Remember when went to the International Esthetics,Cosmetics, and Spa Conference in New York last spring? It was a great show, and I was really excited to learn about new products and get acquainted with the different vendors. Of course my favorite part of trade shows is bringing home lots of samples and products to try and review!
One booth that especially attracted my attention was HydroPeptide, a peptide-based professional skincare like that blends high quality natural ingredients with the latest developments in aesthetics technology. I was first made aware of HydroPeptide from a friend and mentor of mine who worked at one of the top aesthetics industry journals. He knew I preferred products with natural ingredients that worked at a clinical level, and he thought that HydroPeptide should be on my radar. So the Holistically Haute™ entourage just had to make a stop at their booth at the show.
Everyone who worked there was very friendly and down-to-earth which was refreshing—people working the exhibits at these shows tend to get those fixed smiles and glazed-over expressions after awhile and can be hard to relate to. That wasn’t the case here—they were very personable and even though they were there to sell products (obviously), they didn’t come off sales-y or phony at all. As you know, I am not a typical aesthetician and my business is not a spa. There is much more to my work than just performing skin treatments and selling products. The reps there were genuinely interested in my holistic approach and we had a great conversation. My sister, step-mom, and I purchased some products and were sent home with some samples to try out and we were happily on our way.
I’m sure you have read about, tried, or at least seen the word “peptides” by now in terms of skincare products. They are one of the latest super-ingredients to be included in formulations, right alongside antioxidants, growth factors, and plant stem cells. Peptides are a little different from these other ingredients because they are precursors to proteins. When you think about proteins and their components, it all begins with amino acids. These are the most basic building blocks of proteins. When amino acids join together, they form chains. These chains are the peptides. Once the peptides group together, they become proteins. Peptides are preferred for topical use over complete proteins because they are smaller and can more easily penetrate through the stratum corneum (outermost “dead” layer of the epidermis) to nourish the living cells in the deeper layers of the skin. Make sense?
There are many, many different types of peptides and they all have different functions similar to how growth factors “assign” different functions to the stem cells in the body. According to Dr. Mark Lees, “in modern skin care science, peptides are used to prompt the skin to behave in a particular way, changing the appearance of some part of the skin.”1
Some peptides can help improve the skin’s overall elasticity and texture, some reduce inflammation and relieve swelling (good for puffy eyes), others have a plumping effect, others actually have the ability to gently relax the nerves and muscles of the face which can make fine lines and wrinkles appear much less prominent. So you can see why peptides are such popular ingredients these days.
Between the free samples and the full-sized products we purchased, we had quite a good assortment of HydroPeptide products to try. I think that is very important, because I find that products work better when they are used with other products from the same line. I had the Eye Cream:Anti-Wrinkle Dark Circle Concentrate, Serum: Anti-Wrinkle CellularTransformation, Power Lift: Anti-Wrinkle Ultra Rich Concentrate (which I meant to use as a night cream), and the SPF: Anti-Wrinkle Skin Enhancing UVProtection for daytime. I know, I know…there is a definite “anti-wrinkle” theme going on here.
I was most excited about the SPF one because it is actually a tinted moisturizer as well as a sunscreen. And it’s not just any tinted moisturizer—this kind of creamy, kind of gel-ly formula goes on clear and then…wait for it…self adjusts to match your skin tone! That’s just cool.
What I like about the products:
I have to say that overall I was quite pleased with the HydroPeptide products. They had a beautiful consistency and feel and my skin did look fabulous while I was using them. The serum spread well and absorbed quickly, the eye cream felt very rich but also absorbed quickly and left my eyes looking refreshed, and I found the Power Lift to be very hydrating. I can’t say it actually power lifted my skin, but fortunately that’s because there’s not much there that needs to be lifted. I really liked the self-tinting SPF as well—it was the perfect product to help me follow Nicole’s recommendation to use a tinted moisturizer instead of a heavier foundation for warmer weather, it matched my skin perfectly, and it was long lasting.
In terms of ingredients, the HydroPeptide products are full of sustainably and ethically sourced natural botanical extracts that soothe, nurture, and protect the skin in addition to the peptides, antioxidants, growth factors, and plant stem cells. It includes some of my favorites such as green tea, chamomile, calendula, cucumber, açaí, and aloe vera. They also contain beneficial B vitamins such as niacinamide and panthenol, and are free of parabens, chemical sunscreens, and sulfates.
What I like about the company:
HydroPeptide was created by a team of experts in different areas: doctors, chemists, aestheticians, and even nutritionists—headed by Dr. Louise Peck, PhD. Prior to starting HydroPeptide, Dr. Peck’s expertise was in nutritional science. She knew how a balanced approach to one’s diet positively impacted one’s overall health (and skin!), and took the same balanced approach to her research in topical skincare. She, along with other researchers, took years to see what other ingredients would work best with the peptides and make the most noticeable improvements in the skin’s appearance.
In addition to their skincare products, HydroPeptide continues to promote the importance of balance in terms of healthy diet, fitness, and lifestyle. Their distinctive Corporate Wellness Program offers a unique fitness program so employees can achieve a portion of their physical activity while at work, and also offers healthy snacks.
The company also does a great job with their efforts to be green: they have an extensive corporate recycling program and all packaging is fully recyclable. In addition, they are not just a cruelty-free company—they also are strong advocates in the cause to end testing on animals.
While I like the products and company overall, there are a few areas I’d love to see improvements in. I mentioned that my sister and step-mom bought products and got samples to try as well, and while they also liked them overall, they had a couple of comments. The Power Lift provided good overall moisture, but they state in the instructions and marketing that a little bit of product goes a long way. This was the case for me, but I have quite oily skin. My sister has very dry skin and she felt that she had to use a lot of the Power Lift to feel the moisture at all—and she did use it on top of the serum. She felt like she went through the jar very quickly. She also felt that the SPF had a bit of a learning curve in terms of application. She didn’t consider it to be as easily blendable as I did (again, it could be because I have oilier skin and hers is dry). It also tended to accumulate in her eyebrows and hairline (despite efforts to avoid those areas) where it turned a bit orange. While I really do like the SPF, I have to say that it the coverage isn’t flawless on its own unless you are one of those lucky ones with perfect texture and pigmentation. However, I think the coverage does compare well with other tinted moisturizers and worked well with a little bit of concealer.
The area we all agreed could use the most improvement was the fragrance. The products all have a strong synthetic cucumber fragrance. Even though the products contain cucumber extract, and many other botanical ingredients, the fragrance is not from those ingredients. Instead of smelling, light, pleasant, and fresh, we all found the fragrance to be perfume-y, quite strong, bordering on unpleasant. I think some carefully chosen essential oils would be a much better choice; or possibly a fragrance-free range of products.
Additionally, although there are no parabens, sulfates, or chemical sunscreens, there are still a few chemical ingredients that don’t score very well on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database. That being said, I believe these products are safer than the majority of their competitors’ products, as well as very effective.
So I hope you enjoyed this little class about peptides, and I think the HydroPeptide products overall are very good, as long as you aren’t sensitive to the fragrance. I look forward to seeing more from them in the future.
1. Lees Mark. The Skin Care Answer Book: Real-World Answers to 275 Most-Asked Skin Care Questions. Clifton Park, New York: Milady,, a part of Cengage Learning; 2011: 158-59.