you prefer. It is an anti-aging company that caters to mature skin yet offers products for acneic skin for teens and young adults. They also have a mens line. There is something for everyone. As stated in a previous comment, they are based in Canada and you can call to ask questions concerning which products will mostly benefit you. I am African American and it works perfectly for ALL ethnicities and skin types. Please give them a try. I would suggest their exfoliating serum or enzyme serum prior to all other serums and creams to ensure product can permeate into the skin properly and won't just lay on top of your skin. I will be honest the only product I don't care for is the sunscreen amongst all of their products. I prefer a SPF serum or a light or dry oil sunscreen and Isomers is a white cream like most sunscreens so it's honestly just a matter of preference. Sunscreen is imperative so please use one that best suits you. I now have my sister using the products. Her skin has cleared from hyperpigmentation, breakouts, and dark circles under her eyes in just a month. Manuela, the co-owner who does the presentations, doesn't like anything really oily so don't worry there is nothing too heavy or oily in her and her husband, who is the co-owner as well as a chemist in their skincare line. My sister is 35 and I am 37. They recommend you use it for 28 days to see a difference and believe me you will. If you enjoy products such as La Mer and La Prairie etc by all means continue to use it, but please give this a try to incorporate into your skincare routine. You will see that you won't need it plus La Mer is highly comedogenic with mineral oil and silicones. I will admit I like La Praire, but for that price tag I'd much rather prefer to spend my money on Isomers any day of the week! Oh and last thing....DRINK WATER!

  • March 9, 2015

    by karen

    The Isomers on ShopNBC then SHOPHQ for a short while AND now EVINE.COM online BUT EVINE LIVE on TV, Suresh that was a lot.....ANYWAY the seller is a chemist And wonderful to listen/watch. DURING a sellers visit special offers and kits are offered. Some end in 24 hours. I don't know about EVINE ( what a horrible name....says nothing about what they ARE) but so far extremely unimpressed. I THOUGHT it couldn't get any worse but it has. IF YOU ARE LUCKY, the vendors are wonderful and you can get a deal. Remember to always ask the amount of product and how long it will last. I don't want to fall in love with something I cannot afford after the " Deal of the a Day" ends. THEY DO AS MUCH AS 6 months splitting up your bill, which is great BUT if you sign up for Auto Delivey you get the full bill on the shipment...no mini- payments which lure you in. WITH THIS SAID....I WILL CONTINUE TO BUY ISOMERS and other non-regular visiting brands. I THINK THESE CHANNELS PURCHASE "x" amount of product then the vendors come to help them sell it I SUSPECT THIS "EVINE" is not financially prepared to buy a lot, so if you see it WANT it, don't waste time . ...go online (no tax then) and get it. Wednesday specials at Isomers.ca (Canada ) call and ask staff what you want to address. THEY HAVE A BOATLOAD of products. Quite confusing. Ratings on Evine and I think Isomers. I love their stuff!

  • August 12, 2011

    by Lisa

    Isomers 1 0z matrixyl 3000 is actually 49.00 on shop nbc. big miss print on the price quoted above.

  • July 25, 2011

    by Marta

    Its a good point and I'd forgotten it. Thanks for posting again.

  • July 25, 2011

    by jc

    ugh, wish i could erase my post, when i skimmed through the comments i failed to see i already had stated my point...sorry for an extra post.

  • July 25, 2011

    by jc

    you are incorrect stating isomers is using 20% matrixyl, yes that is what the formula is called, but they should have picked a better name, it's actually ten percent each of matrixyl and matrixyl 3000

  • April 7, 2011

    by Noel

    Hello Marta!

    I posted a LONG questions for you on one of your retinol columns. I find your columns and suggestions intriguing and have definitely noticed that you are a strong believer in peptides. Since you always include scientific data and since Matrixyl and all of its newer versions are so heavily marketed, I was wondering what you thought about your opinions about the scientific data that disprove the benefits of peptides in skincare? Obviously I can't mention them all here, but one of them being that the molecular size of peptides are too large to penetrate the dermal layers enough to receive any benefits. This is proven since insulin peptides can't be topically absorbed or Type 1 diabetics would be able to apply insulin topically as opposed to injecting.

