The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10% – Review

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The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10%, an anti-aging treatment for all skin types that targets visible signs of ageing around the forehead and eye contour area. The high concentration of the peptide Argireline in this serum can help minimise the appearance of dynamic folds, a type of wrinkles that form around the eyes and between the eyebrows, that are caused by repeated facial movement. The transparent, liquid serum claims to freeze muscle movement by hindering the communication between the nerves and muscles, giving the appearance of smoother skin with a more youthful-looking appearance.

The Ordinary Claims:

Lightweight Serum with 10% ARGIRELINE™ Peptide Complex

ARGIRELINE™ is a trademark owned by Barcelona-based Lipotec S.A.U. It is a proprietary solution of Acetyl Hexapeptide-8. Controlled studies have shown that ARGIRELINE™ improves the appearance of facial areas prone to developing dynamic folds, including around the eyes and in the forehead area.

Appearance and Scent:

The serum is a lightweight water-based liquid with the consistency of water. Once applied, it absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving it feeling comfortable without any sticky residue. There is a very slight chemical scent the dissipates upon application.

Packaging, Size, and Expiry:

The Ordinary products all come in simple, uncomplicated packaging, and the light-proof glass dropper bottle is no exception. This gives the advantage of being hygienic and allowing the price point of the product to remain low. Unfortunately, it does not protect the product from exposure to air and the glass can break during travelling. The bottle contains 30ml of product and expires six months after opening.

Cost and number of uses:

The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10% retails for NZD $14.10 or USD $7.90. My last bottle lasted around three months with twice-daily use.

How to Use:

Apply a few drops to cleansed face in the morning and/or evening around the eye and forehead areas, before applying heavier serums. Do not use at the same time as copper peptides strong antioxidants or acids like Vitamin C because, at low pH, peptides lose an amide group (deamination), and the resulting oxidization changes the chemical structure and its ability to function.

Application order:

Cleanser -> The Oridnary Argireline Solution -> Serum (optional) -> Moisturizer -> SPF (daytime)
Oil cleanser -> Cleanser -> The Oridnary Argireline Solution -> Serum (optional)
-> Moisturizer (nighttime)

Formulation Analysis:

Synthetic peptides in skincare have been used since the 1800s. They are small protein precursor molecules made up of amino acids. They act on the skin as signal molecules that stimulate cell growth, healing and proliferation. Peptides are the building blocks for elastin and keratin which form part of the skin matrix and are essential for reducing the appearance of wrinkles as the skin ages. Collagen peptides account for 75-80% of the dermis. Peptides are able to interact directly with the skin through several different mechanisms including regulation of inflammation pathways, and the oxidation and degradation of existing proteins.

Ingredients:

C13-16 Aqua (Water), Propanediol, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Gellan Gum, Sodium Chloride, Isoceteth-20, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

Ingredient Analysis:

Propanediol is a fatty alcohol used as a penetration enhancing ingredient that is also hydrating and leaves a slightly greasy/oily residue on the skin. It can act as a solvent or an emulsifier and can be added to skincare to reduce the viscosity of the formulation.  It can be produced synthetically or by using a non-pathogenic strain of E. coli to ferment corn-derived glucose. 

Argireline is the trademarked name for the synthetic plant-derived peptide Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 (or Acetyl Hexapeptide-3) that has been shown to have a significant antiaging effect on dynamic lines and wrinkles. It is considered by many dermatologists to be the most similar topical treatment to Botox and actually works in a similar way to botulinum toxin by limiting the neurotransmitters that signal facial muscles to move. It also works to stimulate new collagen production the protein responsible for firm, youthful skin and helps retain moisture in the skin.

The manufacture, Lipotec claim the peptide solution has demonstrated a decrease of wrinkle volume by 20.6% and a reduction in the length of wrinkles by 15.9%. This has been backed up by this study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science. It was able to show that a 10% concentration of Argireline can decrease wrinkle depth by up to 30% after once-daily application for 30 consecutive days.

To read more about the skincare benefits of Argireline, read my ingredient spotlight.

The rest of the INCI list includes preservatives, emulsifiers and viscosity controllers.

pH Testing:

I got a result of pH 7. The Ordinary website states the pH will sit between 6.0-7.0.

pH Analysis:

The pH of this serum is outside the pH of healthy skin (range 4.0-6.0, average 4.7). Learn why the pH of skincare products is so important here. As the pH of healthy facial skin is on average 4.7, this product is too alkaline to provide real benefits to the skin and may even cause more skin issues. The slightly alkaline pH could affect the health of the skin long-term, which could potentially have the effect of damaging the skins moisture barrier and causing breakouts or dermatitis with extended use. More information can be found on my post here about the science behind the microbiome and the skin-brain-gut axis.

Results:

I had really high hopes for this serum and really wanted to see some minor improvements by the time I finished my first bottle. I am morally opposed to the use of Botox as every batch is tested on animals, so I loved the idea of any cruelty-free alternative, even if it wasn’t quite as effective. Unfortunately, this did not work well for me personally, and after three months of twice-daily use, there is little to no benefit and the depth of the lines around my eyes or my nasolabial folds.

Before (left) and after (right) with three months of twice-daily use around the eye area.

Overall Impressions:

The very thin consistency makes it hard to apply, especially around the eye area. A more viscous formula would have made it easier to target individual lines. I also did not see any visible effects during the use of this serum, I have found this to be the case with other peptides I have also incorporated into my routine.

Argireline has been found to work exceptionally well for some people but not for others. The reason is there is some debate around whether Argireline in skincare products is actually capable of diffusing through the top layers of skin to reach the crucial muscle-nerve connections where it can take effect. The reason for this is thought to relate to the thickness of the dermis, meaning that younger, healthier skin is more resilient and has better barrier function, thereby keeping certain molecules out.  Older, thinker skin may be able to allow more of the molecule to pass through, therefore allowing the Argireline peptide to reach the areas where it can take effect.  

For the above reason, I will not be repurchasing and will focus my future skincare on more proven antiaging treatments like retinol and Vitamin C.

What I Liked:

  • Fragrance, alcohol, and preservative-free
  • Affordable
  • Simple, hygienic packaging
  • Absorbs quickly
  • The Ordinary is cruelty-free

What I Disliked:

  • No noticeable results
  • Has a few contraindications with other skincare products
  • The packaging does not protect active ingredients from the air
  • Glass packaging may not be travel friendly

References: 

  • The Ordinary Website
  • Application of Synthetic Peptides to Improve Parameters of Skin Physiology: An Open Observational 30-Day Study. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 2020.
  • A synthetic hexapeptide (Argireline) with antiwrinkle activity.  Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2002.
  • The anti-wrinkle efficacy of Argireline.  Journal of Cosmetic & Laser Therapy, 2013.
  • Milady Skincare and Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary, 4th Edition, 2015.
  • Lipotec Website
  • Influence of pH values on the growth of Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus and Propinobacterium acnes in continuous culture. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, 1992.
  • Location-related differences in structure and function of the stratum corneum with special emphasis on these of the facial skin. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2008.
  • Inhibiting bacteria and skin pH in hemiplegia: effects of washing hands with mineral water. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 2002.
  • The effect of pH on the extracellular matrix and biofilms. Advances in Wound Care, 2014.
  • Normal skin surface pH is on average below 5, which is beneficial for its resident flora. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2006.
  • Time-dependent variations of the skin barrier function in humans. Transepidermal water loss, SC hydration, skin surface pH and skin temperature. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 1998.
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