Not long after I started researching interesting actives, I came across Your Best Face (YBF) Skincare, an artisanal skincare line that seemed to feature almost all of them across its range of products. I inquired about the products, and YBF Founder and Formulator Darrell Owens personally responded, generously granting me the opportunity to sample and feature an amazing assortment of Your Best Face Skincare. Before I dive into the individual products themselves, all of which warrant attention, let’s give some attention to what makes this line unique.
Mr. Owens formulated his first product when a dear friend requested that he create something to make her skin radiate on her wedding day. She was thrilled with the results, and Mr. Owens’ knack for formulation began spreading by word-of-mouth. Your Best Face Skincare (YBF) was founded a few years later in 2004, and Mr. Owens has been creating his handcrafted, actives-loaded products for a loyal and growing fan base ever since. Mr. Owens’ unique approach to formulation is, in part, a response to his frustration with the skincare industry’s widespread gimmicks and ineffective formulas. From the beginning, Your Best Face has offered a refreshing alternative to industry norms, forgoing flashy marketing and gimmicks and instead developing a solid reputation based on multitasking formulas with highly concentrated, innovative actives.
When asked in an interview what distinguishes Your Best Face Skincare’s products from other lines, Mr. Owens explained, “As a consumer, I don’t think there’s anything more frustrating than spending money on a product with an expectation and have that product not perform. That drives me crazy. We wanted to make good products with effective ingredients. We’re not making claims that set somebody up to expect more than what the products can deliver.” As a consumer, I have found this to be true. Mr. Owens formulates by drawing on tried-and-true ingredients like vitamin C and niacinamide as well as cutting-edge new actives like spin trap and innovative peptides such as Telangyn—all at high enough concentrations to deliver real results.
When consumers purchase YFB Skincare, they are investing in expertly-formulated, results-driven products from a small business that retains the kind of responsive, personal attention that is so rare today. Indeed, Mr. Owens is uniquely responsive: personally answering emails sent to YBF, including personal handwritten notes along with orders, and even creating new products in response to customer feedback and requests. Out of all the cosmetic formulators I have yet encountered or sought out, Darrell Owens is by far the standout in terms of taking time to listen to what his customers want for themselves. For instance, he developed his lip area product, Define, in collaboration with Truth in Aging’s testing panel, and then after releasing it and receiving consumer feedback on its first iteration, Mr. Owens reformulated the product accordingly. Not one to rest on his laurels, Mr. Owens frequently reformulates commercially-successful products along with relevant ingredient advances to make them even better (see Balance below for a recent example).
- Advanced CE Concentrate—This concentrate combines three non-irritating forms of vitamin C along with vitamin E in a creamy formula with skin-calming alpha bisabolol and meadowfoam. With a 12% concentration of vitamin C, this is a great skin brightener and tightener, as well as a great antioxidant concentrate to combine with UV protection, and unlike so many vitamin C products, it is truly non-irritating. I experienced no redness or burning, which are often issues for me with harsher, less balanced vitamin C serums. For anyone with reactive skin, YBF Skincare’s CE Concentrate is the best formulation I have found for harnessing the considerable benefits of Vitamin C (a potent, highly effective dose of it, at that) without causing redness, irritation, or burning.
- Hydrate B Concentrate –This concentrate contains three forms of vitamin B (Vitamins B-5, B-3, B-8) along with hyaluronic acid, and Syn-Hycan, which helps to boost the natural production of hyaluronic acid. This is a deceptively lightweight concentrate that helps boost hydration, particularly when used under other moisturizing products. What I noticed is that Hydrate B Concentrate feels refreshing on application and imparts a subtle suppleness and glow to the skin, especially with ongoing use.
- NEW! Brightening Concentrate–This silky cream contains a new–and very special–form of kojic acid called kojic dipalmitate that is highly stable, gentle on skin, and powerfully effective when it comes to brightening. Brightening Concentrate feels good on the skin, mixes well with other products, and delivers on its promise in a big way, bringing back the radiance of yesteryear in almost no time. It works rapidly, with dramatic brightening results overnight.
- Defend—With a myriad of photoprotective peptides and antioxidants, Defend is another ideal product to apply at the start of the day and to pair with sunscreen. The formulation includes photoprotective and antioxidant peptide Preventhalia, photoprotective peptide Juveleven (that also boosts skin repair), Colhibin (which reduces inflammation and inhibits enzymes that cause the breakdown of skin), along with vitamin E, licorice root extract, turmeric root extract (a fabulous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory active I love to see), and spin trap. Defend is a product packed with actives that truly protect and defend skin, and it is one of my favorite products in a fantastic line. I highly recommend incorporating it into an AM regimen.
- Balance—This soothing formula calms irritated skin, fights blemishes, and encourages an even complexion. The Balance formula I tried featured vitamin B3, olive squalane, L-carnosine, Tetradecylthioacetic acid, sodium hyaluronate, alpha bisabolol, azulene, and calming essential oils and was fantastic at calming my skin. Since I tried Balance, Mr. Owens has updated the formula to make it an even more incredible redness/irritation tamer by keeping the fantastic actives included in the previous formulation and adding high concentrations of: Telangyn (which is what I consider the best soothing and anti-redness peptide available), plus aspen bark extract (for skin smoothing), and licorice extract for yet more skin-calming power. If you ask me, the new formula is a must-try and truly one of the best options on the market for anyone whose skin tends towards inflammation of any kind. Update: I can hardly believe it’s possible, but the new formulation is even more effective at calming inflammation of all sorts!
