Genucel is a line of anti-aging skincare products that target several common skin concerns. These serums and treatments have become popular solutions to eye bags, wrinkles, and fine lines.
However, marketing in the skincare industry doesn’t always match reality. That’s why I wrote this Genucel review to put the claims of Chamonix (the manufacturer) to the test.
We’ll look to scientific research to determine whether these claims are legitimate and reach a verdict on whether or not this line of products is worth the investment. Let’s get started.
Putting Genucel To The Test: Does It Work?
Unfortunately, a full list of ingredients is often relatively difficult to source using manufacturer’s websites alone. Our research did lead us to labels for some Genucel products.
However, a lack of transparency is a red flag in skincare marketing. Oddly, only about half of the Genucel products retailed on the official website have a suitable image of the ingredients label.
Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the key active ingredients we know are used in Genucel-line products. This is a good opportunity to explore some of the science of skincare. We’ll also be able to draw some conclusions on whether or not these products are likely to work as claimed.
Here are some of Genucel’s best-selling products:
Genucel Jawline Treatment
Price & Size: $100 / 1 oz (30 ml)
Key active ingredients: Aloe vera leaf juice, matrixyl 3000 (peptides), safflower seed oil, jojoba seed oil, meadowlactone, tocopherol, green tea extract, hydrolyzed collagen
Claim(s): Tightens and plumps the skin around chin and neck, defines and contours the jawline, smooths out wrinkles and delays further wrinkling/sagging, evens out skin tone
In a nutshell, Genucel’s jawline treatment is a combination of peptides, antioxidants, and moisturizers.
Tocopherol is a form of vitamin E and an antioxidant. Green tea extract also contains antioxidant compounds. These compounds may offer some protection to the skin by reducing inflammation. They may also offer a degree of protection from harmful UV radiation (but should not be used as a sunscreen substitute) (1, 2).
Safflower seed oil, jojoba seed oil, and aloe vera are extremely common emollients. They are cheap to source and are present in many moisturizing skincare products (3).
Hydrolyzed collagen is simply a form of collagen that has been reduced into smaller particles for better absorption. It has become a very common ingredient in skincare lines. It may possess moisturizing properties but evidence of strong benefits is lacking (4).
The extraordinary price tag of this product is related to matrixyl 3000, meadowlactone, and the ‘MDL technology’ that supposedly improves their delivery to the skin.
Matrixyl 3000 is a marketing term and trademark describing a combination of two peptides. It was created by the French company Sederma and is found in many other anti-aging products.
It may modestly improve fine lines, wrinkles, and skin texture after several weeks of use. These peptides have also been linked with increased collagen production but there are few large-scale human studies to confirm this effect (5).
Meadowlactone (meadowfoam delta lactone) is another trademark, this time owned by the British company Elementis. It is also found in other skincare lines and is a derivative of meadowfoam (a plant). It works by adding moisture to the skin and may also act to reduce the irritation potential of other skincare ingredients (6).
‘MDL technology’ is a made-up term described by Genucel in considerable detail on their website. In summary, it is supposedly a formulation that maximizes the absorption of meadowlactone and matrixyl 3000.
There is no independent evidence to suggest MDL technology is effective or that it delivers these ingredients better than other products.
Matrixyl 3000 and meadowlactones may add moisture to the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It may offer some benefits but the $100 price tag is eye-watering, especially for such a tiny quantity.
Plant Stem Cell Therapy
Price & Size: $79 / 0.5 oz (15 ml)
Key active ingredients: Eyeseryl, hydrolyzed collagen, phytocelltec, niacinamide, tocopherol, green tea extract, caffeine, resveratrol, guarana seed extract
Claim: Reduces eye bags and “puffiness”
Genucel’s plant stem cell therapy is designed for use around the delicate eye area and is essentially a combination of peptides, plant stem cell extract, and antioxidants.
This eye cream certainly caught our eye during our research into Genucel. Many of its ingredients are staples of cheap lotions and serums. It seemingly attracts its high price tag from the inclusion of two ingredients: Eyeseryl (peptides) and PhytoCellTec (plant stem cell extract).
