Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review: StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner

Review: StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner

Hi, friends! Wow, it's been awhile since I've done an in-depth skincare review, huh? Well, look no further! Today I'll be reviewing a product I've been testing out for the past couple of weeks: the new StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner. This is the first product from StriVectin that I've tried, but the brand seems to know what they're doing so I have high hopes. 

I received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Review: StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner



StriVectin concentrates on anti-aging skincare products, with a number of different cleansers, moisturizers, peels, serums, and retinol products. You might know them from their "Better than Botox?" campaign when they were promoting their stretch mark cream (spoilers: their products are not better than Botox--but that doesn't mean they're bad). 

About Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner:

This is a light lotion that contains retinol to combat enlarged pores, smooth skin texture, and fight against anti-aging. The directions on the back say it should be used as the last step in a skincare routine, and their website calls it a moisturizer, so I'd say it's somewhere in the middle between a moisturizer and a treatment.

"See pores half their size with Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner. Reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and refine texture for a smooth, even complexion. New Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner is a lightweight daily pore-minimizing lotion and anti aging moisturizer with Retinol that delivers both instant and long-term visible pore reduction. 96% of subjects had an immediate improvement in visible pore size after a single application.** Patented NIA-114™ technology nourishes the moisture barrier to provide visible age fighting efficacy as it limits the sensitivity common to Retinol use. The powerfully effective blend purifies and refines both skin tone and texture, while delivering superior age fighting benefits." - StriVectin's website

Review: StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner


    Aqua (Water, Eau), Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Myristyl Nicotinate, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Mica, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Lecithin, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Seed Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopherol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Bisabolol, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Plankton Extract, Salicylic Acid, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Oryzanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sorbitan Oleate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Behenyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/ Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Poloxamer 338, Polysorbate 80, Parfum (Fragrance), Disodium EDTA, Sorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, BHT, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491/ CI 77492/ CI 77499 (Iron Oxides)

    StriVectin says their patented "NIA-114" molecule technology can fight wrinkles, tighten and lift, brighten and perfect, target aging, reduce pores, and increase luminosity of skin. What a molecule, right? After some more Googling, I found myself at this page of StriVectin's site, though I don't know how to navigate to it from their homepage. They talk about it in a really "high science" way, that makes it sound complicated--people might think "if it's science, it must be good, right?"--but a little research elsewhere can break it down.

    Now, they don't state exactly what NIA-114 really is on their website, just that it's this magical molecule. But, this New York Times article states it's a form of niacin, or Vitamin B3. Many brands use niacin in a variety of different forms, such as Olay, but StriVectin is the only one who can use it in this molecular construct because of their patent.

    The article says it's not a replacement for Retin-A (a prescription grade retinol) but it does improve the skin barrier, makes skin feel softer, and reduce fine lines. So, it's a good ingredient to have in your routine. The whole article is really interesting. If you're a skincare ingredient nerd like me, I highly recommend you take at look at it.

    Let's zoom in on a few of the ingredients from the list.

    Myristyl Nicotinate - Here's the niacin (or nicotinic acid). It isn't the same as niacinimide (as you may see in Olay products) but it does perform similarly. It improves the skin's barrier and fights sun damage. Good stuff. 

    Apple Fruit Extract - I know I talk a lot about how plants can be irritating to the skin, but when they say "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," that also applies to skincare! Apple Fruit Extract provides antioxidants to the skin without the potential irritation. Good stuff. 

    Retinol - The stuff that everyone's after. Retinol is just Vitamin A by another name, usually when referring to the molecule. The most important part of the molecule is retinoic acid, which a cell-communicating ingredient (AKA it tells your skin cells what to do). When you think of "cell-communicating," just think of it putting your cells to work, instead of letting them slack off. This usually involves things like producing more cells, an action that slows down as you get older. Good stuff. 

    Rice Bran (Oryza Sativa) Extract - Protects and hydrates skin. If you have dry skin, it's a good ingredient to have in your products. Good stuff. 

    Salicylic Acid - If you see me talking about BHAs (or beta hydroxy acids), I'm talking about this. This is a fantastic ingredient that works as an exfoliant and an anti-inflammatory. It's great for treating acne because it cleans deep down into the pores and on the surface of the skin, so you're essentially getting squeaky clean without feeling stripped. The concentration of salicylic acid determines how well it works and how deep it cleans, but that isn't listed in the ingredients list so I can't say for sure. Good stuff. 