    What is your take on this??? Thanks!!!

    Noel

  • April 2, 2011

    by Jana

    I was searching the Isomers website late yesterday and ran across a new (to me) Matrixyl. It's called "Matrixyl synthe'6" and is from the French manufacturer Sederma, the same company that makes Matrixyl and Matrixyl 3000, along with a number of other products in our lotions and potions. Sederma claims this new product "fills in wrinkles from the inside both on the forehead and crows feet." http://www.sederma.fr/home.aspx?s=111&r=127&p=1414

    The reason I found this Matrixyl is that Isomers, just yesterday, released three new products that feature Matrixyl synthe'6 and had an announcement about it: http://www.isomers.ca/NewsLetter.aspx?BulletinID=51

    Anyone heard of Matrixyl synthe'6 or used it? I did one quick search and came up with another company that has a product containing it, but don't know more than that.

    Btw, I'm not affiliated with Isomers in any way but have been using two of their products for roughly the past five months and have seen a definite reduction in facial wrinkles as well as tighter skin on my face & neck (neither of these products contain Matrixyl synthe'6).

  • March 10, 2011

    by Julie Kay

    Thank you! I'm printing this list, clipping it and going to carry it with me. ~jk

  • March 10, 2011

    by marta

    Hi Julie, some people might be concerned by the following in the ingredients list provided:
    <a href="http://truthinaging.com/ingredients/diazolidinyl-urea" rel="nofollow">Diazolidnyl Urea</a>, Methyl Parahydroxybenzoate (member of the <a href="http://truthinaging.com/ingredient-spotlight/what-is-it-preservatives-and-parabens-and-are-they-safe" rel="nofollow">paraben</a> family), Cyclopentasiloxane and silica and polysilicone (<a href="http://truthinaging.com/ingredient-spotlight/what-is-it-silicones-and-should-we-avoid-them" rel="nofollow">silicones</a>), Propyl Parahydroxybenzoate and Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben (all parabens), <a href="http://truthinaging.com/ingredients/triethanolamine" rel="nofollow">Triethanolamine</a>, <a href="http://truthinaging.com/ingredient-spotlight/what-is-it-phenoxyethanol-and-is-it-safe" rel="nofollow">Phenoxyethanol</a>

  • March 9, 2011

    by Julie Kay

    I actually bought the Babyface 45% serum last week. I had a vague notion of adding tiny amounts here and there to my routine creams (in my palm or back of hand) or work it into my hand regimen. I was concerned over some of the ingredients when I received it. Although I'm not as familiar as Master in knowing the Nasties. Marta, can I urge you into pointing out the worst of it from Georgia's ingredient list (above)? I haven't used it yet; but it does reside in my potion basket. ~jk

  • March 9, 2011

    by Valerie

    It's funny that you all mention the Babyface serum. Last week I was looking for a non-retinol serum and ran across that website. I emailed her and asked for the ingredients that were actually in there. She said that she wasn't required to give me the formula. I explained that I wasn't looking for the proprietary formula, just the ingredients. She said that the active ingredients listed were all included but a couple of fillers/waters or benign ingredients were transposed to protect her formula.

  • March 9, 2011

    by marta

    Yes Georgia, I saw that ingredient list and as you say it isn't at all helpful.

  • March 9, 2011

    by jc

    isomers 20% serum is actually 10% matrixyl, 10% matrixyl 3000 to offer all around support. of course the 187 dollar price tag you see is audacious for a retail price, but when presented on shopnbc, the price tends to be lowered substantially, plus keep in mind you're buying half a liter/16.9 ounces of product....that is nothing to sneeze at! the actual name of the product is matrixyl 20% collagen boostng concentrate, some people see great results some don't...as for any line.


    it is also 70.00 for one ounce. isomers does tend to go a big heavier on the 'actives' in a formula for what she calls 'load factor', sort of barring any dissipation on the way to the skin, or enzymes breaking it down, you've got enough active to still see something. that's just her explanation i'm offering. as i've said you can try to catch her on shopnbc and see how far they mark these things down to when presented, sometimes you really luck out! okay, enough out of me, you'll have to excuse my rambling, i AM an isomersphile.

