How Far Will You Go for Beauty? My PerriconeMD Sub-D Story

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PerriconeMD Cold Plasma Sub-D Honest ReviewHow far will I go for beauty?

Thanks to Periconne MD’s Sub-D I now know.

One visit to the nail salon made me obsessed with Perricone MD’s Sub-D. While being held captive by my nail tech working on my fingers, I watched the informerical for this product on the big screen TV. I saw Courtney Thorne-Smith and her beautiful ageless celeb friends look so happy as they rubbed their wrinkle-free necks. I saw real customers of all ages and ethnicities rave about the product, showing off their taut, youthful necks, smooth décolletés, and firm faces.  I've used other products from PerriconeMD and have been impressed with the results; would this really transform my neck and have me look like Courtney?

I came home and did some homework. The informercial is through Guthy Renker, which offers the lowest price but is known for being near impossible to get out of their auto-delivery programs. Sephora carried Sub-D in a kit with Perricone MD’s Cold Plasma face cream, but the combo was $179. Whew, that’s a heck of a lot of money. But if it can keep my neck and collarbone looking taut and youthful, it may be worth it. I read the reviews on multiple sites which were mixed, but mostly positive and decided to order from Sephora since I knew I could return it even if it was used.

I didn’t last a week.

How far will I go for beauty? Not so far that I will smell like rotten fish.

A few of the reviews said that the product had a fishy smell, but many others said it was more of a spa treatment smell. Nope, no spa smells like this or they’d be closed by the Health Department.

The active ingredient in Sub-D is DMAE, a product that is known to help with ADHD, Alzheimer’s and autism. However, it has been proven to also improve skin when applied topically. When applied to the skin, DMAE has been proven to improve the appearance of wrinkles, under-eye dark circles, nasolabial folds, sagging neck skin, and neck firmness. All this and rarely does anyone experience a negative reaction to it. However, DMAE is known for having a fishy smell.

The first time I applied it, I smelled the fishy smell, but it was balanced with lemongrass. The Cold Plasma didn’t have the smell cut by lemongrass, it was straight up fish. However, by time I brushed my teeth, it had dried and didn’t smell as much. I put my night cream over it, which also helped. I hopped into bed and snuggled up next to Karl.

“You smell like fish.”

Smelling like fish is not sexy. I explained it was a new skin product I was trying out and supposedly the smell will subside. When our elderly dog in the middle of the night let us know she needed to go outside, we both woke. Karl let her out, and when he came back into bed, before turning over to go back to sleep, he said, “I still smell the fish.”

Smelling like fish is not good for romance.

The next morning, following the directions, I again applied Sub-D to my neck and Cold Plasma to my face. I used a pretty fragrant serum between it and my face cream hoping it would cancel it out. I didn’t notice the smell too much once I had put on my makeup and gotten dressed. Ready for the day, I headed to the car and drove to work.

That day, I had a meeting in the largest conference room in the office but only about six attendees. We spread out around the long and wide boardroom table with our laptops. About ten minutes in someone said, “Does anyone else smell fish?” This person was on the completely opposite side of the room from me. Another said maybe someone was reheating fish in the kitchen down the hall and the meeting continued.

No one cooked fish in the kitchen. I know, I went in there to check. It smelled like coffee and lemon dish liquid like usual. That fish smell was me.

I tried the products one more night, with Karl and I sleeping back to back because he just couldn’t deal with the smell. However, I was still determined to give this product a chance.

PerriconeMD Sub-D Honest review by Wardrobe OxygenThe next day I got up, took a shower, and decided to not put on the Sub-D and Cold Plasma. I had a one-on-one meeting with a colleague and didn’t want him thinking I had a feminine hygiene problem. He made no mention of the fish smell, and I didn’t really smell it so I felt I was in the clear.  I used it again for two more nights to Karl's chagrin.  I was only using it at night and the serum over it cut the fragrance, so I felt all was okay.

That was, until I decided after work one night to take a walk around the neighborhood. Nothing super strenuous, but enough to work up a light sweat.

A light sweat that smelled like fish.

So much like fish that I came into the house and while taking off my shoes at the front door, Emerson about 10 feet away in the dining room said, “Are we having fish for dinner?”

