Truth In Aging was recently sent a stash of samples from a skincare company called Retrospect that specializes in keratin-based products. Emily pounced on the Retrospect Feet, Knees, & Elbows and loved it, while I made away with the Flash Firm Eye Gel ($70), which I am very impressed with. It does what it says on the tin, it firms in a flash. Yet it isn’t just for immediate gratification – the longer term effects are good too. Furthermore, as Emily noted, the company’s keratin technology is really interesting.

Initially, I didn’t expect to be wowed by Retrospect Flash Firm Eye Gel. Yes, it has keratin, but you know me and my snobby propensity to jump on the latest designer peptide or growth factor. I was a little dubious of the “flash” part and was prepared to dislike the dispenser with its three little metal roller balls. But Retrospect has won me over with its instant cooling and tightening effect (excellent on puffy eye mornings) and longer term notable smoothing of fine lines. My only gripe (well, actually I have a couple more regarding the ingredients, but I’ll come on to those later) is that it can only be used under the eye and I have to use another eye cream (such as AQ Eye Serum or Your Best Face Correct) for the lids.

The effectiveness of Retrospect’s light eye gel is likely down to the keratin since there is no other active here (apart from lactic acid). Keratin is a protein that is a major component in skin, hair, nails and teeth. Depending on the various amino acids that combine to form keratin, it can be inflexible and hard (toe nails) or soft (skin).

Retrospect takes keratin extremely seriously since it is the cosmetic brand of Keraplast Technologies, a developer and manufacturer of keratin products. Keraplast’s approach is to combine three types of keratin: oxidized keratins, intact keratin proteins and keratin peptides. The point is that different types of keratin do different things, for cells, skin and hair, and Keraplast claims that its keratin technologies can distinguish between them get the right job done. Hence, it calls its technology “functional keratin.”

With keratin and hydrolyzed keratin taking center stage, there isn’t much else going on in this simple formula. The only things not to like are the preservative phenoxyethanol, the pH balancer sodium hydroxide and tetrasodium EDTA. Nonetheless, I am interested in getting to know more of the Retrospect line.

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Keratin and Hydrolysed Keratin, Potassium Sorbate, Carbomer, PVP, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin Sodium Hydroxide, Lactic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA