Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Drugstore Dupe:
Estée Lauder Perfectionist [CP+]
Wrinkle Lifting Serum Vs.
Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum

Everyone likes a deal, though many of us hesitate when it comes to bargaining with our skin and makeup. While I'll admit to some benefits prestige beauty holds over mass-market, you shouldn't assume that you get what you pay for. There are tons of great deals to be had out there, and because of this, I'm introducing a feature I call Drugstore Dupe.

Today's dupe: Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum -vs-

Here's the lineup:

Estée Lauder's Perfectionist [CP+] Wrinkle Lifting Serum: 1.7oz for $80.

The company claims this product: "dramatically reduces the appearance of lines, wrinkles and age spots"

According to Estée Lauder, key ingredients include:

Acetyl hexapeptide (aka. Argireline): Marketed as a topical alternative to Botox, this peptide, in injectable form, has been found to prevent muscles from contracting, which gives the skin a smoother appearance. This effect, however, is only applicable when the ingredient is injected- topically applied it can't penetrate the skin deep enough to reach nerve receptors. This peptide is helpful in that, like other peptides, it stimulates collagen production in the skin.

Palmitoyl oligopeptide: Like other peptides, this ingredient stimulates the skin's ability to produce collagen. Collagen helps the skin retain moisture, and, along with elastin, it creates the skin's major support system. Thus, more collagen production means firmer skin. A possible down side to palmitoyl oligopeptide is that it has been found to slow the growth of elastin in the skin.

Mulberry (morus nigra) extract: Used to inhibit the production of melanin in the skin. Melanin is the pigment that colors our skin, it is what makes the skin tone deepen in the sun, and it is also what causes the brown spots known as age, sun, or liver spots. Mulberry root stops the chemical reaction that exacerbates dark spots, enabling the skin's natural exfoliation process to fade them over time.

Grape (vitis vinifera) extract: An anti-oxidant.

Scutellaria baicalensis extract (aka. Chinese skullcap extract): An anti-oxidant with soothing, anti-inflammatory properties.

This is what I see when I take a closer look:

The first five ingredients in Perfectionist, aside from water, are all various types of silicones. This is what gives Perfectionist it's silky, slippery feeling. Silicones act as moisture binders and skin protectants, forming a barrier to hold in moisture and keep out irritants. While they provide a nice feel and some benefits, they are by no means rare or expensive ingredients- you can find silicone in everything from shampoo to generic, store brand body lotion.

The claim that this serum will "dramatically" reduce age spots seems a little sketchy to me. The main ingredients addressing this concern, according to Estée Lauder, are mulberry, grape and skullcap extracts. While mullberry extract may be effective in inhibiting melanin production, the science behind the other 2 ingredients is limited. Skullcap extract does nothing to inhibit pigment production, but since hyperpigmentation can be exacerbated by inflammation, skullcap's effects as an anti-inflammatory may be helpful. Lauder also lists grape extract as a spot-reducing ingredient, but I couldn't find reference to it as anything but an anti-oxidant. On the plus side, the addition of licorice root extract (another anti-inflammatory) may provide some help in addition to the other extracts. Another plus is that all four ingredients appear rather high up on the ingredient list, along with other humectants, skin conditioners and moisture binding ingredients.

The anti-wrinkle ingredients in the formula (the two peptides) actually appear pretty far down on the ingredient list (the acetyl hexapeptide-8 is 43rd if my count is correct, pamitoyl oligopeptide is 51st.) The higher up an ingredient is on the list, the more of it there is in the product. Once the amount is under 1%, the ingredients can be listed in any order. Obviously I'm not a cosmetic chemist or dermatologist, I have no way of knowing the concentration of peptides in Perfectionist and even if I did, it's not clear what level is necessary for effectiveness. This is just something to keep in mind when comparison shopping. I should mention, there are quite a few ingredients listed (grape and chamomile extracts, and linoleic acid for instance) that act as anti-oxidants; while these ingredients will not correct damage that has already been done, they may help to prevent new wrinkles and dark spots.

