Dermatologists and beauty buffs have long hailed active ingredients like retinol and vitamin C as skin care must-haves. But not every product is created equally. And as luxury skin care brand Exponent Beauty discovered through independent research, the top 25-selling clinical skin care products contain active ingredients that degrade by 40% within just eight weeks of opening them. With the goal of finding a solution for active-rich products that aren’t quite delivering, Exponent Beauty was created — along with a patented system that keeps your active powders separate from your hydrating base until the moment you use them. The resulting dispenser precisely measures out a single dose of your serum without creating any extra work on your part and without compromising on the elegant packaging you’ve come to expect from a luxury brand.
What Sets The Brand Apart?
If you’re loyal to a vitamin C serum or retinol cream, you’ve probably already heard that these types of active ingredients are known to be unstable. That’s because things like exposure to air, light, and water can cause them to break down. Exponent’s founder and CEO, Elizabeth Whitman, saw this firsthand as president of Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door Spa, where she would watch the estheticians mix ingredients on the spot for a more potent treatment. That prompted Whitman to commission a lab study surrounding the potency of some of the top-selling skin care products, and, following the lackluster results, motivated her to form her own team of beauty industry experts to develop a solution.
Following three years of research, development, and yes, plenty of testing, Exponent was born. And while its unique delivery system is what makes each formula so effective, the brand has also prioritized the look of its products and their impact on the planet. The sculptural bottles were designed to resemble vintage fragrance bottles, with each hydrator being made up of a white base, which is then paired with a colorful powder dispenser top that’s worthy of a place on your vanity. Additionally, the brand has been certified as a B Corporation for its social and environmental standards, which include designing a refillable system and using packaging and shipping materials made from post-consumer recycled and reused materials.
How Do The Products Work?
Each active ingredient is offered in the form of a system, which comes with four parts: a hyaluronic acid hydrator, a refillable base to house that hydrator, a powder jar with your active ingredient of choice, and a globe and powder dispenser to house that active. The initial assembly of the four pieces into a unit is the most time-consuming part, but once it’s set up, using the serum on a daily basis is entirely foolproof. Exponent perfected the dispenser so that when you press down on the top and give it a twist in a clockwise direction, an individual dose of powder and liquid hydrator is dispensed, which you can then quickly mix with your fingers and apply directly to your face, just as you would with any other serum.
What Products Should I Start With?
Whether you’re looking to revamp your skin care routine entirely or you want to put Exponent’s self-activated skin care system to the test before committing, there’s a best-seller to try. No matter which product you choose, all of the line’s offerings are vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated without parabens, phthalates, sulfates, talc, formaldehyde releasers, gluten, alcohol, artificial dyes, and synthetic fragrances.
Time Rewind Retinol System
Like any retinol serum, Exponent’s Time Rewind Retinol System was designed to tackle everything from an uneven complexion to a loss of elasticity to breakouts. The key difference is that the 0.25% retinol used in the formula is kept in a more potent powder state until the moment that you use it. The Quadruple Hyaluronic Acid Hydrator that you mix your active powder with is also helpful when it comes to combating signs of retinization (the redness, dryness, and peeling that can occur with a retinol product), as it contains four types of hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and panthenol to moisturize the skin.
Once you’ve dispensed the powder and hydrator, you’ll want to mix the two components with your finger for about eight seconds before applying the serum to your just-cleansed face. You should follow up with your favorite moisturizer, and Exponent recommends reserving this serum for nighttime use to ensure that it remains at its most potent level.
Brightening Boost Vitamin C System
If it’s more brightening benefits that you’re after, try the vitamin C system. The two-part system combines Exponent’s Quadruple Hyaluronic Acid Hydrator base with a 10% concentration of vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid powder to help fade unwanted hyperpigmentation, boost collagen production, and protect skin from free radical damage caused by things like sun exposure, pollution, and smoking. This one is best applied in the morning (just before your SPF) since it provides additional protection from environmental exposure, and you’ll need to mix the powder and hydrator for about 15 seconds for the most potent serum.
Firming Filter CoQ10 System
Though not as well-known as retinol and vitamin C, coenzyme Q10 (aka CoQ10) is another multi-tasking antioxidant that’s been gaining popularity. If you have sensitive skin that doesn’t tolerate retinol well or you’re looking for a no-fuss serum that you can apply morning and night, Exponent’s CoQ10 system is an especially good option because CoQ10 can help stimulate collagen production and protect from free radical damage, while also promoting firmer skin. There’s a 0.5% concentration of the antioxidant in the Exponent powder, and the brand recommends mixing the dispensed powder and Quadruple Hyaluronic Acid Hydrator for eight seconds before applying evenly over your face.
Bestsellers Discover Set
If you’re not quite sure where to start, Exponent’s Bestsellers Discovery Set gives you an introduction to all of its top serums — for less than $50. Each box comes with nine individually sealed powder jars (three each of the retinol, vitamin C, and CoQ10 powders), as well as a dropper bottle of the brand’s Quadruple Hyaluronic Acid Hydrator base to activate your serum. The set also makes for a solid travel option, FYI.