Brightening Intensive Serum (Discontinued)

by Bobbi Brown  Brightening
$95 - 1.7 fl. oz.
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Skin Care > Serums > Serums
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As “the star of the Brightening Skincare line,” this expensive serum leaves much to be desired. There isn’t enough convincing research to make it a worthwhile investment for those desperate to get rid of dark spots. It’s disappointing that several beneficial ingredients are barely present and even more disappointing that the formula includes bitter orange oil. Also known as neroli, this fragrant plant oil contains volatile constituents that can cause skin irritation and, ironically, make fair skin more sun-sensitive (Source: For less money and a greater shot at efficacy on discolorations, consider Clinique’s Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector or the skin-lightening products from the Paula’s Choice RESIST collection.
The star of the Brightening Skincare line. Layer this highly concentrated serum over Brightening Hydrating Lotion morning and night. The formula with a Vitamin C Complex and unique blend of Grape, Mulberry and Scutellaria helps to diminish the appearance of dark spots.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Triethylhexanoin, Pentylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Morus Nigra (Mulberry) Root Extract, Sucrose, Gentiana Lutea (Gentian) Root Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Extract, Phytosteryl Macadamiate, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Peg-20 Glyceryl Isostearate, Talc, Caffeine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carbomer, Linoleic Acid, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Cholesterol, Xanthan Gum, Tocopherol, Alumina, Silica, Polyglutamic Acid, Potassium Citrate, Tetrasodium Edta, Limonene, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide

It all began with lipsticks. In 1991, New York based makeup artist Bobbi Brown debuted a collection of ten lipsticks at Bergdorf Goodman, expecting to sell about one hundred units in a month. She sold more than that the first day. From there, it's been mostly success after success, as Brown launched her classic foundation stick, wrote her first book, Bobbi Brown Beauty The Ultimate Beauty Resource, and enjoyed continued attention as an in-demand makeup artist and beauty educator.

The popularity of the line, particularly the makeup, did not go unnoticed by Estee Lauder, who acquired Bobbi Brown Cosmetics in 1995. Since Lauder has been at the helm the line has expanded well beyond what Brown likely envisioned back in the early 1990s, and it now includes fragrance and body-care products, among others. Yet it is Brown's makeup that continues to excel with superior foundations (though the ones without sufficient UVA protection disappoint), true matte blushes and eyeshadows, and with all of the other basics that are essential to a woman's classic makeup wardrobe. It isn't the least bit surprising that this makeup collection continues to do so well, because for many women, it's one-stop shopping that combines classic makeup application techniques with enough fun-yet-functional products to keep customer's interest piqued season to season.

Turning to the skin-care collection, there isn't a great deal to say or extol. The prices are rather steep, especially when you consider how many well-intentioned products use jar packaging, and fragrant irritants are a common thread, including in most of the sunscreens, which is a shame. Color is Bobbi Brown's strong point, but you will find a few sleeper hits among the selection of mostly inadequate or problematic skin-care products.

For more information about Bobbi Brown, owned by Estee Lauder, call (877) 310-9222 or visit

Bobbi Brown Makeup

We admire Brown's latest philosophy on beauty. She says, "The secret to beauty is simple—be who you are." No arguments here! However, it's clear from promotional materials for this line that Brown believes being who you are should involve some amount of makeup, a concept many women may disagree with. Still, there's no question that the right makeup, applied and blended correctly, can make a world of positive difference to a woman, and in this regard Brown's counter staff is well-prepared. It was nice to overhear the makeup artists explaining step-by-step application tips to customers, rather than just pushing products. With just a few exceptions, this is a makeup collection its namesake creator should be proud of—not only for the products, but also for the level of service and education provided.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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