I’ve been putting off my review of the Amorepacific Time Response Skin Renewal Serum (and the rest of the Time Response line) for quite a long time. Not because I don’t know how I feel about the product, but because it’s a $500 serum. That price apparently exceeds my comfort level for talking about a skincare product by quite a lot.
But ultimately, the point of accepting press samples is the opportunity to review products I wouldn’t otherwise be able or willing to acquire, and this is a hell of an opportunity. So let’s all go stick our wallets in the freezer and get down to business.
This product was provided for my consideration by a Fifty Shades of Snail sponsor. Affiliate links, which enable me to receive a commission on purchases made by clicking them, are marked with an asterisk(*).
Amorepacific Time Response Skin Renewal Serum Review
Earlier this year, I requested a few Time Response products from my friends at Amorepacific US*. It was a half-joking, “this is my dream list LOL” request, but to my shock, they came through. And so I began steeping my face in the highest of high-end products I’ve ever tried. Steeping. Get it? Green tea joke!
Purpose: Amorepacific Time Response Skin Renewal Serum is an anti-aging serum that claims to deliver antioxidant skin protection and “target the signs of aging.”
Best suited for: All skin types except for sensitive skin.
Do not use if: You are sensitive to alcohol, olive oil, coconut oil, fragrance, or anything else in the ingredients list.
When and how to use: Use in the serum step of your skincare routine. Dispense 2-3 pumps from the bottle and apply all over face, neck, and upper chest if desired. (Need help putting the steps of your skincare routine in order? Read this post!)
Amorepacific Time Response Skin Renewal Serum ingredients: Camellia sinensis leaf water, water, glycerin, biosaccharide gum-1, alcohol, butylene glycol, phyllostachis bambusoides juice, trehalose, glycereth-26, dimethicone, hydrogenated lecithin, camellia sinensis leaf extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, hibiscus abelmoschus seed extract, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract, lonicera japonica (honeysuckle) flower extract, natto gum, camellia sinensis flower extract, camellia sinensis seed oil, camellia sinensis callus culture conditioned media, camellia sinensis callus culture extract, zizyphus jujuba fruit extract, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, gossypium herbaceum (cotton) extract, opuntia coccinellifera fruit extract, beta-glucan, betaine, zingiber officinale (ginger) root extract, sodium hyaluronate, tricholoma matsutake extract, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), nelumbo nucifera flower extract, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) leaf extract, gingko biloba leaf extract, panax ginseng root extract, betula platyphylla japonica juice, theobroma cacao (cocoa) extract, caffeine, kaempferol, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, glycine soja (soybean) seed extract, eugenia caryophyllus (clove) flower extract, theanine, carica papaya (papaya) fruit extract, papain, vitis vinifera (grape) leaf extract, hydrolyzed camellia sinensis seed extract, hydrolyzed phyllostachis bambusoides, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, secale cereale (rye) seed extract, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, magnolia obovata bark extract, silybum marianum fruit extract, dextrin, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, 1,2-hexanediol, methoxy PEG-114/polyepsilon caprolactone, bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane, saccharide isomerate, sodium polyacrylate, cetearyl behenate, silica, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP copolymer, ethylhexylglycerin, ethoxydiglycol, xanthan gum, caprylylglycol, tocophersolan, pentaerythrityl tetraethylhexanoate, poloxamer 235, poloxamer 338, polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate, polymethyl methacrylate, polymethylsilsesquioxane, polysorbate 20, propanediol, propylene glycol, PEG-5 rapeseed sterol, PEG-75, phytantriol, PPG-5-laureth-5, hydrogenated poly(C6-14 olefin) hydrogenated polydecene, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, carbomer, tromethamine, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, fragrance, yellow 5 (CI 19140)
Notable ingredients: Okay, wow. That’s a monster of an ingredients list. It was about as much fun to type out and double-check as you might imagine.
It may look impressive, but the important thing to note is that without published ingredient concentrations, there’s really no way for anyone without inside information to know whether any of the ingredients in the product are present in meaningful amounts. Or whether the ingredients listed are high enough quality and potency to have any effect on skin. Or whether the ingredients (especially the less researched botanical extracts) can even be absorbed and utilized by skin when applied topically. Those are serious questions about any product. Their near-unanswerable nature may be the reason Amorepacific’s claims for this product are so vague.
