Catalyst has just been launched by Osmosis, makers of Replenish (a serum that was one of Truth In Aging’s best products of 2009). In the interests of science, I selflessly took up the challenge to try Catalyst, but unfortunately must conclude that it is not for me.

At $160 against Replenish’s $38, Catalyst doesn’t fall into the keen as mustard price category – I believe it is intended as a professional product. It makes a lot of claims: capillary repair, pigmentation reduction, wrinkle smoothing, and sun protection.

None of that transpired for me. On applying this brown, rather light and watery (eg not very viscous) serum, my skin immediately stung. And I don’t mean tingle. For several moments, it really burns. However, it does subside and I never once had any breakouts or visible inflammation. And, unfortunately, this wasn’t the only thing I found unpleasant about Catalyst. It was, for me, extremely drying. Perhaps it is the high concentration of alcohol.

Even with the addition of a moisturizing cream, over the weeks that I have been testing Catalyst, my skin just got drier and drier and wrinkles that I didn’t know I had started to appear. Although there is still plenty left in the bottle, I decided this morning to call it quits and raided my bathroom for cosmetic equivalents of comfort food (including the Glacial Facial mask, Amala’s Collagen Mask and Your Best Face’s very soothing Restore). I probably would have thrown in Cell CPR, but I’m fresh out.

I know that some of you have noticed that Catalyst is very similar to a product called Collametics, which was made by someone called Kevin Meehan. I asked Osmosis about this and it turns out that Mr Meehan was behind Catalyst and Osmosis is the exclusive distributor.

Not all skins are equal and other people may have a better experience with Catalyst and it is a product with good ingredients (more on those here), plus it is also supposed to make use of zinc finger technology. I don’t fully understand this, but a zinc finger is a finger-shaped protein fold that is formed by specific amino acids in protein that binds to a zinc ion. The shape allows them to interact with DNA.

Ingredients: Water, Calcium Ascorbate, Alchohol Denate, Proline, Glycine, Glycerin, Lysine HCL, Glucosyl Hesperidin, Zinc Gluconate, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Copper Gluconate, Silica, Clear Purified water, enhanced with the following frequencies: Fibroblast Growth Factor, Keratinocyte Growth Factor, Oxygen, ATP, Antibacterial