However, the story gets murkier from here. Eyeseryl is a marketing term and trademark owned by a Spanish supplier named Lipotec. Genucel’s website repeatedly describes clinical testing in which this ingredient was shown to reduce the appearance of “puffiness” in 70% of volunteers after just 15 days.
So far, so good. However, the link to this “study” leads to a lengthy product information document published by Lipotec. This document doesn’t mention the study cited by Genucel. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t mention any clinical studies whatsoever.
We were forced to do some more digging. Lipotec’s website describes just one altogether different clinical test to the one described by Genucel. In it, Eyeseryl was purportedly shown to reduce eye bags by “up to” 29.7% in 28 days. The volunteers in this test were all male.
There is only a single paragraph describing this test on the Lipotec website. It makes no mention of the number of volunteers or the “average” (rather than best) outcome among participants.
Eyeseryl is indeed a peptide (specifically a tetrapeptide). Many skincare products contain these compounds. They are popular in anti-aging products for their skin firming and anti-wrinkle properties (7, 8).
PhytoCellTec, meanwhile, is a trademarked term for a plant stem cell extract. These ingredients have become popular in cosmetic products for their supposed anti-wrinkle and skin-protecting capabilities.
Plant stem cells in cosmetics are actually dead. The notion that these cosmetics contain live stem cells is a common misconception. Observed benefits are likely due to the antioxidant activity of these extracts. Researchers believe more evidence is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn (9).
Genucel’s plant stem cell therapy also contains caffeine, resveratrol, and guarana seed extract. Caffeine and guarana seed are more familiar to most people as components in stimulating beverages (10).
However, the skincare industry has co-opted these ingredients for their antioxidant activity and for their potential to improve blood flow to the skin (11).
Additionally, resveratrol may possess some anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. However, high-quality studies to prove these effects in the skin are still lacking (12).
Niacinamide is another staple ingredient in the anti-aging industry. It is anti-inflammatory, improves moisture retention, and may reduce pore size (13).
Some ingredients in the Genucel jawline treatment we saw earlier are also present in the plant stem cell therapy. These are the antioxidants tocopherol (vitamin E), green tea extract, and hydrolyzed collagen.
Genucel2 Triple Action Technology
Price & Size: $100 / 0.5 oz (15 ml)
Key active ingredients: Beautifeye, meadowlactone, resveratrol, aloe vera leaf juice, digenea simplex extract, green tea extract, phytocelltec, hydrolyzed collagen, goji fruit extract, guarana seed extract, caffeine
Claim: Tackles dark circles, crow’s feet, eye bags, and “puffiness”
This is another “plant stem cell therapy” from Genucel. It contains many of the same ingredients but is slightly more expensive at $100.
The product is billed as “triple action technology” and also has a few key differences in comparison to the $79 version:
- Beautifeye is a combination of albizia julibrissin bark extract and darutoside. Both of these ingredients are plant extracts. Like Eyeseryl, beautifeye contains a tetrapeptide. These peptides may have some anti-wrinkle and firming activity. Darutoside is possibly anti-inflammatory but there is very little research available on this ingredient (7, 14).
- Meadowlactone has moisturizing properties (6).
- Digenea simplex extract is derived from algae. It may have some ability to tackle hyperpigmentation and dark circles (15, 16).
Eyeseryl and niacinamide are ingredients in the first plant stem cell therapy that appear to be absent from this product. These changes to the formula are responsible for the extra $21 on the price tag.
Genucel Deep Firming Serum
Price & Size: $82 / 1 oz (30 ml)
Key active ingredients: Vitamin C, phytocelltec
Claim: Targets wrinkles and “puffiness”
Genucel’s deep firming serum is a very straightforward product. It consists of vitamin C and a plant stem cell extract.
The 7.5% vitamin C concentration in this product is low to moderate strength. In the past, we have reviewed serums with vitamin C content of 45% and above. Many of these products retail at less than half the price of Genucel DFS.
