QRxLabs are a brand that I believe are still relatively unknown to many skinthusiasts. This is due to both a mixture of little information being available from the brand, themselves, as well as only having a single stockist in the UK – Victoria Health. The range offers interesting formulations, bringing together proven, scientific ingredients with budget-friendly pricing, making effective skincare available to all.
What is it?
This is a serum that can “help prevent acne, improve pore appearance, smoothes fine lines and wrinkles and helps restores skin elasticity“. It aims to achieve this using a combination of 2 of the hottest skincare ingredients of the moment: retinol and niacinamide.
What’s good about it?
Firstly, the fact that these ingredients are together in one product is a rarity, but one that I am extremely happy about. A long time devotee of these ingredients in my routines, it is much more convenient to combine a high dose of pure retinol (at 1%) with the clinically-proven, optimum level of niacinamide (studies say 4% and this contains 5%) inside one pump, instead of reaching for different products to achieve the same end goal. Research also shows that niacinamide has the power to reduce the negative side-effects that are often common with high-strength retinol use, such as inflammation, redness and peeling, so it is a perfect combination to have in this product.
Other beneficial ingredients include hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, jojoba oil and propolis extract, which can all offer an immediate (as well as sub-surface level) hydration to the skin. The result (and what I enjoy most about the product) is a water-based, smooth serum that absorbs into the skin immediately, without residue. In my experience, traditionally, retinol products are a lotion texture (think, Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol), which for those with combination to oily skins can make it tricky to fit a treatment of this style in with a regular moisturiser, as the layers can be almost too hydrating. This is also fragrance-free, which is a bonus.
The packaging of this product also deserves a huge thumbs up. It is surprising to me that there are still countless retinol products on the market that are offered in dropper bottles and tubes, which can expose this sensitive ingredient to both light and air, reducing its efficacy. QRxLabs have made the smart decision to offer this in a photo-stable pump bottle. I find that a single pump of this is sufficient for the face and neck, meaning that the generous 60ml size will last almost half a year with 4/5 times per week use.
What’s not so good about it?
Honestly, very little. I would prefer for this to be oil-free, but if it were not for studying the ingredients list, the texture, weight and feel of the product would make me think it was oil-free anyway. I experienced absolutely no irritation with this, only the occasional flushing after use (contributing to the high niaciamide content, as a common effect), but no peeling or irritation. In a blind performance test, this would be an all-star.
The Bottom Line
- Proven ingredients at concentrations that work.
- Lightweight, water-based formula that absorbs easily.
- Affordable and twice the size of a regular retinol.
- Pump bottle packaging for controlled application and ingredient stability.
- Brand information lacking, which can create doubt in product efficacy.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
QRxLabs Niacinamide + Retinol Serum is available at Victoria Health (£10.00/60ml)