piggy bank with money

It may not be cosmic justice, but it is cosmetic justice. I have written about -- and derided -- Euoko W-31 Extreme White Concentrate Ampoules, which could set you back over $8,000 a year and the hilarious Euoko Fractional Neck Lift Concentrate for $450 that was supposed to have crystals from Mars in it. Proving that the American beauty consumer is not that gullible, these rip-offs are no more (other than perhaps on an eBay outpost).

There are other scoundrels trying to pull a few more highly priced anti-aging cosmetics, giving new and decidedly evil meaning to the term "steals." Let’s see which of these are worth the money and which should go the way of Euoko.

Lifting Serums

STEAL: Natura Bisse Inhibit Tensolift ($730) boasts 70% active ingredients and of which there’s 40% octapeptide. After scrutinizing the ingredients, this turns out to be acetyl octapeptide-3, otherwise known as SNAP-8, a peptide that inhibits the formation of expression lines. The rest of the formula isn’t bad with the Matrixyl peptide, pumpkin seed, rye and mango butter. But nothing is such a standout that is can justify this price tag.

DEAL: BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Lift ($210 in the shop) looks to be quite the bargain next to Natura Bisse, . It is actually a great product, a hyaluronic acid serum featuring anti-aging heavy hitters Matrixyl 3000, SNAP-8 and Argireline. It is excellent at achieving tighter, plumper skin, as well as improving tone and radiance. It is a standout product.

Read the full review of BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Lift here and find more BRAD skincare products in the shop

DEAL: Tilth Beauty Eye Wondrous Serum ($62) rounds out SNAP-8 with plant stem cells, retinol and a bacteria called pseudoalteromonas ferment that is supposed to have a big impact on collagen production.

Read the full review of Tilth Beauty Eye Wondrous Serum here

"The Big Four" - Antiaging Serums

STEAL: Révive Peau Magnifique Youth Recruit ($1500). The other day, I came across Revive’s $500 hand cream and was reminded of the even more gobsmacking price tag of Révive Peau Magnifique Youth Recruit. The set of four vials lasts a month and, you’ll be relieved to know that a top up isn’t required for another six months, keeping your investment down to $3,000 a year. What you are paying for (other than some fillers such as corn starch) is "The Big Four." The first of these is the peptide combo known as Matrixyl 3000. Then there is epidermal growth factor (EGF) and a fibroblast growth factor (FGF). Last of The Big Four is telomerase, the enzyme that allows for replacement of short bits of DNA known as telomeres.

There are plenty of opportunities to find The Big Four without refinancing your home including:

DEAL: The E’shee range (which with a Cellular Repair Serum at $179 that I can make last three or four months is beginning to look quite reasonable), for example, uses FGF-1, which signals other FGFs to go about their business and produce collagen.

Read the full review of E'Shee Cellular Repair Serum here and find more E'Shee Clinical Esthetic products in the shop

DEAL:  Your Best Face Control ($160 in the shop) has Matrixyl 3000 and teprenone, which works on the telomeres to stabilize cell life. Although there are no growth factors in YBF Control, there are tons of peptides for addressing sagging skin and some powerful free radical scavengers.

Read the full review of Your Best Face Control here and find more YBF skincare products in the shop

Gold Creams

STEAL: Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Cream ($420). This is no pot at the end of the rainbow. Gold glimmers faintly as the second to last of a great many, mostly mediocre ingredients. Gold is now widely used in medicine as it is safe, doesn’t corrode and react with things. And there is anti-aging potential in that it has anti-inflammatory activities and may boost collagen III. All of which makes one wish for more from Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Cream.

DEAL: You can actually see the flakes of gold in Prana Spaceuticals 24K Gold Serum ($96 in the shop). With a paucity of hard research on gold’s efficacy in skincare, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of other credible ingredients in Prana AU24K such as Matrixyl 3000, plenty of B vitamins and good botanicals including pycnogenol.

Read the full review of Prana Spaceuticals 24K Gold Serum here and find more Prana skincare products in the shop

Facial Oils

STEAL: Despite the name, this is not another over-hyped potion with actual gold. In fact, HTY Gold Night ($180) is all about oil. Now I appreciate a good facial oil, but it is pretty scandalous to charge almost $200 for what is mostly palm oil. Let’s at least hope that HTY Gold sources it sustainably. The global demand for palm oil, a great deal of which is used to make soap, is responsible for a staggering amount of deforestation in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

DEAL: It is worth taking the time to get to know and love a good facial oil – they can deliver great antioxidants and encourage that dewy skin look. RMS Beauty Oil ($74) has beta carotene rich baruti oil, new tissue-promoting tamanu oil and several other anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant oils. Another lovely option is Red Flower Kinmoxei Wild Lime Silk Oil ($48 in the shop) formulated with over a dozen different oils that are designed to work together to stimulate blood flow, creating a healthy glow. Worth a call out is kinmoxei, a flower from a tree growing in southern Japan. The petals are blended with rice bran and monoi oils to enhance the moisturizing effects.

Read the full review of RMS Beauty Oil here and find more RMS Beauty products in the shop

Read the full review of Red Flower Kinmoxei Wild Lime Silk Oil here and find more Red Flower products in the shop

Eye Serums

STEAL: Chanel Sublimage Essential Regenerating Cream (.21 oz/$390) promises to give a new lease of life to “life factors” – whatever they are. Given the ingredients are mostly silicones and synthetics, the price tag isn’t expensive, it’s scandalous. The one interesting addition is neoruscogenin, which may stimulate blood circulation in the capillaries and treat under eye puffiness.

DEAL: Under eye puffiness and dark circles can be treated with an active ingredient called hesperidin. It can be found in Skinfinite LOL Eye Serum (.5oz/$49 in the shop). There are also tetrapeptides (EyeserylTM and HaloxylTM) to address eye puffiness, dark circles, firmness and tone around the eye. The list of good things goes on and on in an eye cream that would be great at any price.

Read the full review of Skinfinite LOL Eye Serum here and find more Skinfinite products in the shop