Active Cell Renewal Night Serum
1 fl. oz. for $50
Category:Skin Care > Serums > Serums
Last Updated:03.17.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

This water-based serum contains some good water-binding ingredients to help hydrate normal to slightly dry skin, but in terms of anti-aging ingredients with solid research behind them, it falls short. There is nothing special about the soil minerals in this serum. More of a fancy way to describe dirt, soil minerals most likely cannot penetrate skin as the molecular structure of the minerals is simply too large. But even if they could penetrate, what good would that do? Minerals require enzymes and other substances in the body in order to work—just adding them to a serum isn’t going to bring skin to its “ideal renewed state”.

The chief problem with this serum is the inclusion of lavender oil and, to a lesser extent, orange extract and fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation. Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. It is a must to avoid in skin-care products, but is fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).

Nothing in this serum can "maximize cell renewal". In order to do that, you need to be using a well formulated AHA or BHA exfoliant.

Note: This serum is dispensed via a dropper applicator. Although not the ideal method to dispense a serum that contains light- and air-sensitive ingredients, sometimes this type of packaging is necessary due to formulary requirements. When that’s the case, the goal is to keep the bottle opening as small as possible, the bottle should be opaque or specially coated to protect the contents from light, and you should use the serum up within three months of opening. However, given the considerable problems with this serum, we'd recommend skipping it altogether.


Our intensive night serum helps restore your skin's ability to reach its ideal renewal state. Powered by our proprietary ActiveSoil Complex–combined with a unique moisture boost technology–this formula maximizes cellular renewal and hydrates skin overnight. The result? Cells that are supercharged to protect you during the day and skin that looks firmer, healthier and younger.


Water, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Glycerin, Xylitol, Saccharomyces/Xylinum/Black Tea Ferment, Glycyl Glycine, Methyl Gluceth-10, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Soil Minerals, Syringa Vulgaris (Lilac) Leaf Cell Culture Extract, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Zizyphus Jujuba Seed , Phytoecdysteroids Extract, Maltodextrin, PPG-13-Decyltetradeceth-24, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, PEG/PPG-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Trisodium EDTA, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Limonene, Citric Acid, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Tocopherol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Phenoxyethanol, Xanthan Gum

Brand Overview

Bare Escentuals At-a-Glance

Strengths: Good makeup removers; a few well-formulated powders with SPF; some nice eyeshadows and impressive mascaras; great “100% natural” lipliner; several elegant brush options; not too expensive.

Weaknesses:The mineral makeup has its share of pros and cons and isn't for everyone; several of the loose powder products with shine have a grainy feel and cling poorly; some of the skin care contains problematic ingredients.

Makeup is what this San Francisco-based cosmetics line is primarily about, and they use the pure and natural marketing angle to entice consumers. The self-proclaimed "healthiest, purest makeup in the world" was founded in 1976 by Diane Ranger, who left the company in the early '90s, and is now run by Leslie Blodgett, who appears regularly on QVC and the company's own infomercials to support and demonstrate her products. Blodgett is largely credited with turning the line she began into a $150 million business—no small feat. The products are sold in most Sephora boutiques and Ulta stores, though the full selection of skin-care products is most often found at the Bare Escentuals freestanding stores scattered throughout the United States.

Supporting the company's portrayal as a leader in purity are the corresponding claims that the bareMinerals makeup does not contain fragrance, oil, binders, preservatives, emulsifiers, or any other harmful chemicals. Although this line does have its advantages for someone with sensitive skin, as it turns out, bismuth oxychloride, a major ingredient in the powder formulations, can cause skin irritation, while the other minerals can be drying (Source: www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Bismuth_oxychloride-9923103). Regarding bismuth oxychloride, it is interesting to note that bismuth (a metallic element) seldom occurs in nature. Instead, it is a by-product of copper and lead refining, or is manufactured synthetically. Chemically, it's similar to arsenic, a fact you won't see in any advertising for bareMinerals. However, just as cosmetic-grade mineral oil is not identical to the petroleum from which it originated, neither is bismuth oxychloride identical to bismuth. The bismuth oxychloride used in cosmetics is non-toxic, but this background offers a good example of how skewed a company's definition of "natural" can be.

Aside from the health and purity claims, loose powders are as messy as it gets in terms of your vanity (countertop, not ego) and your makeup bag. The powder just gets all over the place, and the very basic packaging does not do much to minimize the mess. Additionally, while there are softer neutral shades, and some fairly exotic shades as well, most are mildly to extremely shiny and make any amount of crepey skin look more so. The face powder does provide some amount of opaque coverage, but the shine and the thickness can be a bit much. The loose powder eyeshadows and blushes apply in a somewhat lighter way, though they still provide significant coverage. Many women ask me about mineral makeup and whether or not it really is better for skin. The answer to that question is "No."

Although most mineral makeup is innocuous, the texture, appearance, and application have difficulties that make it not comparable to today's best liquid or pressed-powder foundations. We agree with bareMinerals' stance that foundation shouldn't look or feel like a mask, nor should there be a line of demarcation where the application stops. However, their foundations are not the only ones able to achieve this, and there is no inherent benefit to this type of foundation over numerous other options.

There isn't much to say about the skin-care products, but what's worth paying attention to is noted in the At-a-Glance section.

For more information about Bare Escentuals, call 1.888.795.4747 or visit www.bareescentuals.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment that Paula Begoun, founder of Beautypedia and Paula's Choice Skincare made over 30 years ago-to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Great for my sensitive skin

I started using this product soon after its launch a few years ago. My skin is quite oily despite being 54 years old and this is one of the few treatments I can use on my face that does not leave me sticky or even oilier than I started out. It leaves my skin soft with a slight glow....and none of the irritation mentioned in the product evaluation. It is a little on the expensive side, but a bottle lasts about 6 months for me so it's not a bad investment.

Reviewed by
Janis A.
Makes my skin feel great

I have very dry skin and fine lines. I have been using this serum at night for about a week and my skin feels baby soft in the morning now and the lines seem diminished. It is pricey -- but it's been worth it so far.

Reviewed by
Maggie I
Not worth it!

I did want to try this product out of desperation. But as soon as I read the ingredients I just knew this product would get a poor review. I was never convinced that bare minerals ever did what they promised. It's my opinion and suggestion that a person could do do just as well and be better off with Olay Regenerist micro-sculpting serum and you get about double the size 1.7 oz. for about half the price.and you'd actually have healthy skin. Moisture, peptides, and antioxidants for less money.

Reviewed by
Annette D.
Nice serum

I use this light serum every morning under a primer and it works beautifully at keeping my skin hydrated without clogging my pores. Since I started using this a month ago my pores look smaller too. I am not concerned about the tiny amount of lavender oil that it contains since I cannot even detect any scent of it at all and I have not experienced any irritation whatsoever, only better looking skin.

Reviewed by
Alice T.
I love it!

I love this product. I have sensitive and acneic skin and it doesmt make me break out, it doesnt irritate my skin, and when I wake up in the morning my face feels extra hydrated and firm. It is expensove but they sell a 30 $ kit that is half the size of a full bottle and you get a cleanser and moristurizer. Ive beem using the serum for about 2 weeks and its fantastic! Im trying the cleanser and moisturizer tonight and I cant wait!

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