Monday, August 14, 2023

Ao Skincare Reverse Longitude PM Serum-Shot Review

Press Sample (Unaffiliated Links)

Ao Skincare makes cold processed skincare, "that restores the skin’s barrier so it can protect and moisturize itself, naturally." Created by a dermatologist, their products utilize preventive ingredients found in New Zealand that are effective and healthy for the skin. Ao Skincare is a cruelty-free brand that is also EWG VERIFIED, and their packaging is sustainable (and they make refills).

About Ao,

Ao – born from a wild New Zealand. The name ‘Ao’ comes from the indigenous New Zealand Maori word for ‘earth’. For us, it references our home from which we draw inspiration for our unique formulas and approach to skin health.

“The problem sits largely with people’s use of, and ultimately their skin’s addiction to skincare products. The biggest culprit? Moisturizers”. 

Ao was born from the belief that most skincare does more harm than good. Dr. Gray sees the impact first-hand - products full of toxins, heavy emulsifiers and barrier-degrading ingredients.

Your skin barrier is rebuilt, then self-regulated. For us, it’s always been about restoring skin to where the skin’s barrier is performing to its optimum and moisture is self-controlled – restoring your skin’s own dynamic barrier to make it optimally adaptive to its environment. That’s why we think it’s important to change the way people think about skincare.
Ao Skincare Reverse Longitude PM Serum-Shot is an antioxidant-rich nighttime serum that reduces the appearance of fine lines, helps to fade hyperpigmentation, it does an excellent job exfoliating dead skin cells, and it stimulates collagen production. Unlike retinol, which can be a more harsh form of Vitamin A, that many people can't tolerate, Retinal is a more gentle version of Vitamin A, and therefore it can be more easily tolerated by people with sensitive skin. This serum is lightweight, fast-absorbing and fragrance-free. My skin can be a bit sensitive, and I often experience dry and peeling skin after using retinol-based products, but this serum neither leaves my skin dry, nor peeling and irritated. It is very effective, gentle and a perfect pick for my skin. My skin is left soft and smooth, and my fine lines are softened. Furthermore, my skin has a pronounced clarity and my small area of hyperpigmentation (sun damage) is starting to lighten.

As is the case with all products that exfoliate dead skin cells, one must be diligent in using a high SPF sunscreen to protect the skin since it is more vulnerable after exfoliation. It is also imperative to have your doctor evaluate your skin before introducing retinol and retinal based products to make sure that your skin should be exposed to this type of exfoliation, and to make sure that skin discoloration, moles and odd textures aren't pre-cancerous lesions, skin cancer or melanoma. The last thing that one wants to do is actively exfoliate the aforementioned, and seeing your doctor is well worth it.

According to Ao,

Retinol is the gold standard in anti-aging, but it’s typically deactivated by sunlight. This antioxidant-infused hit of Retinal (a Vitamin A that’s a more powerful form of Retinol) can be used both day and night and is not denatured by the sun. This product also contains a powerful booster Bakuchiol that sloughs away dead skin cells and stimulates collagen production – helping to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles.

This product contains Retinal, a powerful form of Vitamin A that is gentler than Retinol. Astaxanthin, Bakuchiol and our unique formulation process makes the Retinal even more effective.

Formulated for all skin types.

Directions: Pump once into palm. Apply to face before PM treatment.

Clean: No Parabens, No Sulfates, No Mineral Oils, No PEGS, No EDTA, No Fragrance. Cruelty-Free: Leaping Bunny & PETA certified, Vegetarian.

Sustainable: Recyclable Packaging, Refillable, 1% for the Planet. Manufactured in the USA.

Select Ingredients and Their Attributes:


New Zealand Red Algae (cultivated Astaxanthin) (EWG Rating: 1): A carotenoid (carotene pigment) found in algae that functions as the strongest natural antioxidant known. Research suggests that Astaxanthin may be able to prevent the oxidative damage to skin after exposure to UVA radiation. 

Totarol (Podocarpus Totara) (EWG Rating: 1): An extract from the New Zealand Totara tree, this powerful nature-sourced antioxidant helps fight oxidative stress and free-radical damage to the skin. It also has natural antibacterial preservative qualities and is helpful in the treatment of acne. 


Retinal (Retinaldehyde) (EWG RATING: 5): The precursor of retinoid acid, it has notable anti-aging effects and can also induce a statistically significant increase in skin elasticity. A stronger form of Retinol, it renews and regenerates skin cells, stimulates new collagen production, increases skin elasticity and reduces trans-epidermal water loss.