Genucel claim that their “liposome technology” aids in the deeper delivery of vitamin C to the skin. There is some promising research to suggest that liposomes may increase the effectiveness of vitamin C but more studies are needed (19, 20).
This serum contains the same plant stem cell extract (phytocelltec) as many of Genucel’s eye creams.
Genucel Eyelid Treatment
Price & Size: $75 / 0.5 oz (15 ml)
Key active ingredients: Aloe vera leaf juice, peptides, safflower seed oil, jojoba seed oil, tocopherol, green tea extract, hydrolyzed collagen, Calendula Officinalis flower extract
Claim: Tightens and lifts the upper eyelids
This treatment is designed to tackle “droopy” eyelids by reducing the appearance of sagging. Like many Genucel products, it combines peptides, antioxidants, and moisturizing ingredients.
Calendula officinalis flower extract has also been linked with firming and improved skin hydration. However, there is very little research in this area and more studies are needed (21).
Note: Exercise caution when applying skincare products to the eyelid or eye area. Start usage slowly and build up over time and rinse thoroughly if any of the product gets into the eye.
Price & Size: $100 / 2 oz (60 ml)
Key active ingredients: Aloe vera leaf juice, niacinamide, jojoba seed oil, phytocelltec, squalane, Calendula Officinalis flower extract, hyaluronic acid, CoQ10
Claim: Anti-wrinkle treatment
The sales pitch for this Genucel product may be the boldest yet. It is supposedly “transformative” for those who will dare to “defy” age.
However, it’s also present in a huge number of much cheaper products.
Genucel Sun Spot Corrector
Price & Size: $129 / 1 oz (30 ml)
Key active ingredients: Lumiskin, alpha arbutin, stay-c
Claim: Tackles sun spots and discoloration
Lumiskin (diacetyl boldine and triglycerides) is a trademark for a skin lightening formula. It contains a tree bark extract and is moderately effective in treating skin discoloration when combined with peptides (26).
Alpha arbutin is another lightening ingredient designed to tackle hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure (27).
Finally, stay-c is another trademark describing a vitamin C derivative. It is an antioxidant and may be effective in preventing skin pigmentation issues caused by UV rays (28).
None of these ingredients are exclusive to Genucel products and many other skincare brands offer similar items.
What Other Products Do Genucel Offer?
Genucel has expanded and reformulated its range of products multiple times over the years. Unfortunately, not all of the products featured on their website display ingredient lists or images of the ingredients label.
Other bestsellers include:
- Immediate Effects (original & 2) — Genucel’s website does not currently supply any information on ingredients. These products cost $79 for 0.65 oz and $89 for 0.5 oz respectively.
- Redness Repair Intensive — contains bakuchiol, hyaluronic acid, meadowlactones, and jojoba seed oil extract. It retails at $110 for 2 0z.
- RH Complex — contains sytenol (retinol) and hyaluronic acid. It is priced at $110 for 0.5 oz.
- Esotique-RF with Matrixyl — contains matrixyl (peptides), vitamin E, jojoba seed oil, and aloe vera. It costs $65 for a 2 0z supply.
Bakuchiol is a plant-based ingredient that may help tackle wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. It has generated interest as an alternative to retinol because it may cause fewer side effects (29).
Sytenol is another trademarked term referring to bakuchiol.
Please note: All prices are accurate at the time of publishing but are subject to change at the discretion of the retailer.
Is Genucel Worth It?
Many Genucel products contain interesting ingredients that may be of benefit in treating various signs of skin aging.
The question of whether these products are worth it is much more debatable. This skincare line is undoubtedly on the expensive side.
One important thing to remember is that no Genucel product contains an exclusive ingredient. That is, every product in this line can be substituted for another brand with a very similar formula.
This is why research is so important when choosing which items to include in your skincare routine. It is certainly worthwhile to shop around if you can obtain the same results at a lower price.
Genucel uses the same marketing playbook as many other anti-aging skincare brands. This tends to mean an abundance of paid endorsements from doctors and celebrities. Before-and-after photos are also used frequently.