- Control—This potent anti-aging serum combines Relistase (to firm skin and improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles), Syn-Hycan (helps the body produce more hyaluronic acid and stronger collagen fibrils for firmer skin), Matrixyl 3000, Renovage, vitamin C, trans-resveratrol, vitamin E, turmeric root extract, and alpha lipoic acid to target existing skin damage and expression lines while minimizing future damage as well. This is a highly effective anti-aging product, but unlike the instant gratification products that produce temporary results, Control takes a little longer, works deeper, and produces lasting improvements. Mr. Owens has cautioned people to be patient for the full results. The results will come. Indeed, Control is probably the most action-packed an anti-ager I have ever seen, tackling everything from hydration to free radicals to inflammation.
- Boost—This lightweight moisturizer includes white tea, cucumber, caffeine, and Homeostatine (which helps maintain homeostasis in the dermal extracellular matrix), as well as vitamins, and spin trap. Boost has a great texture and provides supple hydration while at the same time reducing oiliness, taming redness and reducing breakouts. When I started Boost, I had just broken out, and it quickly tamed and healed my skin. Boost is a fabulous choice for anyone who has combination skin or skin inflammation.
- Correct—Your Best Face’s best-selling product, Correct is the most actives-loaded eye cream you can imagine, targeting contour, lines, firmness, and dark circles (e.g., there are six brightening actives alone) in one incredibly high-performing product. I am genetically disposed to prominent dark circles and puffiness, and Correct has improved my eye area better than anything else I have tried.
- Define—This creamy lip cream is designed for the entire lip area extending to the nasolabial lines and corners of the mouth. It smooths, plumps, and contours with six advanced peptides: Hilurlip, Matrixyl synthe’6, Preventhelia, Syn-Hycan, TEGO Pep 4-Even, and Syn-Tacks. This has made my lips more supple than ever and has also started improving my nasolabial lines, which have, to date, been very stubborn.
- Restore—This concentrated PM moisturizer is concentrated with skin brightening and smoothing peptides: Syn-TC (boosts collagen and smooths wrinkles), Uplevity (to boost elastin and combat sagging), TEGO Pep 4-Even (brightens and minimizes discoloration), Elhibin (to protect and maintain elasticity), vitamin E, meadowfoam seed oil, and cupuacu butter. For me, Restore is particularly special for the unique emphasis its formulation puts on maintaining optimal elasticity (so many products focus on collagen and neglect elastin).
- Uplift Toner Mist—While you might expect the toner mist of a product line to be a lightweight in terms of actives, this is not the case here. This refreshing mist packs a high concentration of Uplevity (to boost elastin and combat sagging), EGCG, spin trap, licorice root extract, chicory root extract (a powerhouse antioxidant and anti-inflammatory), horse chestnut extract, vitamin C, algae extract, kojic acid, and more. The result is a mist that goes beyond refreshment to visibly firm and brightens skin while reducing redness and discoloration.
As if this is not enough goodness in one line, Mr. Owens also let me try a few of his luxurious Private Reserve Antioxidant Infused Oils, each of which is an incredible and unique sensory experience with fantastic natural scents in addition to containing wonderful antioxidant ingredients. These oils hydrated and soothed my skin, and unlike many oils that I have tried from other lines, none of them have never caused me any breakouts.
As someone with chronic inflammation and lupus-related photosensitivity, I can vouch for the way in which YBF’s generous use of antioxidants, photoprotective ingredients, and anti-inflammatories along with anti-aging ingredients helps to calm and restore skin. I know just how effective YBF is because before I started testing it, I was suffering from a bad reaction that had left my skin: dry, tired, peeling, red, and broken out all at once. Despite trying nearly everything in my huge skincare arsenal, nothing was giving me any net improvement. Then I gave YBF a try. My skin looked visibly healthier the next day. At first, I thought maybe it was a fluke, but YBF healed my array of skin complaints in less than a week. Since then, I have been using YBF Skincare pretty much exclusively, and I’ve been amazed at the results. My skin looks healthier and more supple than it has in ages. YBF has transformed my skin.
You can see why I think Mr. Owens is a brilliant formulator. I have had remarkable results. Your Best Face is not in any way exclusively designed for or targeted to sensitive skin, and yet it is the first single skincare line I have found that effectively addresses every skin issue I have in formulations that are universally good to (and for) my challenging, reactive skin. Most anti-aging skin care lines have at least one “anti-aging” product that leaves my skin an inflamed mess, essentially contributing to premature aging rather than combatting it. In contrast, I have been able to benefit from every YBF product I have tried without ever experiencing any irritation or discomfort whatsoever. The dual tolerability and effectiveness of YBF impress me because a) this combination is a rare achievement and b) it is an essential one for long-term success. My experience with a chronic inflammatory disorder has shown me firsthand that inflaming/irritating skin—as so many lesser anti-aging lines and products do– accelerates skin aging, ultimately undermining any efforts to rejuvenate or restore it.
What makes these dynamic formulas truly remarkable is that despite being non-irritating, YBF products are highly potent (in fact, they are so concentrated that a using a small amount of product goes a long way in terms of results). Every single YBF product I tried is loaded with results-driven ingredients, yet the anti-aging actives are non-irritating and balanced with skin-calming and anti-inflammatory ingredients. The result of these dynamic formulas is that anyone with any problematic inflammation whatsoever—whether related to redness, breakouts, premature aging, or all three–will benefit that much more. In conclusion, Your Best Face is an aptly-named line, driven by a brilliant formulator who understands how to treat skin and never rests in his pursuit of excellence.