Founded by Jamie Shuker in 2015, FaceTheory is a UK-based skin care brand that’s on a mission to formulate clean skin care products by combining nature with science. The majority of FaceTheory skin care products take a dual approach of carefully chosen botanicals like green tea and chamomile which are combined with high-performing actives like retinol and vitamin C. FaceTheory has grown in popularity over the years and is now available in over 40 countries worldwide. The brand has now shipped over 200,000 orders and have over 40,000 customer reviews of their products. In this review, we’ll discuss the brand’s best selling products, key ingredients, FaceTheory reviews from real customers, and more.
Is FaceTheory Skincare Worth The Money?
A common question about this brand is if the products are worth the cost.
In our opinion, FaceTheory products deliver value for money, but take a look at other brands that don’t require you to sacrifice your precious money.
We recommend brands that are committed to developing clean yet effective products.
One brand is Carrot & Stick, a clean skincare brand that perfectly balances the gentle nurturing of plants with the powerful results of innovative science.
Carrot & Stick intro bundles deliver great value for money because you can bundle 3 full-size products worth up to
$240 for $88.
What’s Inside FaceTheory Skin Care?
Here’s a closer look at the active ingredients commonly used in FaceTheory skincare products. Vitamin C, peptides, and retinol make up the core ingredients for the FaceTheory skincare line. These ingredients should all be part of your skincare routine.
We’ve been hearing for years that Vitamin C is the best anti-aging ingredient. It’s a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
Vitamin C also helps fade dark spots, evens out skin tone, and increases radiance. As if that wasn’t enough, research suggests that when vitamin C is applied to the skin, it significantly reverses aging-related structural changes by influencing collagen and elastin synthesis.
It’s in FaceTheory Regenacalm 2% Retinol and Vitamin C Serum, the brand’s best selling serum.
But our favorite Vitamin C serum is Carrot & Stick The Defence Serum. It contains 3 distinct types of Vitamin C that work together to help fight free radical damage. We recommend using it every morning.
As you age, your body’s production of collagen and elastin slows down. These two proteins are responsible for your skin’s structural support. As a result, the skin loses its natural plumpness and smoothness.
While collagen is necessary for maintaining youthful-looking skin, the collagen protein is too large to absorb into the skin topically. That’s why applying skin care products that contain collagen won’t provide the anti-aging benefits you’re looking for.
This is where peptides come into action. Peptides are the building blocks of protein, and they are easily absorbed into the deeper layers of skin due to their smaller size.
FaceTheory PolyPep Collagen Boosting Serum S8 is formulated with 2.5% ChroNOLine, a biomimetic peptide that can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in 28 days.
If you’re looking for a peptide serum, we recommend Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum. It contains 7 plant-based peptides to promote plumper and smoother-looking skin.
Retinol is the go-to anti-aging ingredient recommended by dermatologists and skin experts. It’s clinically proven to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and shrink the appearance of enlarged pores.
The only downside? Retinol can often lead to side effects like skin dryness, peeling, and irritation.
FaceTheory uses a retinol ester in their products called retinyl palmitate (retinol combined with palmitic acid).
It’s best to use retinoids at night. We recommend this retinoid oil serum. It contains Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, an ingredient that provides similar benefits with less irritation.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
You’ll also find glycolic acid in several FaceTheory skin care products, including the Clarifying Cleanser.
Glycolic acid is an AHA that exfoliates the skin by targeting corneocytes (dead skin cells that make up the top layers of skin) in a process called corneocyte desquamation. By enhancing their breakdown and increasing the separation of skin cells, the rate of cell turnover is increased, leading to smoother, brighter skin.
In addition, glycolic acid is able to penetrate deep into the skin due to its small molecular size and stimulate the synthesis of collagen. Collagen is a structural protein naturally produced by the body that is responsible for keeping skin strong and firm. By stimulating new collagen synthesis, glycolic acid may be able to help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
One AHA product we recommend is The Brightening Pads by Carrot & Stick. These pre-saturated pads contain a concentrated blend of salicylic, lactic and mandelic acids sweeps away the build-up of dead skin cells, gently exfoliating to promote clarity, refine texture and rid pores of impurities.
What Are The Best Selling FaceTheory Skin Care Products?
FaceTheory skin care products include everything you need to build a complete skin care routine, including cleansers, masks, serums, creams, toners, oils, and more. Below we’ll give you the details on the top five best selling FaceTheory skin care products.
Regenacalm 2% Retinol and Vitamin C Serum
The FaceTheory Retinol and Vitamin C Serum is the brand’s best selling serum. It is formulated with retinol ester (2%), vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid to target many different skin concerns, including fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes, acne scars, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. The serum also contains a dill extract to regenerate elastin and combat signs of aging, while licorice extracts calms stressed or sensitive skin while balancing oily or congested complexions.
FaceTheory Porebright Serum is a lightweight serum formulated with 10% niacinamide and azelaic acid to even out skin tone and reduce pigmentation, redness, and facial photoageing. Azelaic acid is derived from wheat, rye and barley. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties help to reduce clogged pores, acne, and hyperpigmentation. Niacinamide offers many benefits to the skin, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
Ocuwake Eye Cream
This FaceTheory eye cream contains antioxidants like vitamin C and ferulic acid, calming ingredients like licorice and chamomile, hexylresorcinol to lighten skin and make eyes appear brighter, and Meiview to strengthen and firm the eye contour while protecting skin’s elasticity.
BHA Exfoliating Serum
The FaceTheory BHA Exfoliating Serum is a leave-on liquid exfoliator that contains 5% BHAs – 2% salicylic acid and now with 3% carnitine – to target acne, dead cells, wrinkles and fine lines while hydrating and nourishing skin. We’ll talk more about the benefits of using BHAs in the next section.
