Dermatologist Review of 3LAB
anonymous Verified Purchaser
3Lab was founded in 2003 in Englewood, New Jersey by Korean-born entrepreneur David Chung. 3Lab’s product line debuted in 2007 and became prominent and popular right from the start. Today, 3Lab products are available at many specialty retailers and high end department stores around the country as well as at select locations in Germany, Canada, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
3Lab’s founder, David Chung immigrated to the United States as a boy in 1970. David was raised in New York City where he helped his mother sell skin care products and clothing from the family’s store on 32nd Street. He attended the University of Maryland in College Park and thereafter continued to develop his career in skin care products by opening his own skin care store. David sold many high end skin care products but dreamed about making his own brand. David wanted to find a good lab and manufacturing facility but was not completely satisfied with the labs he encountered. As a result, David established Englewood Lab in New Jersey in 2004. Englewood Lab is a large operation encompassing 28,000 square feet of research and manufacturing space and 30,000 square feet of adjacent warehouse space. Englewood Lab is a contract manufacturer and is also the home of 3Lab’s manufacturing facility as well as its research and development center.
David and his wife Erica are the owners of 3Lab. Erica, also a native-born Korean, worked at the exclusive Shila Hotel in VIP relations prior to immigrating to the United States. She joined her husband at 3Lab in 2006. The Chungs invested substantial personal resources – a few million dollars - in making 3Lab an initial success. This investment allowed them to avoid outside investment and all the strings that come with it. As sole investors, they were able to focus completely on product quality. 3Lab’s name comes from the concept that there were three key people David initially hired to help him develop the line – two chemists and one skin care expert.
The 3Lab line is focused primarily on prevention of skin aging and wrinkle care. It is a rather complete line with cleansers, toners, moisturizers, sunscreens, therapeutic serums, a mask and a hand cream. 3Lab’s product line contains many natural active ingredients including vitamin C, Swiss apple extract, seaweed extract and many others. 3Lab says that some of their proprietary ingredients are exceedingly rare and others are novel additions to topical cosmeceuticals. The company’s most intriguing ingredient is a nano-sized liposome-encapsulated compound of human growth hormone called Nano-Claire GY (NanoClaire-Grow Younger) and abbreviated NCGY.
Human growth hormone and NCGY have generated much buzz lately. The idea is that NCGY has ‘ability to reverse the aging process and give rise to young cellular skin components’. I found this particularly interesting and thus decided to review the science on the hGH skin care. I found scientific documents and a study published by a low profile Korean company. This Korean company explains that while large proteins cannot usually penetrate the epidermis, NCGY exerts its effects on the skin by travelling down hair follicles and releasing its hGH payload on skin stem cell hGH receptors in the hair follicles which results in a cascade of positive effects. The Korean company presented data on sixteen women aged 35 to 65 performed by an outside research lab in New York and sponsored by 3Lab which demonstrated objective and subjective improvement in skin cosmesis. The non-blinded, non-placebo controlled study data showed objective improvement in tone, elasticity and wrinkles at four and eight weeks. Study subjects also were generally satisfied with their results at four weeks and even more so at eight weeks.
3Lab has several products that contain NCGY. Each of the products in the line has several ‘key ingredients’ including herbal extracts, vitamins, minerals, peptides and several proprietary products with unique names. I have experienced several 3Lab products. Perfect Maskwas an interesting experience – it is actually a moist gel-coated cotton mask – and the immediate results were favorable. Perfect Cleansing Scrub was physically abrasive but otherwise very mild and hydrating. Super “H” Serum went on smooth and absorbed while drying leaving a clean refreshed feel. This product also has a nice light transient citrus fragrance. 3Lab also has three distinct sunscreens. Hydra Day w/ Water Based SPF 20 is a solid product that is great under makeup. It contains only chemical screens and does not obscure skin’s baseline color. It does, however, contain homosalate which adds to the products scent characteristics. Being water based, it should be used with caution around the eyes if excessive perspiration is expected or if contacts are worn. Perfect Lite Sunblock SPF 30 is a mineral-only sunscreen containing titanium and zinc. This is a competent non-water resistant sunscreen that presents as a fairly liquid lotion. Perfect Sunblock SPF 55 is a non-water resistant chemical-only sunscreen that contains antioxidants. It has a nice feel for a product with high SPF. This product also utilizes homosalate which does impart a scent to the product. My overall personal experience with 3Lab’s offering was pleasant; it is competitive with many products I have reviewed over the years.
3Lab has a catchy logo that is properly placed on all products and associated literature. The packaging is generally competent; all products come in light colored or white boxes with tamper resistant seals wrapped in thin white paper. Most of the creams are packaged in jars which, as I’ve discussed in prior reviews, is a mixed bag for product users given the environmental exposure of product each time the jar is opened. Consumers do seem to really like jars, however, so this choice is certainly understandable. Some of the product names are interesting such as ‘M’ Cream and WW Cream (a big seller) while the majority of the product offering has the word ‘Perfect’ in its title. This is interesting from a marketing perspective as everyone wants to purchase perfect products.
3Lab has very effective PR and their products have been used by several Hollywood stars. The products are mentioned in many leading periodicals and retailed at the finest stores. 3Lab products are generally very expensive and a few of the products are among the most expensive products currently available.
3Lab is a relatively new product offering that has rapidly emerged onto the international skin care scene. The offering is widely available both in the US and abroad at high end skin care retailers and department stores. This wide exposure is all the more remarkable for such a young offering. The products are reasonably well marketed and easy to use. Given the competence of the products, the interesting theoretical science behind them and their soaring popularity, 3Lab’s offering is worth exploring.
Review posted 12/1/2009.Add Comment »
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