You know Maya Chia as one of the most efficacious lines in the ethical beauty space (and if you don’t, get on that train, girl!). That’s why when they asked TOG to help launch their NEW NEW (a super effective neck cream that’s for your face too) The Advanced Response Complex, I was like pinch me! YES. Here’s what the TOG team thinks of the first cream from Maya Chia.
By: Lisa Fennessy
IN THIS POST:
“I’ve been asked to create a water-based cream for years now and I get it. But I had never been at the point where I was creating something that was different enough. I always want to be creating something UNIQUE, or else what’s the point?” Susanne Norwitz, founder of Maya Chia.
Well, the time has come my friends because SHE DID and IT’S FANTASTIC. Here’s our TOG team’s full review of The Advanced Response Complex (ARC), with FAQs I sourced from readers like you!
Introducing: The Advanced Response Complex (ARC) by Maya Chia
Strip away all the marketing lingo and this cream basically takes all the building blocks the skin needs to repair itself (amino acids, peptides, minerals, vitamins) and delivers it in double and even triple the amounts needed to be effective.
Which is on brand for Maya Chia because if I had to sum up Maya Chia in one word it would be: EFFECTIVE.
What’s in it (and why it works as the best neck cream or face cream)
Susanne has worked on this cream for 3 years, scouring the planet to find the most interesting, clinically backed ingredients that really move the needle in terms of efficacy.
I was like, “Do you just sit and read journals and articles all day?” And she goes, “No, I save that for 2 am when I can’t sleep, lol.” Here are a few of the highlights:
Organic Kangaroo Paw Paw Flower Extract shown to repair damaged skin. An in vivo study found that within 28 days the total neck wrinkle area was reduced by up to 65% in participants.
Nicotiana Benthamiana, which has a collagen production efficacy comparable to retinol. After 28 days, a consumer study found up to 42% increase in skin radiance, 44% decrease in pore size and 28% increase in skin hydration.
Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline to help form the structure of collagen in the skin. In vivo tests show this reduces deep wrinkles by 32%, increases skin moisture by 18%, and shows an 81% improvement in elastic fibers and 94% increase in the inhibition of enzymes that contribute to the aging process in skin.
AND it also has chebula (one of nature’s strongest antioxidants), a poly-peptide and multiple peptide complex (to help synthesize collagen up to 5x), fermented minerals and high quality vitamins….and that’s just scratching the surface.
All in all, ARC has over 40 powerful actives formulated in a potency that is gentle yet effective. In fact, I asked Susanne what percentage of water is used in this cream and she said 30% which is UNREAL! Most creams are formulated way above that, with some coming in at 90% water. (I know, right? Creams and lotions can be scam city, like what am I even paying for when a formula is 90% water?!)
See what I’m sayin’???
RELATED: Read my review of Maya Chia’s The Straight A Retinol Serum.
We’ve been using this cream for about three weeks now. Here are our thoughts (and even more here)!
Lisa (normal skin, age 43)
What really stands out to me is how smooth and soft my skin, including my neck, feels after using this cream.
This is a medium-weight cream for me (not too light, not too heavy). It assimilates seamlessly with skin (not leaving it tacky or wet) so even though it’s created as a night cream, it’s easy to use during the day too. And because you know I’m extra in every way, I’ve been pedal-to-the-metal using this both day and night. I like it straight up during the day, but at night I prefer making a cocktail with this and The Straight A.
What’s interesting about this cream is that my skin almost feels cushy from the inside. I’ve never felt a cream do that before—I like to picture it getting to the root of my dehydrated skin rather than sitting on top of it. It’s like, instead of “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”…this cream screams, “Pay ALL THE ATTENTION to the man behind the curtain!” That’s where the magic is happening.
I also really love the delivery system here. It comes in an airtight container where you press down the top to release the perfectly portioned amount of product that you can swipe and apply. This ensures no external contamination AND the internal canister is actually created as refill compatible (!).
I’m excited to see what this cream can do over the course of another few weeks.
Nicolle (sensitive skin, age 34)
You probably know me as the resident sensitive skin tester, and for good reason—actives typically make my skin scream, “TOO MUCH!”
Not Maya Chia’s latest release though. The ARC is silky, creamy, luscious and oh-so-effective.
I was having a cystic acne breakout the week I started using this neck cream, and when the blemishes finally cleared up, I was left with dull, dry, scaly patches on my jawline. Ew.
