FaceTheory Review



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.


1Carrot & Stick Review

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.

ALTERNATIVES: 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.

Porebright Serum
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.

ALTERNATIVES:  If you are concerned about aging around the eyes including bags, one product we recommend is Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream.

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.

Clarifying Cleanser
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.

Use retinoids at night. We recommend this retinoid oil serum. It contains Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, an ingredient that provides similar benefits with less irritation.

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.

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

There aren’t many reviews for FaceTheory on The Derm Review, but one negative review related to the packaging; “I received two bottles of facetheory serums two weeks ago. One bottle was completely sealed. The second bottle came with the top completely off and bottle empty. I emailed the company at least gives fives times with the problem. Each time they asked the same questions, provide the number on the bottle etc. I am very frustrated at the lack of concern. I want my money back!

Disappointed Customer”.


What Are The Best Alternatives?

If you’re looking for skincare products to address the signs of aging, we recommend Carrot & Stick. Carrot & Stick maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in advanced skincare solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin. 

1. Healthline “L-Carnitine: Benefits, Side Effects, Sources and Dosage”
2. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Feb; 3(2): 22–41



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  • Adedoyin Original review: Oct 16, 2022. Reply

    i got the face cream cleanser because i had hyper-pigmentation,i had no pimple, now the cleanser had added blemish to my chin, every time i use the cleanser,i end up with a big painful pimple on my chin, i can count the amount of times i have used the cleanser and i have about numerous spots and acnes on my chin.i am scared of using what i bought with my money.not impressed at all

  • Carlene Gray Original review: Feb 18, 2022. Reply

    I received two bottles of facetheory serums two weeks ago. One bottle was completely sealed. The second bottle came with the top completely off and bottle empty. I emailed the company at least gives fives times with the problem. Each time they asked the same questions, provide the number on the bottle etc. I am very frustrated at the lack of concern. I want my money back!

    Disappointed Customer

  • Sheila ferris Original review: Sep 21, 2021. Reply

    I, have been using face theory for 1 month now the night cream and I have got to be honest it is great I have just reordered a moisturizer for day time and the prices are fab would recommend to friends

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