Here is a typical example of a Genucel commercial:
There are many references to clinical testing on the Chamonix/Genucel website. These all appear to be tests carried out by suppliers to Genucel rather than by the company itself.
By far our biggest concern regarding this company is their inability to supply detailed information on any of the tests they reference. The link on their website to ‘Clinical Studies’ leads to a ‘Page not found’ error.
Meanwhile, their link to clinical testing on Eyeseryl leads to a general information document with no information on any clinical tests.
This may be a straightforward mistake on their part or may reflect a belief that no-one will bother to check. However, it is troubling that the company is so relaxed about providing evidence.
What Can and Can’t Genucel Do?
“Transformation” may well be an exaggeration but evidence-based, anti-aging ingredients do exist.
In the past, some of our reviews have stated categorically that a product doesn’t work. This is not the case with Genucel. Many of their products do feature ingredients with proven efficacy.
However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Genucel products are expensive
- Genucel products do not contain any ingredients that aren’t also available from other (cheaper) retailers
The trademarks we’ve discussed are plentiful — Matrixyl 3000, Eyeseryl, and Meadowlactones, to name just a few. All of these cosmetic ingredients are sold wholesale to brands like Genucel by manufacturers.
In effect, these manufacturers focus on the research while brands like Genucel focus on selling.
There is nothing wrong with this business model. We simply make this point to underline the fact that Genucel’s ingredients are also present in the products of many other companies.
For instance, our buyer’s guide contains products with a peptide/matrixyl 3000 formula. These alternatives retail at a much lower price than Genucel.
Don’t forget: when drawing up an anti-aging skincare strategy it’s important to remember preventative measures. These include the diligent use of broad-spectrum sunscreen and adhering to a healthy lifestyle.
Skin aging cannot be avoided entirely but if you do choose to use anti-aging skincare products then there are others on the market that offer better value for money than Genucel.
In addition, cosmetic procedures such as dermal fillers can address certain signs of skin aging. This kind of approach should not be taken lightly and it is not suitable for everyone.
What Do Genucel Customer Reviews Say?
Customer reviews offer a mixture of opinions. Virtually all products on the Genucel website feature an average customer rating in the range of 4 to 5 stars out of 5.
In general, our policy is to avoid attaching too much weight to reviews found on an official retail website. We never make specific allegations of manipulation but we are cautious because of the obvious incentive for retailers to publish positive feedback.
Chamonix (the manufacturer) is listed on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website where it holds an A+ rating (the highest possible).
However, customer reviews at the BBB are overwhelmingly negative. The average rating left by customers is just over 1 star out of 5 and the great majority of the 45 reviewers give the company the lowest possible rating.
However, there are some positive signs that Chamonix takes customer complaints seriously. As far as we can tell, all 67 complaints registered at the BBB are marked either ‘answered’ or ‘resolved.’
There is a recurring theme in many complaints: customers subscribe to Genucel’s auto-shipping program and then complain about additional charges. Exacerbating this issue is the fact that auto-shipping orders are not eligible for a refund. We’ll explore this issue more a little later.
Chamonix does offer refunds and exchanges (on some orders) and no longer charges a processing fee on returned items. However, there are some strings attached:
- Orders are eligible for refund or exchange for 4 months after the order was placed
- In order to return an item, you must call Chamonix’s customer service line at 1-800-754-6211 and request an RMA number
- Shipping and handling fees are not refundable
- You must return the original product (whether used or unused) to receive a refund
- Refunds are not offered if an item is returned without an RMA number
- If you receive an RMA number, you must ensure Chamonix receive the return within 15 days or the RMA will expire
Our view on this policy is that the timeframe for returns is generous and their willingness to accept used and unused products is a plus. However, the RMA system is contrived and can easily confuse customers.
At Trust Pilot, Genucel scores 4.1/5, and 56% of reviewers give the company the highest possible rating. Meanwhile, just 9% of reviews are for the lowest possible rating. At Highya, Genucel scores 2/5 based on 51 reviews.
