Take what you know about beauty devices and forget about it. Opulus Beauty Labs, and its soon-to-launch device (yes, device) is a truly new concept, something that may be a rarity in the saturated beauty space. There’s a lot to know about Opulus, but perhaps the thing you should know first is who’s behind it – and that’s Dr Robb Akridge (known in the industry as Dr Robb). Although you may not know Dr. Robb’s name, you are probably familiar with one of his earliest creations – a small cleansing brush called Clarisonic. Now he’s showcasing his next act, which he started working on in 2019.
Opulus debuts a two-part system – the Opulus Activator (aka the aforementioned device) and the Opoule Treatments (aka Little Pods). The activator transforms the Opoules into a single-use dose of care. The device can be likened to skin care blender of sorts, as it takes the encapsulated ingredients in each Opoule and blends them together, creating a freshly activated product and delivering it at absolute maximum potency.
“In the beauty industry, the term ‘cosmetic device’ is generally attributed to a tool applied to the skin to provide treatment, whether it is LED light, sonic cleansing or another energy,” Dr. Robb notes via email to TZR. “Our activator is very different from something you use on your face.” He felt this warranted a new classification in beauty and added that “it is the first beauty device that works like a personal laboratory – to activate, mix and freshly heat our cosmetic products in a very specific way to give you luxurious and powerful skin care.”
Because the actual formulas are designed to serve almost as a complete one-step beauty routine, the Opoules also address the current trend of “skinimalism,” a return to simpler routines. Opoules take the worry out of accidentally using incompatible ingredients. Each Opoule (completely plastic-free) is essentially a pod (they’ve been compared to Keurig cups) with a hard “coat” and a soft inner “core”. Together, this system protects the active ingredients from air and light.
So, you might be wondering what products does Opulus activator actually make? The brand starts with the beauty industry‘s most revered ingredient, retinol (although in a press conference it hinted that the device will eventually create more than just facial formulas) . Retinol Opules will come in three strengths, allowing you to start low and gradually increase as your skin adapts, also known as retinization by dermatologists. (It should be noted that this gradual progression towards increasing the strength of one’s retinol is a method often recommended by dermatologists as well.) The R1 offering contains 0.025% retinol (aka pure vitamin A) which will work best for you. if you are totally new. retinol or if you have very sensitive skin. R2 contains 0.05%, which the brand says in a statement should be chosen if “you are using a retinol of 0.05% or higher, or if you have completed diet 1”. Finally and R3 contains 1% – which Opulus recommends “only after completing diet 2”.
Said regimens also include many other actives designed to prevent some of the less desirable side effects of retinol (i.e. dryness, flaking, bleeding, etc.). These Opules also include tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (aka THD ascorbate, a stable oil-soluble form of vitamin C), buzzy retinol alternative, bakuchiol, and ceramide 3, which helps replenish moisture and function skin barrier.
To further support skin while it adjusts to retinol, “Retinol + Ramp Up Night Cream Regimens,” as Opoule’s monthly sets are called, alternate the use of retinol with another retinol-free formula. – the RHR Overnight Mask Opoule Treatment. It’s a rich, hydrating cocktail of 2% soothing Allantoin, Hyaluronic Acid, and skin-replenishing and firming peptides. Essentially, when you order an Opulus device, you choose which strength of retinol you want to start with, and whether or not you can increase by a higher percentage the following month is your choice.
Dermatologist Dr. Josh Zeichner commented on the device in an email to TZR, saying “anhydrous (aka waterless) formulas are advantageous because they allow for stability that you can’t achieve otherwise.” Still, he notes, “it’s not clear if the system and actives will be any more effective than traditional skin care products, including anhydrous products, but the ingredient lists contain the right kinds. active ingredients to treat and protect the skin”. He also stresses the importance of regularly disinfecting these types of tools according to company instructions.
Unsurprisingly, the Opulus doesn’t come cheap – for $495 you’ll get the device and a month’s supply of Opoules. (The first 500 customers will be able to purchase the set for $395 on April 19). Monthly supplies will then be available in sets that vary in size and price – 14 to 28 Opoule treatments, from $85 to $200.
If almost $500 is too much for you, Zeichner notes that even the retinols available at your local drugstore are extremely effective these days. But if you want to splurge on the latest in skincare technology, or really want to invest in using skincare’s most beloved ingredient in a cutting-edge way, try the Opulus.
The Opulus Starter System will be available for order at opulusbeautylabs.com.
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