The story behind Valjean Labs
Valjean Labs initially launched with a series of five facial serums, each featuring different active ingredients and named for the skin-enhancing qualities they aspire to (for instance, Valjean Labs Glow Serum contains ingredients to enhance your skin’s glow). Today, Valjean Labs offers a range of skin care products, including serums, masks, and mists to treat a variety of skin concerns.
It’s clear that Valjean Labs caters to the millennial market, providing Instagram-ready packaging with buzzy product names. But it also appears that the company is banking on these millennials not knowing much about skin care ingredients since, as you’ll learn, the brand isn’t completely transparent about their ingredients. Don’t worry, that’s why we’re here! In this review, we’ll discuss some of the brand’s best selling products, key ingredients (or lack thereof), Valjean Labs reviews from real customers, an alternative for you to consider, and more.
What are the best selling Valjean Labs products?
Valjean Labs now offers seven different facial serums, as well as masks, facial mists, facial oils, and an eye serum. Despite all of the new products, the Valjean Labs facial serums remain as the best selling products. The Valjean Labs facial serums include Clarify, Glow, Hydrate, Repair, Restore, Sculpt, and Smooth. Each of these serums contains different key ingredients. However, as you’ll find out in the next section, the brand actually uses very low concentrations of these “key” ingredients (which means these ingredients aren’t going to provide much benefit to your skin!)
What are the key ingredients in Valjean Labs skin care products?
Valjean Labs facial serums are claimed to be “super-concentrated serums”, although after evaluating the ingredient lists for these serums, we know this is not the case. In several of the Valjean Labs facial serums, the “key” ingredients are listed after xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is a thickener that is generally used at a concentration of 1%, but as little as 0.1% can be used in many applications. This means you’re getting less than 1% of the key ingredients!
The majority of each Valjean Labs facial serum formulation is composed of water, propanediol (humectant), glycereth-26 (humectant), and dimethicone (silicone). If you aren’t familiar with humectants and silicones, we’ll give you a brief overview.
A humectant is a hygroscopic substance that has a molecular structure with several hydrophilic (water loving) groups. These hydrophilic groups hydrogen bond with water, essentially “grabbing” it and holding it on the skin. Since humectants slow water from evaporating in the epidermis, they help to keep the skin hydrated. Humectants also provide temporary anti-aging effects because the extra hydration is extra volume, which effectively plumps out the skin and makes lines and wrinkles less noticeable. However, this effect is transient – as soon as the moisture content in skin decreases, lines and wrinkles will return to normal size.
Silicones improve the spreadability of a product, as well as impart a silky, smooth skin feel. In addition, silicones form a protective barrier on the skin which helps to keep moisture in. Similar to humectants, silicones can temporarily fill in fine lines and wrinkles on the face, giving it a more plump appearance. Thus, the high concentrations of humectants and dimethicone in Valjean Labs facial serums should temporarily provide an anti-aging effect. However, these effects will disappear once you wash off the product.
The two Valjean Labs facial serums that might actually provide some benefit are Sculpt and Clarify. Valjean Labs Sculpt Serum has a few beneficial ingredients listed before xanthan gum, so we know they are used in concentrations of greater than 1%. These ingredients include caffeine, sodium hyaluronate, hydrolyzed collagen, ceramide 3, vitamin E, and ferulic acid.
Valjean Labs Clarify Serum contains retinyl palmitate, the ester of retinol (another name for vitamin A) and palmitic acid (a saturated fatty acid). Even though retinyl palmitate is listed after xanthan gum, it will likely still provide some benefit to the skin. This is because concentrations as low as 0.01% have been proven to be effective. After application, retinyl palmitate must first be converted to retinaldehyde, then to retinoic acid (the active form). Due to this two step conversion, retinyl palmitate typically causes less irritation than retinol and other retinoids.
Retinyl palmitate improves the appearance of skin through several mechanisms. One is through the inhibition of collagenase, which is an enzyme that breaks down collagen. By preventing collagen degradation, skin appears more firm and lines/wrinkles will be diminished. Retinyl palmitate also exfoliates the skin by causing more rapid shedding of the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin) while simultaneously increasing epidermal proliferation, which means it produces rapid skin growth. The combination of rapid regeneration of cells and exfoliation of the stratum corneum not only improves the appearance of aging skin, but also helps to peel away dark spots and blemishes. Over time these actions improve acne, soften the skin, lift dark spots and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Where is Valjean Labs sold?
Interestingly, Valjean Labs does not even have their own website. It appears that you can purchase Valjean Labs products online from Urban Outfitters and Amazon. According to Valjean Labs reviews, you can also find these products at TJ Maxx.
What is the Valjean Labs return policy?
Since Valjean Labs does not sell their products directly to consumers, you must find the return policy of the retailer in which you purchased the product.
Is Valjean Labs cruelty free
Valjean Labs is cruelty free.
Valjean Labs reviews
Since there isn’t a Valjean Labs website, we had to turn to Google for Valjean Labs reviews. Overall, Valjean Labs Facial Serums have received an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars after about 150 customer reviews. Most of the Valjean Labs reviews are very positive; customers enjoy the results and also the price point of these products. One Valjean Labs review says, “This line of facial serums is amazing. Glow, hydrate, firm and restore are all good. The only downside is that you want to use these one at a time. If you layer these they will start to form little white balls on your face. Other than that I TOTALLY recommend.”
However, there are a handful of negative Valjean Labs reviews, which are mostly concerning the lack of results from these products. For example, one reviewer says, “I gave this two stars only because of the packaging. The product truly deserves one. It doesn’t help at all and is full of fillers with only a few of the advertised ingredients. Look at a dermatologist review of Valjean labs. Please. It also leaves a filmy layer on your face and doesn’t even absorb into the skin.”
What are some alternatives to Valjean Labs?
Instead of professional resources, spokespeople, or evidence-based research, Valjean Labs appears to be a skin care company that was banking on going viral. Yes, you will find a number of positive Valjean Labs reviews, but their degree of efficacy is purely anecdotal. Not only is it nearly impossible to find information on Valjean Labs online, but there is not a single doctor or parent company willing to represent the line or vouch for the ingredients.
Even though you may be tempted to purchase Valjean Labs skin care products due to the very low prices, remember, you get what you pay for! In this case, low prices equal low concentrations of key ingredients. If you want to see real results, you need a brand that maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones. One brand that does exactly that is Formulyst.
Take Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Concentrate, for example. This serum contains high concentrations of anti-aging ingredients like alpha-arbutin, peptides, green tea extract, vitamins C and E, and more. Plus, there are plenty of emollients in the formula, such as shea butter and squalane, that help your skin to feel soft without leaving a greasy residue. Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Concentrate is truly an all-in-one serum that can help condition your complexion while helping to reduce the appearance of age spots, wrinkles, and fine lines.