Our Rating: 4 stars

Reviewed by Nina

I’m in my early 30s, the age at which dermatologists and fashion magazines start pushing retinols as the number one, non-invasive way to stave off aging. Luckily, there’s TIA to teach us about the finite number of times cells can turnover (Hayflick’s), and about peptides, which do the same good as retinols, without the long-term damage. And so I’ve dared to stay off vitamin A, even as I’ve been near-desperate to try a peptide brew. Thus I was overjoyed when I received the newly reformulated YBF Control ($160 in the TIA shop). Like retinols, YBF Control says it “reduces deep wrinkles, repairs sun damage and rejuvenates the complexion.” Nearly verbatim the same promises that Roc keeps, so these early 30s seem like a fine age to integrate YBF into your skincare routine; and given that I have fine lines, but not deep wrinkles, I was excited to get my ten years and therefore early twenties back, sans exhausting cellular reincarnation.

YBF and I had a rough start, and I was initially convinced that I was going to reject this $160 cream. But I stayed the course and last night a friend gushed about how fabulous my skin looked, and then actually demanded my leftover YBF. My early problem with Control was excessive dryness. I’m eczemic, so my skin may require more coddling, but after two weeks of skin so tight and dry it looked like YBF was giving me wrinkles, I was drafting my strongly worded rejection. Some places, including my cheeks and forehead, were soft and silky; around my eyes I looked mummified. And it wasn’t dermatitis, my skin was just papery. So Control may be like Roc not only in promise, but in that it breaks you down before it builds you back up; alternatively, the problem may have been withdrawal from the heavier night creams and coconut oil I use at bedtime. Anyways, be warned, there may be an uncomfortable adjustment period; like so many tribulations, there’s a pay-off.

By week two, my skin and I were softening. I have fine lines beneath my eyes that crinkle when I smile, fine lines on my forehead, and one ever-present smile line to the left of my mouth thanks to my habit of half-smiling on that side (a distinction I kinda like, but one I’m willing to sacrifice in the name of verifying and debunking). After using YBF, my forehead has smoothed, the lines beneath my eyes have all but vanished, and the skin there stays firm and smooth when I smile! My signature left-side crease has also faded, though not totally disappeared (but I do smile that half-smile quite a bit).

When I think about how YBF has worked on my skin, I don’t so much think of it as a wrinkle smoother as I do a face filler. Overall my face is plumper, and for this I am exceedingly grateful. A long-term illness left me slightly gaunt, and I’ve had a hard time re-cushioning my face (unlike certain other parts). Now my face looks pillowy: my cheeks have more curve and contour, and my skin is springier, less malleable when I smoosh it and not as yielding when I tug it. I dare say I got my ten years back!

Control is filled with all kinds of poly-syllabic laboratory breakthroughs, of which I’ll share a few: The second ingredient, just after reverse osmosis water, is Relistase. Relistase is a tetrapeptide and one of the ingredients that I can thank for my improved elasticity. It protects elastin from UV and pollution damage, boosts collagen production and improves connective tissue “tensile strength,” all of which promote firmer, more elastic skin.

Uber-famous Matrixyl 3000 also makes an appearance. Matrixyl 3000 is the marriage of two fine peptides that together stimulate the skin’s production of collagen, elastin and moisture-booster hyaluronic acid.

Also in the pot are tetrahydrocurcuminoids, which are derived from Curcuma Long (tumeric root). Tetrahydrocurcuminoids, aka the other TCH (really) protect against UV radiation and, by inhibiting oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine, they also prevent against dark spots. They’re anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and THCs protect your skin from the “rancidity of the fat components” in cosmetics (just in case you needed something new to worry about).

Control is great for day use. The lightweight, quick-absorbing formula works perfectly beneath makeup and sunscreen, and it made my skin glowy, but never greasy. I was disappointed at night, I like my heavy creams and oils and now that this test is over, I’m going to layer.

My one problem with YBF Control is the price tag. It hurts to fall in love with a cream that sets you back $160 per one-ounce bottle. But, some studies speculate that because peptides may rebuild connective tissue, their effects stay strong. So if you can afford it, (and if I can give up Starbucks), I’d say YBF is well-worth the big money spent.

Ingredients: Reverse osmosis water, Relistase (glycerin, acetylarginyltryptophyl diphenylglycine, Syn-Hycan (tetradecyl Aminobutyroylvalylaminobutyric urea trifluoroacetate, magneisum chloride, glycerin), Syn-Tacks (glycerin, palmitoyl dipeptide-5 diaminobutyroyl hydroxythreonine, palmitoyl dipeptide-5 diaminohydroxybutyrate), Matrixyl 3000 (glycerin, butylene glycol, carbomer, polysorbate-20, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tripeptide-3), nylon-12, olivem (cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate), Renovage (triglyceride, teprenone), olive squalane, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (vitamin C), ethoxydiglycol, dimethylisosorbide, meadowfoam seed oil, trans resveratrol, spin trap (phenyl butyl nitrone), vitamin e, c10-c30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, leucidal, lipochroman-6 (dimethylmethoxy chromanol), sodium hyaluronate, coenzyme Q10, tetrahydrocurcuminoids, alpha lipoic acid (R-lipoic acid), trithanolaminea