I have just been sent samples from LiftLab, a relatively new brand. LiftLab comes with an origination myth about which surely only the deeply cynical would think there was anything fishy.

It goes like this. An entrepreneur, Elliot Entis, and a UC Berkeley scientist found in arctic sea life something they called Cell Protection Protein (CPP).  They began selling it is a raw ingredient to “a very large and prestigious cosmetics company”, only to find that it was not using CPP in a high enough concentration to be effective.  They were using trace amounts for marketing purposes!  Never heard of that before, now have we.... Anyway, Elliot decided to do things properly and launched LiftLab with four anti-aging skincare products a serum, gel, eye cream and daily moisturizer.

There is a section on the LiftLab website called “Cell Protection Protein Studies” where we are told that CPP has for decades been researched by the US Army, biotechnology researchers, clinicians as well as LIFTLAB. References are made to clinical trials, but there are no external links to independent (peer reviewed) studies. Do a search on Cell Protection Protein and the first thing that pops up is LiftLab.  In the ingredients lists for LiftLab products, CPP appears as fish plasma protein.

So I tried to find something that connected fish plasma protein to some of the claims made by LiftLab for CPP, such as how it increases the viability of keratinocytes. I wasn’t able to. I was beginning to feel a little suspicious and so I then tried to find out a little more about Elliot Entis.

According to his bio for a 2010 conference called FutureVision, “Mr Entis is the co-founder and CEO of A/F Protein, the company that gave rise to AquaBounty Technologies and LIFTLAB”. So perhaps A/F Protein would provide a clue to the hidden powers of fish plasma protein.  I discovered that A/F Protein produces antifreeze made from natural proteins – fish proteins in fact. It turns out that arctic fish, capable of swimming around freezing waters, synthesize anti-freeze, a discovery made by Drs Garth Fletcher and Choy Hew (who are also both involved in LiftLab).

I still wasn’t quite sure what anti-freeze simulating fish proteins would be doing in my face cream. Although there are theoretical merits to slathering on such a thing on a frigid New York winter’s day. Then I read that another doctor, Boris Rubinsky (another LiftLab-er), found that these antifreeze proteins protect cells from death. So now it was beginning to make some sense. And CPP seems to be well paired in LiftLab's formula with adenosine, one of the main energy sources for cellular functions.

Having got Cell Protection Protein out of the way, a look at Lift & Fix High Potency Solution ($95 in the shop), LiftLab’s face cream reveals that most of its ingredients are land lubbing botanicals (although there is another curious marine extract, alteromonas ferment. I think this is more often called pseudoalteromonas ferment and has water binding properties, according to researchers in Barcelona). Coincidentally, the list of botanicals, including eggplant and turmeric amongst others, is almost identical to those in a product called Purity Balance by Cosmedix.

Its good to see that high up on the ingredient list is methylsilanol hydroxyproline aspartate. This is an amino-acid known for its skin-conditioning properties. It is found in both collagen and elastin, the protein that controls the elasticity of connective tissue fibers

One ingredient that I don’t particularly like the thought of is Osilift. This is a film former made from oat kernal and it adheres to the surface of the skin to give it a tight feeling. Its sounds like the cosmetic equivalent of a ski mask.

The LiftLab Lift & Firm Eye Cream ($95 in the shop) has, in addition to CPP, and has a couple of interesting peptides. Tripeptide-1 (here it is part of a formula called 1 Kollaren) mimics the relationship of the growth factors involved in the healing process and synthesis of collagen. Acetyl tetrapeptide-11, which is supposed to boost the synthesis of syndecan-1. Syndecan-1 functions as a transmembrane protein that contributes to cell proliferation, cell migration and cell-matrix interactions.

Although there are few too many silicones and things like pentaerythrityl tetraehylhexanoate that impart a superficial sense of softness (especially in the eye cream), overall LiftLab looks worthy of a little fishing expedition.

LiftLab in the TIA Shop

Ingredients in Lift & Fix


Water, glycerin, aloe leaf juice, methylsilanol hydroxyproline aspartate, ethoxydiglycol, peg-7 glyceryl cocoate, glycereth 26, methyl gluceth 20, butylene glycol, arnica, algae extract, oat kernal extract, alteromonas ferment extract, fish plasma protein (Cell Protection Protein), dipotassium glycyrrhizate, adenosine, glycosphingolipids, hordeum vulgare extract, sodium hyaluronate, beta-gluca, melia azadirachta leaf extract, amino esters-1, coccinia indica fruit, solanum melongena (eggplant) fruit extract, aloe flower extract, henna extract, ocimum sanctum leaf extract, turmeric extract, pearl powder, chamomilla recutita flower oil, bis-PEG-18 methyl dimethyl silane, phenyl trimeticone, jojoba wax PEG-120 esters, PEG-32, glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid copolymer, cyclomethicone, alcohol, PPG-26-buteth-26, PeG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, benzophenone-4, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate copolymer, carbomer, disodium edta, triethanolomine, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol

Ingredients in Lift & Firm Eye Cream

Water, squalane, butylene glycol, shea butter, cyclomethicone, dimethicone, isononyl isononanoate, dipentaerythrityl hexahydroxystearate/hexastearate, pentaerythrityl tetraehylhexanoate, cetearyl alcohol, mango seed butter, cetyl alcohol, panthenol, niacinamide, sodium hyaluronate, glucose, fish plasma protein (Cell Protection Protein), guanidine HCL, tripepide-1, acetyl tetrapeptide 11, gucosyl hesperidin, fennel fruit extract, hops extract, Melissa officinalis leaf extact, achilea millefolium , glycosphingolipids, glycosaminoglycans, hordeum vulgare extract, acetyl tyrosine, proline, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, adenosine, adenosine triphosphate, urea, allantoin, gycleryl stearate, cetearyl glucoside, stearyl alcohol, tocopheryl acetate, PEG-100 stearate, alcohol, mannitol, melia azadirachta flower extract, amino esters-1, coccinia indica fruit, solanum melongena (eggplant0 fruit extract, aloe flower extract, henna extract, ocimum sanctum leaf extract, turmeric extract, pearl powder, polyacrylamide, C13-14 isoparafin, laureth 7, corn starch modified, xanthan gum, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, capryl yl glycol