The FaceTheory Clarifying Cleanser is the brand’s best selling cleanser that is specially formulated for oily and congested skin and doubles as a glycolic face peel. The formula includes several different types of acids (glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid) at a low pH to exfoliate the skin and clarify oily, congested, blemish-prone skin.
What Are The Key Ingredients in FaceTheory Skin Care Products?
FaceTheory uses a retinol ester in their products called retinyl palmitate (retinol combined with palmitic acid). The skin has naturally occurring enzymes that can convert retinyl palmitate to its active form (retinoic acid). First, retinyl palmitate is converted to retinaldehyde. Then, the metabolism of retinaldehyde to retinoic acid occurs only by keratinocytes at a pertinent stage of differentiation, leading to a more controlled delivery of retinoic acid and weaker retinoid associated adverse effects as compared to other retinoids.
Retinoic acid can help to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and shrink the appearance of enlarged pores. Retinoic acid interacts with the retinoic acid (RAR) and retinoid X receptors (RXR) located in the nucleus of the cell. These nuclear receptors increase the production of procollagen and function to block the release of inflammatory mediators. Finally, retinol functions as an antioxidant and helps the skin combat free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
Another key ingredient you’ll find in several of the FaceTheory skin care products, including the BHA Exfoliating Serum and the Clarifying Cleanser, is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a lipid soluble beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that easily enters the pores, exfoliates the pore lining, and loosens clogged oil and dirt. It also has the ability to dissolve keratin, the protein that acts as a “glue” to keep dead skin cells together in the stratum corneum. This is effective because dead skin cells can build up on the surface of your skin, leaving it looking dull and also possibly clogging pores.
Carnitine is another BHA that is used in FaceTheory skin care products, including the BHA Exfoliating Serum. In the human body, carnitine plays an important role in metabolism. Specifically, carnitine transports long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria to be oxidized for energy production, according to Healthline. In regards to skin care, carnitine has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it also has the ability to enhance skin hydration and help control sebum production.
You’ll also find glycolic acid in several FaceTheory skin care products, including the Clarifying Cleanser. Glycolic acid exfoliates the skin by targeting corneocytes (dead skin cells that make up the top layers of skin) in a process called corneocyte desquamation. By enhancing their breakdown and increasing the separation of skin cells, the rate of cell turnover is increased, leading to smoother, brighter skin. In addition, glycolic acid is able to penetrate deep into the skin due to its small molecular size and stimulate the synthesis of collagen. Collagen is a structural protein naturally produced by the body that is responsible for keeping skin strong and firm. By stimulating new collagen synthesis, glycolic acid may be able to help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
The final key ingredient we’d like to discuss is niacinamide, the amide form of vitamin B3, which you’ll find in the FaceTheory Porebright Serum. Niacinamide is a precursor to the coenzymes NADH and NADPH. These coenzymes play an important role in cellular metabolism, which means they provide skin cells with the energy needed to function properly. A publication in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, states that niacinamide can repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture, as well as reduce inflammation, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkling.
Where are FaceTheory Skin Care Products Sold?
FaceTheory skin care products are sold on the brand’s website.
What is The FaceTheory Return Policy?
The FaceTheory return policy states, “We’re so confident in our products that we give you 365 days to try them out. If you wish to get a refund on your products please contact [email protected] and we’ll process a refund for you. Our returns policy is different from a sampling service. We can only accept product returns once per product in 365 days and we reserve the right to say that our products may not be suitable for your skin and decline any further purchases from you.”
Is FaceTheory Cruelty Free?
FaceTheory is cruelty free and the products are officially Leaping Bunny Certified. Leaping Bunny Certification means FaceTheory skin care products are free of animal testing at every stage of product development.
FaceTheory reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive, with most products receiving four and five star ratings. The product with the most reviews is the FaceTheory Clarifying Cleanser, which has earned an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars after more than 4,600 customer reviews.
Positive reviews for the Clarifying Cleanser confirm that it helps to keep the skin clean, clear, and hydrated. For example, one review says, “It’s crazy. I thought the reviews were excessive, but no. I’ve only been using it for 3 days and it has a pimple on the neck that I haven’t removed in 3 weeks that has completely dried out and that has gotten very small. Otherwise I can only write good things about it so far. It doesn’t hurt and the skin is very smooth and soft and less greasy. I have to say, however, that I only get blackheads occasionally and rarely have pimples (like now on my neck). However, it has improved my skin so far.”
There aren’t many negative reviews for the FaceTheory Clarifying Cleanser, but those that we did read were from customers who experienced negative reactions after using this product. Some experienced redness and irritation, while others experienced acne breakouts. For example, one review says, “I have been using the cleanser for almost 3 weeks and it has caused me to have one of the worst breakouts that I have had in years. I tried to stick with the product to see if it was just my skin adjusting to new ingredients but my breakouts are just getting worse. Obviously I’m really upset by this. It’s a shame that smaller tester size pots can’t be purchased to test on the skin before buying the bigger pot. I would still recommend trying this because looking at the reviews it seems I am a rare case but I thought I would share my personal experience.”
What Are Some Alternatives to FaceTheory Skin Care?
There’s no need to compromise when it comes to finding skincare that’s effective and safe.
If you’re looking for effective skincare products that skip harmful toxins, one brand we recommend is Carrot & Stick.
Carrot & Stick is committed to creating plant-derived formulas that deliver extraordinary results without relying on toxic chemicals or standard preservatives.
Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare, perfectly balancing the gentle nurturing of plants with innovative science.