  • March 8, 2011

    by Georgia

    I have never heard of 45% Matrixyl 3000 serum until today, but I'll report what I found... Apparently Babyface skincare is sold by the owner at E-bay under the name "first-class-ticket", which is a also a store she owns. On this site, but not on the babyface skincare site (yet), 45% Matrixyl 3000 is being advertised for $24.50, regularly $45.00. It appears to be the 1 ounce size. At the bottom of the Comments section, the owner indicated she has upgraded all of her Matrixyl products to the 45% from the 20%. I wonder what she is doing with her stock of 20% Matrixyl 3000? Maybe Marta can buy it at a discount and sell it to us for cheap!

  • March 8, 2011

    by Georgia

    Hi, Marta,
    I found the ingredient list for the Babyface 20% Matrixyl 3000 serum. On their e-bay site, they now have 45% Matrixyl 3000. When I contacted Babyfacestore.com, I was informed that they just hadn't upgraded that particular website yet. I don't know what that costs or if it's overload - but just thought I'd share. Anyway, below is the ingredient list for the 20% Matrixyl 3000 serum. They also offer 4 ounces for a reduced price, although nothing as great as the Firm Skin Wholesale price.

    Just read the ingredient list - just says it may contain one or more of the following - which isn't that helpful.

    INGREDIENTS (Proprietary formula may contain one of more of the following): R.O. Water, Carbomer 940, Wheat Gel, Isopropyl Myristate, Glycerin, Rice Flour, sodium bicarbonate, polyaminobiguanide, ascorbic acid, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Palmitoyl Lys-Thr-Thr-Lys-Ser (Palmitoyl Pentapeptide), Sodium Hyaluronate, Diazolidnyl Urea, Methyl Parahydroxybenzoate, Propyl Parahydroxybenzoate, Oil of Olea Europaea,Cyclopentasiloxane, Polysilicone 11, Silica, Cetyl Alcohol, Gynostemma Pentaphyllum Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3,Dipeptide-2, Hydroxysuccinimide, Chrysin, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Whey Protein, Steareth-20, Stearic Acid, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, polyaminopropylbiguanide, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben.

  • March 8, 2011

    by Sunday

    I would like very much to do a side by side comparison ~ I've never tried either of these products ~ currently using only Cellbone serums and would like to give these a go. Marta let me know if I can be your girl.

  • March 8, 2011

    by marta

    Georgia, thanks for that clarification - I omitted to check the sizes! I agree with you about Firm Skin. I took a look at BabyFace and they didn't list the ingredients (only the selected ingredients for all their products). If someone would like to do a side-by-side comparison of NCN and FS and write us a review - it's on me!

  • March 8, 2011

    by Vicki

    thanks georgia, firmskin is better value, and nice has hefty dose of sodium hyaluronate for extra moisture.

  • March 8, 2011

    by Georgia

    Also, Babyface is selling 1.1 ounces of their 20% Matrixyl 3000 for $23.90 right now, usually $45.00.

    Has anybody used these serums (other than NCN)? Do you know anything about these vendors and if the serums contain what they purport to contain? There is such a big price difference, with Firm Skin a great bargain as compared to the others. I don't know if prices are coming down due to competition...or what?

  • March 8, 2011

    by Vicki

    i've been using ncn's version for about 3 weeks and i've noticed much smoother wrinkles, especially upper lips and nose to mouth lines, as well as forehead. and doesn't irritate skin. thanks for comparing, marta, confirms i'm getting a great value.

  • March 8, 2011

    by Georgia

    Marta,
    Firm Skin is selling 8 ounces of their 20% Matrixyl 3000 for $44.95 on sale, usually $49.95. This is a much better value than the one ounce being sold by NCN for $38.00 - if it is the real deal.

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