I have a love-hate relationship with anti-aging products. Love them because I’m getting to that age where my skin needs them, hate them because brands seem to think anti-aging = rich and heavy *rolls eyes*. So when one of my favorite skincare brands, Klairs, released their new Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drop, I kept my fingers crossed that this was the one.
- What is it
- Made with 93% EGF (sh-Oligopeptide-1) and bFGF (sh-Polypeptide-1), it’s a high concentration serum that contains only 10 core ingredients without the use of water to help delay the signs of aging.
- How I use it
- Twice a day after my first essence, either alone (1 drop at a time) or mixed with the Klairs Supple Preparations Toner. I use about 3-4 drops total each time.
- Best suited for
- All skin types, even sensitive skin, thanks to its super simple & gentle ingredient list.
- Key ingredients
- EGF – Epidermal growth factors can stimulate skin regeneration at the cellular level, increase skin renewal rate, and slow down the rate of skin thinning (source)
bFGF – Basic fibroblast growth factors can help accelerate wound healing and prevent scar formations (source)
blueberry fruit extract – contains resveratrol, which is an excellent antioxidant.
adenosine – helps smooth out our skin and decrease the appearances of wrinkles
guaiazulene – extracted from the chamomile flower, it’s great for soothing the skin and has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-oxidant properties (source)
Full ingredient list on CosDNA
- None, this is alcohol, paraben, colorant, and fragrance free!
- A simple dark glass bottle with a dropper.
- No noticeable scent.
- Like water, which actually makes it difficult to apply more than 1 drop at once.
- Natural, matte finish, no stickiness whatsoever. It’s literally like applying water to your skin.
- Available At
- Wishtrend for $30 – free global shipping, use code 144278101 to get $5 off your first order, and follow me on Twitter for monthly promos
Amazon for $31 – free Prime shipping
YesStyle for $25.90 – free global shipping for orders $35+, get 10% off your first order
Growth factors – just a hype or the real deal?
EFG and bFGF sound like the ideal anti-aging ingredient on paper – it works to repair and regenerate our skin, stimulate collagen production, and replace damaged (whether by environmental factors or UV rays) cells with healthy ones (source). They actually occur naturally in our bodies and thus don’t cause the same irritation as other anti-aging ingredients like retinol and vitamin c. But as with all good things, EGF levels rapidly decrease in our mid-20’s, and your skin is no longer able to repair itself as quickly as before. Cue in the loss of elasticity and appearance of fine lines.
While growth factors sound wonderful, their molecule sizes are generally also too large to be absorbed by the skin, though micro-needling or the use of a penetration enhancer like butylene glycol (included in the Klairs Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drop) can help (source). Lastly, EGFs’ effects on the skin are nowhere near as well studied as retinol or other better known anti-aging ingredients, though current research shows extremely promising results.
So no, growth factors aren’t perfect, but from what we know so far, they’re living up to the hype. I wouldn’t toss out your retinol just yet, but growth factors are a great anti-aging ingredient to consider especially if you want something gentle and effective.
Klairs vs Hylamide
When I started testing out this product at the end of June, I was immediately reminded of the Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Serum because they’re so similar in function, size, and texture. So to make things easier, here’s a comparison table:
|Klairs Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drop||Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Serum|
|$30/25ml ($1.2/ml)||$38/30ml ($1.27/ml)|
|Features EGF & bFGF as the main anti-aging ingredients||Contains 6 different anti-aging ingredients, no growth factors thought|
|Also contains soothing & calming ingredients||Also contains hydrating ingredients|
|10 ingredients total (full list)||36 ingredients (full list)|
|Doesn’t irritate sensitive or inflamed skin||Can sting when used on already irritated skin|
|No scent||Smells like wet rags|
|Water-like texture, no sticky finish||Water-like texture, just a hint of stickiness that fades quickly|
Why Klairs was the winner for me
As much as I love the idea of having a smorgasbord of anti-aging ingredient in one product, my skin just reacts better to simple ingredient lists because it means less chances of ingredient conflict, allergy reaction, or potential irritation. Even when my skin is sensitive I’m able to use the Youth Activating Drop without any issues, whereas the Hylamide serum stung and irritated my skin further.
Plus if you compare the ingredient list between the 2, you’ll notice that you get a much higher concentration of the anti-aging ingredients in the Klairs Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drop – 93% of the total weight is the EGG + bFGF. For me I’d rather have just a few potent ingredients rather than a bunch of ingredients at low concentrations.
Another thing I love about this Klairs serum? How lightweight it is. If you struggle with layering products because they start to feel heavy, this serum is the perfect addition to your routine. It’s literally like applying water, which can actually be tricky at times because it’s too watery, hence why I’ll sometimes mix a few drops in with my Klairs Supple Preparation Toner. Just make sure to apply this at the beginning of your skincare routine after actives or first essences so the absorption of the ingredients aren’t inhibited by heavier products.
Lastly, products containing growth factors can be expensive – like $100+ expensive. I’m really impressed that Klairs was able to deliver EGFs in such high concentration at a reasonable price, but none of this matters unless the product works, which brings us to…
The million $ question – does it work?
This is always a tough question, especially for anti-aging products. Klairs cleverly markets this as a product that “delays aging”, not one that reverses the signs of aging, which really is what 99% of all anti-aging products are. Luckily I don’t have any wrinkles yet, so for me using the Youth Activating Drop is definitely about prevention.
After using it for a month, I’ve noticed that my skin feels smoother, more refined, and generally healthier, which is in line with what I expected. As with all anti-aging products, it takes continuous long term use to notice the effects (ie. the delay in lines and wrinkles), so I’m more than happy with the general improvements I’ve already seen.
Hope you enjoyed this review, and let me know if you’ve tried growth factors before and your thoughts on them. Have a fabulous week!