We were having tacos.

How far will I go for beauty? Not so far that I smell disgusting. Not so far that it affects my love life. Not so far that I smell like the worst yeast infection in the history of the world while at the workplace.

I don’t know if this product works or not. I didn’t give it the chance. I’d rather have a saggy, craggy neck than smell like fish.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I am not sure about a new formula as I just received a pot (March 2023) – definitely fish smell still present.
    I have tried mixing it and layering with other serums / moisturisers to make it more bearable but its pretty strong still
    I contacted the website live chat for help and they refunded me within a week.

  2. It does smell awful. In the show “killing eve” the character Caroline is talking about her neck cream, she says it works wonders but it smells like ass. I flashed back to that after using the sub d neck cream and wondered if she was referring to it. Obviously there are so many comments because every one who has gotten it is googling it’s smellyness.

  3. I’m a current user of the Perricone MD under eye cream and YES IT DOES SMELL LIKE FISH!! Every time I would say to myself “I need to research if it has fish in the product” well, I just did and it doesn’t. The fishy smell got to me to the point that I don’t put it on my eyes anymore I put it on the top of my hands….what the heck, if it’s going to take away any wrinkles let it be on my hands then! LOL! Only product of theirs I find the fishy smell.

  4. I literally just purchased a jar on amazon. It’s Oct 2019. Opened jar, fish smell hit me in the face HARD! Fortunately I’m a stay at home, homemaker. I trade stocks online alone at home during the day. I think I’ll try this product while I’m home alone, and shower before my hubby comes home.
    It is a brown glass jar. I guess the new ones are black? This has GOT to be old product. It was a giant 4oz jar for $75. Guess it really WAS too good to be true if it’s old stock. haha

  5. I got a kick out of the reviews on the sub d cream.I personally used it and didn’t like the smell couldn’t figure out what it was I thought I’d head Vicks in it. I threw it out

  6. If they changed the product enough to get rid of the smell, I may give it another chance. The first time I tried it was years ago, shortly after the product launched and I have to agree…it smelled like fish. So much so, I only used it a few times. All I could smell was fish…all day. It was gross.

  7. I have a mixed review myself. I have found the cold plasma is a bit fishy but it’s only a few drops and when it dries it’s gone. None of the products feel like anything I have ever used before, thin and no real Indication of anything moisturising. I have only been using Perricone for a few months and I don’t think I really believed it would give me the firm, plump skin I have and even shrunk my pores which I have alway read is pretty impossible to do. Used other brands that are spa’s in a bottle and smell gorgeous, but I have perfume if that is all I getting from them. I’m hooked, if only it wasn’t so expensive! Uk based.

  8. What hyperbole this is a ridiculous review! I smell nothing from these products. Trust me if I smelled of fish my husband would tell me! Perricone products work suburbly! I will never read another childess review on skincare from the author ever again.

    1. your comment made me giggle. Why would I lie, what would I gain from that? However, I must admit this is an old review (always good to check the date on reviews and follow up posts when searching blogs). Since then, Perricone has changed their formula, I received a free jar and found that it doesn’t have the fish smell any longer. But really Susan, grab a cup of tea, do some meditation, read a book, take a walk. You’re way too worked up over an old review of a product you didn’t make by a person you don’t know.

      1. Just read your review and you are hilarious!! It was a pleasure reading this, I’d read anything written by you. Yes, she definitely needs a cup of chamomile and a nap.

      2. I found your review hilarious. I just ordered the cold plasma plus fragile skin therapy and when I opened the bottle, I was taken aback by the smell. I ordered a second thinking maybe it was a one off. Nope! Not so much fishy to me but smells like rotten eggs. I’ll be returning.

    2. Not at all ridiculous, Susan. Settle down lol. I agree 100% with the author that it does, indeed, smell like fish. I just purchased it at Ulta (September 2019), which was selling the serum at 50% off that day. I thought I was losing my mind – I was gagging when putting on the serum, which absolutely smells like fish. In fact, that’s why I’m on this page now because I googled it to see if it was a universal complaint (or if I just got a bad bottle). Google “Perricone fishy smell” and you will see plenty of similar comments.