Bizarrely, a huge number of 5-star reviews on Trust Pilot are from customers who haven’t yet received their package. Browsing through many pages of these reviews we see people, again and again, describing the smooth process of ordering while expressing their excitement at ‘looking forward’ to receiving the item.
A customer of Genucel’s official website describes definite improvements in the firmness of her jawline and neck after using her product. She also says that she doesn’t need to use much of the product in order to see results. Other individuals report an improvement in “puffiness” and skin tone after using Genucel’s eye cream.
On the other hand, a purchaser named Joyce complains on Trust Pilot that she saw no difference in her eyes after using Genucel. Another customer states that the product she ordered “did nothing” and that she ended up over $200 down after her return was rejected.
Interestingly, Genucel is no longer sold on Amazon. Sometimes firms remove products from sale here in order to protect their brand image. This is because reviews posted on Amazon almost always appear high in search results and low ratings can deter customers from buying. However, we cannot say for certain why Chamonix made this decision.
So far we’ve examined the science behind Genucel’s products, considered whether they’re worth the money, and looked at real customer feedback. Before we reach our verdict we’ll cover some important information for people who are already using Genucel or who still wish to purchase it.
Where to buy it
Genucel is available for purchase at Chamonix’s website. It is not widely available from third-party retailers and it does not appear to be sold by Walgreens, Walmart, or CVS.
It appears that some Genucel products are resold on eBay. However, orders made through this channel may not be eligible for the company’s refund policy.
At the time of writing, we cannot find any evidence of active coupons or free trials. However, the Genucel website does currently feature a “radio offer” related to an ongoing advertisement campaign. This offer is essentially a discounted bundle of Genucel items.
The company may offer periodic or seasonal discounts through its website.
What is the Preferred Customer Club?
The Preferred Customer Club appears to be one of the more controversial aspects of Genucel.
Like true marketers, Chamonix have put a very positive spin on what is essentially a repeat billing agreement.
Products are charged and automatically shipped to customers in specific intervals. You must contact the company to cancel the agreement if you do not want to continue paying for products.
Also, repeat orders are not eligible for Chamonix’s refund policy. This is a source of frustration for many disgruntled customers.
The main benefits of this program appear to be “convenience” and discounts. However, it is not clear exactly how much customers stand to save by enrolling.
How do I use it?
Directions for use depend on the product in question. Most Genucel products are used once or twice daily in a targeted area.
The effects of Genucel last only as long as you are using the product. These products (and indeed all anti-aging products) don’t offer an overnight fix. In clinical studies, many benefits don’t begin to appear until after 4, 8, or even 12 weeks of consistent use.
Is it safe and does it cause problems or side effects?
Genucel is unlikely to cause any serious problems or side effects. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to inspect ingredients labels closely and to consult with a dermatologist if you have any doubts. This is especially important for people with allergies and those who’ve previously had bad reactions to skincare products.
Some anti-aging ingredients (for instance, retinol) may cause irritation and heightened sun sensitivity. Peeling agents common in anti-aging products can also cause issues in some people.
However, the Genucel line is largely free of harsh ingredients.
Our Verdict & Alternatives
As we’ve already stated, Genucel is essentially a very expensive line of anti-aging skincare products. They primarily target the face, neck, jawline, and eye area.
None of Genucel’s products contain ‘exclusive’ ingredients. That is to say, all of the ingredients in these products can also be found in items sold by different brands.
Many products sold by this company do contain effective anti-aging ingredients but they are also excessively expensive for what they offer.
There are several steps you should take to protect your skin:
- Pursue a healthy lifestyle and use broad-spectrum sunscreen
- Where possible, avoid using any skincare or cosmetic product that causes irritation
- Invest in more affordable anti-aging product(s) for your skincare routine
Genucel do offer some products with science-based benefits. However, they are over-priced and don't feature any ingredients that aren't also available elsewhere.
- Some effective ingredients
- 4-month return window
- Returns cannot be processed without calling the company in advance
- Questionable auto-ship program
- Links on website to clinical tests do not work