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Anti-aging skin care has become very complex. But that doesn’t always mean that a long and complicated formula is going to be the best. We’ve all confronted those eye-burners of an ingredients list where everything including the kitchen sink has been thrown in. So it is refreshing sometimes to see a more minimalist approach where there are just a handful of carefully chosen ingredients that really work. To make my point, I’ve picked out 10 great anti-aging products with less than 10 ingredients.
BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Lift (8)
There are some must-haves when it comes to anti-aging skin care actives, and BRAD has made sure that they are among the eight ingredients in BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Lift ($210 in the shop). Of course there’s the power peptide combo, collagen-boosting Matrixyl 3000, and the peptide roll-call continues with two that work as neurotransmitters to inhibit expression lines, SNAP-8 and Argireline. Then there’s vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.
Ingredients: Biophotonic Nano Hyaluronic Acid, Acelyl Hexapeptide-3 (Argireline), Palmitoyl Oligopeptide & Palmitoyl-Tetrapeptide-7 (Matrixyl 3000), Octapeptide (Snap-8), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Ester), Potassium Sorbate, Nitrogen
Your Best Face Private Reserve (5)
Your Best Face founder and formulator, Darrell Owens, had an epiphany when he created his first oil, Your Best Face Private Reserve ($75 in the shop): here was an opportunity to keep it really simple and focus his favorite actives. In a base of meadowfoam oil, there are spin trap and Lipochroman-6, both incredible free radical scavengers. There’s also vitamin E and that’s about it, with absolutely no nasties.
Ingredients in Original: Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Spin Trap (Phenyl Butyl Nitrone), Lipochroman-6 (Dimethylmethoxy Chro Manol), Vitamin E Succinate (D-Alpha Tocopherol Succinate), Sandalwood Oil
Eslor Brightening Activator Serum (6)
Looking for a vitamin serum? Here it is. Eslor Brightening Activator Serum ($110) has vitamins C, E and A. All are renowned for helping to brighten the skin and even out skin tone. There’s nothing else here apart from silicone and essential oils. Our tester saw plumper skin and a diminishment of fine lines.
Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Essential Oils
Medik8 Red Alert (7)
This extremely targeted formula has just one active ingredient that is cutting edge and remains quite rare. Medik8 Red Alert Solution (15ml/$60 in the shop) is based on teprenone, which helps stabilize our telomeres and, thus, cells live longer. It is also said to mend broken veins and calm rosacea – which in my experience Red Alert does and it has become a regular go-to. The formula is rounded out with vitamin E and sage extract.
Ingredients: Simmondsia Chinensis Oil, Cyclopentasiloxane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cyclohexasiloxane, Tocopherol Acetate, Teprenone, Salvia Officinalis Extract
S.W. Basics Toner (5)
S.W. Basics is a skincare company whose products are formulated with five ingredients or less. The S.W. Basics Toner ($24) is raw apple cider vinegar and witch hazel (I love that they name the farm that it comes from) and used overnight, it does a good job balancing the skin’s pH. The apple cider vinegar is high in AHAs, making it an exfoliator and witch hazel is an astringent and antioxidant. A great example of the S.W. Basics ethos: with no synthetics or fillers, but just the essentials, the products are more potent and the prices keen.
Ingredients: Water, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar*, Witch Hazel From Wild Crops Farm, Mo, Essential Oils Of Clary Sage* And Sandalwood*
Hyalogic Episilk Coenzyme Q10 Serum (9)
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like substance produced by the human body and is necessary for the basic functioning of cells. As a small molecule that can easily penetrate the skin, CoQ10 may boost skin repair and regeneration and reduce free radical damage. Studies have shown that it can repair wrinkles. Hyalogic Episilk Coenzyme Q10 Serum ($39.95) also has wheat protein and lactoperoxidase, an antioxidant enzyme found in milk. This serum is a good fine line reducer for those with sensitive skin.
Ingredients: Water, Jojoba Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Coenzyme Q10, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Vegetable Glycerin, Glucose, Lactoperoxidase, Glucose Oxidase
W3LL People Realist X (6)
This mineral finishing powder is part of my daily routine as it eliminates shine without leaving me with a ghostly pallor. As always with W3LL People, there’s a happy marriage of performance and purity. The main ingredient in W3LL People Realist X ($24) is sericite, a kind of mica. It is useful as a safe talc substitute in mineral makeup, a reflector of light with low luster and an absorber of oil. Also helpful for absorbing oil is kaolin, a fine and white clay. Keeping the skin soothed are aloe and chamomile and there’s antioxidant boost from green tea.
Ingredients: Sericite, Iron Oxides, Kaolin Clay, Organic Aloe Barbadenis (Aloe)*, Matricaria recutita (Chamomile)**, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea)*
AQ Skin Solutions Lash (9)
The key ingredient in AQ Lash ($135 in the shop) is a complex composition of human growth factors. These signal to cells to do things, such as repair wrinkles or grow lashes. It is given a helping hand by vitamin B and a peptide that is supposed to lessen the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) to improve the irrigation of the hair follicle. My lashes are stronger and darker with use of AQ Lash.
Ingredients: Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Panthenol, Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol
Arcona The Solution Pads (9)
Typical of Arcona’s bold approach to formulating, The Solution Pads ($45 in the shop) are simple but effective. They are pre-soaked with a powerful concentration of glycolic acid, my favorite free radical scavenger – spin trap, glucosamine and some antioxidant grape seed extract. And that’s more or less it. A great exfoliator and easy to use.
Ingredients: Agua (Distilled Water), Glycerine, Glycolic Acid Polymer, Beta Glucosamine, Beta Fructan, Spin Trap (Phenyl Butyl Nitrone), Lavandula Angustifolia Oil (Lavender), Vitis Vinifera Seed Extracts (Grape), Grapefruit Seed Extract (Citrus Grandis)
Hair Vitality Complex (6)
Copper peptides help the hair grow. It seems to work on the follicle in two ways: increasing follicle cell proliferation and decreasing programmed follicle cell death, which results in smaller follicles. Researchers have noted an increase in follicle size and concluded that copper works on hair growth in a similar way to minoxidil. Keeping the Hair Vitality Complex ($49 in the shop) formula all natural, the copper is given a boost by vitamin B and the preservative is radish root.
Ingredients: Reverse Osmosis Water, Copper Peptide Complex (Water, Glycine, L-Histidine, L-Lysine, L-Serine, L-Citrulline, Copper Chloride), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Vitamin B5, Leucidal (Radish Root Ferment), Triethanolamine Nf (DEA Free)