Omojo Clear Skin Pure Marine Serum 0.5 oz
There were so many reasons to get excited about Omojo Clear Skin Pure Marine Serum ($14.99) that I was struck with a little bit of love at first sight. With “Peptides and Collagen + Support for Acne Prone and Sensitive Skin” ­(the box just read so darn well!), I thought I’d gotten my hands on a rare product that wouldn’t make me choose between clear skin and effective anti-aging. Plus, it’s affordable. Yet it didn’t deliver.

Omojo was unable to abate my acne, and nobody’s been blinded by any youthful glow gained from using it (and I’m often asked what I’m using). Indeed, I broke out worse than ever: five big zits as compared to the usual two to three (though I don’t blame Omojo for my pimples, only for its failure to prevent them). My skin is also dry and my fine lines are ever-present. There’s no extra spring in my cheeks, and honestly, I’m relieved this trial is over and excited to enjoy a little moisture from my old-faithful, coconut oil. Yes, I have to reject this product, and the disappointment is a little heartbreaking.

I often figure that just because a product doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t be fabulous for someone else. Case in point: a Mukti eye gel, the leftovers of which I passed on to a friend. I didn’t love it but she’s now a loyal Mukti customer. However, based on the vaguely explained ingredients, I have to make an exception because I’m not sure the Omojo product will do much for anyone. It seems like it opens strong with algae and seaweed extracts, but these extracts are a bit suspicious in their non-specificity. I’m much more persuaded by brands like Dr. Alkaitis, who names the various seaweeds, algae and greens it uses.

Equally vague in their descriptions are the vitamins, and certainly in this competitive era of advanced formulation and informed buying, I expect to know whether that vitamin A is retinol or retinyl palmitate (oddly, vitamin A is advertised on the side of the box, but I can’t find it in the ingredients list).

As for those peptides, I can’t find them either – unless Omojo is referring to peptides that occur naturally in algae and seaweed, which is totally fair. That would still be misleading because they’re not quite the same thing as a fortified (palmitoyl tripeptide 5) serum, which is what I think of when I see “peptides” splashed across the box.

Omojo devotes a lot of space to surfactants, solubilizers and solvents (four by my count), including the poorly rated triethanolamine, which scores a 5 hazard rating on EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetic database. Finally, the second to last ingredient is diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate, often used in sunscreens to absorb UVA radiation, and marketed as Uvinul A Plus by BASF. Hyaluronic acid is the last ingredient, and both seem to me like they belong more towards the front of the lineup.

Though I’m not impressed and I wouldn’t buy this product, I will comment on the good. Omojo absorbs wonderfully and doesn’t interfere with my sunscreen and makeup – at least not as far as appearance is concerned. It’s paraben and fragrance free, and bears symbols of certification for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). It’s also marine sustainable and sources its marine ingredients from a company that adheres to the Global Partnership for Good Agriculture Practice standards (Global G.A.P.) I really appreciate the commitment to safe and fair manufacturing practices and the example the company sets. I just wish it worked!

Ingredients: Deionized Water, Algae Extract, Seaweed Extracts, Glycerol, 1.3-Butanediol, Water-Soluble Jojoba Oil, Squalene Essence, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Water-Soluble Vitamin E, EDTA-2Na, Allantoin, Capone 2020, Triethanolamine, RH-40, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Hyaluronic Acid