Yves Saint Laurent Youth Liberator: Glycan…or glycan’t?

Last weekend, I took lovely Mother WITS out shopping for her first foray into the world of high end beauty. Our first stop was the YSL counter in Debenhams, where we were almost instantly approached by a fairly persistent  heavily made up counter lady. ‘Here we go’ I thought….I asked which products she would recommend, and her hand moved at the speed of light to the YSL’s Youth Liberator Serum.

YSL_Forever_Youth_Liberatorblog review

IT WAS £90.


I played along, and thought it was worth at least hearing the sales speel. I asked the counter lady if the ingredient referred to on the box as ‘GLYCANS’ was actually Glycolic Acid. No, I was told that these were ‘like little robots that sent messages to the skin to look young again’. Oh right.

Exit stage left.

It did get me thinking…and then researching. So here’s a little post detailing everything I now know about YSL Youth Serum, and its mysterious ingredient ‘glycans’.

SO…what are Glycans then?

‘Glycan’ is actually the name for the sugars found in the tissues in our skin. They are also known as ‘poly saccharides’. Glycans also send messages to the skin to boost collagen production, which is what keeps our skin plump looking and wrinkle free.

SO, if i’ve got them already….why do I need to pay £90 for some more?

Well, as you get older, glycans breakdown and stop communicating with the skin, which has the knock on effect of reducing the production of collagen and increasing the chance of developing wrinkles. YSL claim that the Glycans in their Youth serum will be absorbed by the skin and stimulate the production of collagen.

Is that true though?

Studies into glycan and glycobiology is still in the early stages, and as of 2012 a study of only 600 woman had been undertaken to study the results of using a glycan based cream. It is worth pointing out that YSL employed the services of Professor Peter Seeberger, one of the most eminent scientists in the field of Glycobiology, so it would appear that glycans and aren’t another flash in the pan. Harpers-Bazaar also put the product to a panel test and most users raved about the brilliance of the cream, an opinion that was matched by the BBC programme Horizons when they investigated YSL’s claims, and the image below is pretty exciting!

Before and after the use of YSL Youth Liberator

Before and after the use of YSL Youth Liberator

Prof. Seeberger does however admit that Glycans are a small piece in the very complex arena of anti-ageing skincare, and investigation into whether the use of Glycans in cosmetics will actually provide long term anti ageing effects is in its early stages.

So all in all, we’re pleasantly surprised, and may even consider giving one of cheaper Youth Liberator products a go.

What do you think? Have you tried these products? Comment below and let us know.


Co-enzyme Q10 – Anti-ageing avengers assemble!


Co-enzyme Q10 is a staple in many beauty products – from high end to drugstore, but is its fancy name really worth such widespread use, or is it another placebo ingredient, boosted by some clever marketing? We looked a little closer….

What is co-enzyme Q10?

Co-enzyme Q10 is an oil soluble, vitamin like substance otherwise known as ubiquinone or ubidecarenone. It is found throughout the body and takes part in cellular respiration (energy generation!). Co-enzyme Q10 is found in highest concentration in the heart, liver and kidneys, as they require most energy to carry out their essential bodily functions. Here’s an interesting fact….in 1972, scientists found a link between heart disease and co-enzyme Q10 deficiency.

Wow…co-enzyme Q10 sounds pretty important for my insides….but I don’t fancy spreading moisturiser on my bread….

Co-enzyme Q10 is found in lots of different foods, but fear not, we’ve put together a handy list of food that’s rich in co-enzyme Q10,  so your ticker will be back in tip top condition in no time!

Beef, pork and chicken liver, heart and kidneys
Soybean and olive oil

Note: Frying will reduce the amount of co-enzyme q10 in these ingredients.


If you’re vegetarian or don’t fancy beef heart for lunch,  you can buy co-enzyme Q10 supplements from your local vitamin store.

That’s interesting…but why is it in my moisturiser?


Co-enzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant and protects against ‘oxidative damage’ which is more commonly known as ‘ageing’. Oxidative damage is caused by a variety of factors which include UV rays, air pollution, stress, and toxins.

This little wonder nutrient also promotes the production of collagen, which plumps the skin and prevents wrinkles and laughter lines.

Finally, co-enzyme Q10 also rejuvenates the skin by stimulating skin cell reproduction.

So, all in all, co-enzyme Q10 gets a huge thumbs up, and the best part is, you won’t need to break the bank to feel the effects of CoQ10 because of its presence in so many food types and many skin products which are highly affordable and readily available.

Do you use co-enzyme Q10? Or will you now be rushing out to stockpile beef heart and soybean oil? Let us know in the comments below!

Acid appeal

Here at WITS hq we’ve been hearing a lot of positive things about Alpha H – or more specifically, it’s active ingredient glycolic acid. The ‘acid’ part made our spidey senses tingle – so we decided to find out a bit more about this so called ‘DIY chemical peel’

What is glycolic acid?

An acid found in grapes and sugar cane and part of a group of acids known as AHA’s.

What does it do?

It breaks down the bonds that keep dead skin attached to the skin. Once the bonds have been broken down,  the dead skin can then simply be washed away. There is also some research that suggests it helps bring moisture to the surface of the skin.  In essence, it works like an exfoliator. In higher concentrations, it is also used as an industrial cleaner to remove rust.

Is it safe to put on my face?

This all depends. Glycolic acid does work but in the right concentration and with the right skincare routine.

Scientists agree that a concentration of less than 10% glycolic acid will see little to no results; so don’t be forced into shelling out your hard earned benjamins for a jar with a gnats breath of glycolic acid in it.

Glycolic acid also alters the skin and makes it more susceptible to UV rays, so our advice is to use a range of glycolic acid products which naturally compliment each other and counteract any harsh effects, to allow the skin to recover. At the very least use a moisturiser with a high SPF to protect your skin from sunburn.

Anything else I need to know?

Be prepared for side effects like peeling, scabbing, redness, inflammation and swelling – but don’t worry, with the right skincare routine, these will soon disappear and the skin benefits are worth it.

So all in all, glycolic acid gets the thumbs up from us here at WITS! If you want to try your hand at the DIY chemical peel, here are some amazing glycolic acid products:

Alpha-H 12% glycolic acid cleanser

Peter Thomas Roth acid hydrating gel

What do you think of glycolic acid? Have you tried it?

Is there some other skincare super potion you’d like us to investigate?  Send us an email whatsinthatstuff@gmail.com

Enjoy pancake day!


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