With that being said, WHOA. The Time Response Skin Renewal Serum contains a boatload of really interesting and intriguing ingredients, most notably all the different green tea ingredients. Amorepacific products focus heavily on green tea; the brand grows its own and claims to harvest and extract them under standards best described as comically rigid.
(I’m not kidding. Harvesting different parts of the plant at different times to ensure optimal potency is pretty cool brand storytelling. Boasting of making company scientists pick the leaves with only their non-dominant hands takes the story so far over the top that I wouldn’t be surprised if Daleks in deep space picked it up.)
The Time Response Skin Renewal Serum (and the rest of the line) features:
- Green tea leaf water as the base ingredient, rather than plain water
- Green tea leaf extract, natch
- Green tea flower extract
- Green tea seed oil
- Green tea callus culture extract, an extract made from lab-grown camellia sinensis calluses, which are similar to stem cells
- Green tea callus culture “conditioned media”: I asked the brand for clarification on this ingredient but didn’t hear back. It sounds to me like the medium used to culture the calluses.
- EGCG, a remarkably potent antioxidant derived from green tea. Amorepacific’s brand rep told me that AP has developed a proprietary method of making this antioxidant effective through topical application.
- And hydrolyzed green tea seed extract
What all that green tea adds up to is the potential for a truly impressive antioxidant serum, even without all the other botanical extracts included in the formulation. Also promising are the licorice root extract, which may provide brightening benefits, and the bamboo ingredients, which may improve skin’s moisture retention. Finally, I see a couple of papaya ingredients in the mix. Papayas contain an enzyme which can provide a mild exfoliating effect.
As I probably say too often at the end of these sections, however, there’s no way to tell whether any of that will bear out in practice. Only the performance of the product matters in the end.
First, an apology! I normally include a photo of the actual product consistency in this part of a review, but my bottle ran dry unexpectedly. It’s a slight design flaw, actually. The sleek pale gold bottle has its advantages–it dispenses product precisely and hygienically from a thin pump nozzle, and it appears to be an airless pump mechanism so will maintain product potency for longer–but there’s no way to tell how much product is left besides feeling the weight of it. There also seems to be no way to open the bottle to look for just one last use without resorting to power tools. So I don’t have a texture photo.
In any case, the consistency of the Time Response Skin Renewal Serum isn’t especially interesting. It’s a smooth gel-type serum of medium density. It spreads easily over skin and sinks in quickly, without any oily or sticky residue. Actually, the Time Response serum is a lot lighter than I expected it to be. I often associate “anti-aging” with “heavy and rich,” so I’m always pleasantly surprised by a lightweight finish. It’s moderately hydrating, though I personally wouldn’t rely on it for that purpose.
The serum is very fragranced, which could be a problem for some people. It has the typical powdery-floral Amorepacific scent to it, and that scent is strong and lasts quite a while after application. Unlike many product fragrances, which I generally get used to and stop noticing after a while, the scent of the Time Response Skin Renewal Serum caught my attention every single time I used it. I wouldn’t say it caused any problems for me. I will say, however, that it came close to causing me some problems on days when I already had a headache or aversion to perfume.
Now. On to results.
Here’s the thing about the botanical/antioxidant class of “anti-aging” serums: You have to go into the experience understanding that you can’t realistically expect the same kind of Results™ that you could get from standard (and more reasonably priced) actives, like tretinoin, vitamin C, or even an AHA. If a commonly used botanical extract could deliver the same level of reliable collagen building, pigmentation reducing, or surface smoothing as serious actives, I think we’d know about it by now.
So using an actives-free anti-aging serum requires a serious leap of faith. You have to believe it’s providing antioxidants that really are helping to protect your skin from further damage and therefore delaying the visible signs of skin aging. Unfortunately, prevention is a damn hard thing to prove without years of testing.
That’s not to say you can’t expect anything at all from this class of serums, though! I’ve tried a ton and have found several that do noticeably do some kind of a thing. Happily for me, Amorepacific Time Response Skin Renewal Serum is one of those that does do a thing.