Bakuchiol (Psoralea Corylifolia) (EWG RATING: 1): A natural antioxidant found in the seeds and leaves of the plant Psoralea corylifolia. It has retinoid-like cellular activity and is used in combination with or as a replacement for topical retinoids. Research has shown that this ingredient seems to have equivalent antiaging benefits to topical Vitamin A (Retinol), but doesn't have many of the side effects typical of retinoids, including sun sensitivity and irritant dermatitis. The retinol-like activity is due to modulating key retinoid binding and metabolizing genes and key dermal-epidermal junction, extracellular matrix and cytoskeleton genes. It stimulates collagens types 1,3 and 4 and has inhibitory activity against pro-inflammatory enzymes and elastase. Studies show improvement in roughness and dryness, fine lines and wrinkles, skin tone, elasticity and firmness, radiance and brightening. It is also useful when combined with topcal retinoids as it helps protect the retiniod from oxidative damage.

Sodium Hyaluronate (EWG RATING: 1): Sodium Hyaluronate is the sodium salt of Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic Acid is found naturally in the fluid that bathes human joints, in the vitreous humor of the eye and in the skin. It is abundant in the dermis of young skin, but levels of this important compound decline with age making the skin look older. It is a powerful humectant that attracts and holds on to water, making it the ultimate skin moisturizer. This helps to hydrate skin and keep it moist and supple but also causes a slight swelling. This swelling helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and gives the skin a more youthful appearance. It is non-irritating to skin and is usually well tolerated even by people with sensitive skin

Pure New Zealand Artesian Water (EWG Rating: 1):Sourced from New Zealand, it is pure mineralized artesian water containing silica, calcium, magnesium, potassium and other trace elements. 

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (EWG Rating: 1): Derived from coconut oil and glycerin, it is considered an excellent emollient and skin-repairing ingredient. This is due to the mix of fatty acids that the skin can use to repair its surface and resist moisture loss. It also has the added benefit of being non-sensitizing.

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax (EWG Rating: 1): An emollient and skin conditioner, it is known for its skin smoothing qualities and is considered non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores).

Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil (EWG Rating: 1): A non-fragrant plant oil with topical anti-inflammatory benefits, it also helps to enhance the skin’s barrier repair properties and ability to heal from damage. With a rich source of fatty acids that the skin recognizes and can use, it assists in stimulating collagen production and defending the skin against UV light damage.

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil  (EWG Rating: 1): A non-fragrant oil from pressed almonds that functions as an emollient.

Sodium Polyacrylate (EWG Rating: 2): A versatile polymer that is used as an emulsion stabilizer and emollient in cold processing formulations. It achieves light texture and good spreadability.

Sodium Phytate (EWG Rating: 1): The salt form of the corn-derived plant component phytic acid, it is used as a chelating agent.

Ethoxydiglycol (EWG Rating: 1): A humectant and viscosity-decreasing agent used in skin care since it is non-irritating, non-penetrating and non-comedogenic when applied to the skin.

Dehydroacetic Acid (EWG Rating: 1): A synthetic fungicide and bactericide are predominantly used as a preservative in cosmetics. It is considered one of the mildest preservatives due to clinical tests showing no evidence regarding toxicity and potential for irritation. It is one of the only preservatives that meets our efficacy standards, and is a low hazard for the environment.

Benzyl Alcohol (EWG Rating: 5): An organic alcohol that occurs naturally in some fruits, it is used as a low irritant preservative in cosmetics.

COLD PRESSED INGREDIENTS ARE: Nontoxic, Cruelty-Free, Sustainable, Eco-Friendly.

FORMULATED WITHOUT: Parabens, Sulfates, Mineral Oils, PEGS, EDTA, Fragrance.

Overall Assessment: I am delighted by the efficacy of this retinal serum, and I am elated that it is so gentle. 

$95.00 for 1 oz. from Ao Skincare (Unaffiliated Links). Press Sample. All views expressed are categorically my own. 

Copyright © 2023 All Rights Reserved.


  1. Sounds like an excellent product. I'm not using retinal lately and should start again.

    1. It is a very impressive retinal serum. I am so impressed by the extent to which it is both gentle and effective! My skin isn't visibly peeling, and yet it is really working. It does just what it claims, and I am really pleased with the results!

  2. Hi, Lola - This sounds absolutely it truly makes you look like age doesn't matter. ;) Angie,

    1. It is very impressive, and gentle, Angie! I am thrilled by the results!

  3. I have been dying to try a retinal product. I've used Ao products in the past, so I will have to consider trying this one!!

    1. I definitely think it is worth trying a retinal product, Allison. It is more gentle than retinol, and this one is certainly quite effective! Ao, as you know, makes nice products, and this retinal serum is a definite winner for my skin!


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