Enter ARC, which helped smooth and rehydrate my skin practically overnight. And you know I’m not exaggerating because you know Maya Chia’s products are that efficacious.
I love the feeling of the cream too. It’s almost like a mousse, it’s so light and airy. But somehow it packs in the hydration my complexion needs, despite the thermometer reading -10 some mornings in Minneapolis this winter.
I’ve never been one to rave about ANY skincare product being my go-to for a one-way ticket to Glow City—but the ARC changed all that. I wake up with glowing, plump skin from my forehead to my decolletage, which is an accomplishment for the winter months.
Summary? It’s as effective on my sensitive skin as it is on Lisa’s normal skin (making it a definite contender for best neck cream, since that skin is thinner than the skin on your face). So have no qualms about trying it, my sensitive-skinned compadres!
Maya Chia ARC FAQs
In true TOG reader fashion, you BROUGHT IT with the questions. Here are some FAQs from Maya Chia’s launch of The Advanced Response Complex.
Q: Is The ARC suitable for sensitive skin?
A: Nicolle has sensitive skin and she says, “It’s as effective on my sensitive skin as it is on Lisa’s normal skin. So have no qualms about trying it, my sensitive-skinned compadres!” You can read her full experience here.
Q: Is The ARC organic?
A: No! It’s really hard to get a face cream 100% certified organic. That standard was developed to measure agriculture and the ingredients here are not all agricultural ingredients. BUT! Maya Chia goes to extensive lengths to source the highest quality ingredients. For example, if you order chebula all from different sources, some will have better clinicals than others. Meaning some are more effective than others. We won’t know that as consumers looking at a label, but Maya Chia has sourced the highest quality, most effective, nontoxic ingredients from all over the world to be represented here. We are in good hands!
Q: What does it smell like?
A: There are no added essential oils or added fragrance. The scent is driven by green tea and smells subtle and fresh.
Q: Does it feel tacky on the skin? How does it compare to Prima’s Afterglow?
A: It has a finish that is more silky and soft. My skin is left hydrated but not tacky at all. It’s similar to products that have silicone in them IMO (this one does not). Prima’s Afterglow is more oil-forward where you can feel the finish.
Q: Can it be used over oils/serums without pilling?
A: In my short experience, yes! I actually asked Susanne about this and she said she paid particular care to this detail during formulation.
Q: Have you used it with The Straight A? Do they “play nice” together?
A: (I got this question a lot!) I actually love The ARC and TSA together! You can layer TSA under or over The ARC (see what you like better) OR you can add a few drops of TSA into The ARC and make an evening cocktail for your skin.
Q: Why is there vegetable oil in this cream? Any thoughts on that?
A: I checked with Susanne and this is an Ecocert ingredient that’s included to help give the cream its cushion. Some ingredients are included as actives and some are included to produce a desired texture. This one is the latter.
Q: How long does this jar last?
A: The Maya Chia team says it will last about 90 days using it 1x daily and about half that using it 2x daily.
Q: Does it help with skin firming on the neck?
A: This is not a firming-focused cream but more of a reparative-focused cream. For example, one study showed organic Kangaroo Paw Paw Flower Extract (one of the star ingredients in The ARC) reduced neck area wrinkles by 65% in just 28 days.
Q: My skin is super dry, will it help with that?
Q: Is this cream for both day and night?
A: It’s designed to be used at night (when skin is in reparative mode), but it’s light enough to be worn during the day. Because I’m extra you know I’ve been wearing it both day and night. I like it during the day, the finish leaves skin silky (not tacky) and it’s easy to apply makeup over. At night I like it layered with an oil like The Straight A.
Q: Should I wear a serum or anything underneath?
A: This is a face cream and is not a good substitute for water-based serums. So ideally, you would apply a serum and then The ARC. I recommend a vitamin C serum and then The ARC during the day. And a vitamin A serum (or The Straight A) and then The ARC at night.
Q: How does ARC compare to the True Botanical’s new Chebula Cream?
A: Okay I haven’t tried the True Botanicals Chebula Extreme Skin Barrier Cream, but I can tell you that Susanne includes chebula in The ARC at an amount that is over the percentage needed in clinical studies to be effective. Most brands wont go over like that because it’s not cost effective. Or they have a chemist formulating for them and the chemist isn’t invested like a founder/formulator is (broadly speaking). I haven’t tried TB’s new cream, but I can tell you The ARC is maxed out in every direction.
Happy to answer any more questions!
TOG Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TOG uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TOG stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.