    Willow Bark Extract - Contains salicin (which should remind you of Salicylic Acid, because that's what it is before your body converts it). It requires such specific conditions for your body to turn it into salicylic acid that it usually doesn't wind up happening, but in this form it still contains antioxidants. Either way, it's good to have around. Good stuff.

    Lentil Seed Extract - Provides antioxidants. Good stuff. 

    Soybean (Glycine Soja Sterols) - An alcohol that comes from the soy plant. It's not a bad alcohol, though! This one can actually hydrate dry skin. Remember that not all alcohols are created equal! Good stuff.

    This does contain silicones (such as dimenthicone), so if you're sensitive to those I would stay away. Contrary to popular belief, it's pretty rare to be allergic or sensitive to silicone, but it's one of those things the media has taken up and ran with, so take what you will from that. If you're one of those people that actually are allergic to silicone, that sucks and I'm sorry. 

    Review: StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner

    Price and Availability 

    1.7oz [$99] - Bloomingdale'sMacy's, StriVectinUlta

    My Experience

    I consider my skin to be dry-combination. It gets dry and sometimes flaky in the winter, but becomes more normal in the summer. I often get blackheads on my nose, which results in enlarged pores over time. As a 22-year-old, I do not have wrinkles, but I'm a firm believer in starting anti-aging early. 

    After using this product daily for almost four weeks, these are my thoughts. 

    The Packaging:

    Review: StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner

    It comes in this great, opaque tube with a pump bottle. The fact that no sunlight can seep through the container means that the ingredients will stay fresh for longer. The fact that it's in a tube not only means it stays hygienic (you're not sticking your fingers in a jar every day, ew), but the fact that the ingredients aren't being exposed to air keeps them stable and effective. Retinol especially starts to break down in the presence of light, so the fact that StriVectin went the extra mile with the packaging makes all the difference. Could it get any better? 

    The Stuff Inside: 

    Review: StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner

    It's a light lotion. One pump is enough for my entire face. A perfect pump. I love when companies do that!

    My Experience 

    The directions tell you to use it AM and PM, but I have found that sunlight can actually deactivate retinol, so I would just use it at night. At $99, you don't want to waste it! I used it twice a day (AM and PM) for about a week and a half, just for testing purposes, and I found that my skin was not irritated in the slightest. My skin can be sensitive sometimes, but I had no problem with this product. Even though I don't think it's necessary, I also tried using a 2% BHA liquid exfoliant after cleansing (before this step), and I still didn't get any irritation. I don't see any ingredients in this product that could potentially irritate, though I suppose every skin type is different and everyone has those certain ingredients they're allergic or sensitive to.

    Review: StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner

    The instructions tell you to use this as the last step in your routine. Originally, I thought that it might be a final treatment step, but as I was reading up on the website later, I think they actually mean they want you to use this as a moisturizer. For my skin, even with all of the glycerin and emolient ingredients in this, this lotion is in no way enough moisture for my skin. Even with a hydrating serum, I need to put this over a moisturizer. It might be different for you, especially if you have oily skin. 

    After almost four weeks, I did see a difference in my pores. The blackheads in my pores were not all gone, but I did see that my pore size was smaller (especially on the right side of my nose, where I get more blackheads on for some reason). In terms of pore size and blackheads, I found that this worked well, but not as well as my prescription retinol treatment (Adapalene, the generic name for Differin) that I get from my dermatologist. For $99, I can buy almost seven bottles of Differin. However, the StriVectin product isn't only retinol, but a bunch of different beneficial ingredients that work well together. Plus, Differin is targeted at acne-prone skin for blackheads and pore size, while StriVectin's product is more focused on anti-aging. They're both great products. It just depends on your budget and what you want retinol to do for you.

    The Verdict

    • Ingredient-conscious packaging
    • A ton of beneficial ingredients
    • Non-irritating (for me, at least) 
    • Fragrance-free

    • Expensive 

    All in all, I've really been enjoying this product! It's jam-packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and they're going to stay effective in their packaging until the very last pump/ I have seen a difference in my pores with this product, and I think it's a slam dunk. My only gripe is the price. I guess I better start saving up for the next bottle now! 

    What's your favorite anti-aging skincare product?

    Want to see more reviews? Or talk about some nerdy skincare ingredients with me? 

    Let's be friends!

    Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Bloglovin' | Google + | Email Newsletter

    Disclaimer: This product was given to me complimentary by iFabbo to review.  I did not receive any monetary compensation in exchange for this post. Ingredient information courtesy of Paula's Choice Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary.