Frownies is a brand that calls their product the “Original Wrinkle Patch” and makes “facial smoothing patches” that attach to the face with adhesives and are used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The brand also sells cosmetic products like serums and eye cream.
But can a patch stuck to the face really reduce the appearance of wrinkles or is this just a marketing claim? What ingredients or materials are used in Frownies to make them effective? How do real customers rate and describe the effects of Frownies? And why was the company's owner convicted in 2017?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review medical studies on adhesive patches for wrinkles and feature unsponsored Frownies customer reviews including before-and-after images.
We'll also analyze the ingredients in the brand's popular Rose Water Hydrator Spray to give our take on whether it's likely to be effective for reducing wrinkles, and explain what crime the owner of Frownies was convicted of.
How Do Frownies Work?
We don’t understand the mechanism of action of Frownies, or how it’s even supposed to be effective.
Frownies doesn’t seem to link to any clinical studies anywhere on their site proving how their products work, and we fail to see how sticking adhesive patches to the face would cause a reduction in lines or wrinkles.
If the wrinkle patches contain effective skincare ingredients, then they could theoretically reduce wrinkles, but that would make the adhesive patch pointless.
If the only benefit comes from the ingredients topically applied to the face, those same ingredients could be applied in a more standard and convenient cosmetic format like a serum.
A clinical trial published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology tested the effects of adhesive pads on wrinkles.
The study authors concluded that the pads were only effective immediately after use, and didn’t provide any long-term benefit.
We do not believe that Frownies facial patches are likely to be effective because we cannot locate any clinical studies suggesting that facial patches can reduce wrinkles.
What Are Frownies Made Of?
At the time of initially writing this article, Frownies failed to publish an ingredient list, and instead published the statement below:
“The adhesive is synthetic which means it is made in a lab out of raw materials. There are no raw materials left in the adhesive. Because of the proprietary nature of our adhesives our customer service associates do not have an exact ingredient list for the adhesive. The ingredients would not make any sense to the average non chemist individual.”
We found this statement to be disrespectful to the intelligence of their customers.
Since, and potentially due to our review which received much exposure, Frownies has published an ingredient list, shown below:
We dislike the use of vague terminology like "adhesive" because it fails to document the specific materials used.
The previous ingredient list on Frownies website, shown below, was more specific:
Kraft is a type of paper. We don't believe that applying paper to the face will reduce wrinkles.
Nulomoline is derived from sugar cane. We cannot find any clinical studies suggesting that this ingredient reduces wrinkles. It's typically used in baking products.
Dextrin is a processed carbohydrate. We cannot find any evidence that it's effective for treating wrinkles.
Methyl salicylate is a chemical compound derived from the wintergreen plant. We cannot locate any medical studies proving it reduces wrinkles, and we recommend avoiding this ingredient.
A medical review published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine documented the following: "Serious toxicity can result from exposure to small amounts of methyl salicylate."
We urge Frownies to clarify if they removed methyl salicylate from their formulations, or if this ingredient is still included in the (now broadly-described) "adhesive."
Real People Try Frownies
A YouTube creator named "This is Real Life With Sheri" used Frownies daily for three weeks to test if the facial patches were effective or not, and the review includes before-and-after images:
A popular YouTube channel called "PureWow" had someone test Frownies for a week as part of a series where the channel tested TikTok trends:
Frownies Owner Convicted Of Tax Fraud
In 2017, the principal owner of Frownies, a man by the name of James L. Wright, was convicted of tax fraud according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
The above-linked DOJ press release details that Wright was diverting money from the holding company behind Frownies, called B&P Company Inc., to use for personal purposes, including expenses like rent and automobile expenses.
While this doesn’t necessarily have any effect on Frownies as a product, we consider this an ethical red flag about the brand that consumers should be aware of.
How To Apply Frownies
Since Frownies are a somewhat unusual product, consumers are often curious about how to properly use them.
A video on the official Frownies YouTube page is under four minutes long and provides instructions:
Rose Water Hydrator Spray Review
The ingredients in Frownies Rose Water Hydrator Spray are shown above.
This product is used to improve skin quality and also to "activate" the Frownies patches (we're unsure what the brand means by this).
Hyaluronic acid is one of the most well-studied and effective anti-aging ingredients.
As we detailed in our Bio Oil reviews article, hyaluronic acid has been proven in numerous clinical trials to reduce wrinkles and improve skin elasticity.
Vitamin E is another active ingredient which is beneficial to skin, and especially facial skin.
Research has shown that vitamin E has photoprotective properties when applied topically. This means that it reduces skin damage when skin is exposed to UV rays.
However, we find it highly confusing that Frownies lists this ingredient as "safflower oil/vitamin E" because these are two entirely distinct compounds.
Aloe vera was described in a medical review as having “excellent efficacy” for treating “skin related disorders.” It also has hydrating properties.
Sodium benzoate is a synthetic preservative with skin-sensitizing potential documented in medical research. It’s also been shown to be harmful when ingested even at very low concentrations in an animal study.
We consider Frownies Rose Water Hydrator Spray likely to be effective for reducing wrinkles due to the inclusion of hyaluronic acid.
We consider the potential efficacy of this product to be far greater than that of the actual Frownies patches.
Our Clean Anti-Aging Picks
There are skincare products containing ingredients shown in clinical trials to be effective for reducing wrinkles and improving skin quality.
Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum is our top anti-aging serum.
It contains hyaluronic acid which was described as a "skin-rejuvenating biomedicine" in a medical review due to its ability to reduce wrinkles and signs of facial aging.
HYDRAGLOW by CLEARSTEM is our top moisturizer pick.
It features bakuchiol as an active ingredient which was described in a 2014 clinical trial as "clinically proven to have anti-aging effects."
Interested consumers can purchase Hydraglow at the secure checkout below:
Bulletproof Collagen Powder is our top skin supplement.
Collagen supplementation was shown in a medical review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology to reduce visible signs of skin aging as well as improve skin elasticity and skin hydration.
All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy or unsafe.
Real Customers Review Frownies
Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.
Frownies Forehead and Between Eyes Wrinkle Patches are currently the brand's most-reviewed product on Amazon, with over 30,000 total reviews and an average review rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Karen" who gives the product a 5/5 star rating, and claims it had an anti-aging effect:
"I am 35yo and the 11’s and horizontal lines were starting to pop up everywhere on my forehead. One night greatly reduced their appearance. I didn’t take a before-pic unfortunately but I am so pleased with just one night’s use, so these will become a staple."
The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Gwen R" who gives the product a 1/5 star rating, and claims it didn't stick to her face and also didn't work:
"**The second point, they don't stick. All that work and hassle for them to not stick. I do have super oily skin, especially on my forehead, so I don't know if that's an issue, but I've used other patches that stay on all night and during the day for hours. These weren't it...They did nothing to help my wrinkle."
Frownies Forehead and Between Eyes Facial Patches currently have an average review rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Google.
Pros and Cons of Frownies
Here are the pros and cons of Frownies in our opinion:
- Unlikely to cause side effects
- May have short-term anti-wrinkle effect
- Rose Water Hydrator Spray should have anti-aging effect
- Company provides clear use instructions
- Unclear what ingredients constitute the "adhesive"
- Doesn't appear to be clinically tested
- Unimpressive average Amazon reviews
- We can't find clinical evidence suggesting this will have any lasting effect
- Owner convicted of tax fraud