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Good Housekeeping was touting its new book, 7 Years Younger, a New York Times Bestseller on the Today show, where the magazine’s beauty editor treated Hoda and Kathie Lee to her recommendations for anti-aging potions and lotions to make you look seven years younger. Here’s my take on them and some alternatives that might actually work without subjecting you to a cocktail of chemicals.
Boots No. 7 Advanced Renewal Anti-Aging Glycolic Peel Kit ($24.99)
I don’t know what possessed Good Housekeeping to give this product its seal of approval. It is truly horrible. Fortunately the process of mixing the peel and using neutralizing pads will put most people off using it too often. The peel mixture is basically glycolic acid, which is fine. But there is a high dose of drying and potentially irritating alcohol, sodium hydroxide and tetrasodium EDTA (known irritants that are also linked to cancer) as well as phenoxyethanol (a possible neurotoxin). I don’t really understand the point of the Neutralizing Pads, other than as a carrier for every paraben (a controversial preservative) known to man and the irritant and penetration enhancer propylene glycol.
If glycolic acid (a good exfoliator) with pads is your thing, then consider Arcona’s natural alternative with no nasties. I like Arcona’s The Solution Pads ($42) so much that I bought a tub when my tester ran out. They are pre-soaked (so unlike No. 7, no mixing) and in addition to glycolic acid and pH balancing beta glucosamine, there is the excellent free radical fighter spin trap. There’s also Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel ($45 in the shop), which is effective and organic as well as natural, and the lovely Restorative Exfoliating Gel Mask with glycolic acid by La Vie Celeste ($60 in the shop).
Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum ($39.50)
I looked at Clinique’s pore closer a while back and noted that there were a lot of silicone crosspolymers and silicon-based surfactants. If you can get past them, there are some convincing ingredients, including the botanical extract Salvia Sclarea (clary). This can restrain excessively oily complexions. Another helpful ingredient is nordihydroguaiaretic acid, which corrects the abnormal shedding of skin cells (hyperkeratinization) that cause skin pores to clog.
For some alternatives, I would suggest Skinfinite Platinum PM Cream 1% Retinol ($79 in the shop). This also features nordihydroguaiaretic acid, retinol (one of our Five Best with retinol serums of 2012) and a host of anti-aging ingredients. Our tester found it hydrating as well as skin refining. Clary is featured in the ever popular Mad Hippie Vitamin C ($30 in the shop) serum. I personally use Sevani’s Rapid Renewal Resurfacing Crème ($68 in the shop) with alpha hydroxy acids, which I rub on my nose and wherever I am prone to large pores, preceded by my trusty Clarisonic brush, which is excellent for ridding the skin of the dead cells and dirt that can block pores.
Elizabeth Arden Lift & Firm Day Cream ($72)
Elizabeth Arden is all about ceramides. And that’s fair enough. For years, ceramides were thought of simply as a structural component to the lipid bilayer of all cell membranes, including the upper layer of skin. Interestingly, though, recent studies reveal that they can also act as a signaling molecule that send messages to the rest of the body and they have been confirmed as useful anti-agers in topical applications. The problem is that this Elizabeth Arden Day Cream has a cocktail of chemical sunscreens, silicones, mineral oil and a host of other things unworthy for my skin.
Thankfully, ceramide features in many of Snowberry’s organic and natural products, including the Cellular Regeneration Night Cream, which gives the skin a healthy and moisturized glow. Snowberry Rich Nourishing Day Cream is a rich and heavy-hitting day cream that is absolutely jam packed with antioxidants, peptides and, of course, ceramide-3. Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum ($35 in the shop) exfoliates with lactic and glycolic acids, brightens with a botanical complex called Gigawhite, and has the peptide Matrixyl 3000 and ceramide-3. Read the full review. Ceramide is also a favorite of Osmotics and is in its classic Osmotics Anti-Radical Age Defense ($111 in the shop). This anti-aging treatment attacks free radicals that damage skin cells in three different ways, with carnosine and aldenine as well as ceramide.
L’Oreal Revitalift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Night Lotion ($19.99)
This is almost a joke. The main ingredient after water is mineral oil. The only useful ingredients are glycerin, shea butter and cocoa seed. It isn’t even worth commenting on the rest. The best thing about it is the price, so if you want something that competes dollar for dollar, it is worth looking at the Sheer Miracle range. Its Lift It Firming Serum ($25 in the shop) has mostly great ingredients and its Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum is just what it says it is for a mere $17 in the shop. If you really want a night cream that can “deep-set wrinkle repair” then look at our tester’s results (with before and after pictures) after using the Skin Nutrition Night Cream.
Ingredients in Boots No. 7 Gentle Glycolic Peel: Aqua (Water), Alcohol denat, Glycolic acid, Glycerin, Sodium hydroxide, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium EDTA
Ingredients in Boots No. 7 Soft Neutralising Pads: Aqua (Water), Butylene glycol, Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Panthenol, Methylparaben, Polyaminopropyl biguanide, Propylene glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice) root extract, Sorbitol, Cetraria islandica extract, Phenoxyethanol, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben
Ingredients in Clinique Pore Refining Correcting Serum: Dimethicone, water, polysilicone-11, alcohol denat, acetyl glucosamine, peg-10 dimethicone, butylene glycol, rosemary leaf extract, saw palmetto fruit extract, St paul’s wort extract, clary extract, sea whip extract, laminaria saccharina, caffeine, pantethine, hydrolyzed soy, peg-11 methyl ether dimethicone, algae extract, polysorbate-20 salicylic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, tocopheryl acetate, caprylyl glycol, sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, lecithin, isohexadecane, DI-C12-18 Alkyl Dimonium Chloride, polysorbate 80, hydrogenated lecithin, polymethyl methacrylate, coconut acid, padina pavonica thallus, nordihydroguaiaretic acid, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP copolymer, acrylyamide/sodium acryloyldimethyltaurate copolymer, silica, citric acid, hexylene glycol, ascorbyl tocopherol maleate, sodium hydroxide, disodium edta, phenoxyethanol, titanium dioxide, iron oxides, mica
Ingredients in Elizabeth Arden Lift & Firm Day Cream: (Active) Octinoxate 7.5 % W/W, Oxybenzone 5.0 % W/W, Octisalate 5.0 % W/W, Octocrylene 2.2 % W/W, Avobenzone 2.0 % W/W (Other) Water/Aqua/Eau, Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Extract, Ppg-2 Isoceteth-20 Acetate, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ceramide 1, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6 Ii, Alpinia Speciosa Leaf Extract, Hibiscus Abelmoschuss Seed Extract, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Retinyl Linoleate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Isohexadecane, Acetyl Octapeptide-3, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Pca, Trehalose,Urea, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Lecithin, Phospholipids, Phytosphingosine, Polyphosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate, Sucrose, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cholesterol, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polysorbate 80, Trideceth-6, Acrylamide/Sodium Acrylate Copolymer, Polyquaternium-51, Peg-8, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Bht, Mineral Oil/Paraffinum Liquidum/Huile Minérale, Dimethiconol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Parfum/Fragrance, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Benzoate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citral, Citronellol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, Benzoic Acid, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Propylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Red 4 (Ci 14700), Yellow 6 (Ci 15985)
Ingredients in L’Oreal night lotion: Water, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Glycerin, Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter (Cocoa), Dimethicone, Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Ethylhexl Glycerin, Carbomer, Ceteareth 20, DMDM Hydantoin, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Titanium Dioxide, Fragrance, Panthenol, Citric Acid