3LAB: Skin Care with Beauty and Brains

As chemistry and biotechnology develop at a bewildering pace, skin care always seems to be playing catch-up with the latest big breakthroughs. However, luxury cosmeceutical company 3LAB has an insider advantage combined with a unique philosophy of innovating perfection.

In line with today’s ideal of preventive health, 3LAB aims to “help women realize perfect skin and not just treat an endless array of skin care problems,” according to founder and CEO David Chung. Formed in 2003 by a core of two chemists and a dermatologist, the New Jersey based company has steadily built a comprehensive line of skin care products bringing the latest science to women’s fingertips.

With the newly launched “M” Cream Ultimate Lift, 3LAB has given the old “apple a day” proverb a futuristic twist. The luxurious gel crème is spiked with stem cells from the rare Swiss apple Malus Domestica, proven to delay the aging process. If you think that sounds serious, we’re just getting started. The ingredients read alternately like a chemistry textbook and a botany manual, suggesting that 3LAB has packed a full arsenal of natural anti-aging compounds into an innocent-looking 2-oz jar.

Sounds impressive, but does it work? Well, after only a few uses, “M” Cream seemed to deliver on its promise of rejuvenating and relaxing, quickly imparting moisture with a light apple scent. Although it absorbs well, oilier skin types may find the rich crème a bit much for daytime wear, but shine can be avoided by applying very sparingly (not a bad idea anyway, given the steep price).

Although 3LAB is dedicated to perfecting all types of skin, many of its products address specific challenges – from ordinary aging to acne scars and sun damage. The clarifying, brightening Perfect “GLOW” Complex serum does a great job of combating uneven pigmentation with a highly stable form of Vitamin C and Nano-Claire GY, the world’s first bioengineered growth hormone. It may sound scary, but it won me over when I saw how quickly it was fading stubborn patches leftover from summer sun.

Out of all these new products, the sleeper hit was the Perfect Mask, a serum-infused sheet that delivers a potent anti-aging treatment in just 10 minutes. Formulated with an impressive roster of botanical extracts including Green Tea, Gingko Biloba and calming Portulaca, the Perfect Mask aims to speed up cell turnover, boost circulation and instantly perk up a lackluster complexion.

The formula is almost syrupy, but the initial odd sensation gives way to a remarkable warm tingle that feels both gentle and effective. After removal, it doesn’t seem possible to massage the excess fluid into the skin as directed, but with a little time it miraculously absorbs on its own, leaving a noticeably plumped feeling and no stickiness. In my decidedly unscientific trial, the results were a surprising smoothness and a spa-caliber glow that lasted for days.

All in all, 3LAB continues to be a company to watch, with a mission that effectively embodies the bonding of chemistry, dermatology and luxury. If this “Beauty and the Geek” idea appeals to you, 3LAB’s latest products certainly merit an experiment or two.

Available: Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, and http://www.3lab.com

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