Friday, June 14, 2024

Mother Science Retinol Synergist Review With Photos

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Mother Science Retinol Synergist review and packaging
Taryn Brooke
Taryn Brooke

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Most, if not all, dermatologists would agree that the most potent and powerful ingredient you can have in your skin-care arsenal is retinol. “Retinol regulates cellular turnover and promotes effective exfoliation, as well as evens [out] discoloration and increases collagen production,” says Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. “The result is fresher, smoother, and more even-toned skin.”

There are plenty of retinol-based products to choose from, whether it’s a prescription-strength formula or over-the-counter-option, but each one comes with a common caveat: your skin may have to endure the dry, flaky, irritating side effects in order to experience the full benefits. That is, until Mother Science’s Retinol Synergist ($96) came along, introducing an encapsulated version of retinol paired with the novel ingredient malassezin.

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Backed by extensive research and clinical trials, malassezin, which is a naturally occurring molecule found on the skin, is meant to speed up the effects of retinol and minimize any of the downsides that sometimes come with regular use. Since I have sensitive skin, this was particularly interesting to me, especially since I don’t tolerate the ingredient well. Whenever I use a retinol product, not only do I experience the classic purge, but my skin also feels dry and flaky. The peeling makes applying makeup extremely difficult, so I’m usually hesitant to try any new formulas and will usually reach for alternative retinols instead.

This product changed my mind. Paired with encapsulated retinol, the combination of both malassezin and retinol complement the skin but work through different pathways. “This gives them additive, synergistic effects with greater results together than they would have apart,” Dr. Gohara says. “Malassezin’s calming properties and skin barrier support decrease the retinization period allowing for a stronger product with minimized irritation for a faster reduction in the look of fine lines and wrinkles with less irritation.”

Keep reading to learn more about my experience with the serum.

About Mother Science’s Retinol Synergist Serum

  • The key active ingredients include encapsulated retinol and malassezin, a novel antioxidant.
  • The formula promises to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, while reducing the appearance of pores.
  • It’s meant to be used at night two to three times a week as tolerated.
  • It’s formulated for all skin types, include those with sensitive skin and anyone new to using retinol.
  • The serum is vegan and cruelty free.

What I Like About Mother Science’s Retinol Synergist Serum

In my opinion, there is nothing not to like about this serum. I’ve tried numerous retinol products, as well as prescription retinol, and my skin tends to react unfavorably – no matter how much I sandwich my retinol with hydrating serums and moisturizers or which order I apply it in my skin-care regimen. Mother Science’s Retinol Synergist was easy to incorporate into my nightly routine, and I also saw noticeable results rather quickly — after about three to four weeks of consistent use. My skin looked smoother, glowier, and slightly firmer by the end of the month of use.

Mother Science Retinol Synergist before and after resultsMother Science Retinol Synergist before and after results
Taryn Brooke

How to Use Mother Science’s Retinol Synergist Serum

Dr. Gohara recommends using this serum as you would any other retinol: at night two times per week and increasing use as tolerated. You’ll want to apply it after you cleanse and before you apply moisturizer. Use a pea-sized amount of product and apply in an upward direction. I used the serum every other day in the evening, about three times a week, on my face, neck, decollate, and backs of my hands, using two to three pea-sized amounts to cover all of those areas. I wanted to use it more often to see results as quickly as possible — and I did.

An important note: don’t forget your sunscreen during the day. “Retinols make skin more susceptible to UV rays, so anyone using a retinol should be wearing sunscreen daily.”

What to Consider Before Trying Mother Science’s Retinol Synergist Serum

While this product is safe for those with sensitive skin or a sensitivity to retinol — in fact, Dr. Gohara says it will work for all skin types because malassezin “strengthens and calms the skin barrier” — be sure to speak with your dermatologist before using it if you have eczema or rosacea. If you don’t have easy access to a dermatologist, make sure to do a spot test 24 hours before applying it all over the face just to be safe.

Is Mother Science’s Retinol Synergist Serum Worth the Splurge?

Judging by its effectiveness alone, I’d consider the serum absolutely worth the splurge, especially if you’re sensitive to retinol but want the long-term anti-aging benefits it offers. Additionally, since the product is proven to work in as little as four weeks, you won’t have to wait months to see the benefits of the serum. That part is important to me; as a beauty writer, I’ve had to put my skin through the wringer for months at a time before seeing the full effects of a skin-care product.

This formula was a nice break from the stress of all that, and I enjoyed slowly watching the product work week after week. Knowing that it takes only a month of solid dedication to see results places this serum at the top of my list.


Taryn Brooke is a beauty writer and editor born and bred in New York City who has been in digital media for over 10 years. She is a contributing beauty writer for PS, Allure, Byrdie, and Well+Good.

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