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What I'm Testing Now

Marta Wohrle
December 1, 2015 Reviewed by Marta 5 Comments

I’ve been reaching out far and wide for cutting edge anti-aging products and as a result my test bed has some new brands, unusual formulations and something claiming to be drone technology. You read it here first! As usual I’ll be reviewing my ­testers after around 30-60 days, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of what could be (or not) some of Truth In Aging’s new picks for 2016.

The most interesting is an active-packed eye oil called Niod Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate ($65). This where the drone comes into play. Niod encapsulates its peptides in a special polymer that is supposed to target the fibroblast before releasing the active with drone-like precision. And as if that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s a new peptide: methyl-glucoside-6-phosphate and it is credited with boosting collagen (although there isn’t much independent information about it). There are nearly 30 actives in Niod, so I’ll confine myself here to just another that is new to me, n-acetyl-glucosamine. This occurs naturally in our bodies, occupying the space in the skin between cells, and is responsible for maintaining the skin’s barrier abilities. I’m not wild about oils for the eye, but Niod is really growing on me and its formula seems to be packing a punch (especially when it comes to lid lifting).  

My quest for a neck cream that actually works brought in the wonderful Dr. Dennis Gross Neck Emulsion ($75 in the shop) and one that I am still trying out, Senté Neck Firming Cream ($102). Senté also has a very interesting schtick with its secret sauce being heparan sulfate. There’s also a couple of peptides and some oat kernel, but everything is really riding on heparin sulfate. So what is it? Senté calls it the master molecule for age management. In fact, it is a member of the glycosaminoglycan family, proteins responsible for collagen and elastin. Heparan sulfate chains seem to be very complex and diverse, interacting with growth factors, chemokines, extracellular matrix components, enzymes, and more. So it is a bit of a stretch to appreciate how the molecule in a cream will do its thing. Anyway, I’ll be reading up on this issue as heparin sulfate does appear to be important with regards to aging and will write up an ingredient spotlight.

Hand creams are underrated in my opinion and it is rare to find a really good one. So I was excited to come across a brand called HAND Chemistry and a hand cream ($20) with copper peptides. Other ingredients of interest include a bacteria called pseudoalteromonas ferment, comprised of three amino acid residues and capable of retaining moisture. So too is tremella, a natural alternative to hyaluronic acid. This is a fairly dense cream that is keeping my nails and hands hydrated.

A sister brand to HAND Chemistry is Grow Gorgeous and I am trying the Grow Gorgeous Hair Grow Serum Intense ($50). Although the formula is not completely without unwanted PEGs, chemical fragrance and solvents such as propylene glycol, there are some good plant extracts and a peptide associated with hair growth. I don’t know whether it will have a long term effect on growing hair as I am only a few weeks into my test, but I do find there is instant gratification with some immediate volume after applying and then blow drying.

Makeup that claims to be “beneficial to the skin, efficacious, eco-conscious, cruelty-free and non-irritating” tends to be an oxymoron — at least with regard to the efficacious part. So I was very pleasantly surprised by Hynt Lipstick Aria Lipstick ($29). A truly creamy lipstick, it is supremely comfortable to wear and it passed the glass of water test with flying colors (that remained on me for several hours). While my tester shade is not quite me, I appreciate the color intensity. There are even fatty acids that are good for you and a no-nasties formula. My colleague, Maura, is also testing the Hynt eye shadow.

That water-retaining bacteria in the Niod eye serum mentioned above is also a feature of a new moisturizer from Stemulation — Stemulation Drench Daily Hydration ($195). This is a thick cream that somehow instantly makes the skin look whiter and smoother. I need a few more weeks before commenting on the long-term effects, but the early signs are good with the exception that I don’t care for the scent, which I find powerfully floral.

More out of curiosity than anything else, I tried out Bionova Nose-to-Mouth Wrinkle Treatment with UV Chromophores ($66). I came across this a few weeks ago and wrote an article about its formula of no less than 170 ingredients. For someone with upper lip lines, I remarked that a nose to mouth cream is not to be sniffed at. This turned out to be an ironically prescient statement. This cream smells vile. I bravely continued to use it for three weeks, but the pong got the better of me and I haven’t really seen any results.

It has been a long time since I’ve tried out an eyelash growth product. We’ve curated the selection in the shop to just one that seems to work, AQ Lash ($135 in the shop) The one I am trying out is from a German company called SA3 Magic Lashes. For sure there is a peptide that is in most (non-prostaglandin) lash growth products, but I was intrigued by Black Sea rod oil. This is an underwater bushy coral and it turns out to have a large amount of a certain type of prostaglandin. Synthetic prostaglandins used in products such as Latisse can have horrible side-effects, so let’s hope this natural version doesn’t. Having said that, fish that eat this coral are pretty sick afterwards and this prostaglandin seems to act as a muscle relaxant. Ahh, the things I do in the interest of science.

  • December 8, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Melanie, I'm actually loving it. In a nutshell: firming. I'm impressed.

  • December 7, 2015

    by Melanie

    I'm very curious to read more of your thoughts in NIOD. It's an interesting range.

  • December 3, 2015

    by Marta

    Why thank you kindly Diane. The photographer deserves all the credit, my old friend and former colleague Amy Fletcher. She does corporate headshots, but always using natural light and I think she did a smashing job. If anyone is interested, please visit her website:

  • December 3, 2015

    by Diane

    Hi Marta I just had to put it out there, you are looking truely gorgeous in that photo, whatever you are doing it's working.

  • December 2, 2015

    by Lily

    I though I would just chime in and say that any formulation with Peptides is good for the skin especially during winter. My dermatologist told me to start using peptides when I turned 50, now i'm 56 and my skin looks better than when I was in my 40's... so keep testing and recommending those peptides!

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