In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews. This week, beauty writer Sarah Y. Wu is testing Glow Recipe’s Pomegranate Peptide Firming Serum.
I have a thing for bouncy skin, the kind that springs back like a trampoline. In the service of achieving it, I’ve tried every product and treatment that claims to lift, firm, smooth, or plump. However, there are certain results that can only be achieved through injectables like cheek fillers and Profhilo neck injections, both of which I’ve enthusiastically tested. But when it comes to bounce-boosting skin care, peptides reign supreme. When I heard whispers of Glow Recipe’s new Pomegranate Peptide Firming Serum, I obviously had to snag a bottle immediately. Formulated with pomegranate extracts and polypeptides, it’s made to firm, lift, and smooth — essentially everything I’m looking for in a skin care product.
“This serum not only helps to preventatively treat the signs of premature aging, but is clinically proven to firm, lift, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles while effectively hydrating the skin,” says Sarah Lee, co-founder and co-CEO of Glow Recipe. While it just officially launched, I managed to get a bottle from the brand a few weeks early to test out. Ahead, my honest thoughts on whether it’s capable of delivering the bouncy, lifted complexion of my dreams.
- Price: $45
- Size: 30 ml/1 fl oz
- Clean/Cruelty-Free: Yes
- Best For: Those that want to lift and firm skin and soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles
- Ingredient Highlights: Pomegranate extract and seed oil, polypeptides, hyaluronic acid, squalane
- What We Like: Instantly makes skin look and feel plumper; deeply hydrates; absorbs quickly; smooths the look of fine lines with regular use
- What We Don’t Like: Nothing!
- Rating: 5/5
How TZR Keeps Score: 1/5: Making a return; 2/5: Keeping as a backup; 3/5: Finishing to the last drop; 4/5: Recommending to my group texts; 5/5: Already on auto-replenish
Pomegranate and peptides are a true match made in heaven. “Pomegranate is naturally rich in polyphenols and vitamins A, C, and E, which is why we chose this antioxidant-rich superfruit,” says Christine Chang, co-founder and co-CEO of Glow Recipe. “Our serum pairs it with signal and copper peptides to help treat visible signs of aging for all skin stages.”
You’ll frequently see peptides used in firming skin care because they act as the building blocks of collagen and elastin, two essential proteins that keep your skin plump and bouncy. “Peptides are frequently used in firming skin care because they can stimulate the production of collagen, the protein that plays the most crucial role in maintaining skin's elasticity and its density or firmness,” says Dr. Ava Shamban, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills and founder of AVA MD and SKIN FIVE Medical Spas. Dr. Shamban loves their ability to dive into the deeper layers of your skin, where they send signals to your cells to speed up collagen and elastin production. They’ve also been shown to support your skin’s natural regeneration processes and strengthen your barrier function.
Glow Recipe uses two types of peptides in its serum: signal peptides and copper peptides. “Signal peptides enter the skin and use their communications function to send messages to different parts of skin,” says Dr. Shamban. “Your recipient cells are triggered to produce the proteins that keep skin function optimal and youthful.” Meanwhile, copper peptides work with naturally occurring enzymes in your skin to improve collagen and elastin growth, promote wound healing, and fight inflammation. Together, they’re the ultimate duo for firm skin.
You’ll also get some smoothing action from the pomegranate seed oil and extract. Beyond providing antioxidant benefits, it also has a visible effect on your skin. “Pomegranate oil is composed of a very rich nutrient profile including folate, fatty acids, vitamins C and K, as well as polyphenols,” says Dr. Shamban. “It can help to smooth and nourish skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps diminish hyperpigmentation from acne and reverse dark spots.”
While the combination of pomegranate and peptides is the firming foundation for this serum, it also contains additional ingredients your skin will drink up. There’s hyaluronic acid, a popular humectant that makes your skin instantly look more dewy and plump. Lastly, squalane — another highly effective hydrating ingredient.
My Typical Skin Care Routine
Bouncy skin isn’t easy to maintain, so I keep it going with a combination of at-home devices, topical products, and occasional visits to the dermatologist. I have deeper lines on my neck and chest, as well as fine lines under my eyes, so these are the areas I focus on. My essential devices for smoothing and firming skin are my Dr. Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite EyeCare Max Pro, which targets my 11 lines and under-eye lines, as well as my CurrentBody LED Neck and Dec Perfector, which treats the deep-set lines on my neck and chest. I also swear by my NuFACE Mini+, which instantly makes my face look more sculpted, lifted, and glowy.
The rest of my routine is a constantly changing lineup of essences, sheet masks, serums, moisturizers, eye creams, and sunscreens. As someone that tests skin care for a living, it’s rare for me to keep the same products in rotation for longer than a couple of months. Rare essentials that have made the cut? Superegg’s Vitamin Collective Vitality Elixir, a gentle multivitamin serum that I love cocktailing with Glow Recipe’s peptide-packed formula. I always top it off with a few drops of Le Prunier’s Plum Beauty Oil, which is the first face oil I’ve actually liked and the only one I’ll ever need.
My Experience & Results
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell whether or not new skin care is doing anything, but I knew this pomegranate peptide serum was going to be a winner from the first pump. The watery, lightweight texture instantly sank in, leaving a subtly juicy pomegranate scent behind. Immediately (and quite happily), I noticed how much plumper and smoother my skin looked. The added bonus of dewy hydration didn’t hurt, either. I followed Glow Recipe’s instructions and applied it twice daily, every day for a few weeks, making sure to bring it down over my neck and chest.
With consistent use, I noticed that my neck lines started looking a little softer and less deep. To be transparent, I’ll add that I paired this serum with daily LED masks on my neck and microcurrent on my face, but I’ve always been a firm believer in boosting your skin care with devices for better results. In testing, I found that this formula was an excellent add-on to my at-home devices, helping make their smoothing, lifting effects even more visible.
Is Glow Recipe’s Pomegranate Peptide Firming Serum Worth It?
Whether you have visible fine lines or just want to add some extra bounce to your skin, this serum is fully worth adding to your routine. Peptide-infused skin care can easily run hundreds of dollars, so I appreciate that this one is more accessibly priced at $45, while still delivering the results I want. As with with any serum, don’t expect it to magically erase deep-set wrinkles or give you a face lift overnight. But if you use Glow Recipe’s Pomegranate Peptide Firming Serum consistently and boost it with a device or two, you’re going to be just as obsessed as I am.