I used the Time Response Skin Renewal Serum for about two months, with one break of a couple of weeks to gauge the difference in my skin without the product after using it. I also discontinued use of the rest of my anti-aging actives during that time. I dropped my Curology, I dropped my vitamin C serum, and during my most rigorous early testing weeks with the product, I wasn’t using AHA, either.
(As a side note, I could have made the bottle last longer if I’d rationed it out more carefully, but I didn’t want to get so stingy with it that I wasn’t using enough to see its possible results. Can’t really review something without using it the way it would normally be used.)
After a couple weeks with the Time Response serum, I noticed an unmistakable resurfacing effect. My skin started to look and feel extra smooth and took on a distinctive luster. To me, the effect is equivalent to the results I might get from a weaker AHA, except without the inconvenient pH dependency and photosensitization side effect. I wouldn’t say the effect is enough to replace a standard chemical exfoliant if you’re using it to surface grits, prevent clogs, or significantly reduce PIH, but for skin texture alone, it works gently and well. My skin lost that extra smoothness and luster during the time between running out of product and reintroducing a regular AHA to my routine.
Textural issues are generally considered a major sign of aging, so the smoothing effect I got from the Time Response Skin Renewal Serum does support its broad, vague “anti-aging” claims and the name of the product.
Texture isn’t the only thing that deteriorates with time, though. Dark spots and other pigmentation issues can be a problem as well. Here, while I didn’t see any significant improvement in my little patches of sunspots, I also didn’t see any new ones or any increase in pigmentation issues. That may be a positive sign in itself. Certain antioxidants can prevent the melanin in skin from oxidizing and getting darker, so the maintenance of my current state could indicate those antioxidants working as they should.
Firmness is also a key sign of visible skin aging. I currently don’t have firmness problems (that I know of) thanks to my previous steady regimen of tretinoin and vitamin C, so I didn’t really have a chance to see improvement. As with my pigmentation issues, however, I didn’t see any decrease even after stopping collagen-building actives, so that may say something.
- This should be taken off the market, or this failed at its one primary job.
- Caused me some problems; would not buy again.
- Meh. Neither great nor bad.
- Pretty good, does the thing.
- Freaking amazing.
Conclusion: My time with the Time Response Skin Renewal Serum gave me smoother and fresher skin overall and may have helped maintain my current skin condition in the absence of stronger actives. The question is whether those effects alone are worth the extraordinary price tag of the product.
If we’re talking visible effects only, then I’d say the answer is no, unless you specifically don’t want to use strong actives and you specifically do have the budget for a $500 serum (in which case, congratulations and have fun with that, because the world of luxury skincare is your pearl-containing oyster topped with truffles).
If we factor in the “leap of faith” aspect and include the potential preventative effects of all those green tea ingredients and other botanical extracts, then the possible value of the product can increase pretty dramatically. Amorepacific is a sister brand to Sulwhasoo, and Sulwhasoo is one of the few brands whose extracts-focused products truly wow me.
Due to my great experiences with Sulwhasoo products, I’m inclined to believe that their extracts really are a higher quality and potency than most. Since Amorepacific is a sister brand to Sulwhasoo and sells at comparable price points with comparable formulations, I’m willing to extend a little faith and say that AP extracts stand a good chance of being better than good, too.
So if you have the budget, and you’re into extracts, and you’re willing to place some faith in unmeasurable preventative effects, and you want some skin-resurfacing effects without using strong actives (or want extra skin-resurfacing effects on top of your actives), then yes. The Time Response Skin Renewal Serum could be worth a shot.
Where can I buy Amorepacific Time Response Skin Renewal Serum?
I received my 30ml bottle of Amorepacific Time Response Skin Renewal Serum from Amorepacific US*. If you’re considering buying, make sure to check my sidebar (scroll down if you’re on mobile) for my Amorepacific US coupon code and current extra gift.
If you want to hear about other actives-free, botanical anti-aging serums that have given me visible effects, check out the following posts:
- Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX
- Sulwhasoo Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum
- Mamonde First Energy Serum
- Banila Co Miss Flower & Mr Honey Essence Oil