Now let's see how our Drugstore Dupe measures up:

Olay's Regenerist Regenerating Serum: 1.7oz for around $15-$19. (depending on the retailer, coupons are also sometimes available)

The company claims this product: "Hydrates for firmer, visibly lifted, younger-looking skin without drastic measures. Instantly the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is softened and skin's texture is improved. Over time your skin will be visibly firmer and more elastic."

According to Olay, the key ingredients include:

amino-peptide (aka. palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, palmitoyl pentapeptide-3, Matrixyl): Stimulates the skin's collagen production, which decreases wrinkles and has been shown to speed wound healing. It also helps the skin to produce hyaluronic acid, which moisturizes the skin and helps it retain moisture.

B3 complex (aka. niacinamide): This ingredient could be, in part, why Olay's Regenerating Serum's ingredient list is so much shorter than Lauder's Perfectionist; niacinamide is a multi-threat! There is strong scientific support showing that it increases the skin's elasticity, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, sun spots, redness, and skin sallowness. It also helps to repair and maintain the skin's natural protective barrier by increasing the ceramide content in the skin. This helps make sensitive skin more tolerant and also helps alleviate some symptoms of rosacea, such as redness and inflammation. On top of all of this, niacinamide has anti-oxidant properties, and is an excellent hydrator that may even help treat acne!

Olay Moisture: Exactly what "Olay Moisture" is may be a trade secret, but this formula includes glycerin, which helps skin retain moisture, panthenol (aka. vitamin B-5) which may be effective for both moisurization and wound healing, and vitamin E which, in addition it's highly proven antioxidant properties, reduces water loss from the skin and strengthens it's protective barrier.

And a closer look shows...

As with Lauder's Perfectionist, most of the top ingredients in Olay's Regenerating Serum are silicone, however, many of Olay's active ingredients appear higher up on the ingredient list. The formula also contains carnosine, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that may slow the production of AGEs (short for "advanced glycation endproduct".) AGEs are abnormal structures that cause damage to the skin's elasticity, resulting in progressive aging. By stopping the production of AGEs, it may be possible to slow the aging process. Olay's formula also contains powerful antioxidants in the form of Vitamin E and Green Tea extract.

The Verdict:

Save your money, try the Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum.

I was actually surprised at how much better the Olay product seems. At first glance, Lauder's ingredient list is so long, you'd assume it has to have more of the good stuff in it. When I did the research, however, I found that many of Perfectionist's ingredients (especially the botanicals) had little substantial science behind them. Then, there's always the fact that, if you're sensitive like I am, more ingredients simply means more to react to.

In my opinion, Olay's formula has a leg up on Lauder's. The anti-aging ingredients contained in Regenerist seem to have stronger scientific backing and fewer potential pitfalls that those in Perfectionist. It also seems as if Olay's active ingredients may be present in higher concentrations that Lauder's. Like I said, I'm not a chemist, but all of Olay's key ingredients fall in the first half of the formula's list- the same can't be said for Lauder's.

When it comes down to it, the science behind Olay's Regenerating Serum seems more sound, and the price can't be beat. Keep an eye out for coupons and sales (which, btw, you'll never find at an Estée Lauder counter) and let me know what you think!


Lo said...

I just got all gaga eyed.

Jessica said...

Not too much sciency mumbo-jumbo for you? :)

Lo said...

Nope. You did an awesome job.

Anonymous said...

Another perk of the Olay (which I use, BTW) is it comes in an SPF 50 version. How can you compare?

Jessica said...


Great point! Incase anyone is wondering, the product Grey is talking about is Olay Regenerist UV Defense Regenerating Lotion SPF 50.

Though it's more of a moisturizer than a treatment like the Regenerating Serum, it has the same active ingredients, in similar quantities. Looking at the moisturizing ingredients makes me think it would be best for normal to oily skin, but could easily be used as a treatment/SPF underneath a richer moisturizer for dry skin types.

Grey is right- you can't compare. Does that make this post superfluous? ;)

Anonymous said...

Fabulous article, and well laid out. Thank you! I look forward to more dupes.

Anonymous said...

Just came across this, any views on the CP+R??

Jessica said...

Great question about the newer Perfectionist, Anon! Keep an eye out for a update post soon :)

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