    3. I literally just put the products on for the first time today and I smell fishy. The only reason that I am even on this site to reply to you is because I looked up why this stuff smells fishy? If you had a different experience that is fine but please do not act like a child and stomp your feet because others have a different experience. Grow up!

      1. Same. Googling to find out if this product always smells like fish or I bought a bad batch …. Awful.

      2. LOL! Snap! I am literally in bed right now with the jar of fishy Perricone googling the WHY… . I bought the sub-D at Winners quite some time back but was so repulsed by the smell I didn’t use it twice. I just found it and was going to toss it but it was pricey and I am out of my staple Hyaluronic serum so I thought I’d give it another go. Yep! Still stinks like side floaters in Lake Ontario!! Now, I am single so I may be able to suffer through this jar if I only use it at night. We’ll see, but not sure I’m tough enough or brave enough. My dogs sleep on my bed with me so it could pose a risk of injury considering that they like to eat all sorts of garbage…, the stinkier the better to them.

        The Article had me in stitches!

    4. I agree with you on the no fish smell! I have only been using this product for a little over a month and it seems to have firmed my neck up a bit. It DOES have a smell but it is NOT FISH and it goes away after a bit.

  9. Hilarious, Allie! I have a dear friend who used to work for Guthy who would send me products to try and when I asked her about the Sub-D she refused to send it to me because of the fish smell. Even for free, the stink was too high a price to pay.

  10. I loved the product!!! And Lady…you need to check what is it that you were rubbing in your face that stank so bad… these creams smell beautiful

  11. I literally LOLed at this and am grateful that I can now avoid this product with no qualms that I’m missing out on a miracle product. Thanks, Allie!

  12. Oh my god did this make me laugh. I am so sorry that you went through this but the line about the yeast infection was the cherry on top of a delightful piece of writing.

  13. Gaaah! What a disappointment! I hate the infomercial. They are so good at making things look easy, fantastic, can’t believe we lived without this product all this time and are so often a disappointment. LOL This is all I would need to chase my husband out of bed completely. I just started wearing wrist splints at night on top of my retainer and bite guard. Hubby said “sexy” when I came to bed. Eh, could be worse.

  14. I couldn’t stop laughing while reading this post! Thanks so much for the honesty and the injected humor! Needless to say, I won’t be using these products any time soon.

  15. lol! i hope your one on one wasn’t just being polite by not saying anything about the smell. thanks for taking one for the team!

  16. If it’s made with fish oil, (or any oil) it can go rancid. If the product you bought was from an older batch, or had sat in a hot warehouse for month, it could have gone off. Do you think that could have happened here?

    1. Could be, but I don’t think so. There are oils in it (not fish oil) and I’ve experienced rancid oil, and that wasn’t this. DMAE is just a super fishy smell, and I guess some people’s chemistry react to it more than others? Some have told me that if you’re one to sweat more, you’re more likely to have the smell be pronounced. I didn’t think that would factor on my neck minutes after applying, but maybe that’s it?

  17. Hi Allie,
    Have you heard about NIOD products. if you are looking for something for the neck – maybe try


    The price on this is better than the Perricone, and although I have not tried this specific product myself – I really believe in this companies products…

    My favourites are the NIOD CAIS and the Ordinary Retinols and Acids.

      1. I just ordered from The Ordinary and have been really liking it so far!

        Plus there’s always the option of getting a prescription tretinoin cream – that has made the most difference in my skin. Granted I was looking to heal acne, but all my derm resident bloggers friends swear it helps fight wrinkles too, so may be worth looking in to!

  18. This reminds me of when I was a teenager, and my mom LOVED Oil of Olay. (remember that?) But she only used it when my stepdad went out of town because he hated the smell. He called it “Oil of No Lay”. 🙂

      1. Beautypedia has a lot of good, no BS, well researched articles on skincare products and fad ingredients. I always look there first when I get sucked in by an infomercial. Paula Begoun has been holding the beauty industry accountable for false claims and bad products for decades. She also has a line of incredibly good and well priced skincare that I swear by (I’m 39 and get mistaken for 29 all the time). I have no affiliation with any of it, but I have been a fan since the 90s and believe in the company.

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