This DIY(ish) Skin Care System Allows You To Indulge Your Inner Chemist

Super-fresh serums that can be mixed up yourself.

Written by Natalie Gale
Originally Published: 
Exponent Beauty
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What if you could easily mix your active skin care ingredients at home to create lab-potent serums without any mess or fuss? Ingredients like vitamin C are notoriously unstable, as they react with light and water, which can lead to them losing their efficacy over time. That’s why groundbreaking new skin care brand, Exponent Beauty, is doing what no brand has done before: making super-effective serums with actives that don’t lose their potency — and that are designed to be mixed up yourself.

When Exponent Beauty founder and CEO Elizabeth Whitman was president of the Red Door by Elizabeth Arden, she had an epiphany. Watching estheticians mix up super-fresh, super-powerful serums on the spot, she started wondering how effective pre-mixed serums actually are. So she commissioned a lab study to find out — and discovered that some pre-bottled skin care products degrade up to 40% in just eight weeks.

Enter Exponent Beauty, which set out to achieve two goals. First, make a serum that’s just as potent on day one as it is on day 90. And second, package it functionally and beautifully. They’ve achieved both, with super-potent serums that can be mixed up in seconds, all wrapped up in Exponent’s patented activator packaging system. To find out more, keep reading.

The Science Behind The Products

Each Exponent serum is made of two parts: the hydrating base with hyaluronic acid, and the active ingredient in their most potent forms. Every time you use the product, it delivers the perfect amount of powder via a hydrating base for a freshly mixed dose.

“Vitamin C and retinol are two of the most fragile of the antioxidants, disappearing rapidly once exposed to light and air,” explained Whitman in a brand statement. And both antioxidants, she notes, can be irritating at too-high doses. So every dose of Exponent’s best-selling vitamin C and retinol serums was designed to contain the perfect amount of each ingredient — delivering “peak potency,” but at a concentration that’s been clinically proven to benefit the skin without irritating it.

The brand makes three other active powders — coenzyme CoQ10 for firming skin and increasing collagen production, green tea resveratrol for reducing inflammation and fighting free radicals, and a probiotic enzyme serum for treating congestion.

Exponent Beauty

How The Packaging Works

When you purchase one of Exponent’s serum starter systems, you’ll receive the active powder and the hydrating base in their convenient, sleek packaging. The hydrator dispenses up into the mixing bowl, while the powder dispenses down — see a video of the packaging in action here. The powder dissolves into the base, leaving you with a perfect dose of serum for your face. Plus, the attractive packaging is just as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional.

If you want to try out a new active powder, just purchase a powder add-on that you can use with the same hydrating base. And when your powders or your base run out, Exponent sells refills in glass containers with aluminum caps — packaging that’s endlessly recyclable.

Sustainability is at the core of Exponent’s concept. Besides their fully recyclable glass and aluminum refills, all of their outer packaging is made of recycled paper from an FSC-certified paper mill. They only use plastic in their powder dispenser and hydrating activator, both products that can be refilled and used over and over.

Where To Start

Wondering where to start on your serum journey? Read on for a spotlight on Exponent’s two best-selling systems.

Time Rewind Retinol System

Exponent’s Time Rewind Retinol System comes with their retinol powder dispenser and signature hydrating base. When activated, the 0.25% retinol powder works to treat uneven texture, a loss of firmness and elasticity, and breakouts, while promoting a generally firmer, smoother complexion overall. The serum is best applied at night to clean skin and followed up with a gentle, nourishing moisturizer.

Brightening Boost Vitamin C System

Like the retinol system, the Brightening Boost Vitamin C System comes with all components needed for mixing and activating the serum. The serum uses potent L-ascorbic acid at a high 10% concentration to promote a brighter, clearer, more even complexion while still being suitable for sensitive skin. The vitamin C powder takes about 15 seconds to dissolve into the base, and it’s best applied in the morning under your moisturizer and sunscreen.

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