“Shockingly bad” isn’t strong enough to describe this serum’s formula. Although it contains a handful of good ingredients (mostly water-binding agents), the second ingredient is alcohol. That means that for over $400 you’re getting a serum that stands a good chance of making your skin look and act older, not younger. See More Info to learn about the problems alcohol causes for all skin types, and why it’s about as far from anti-aging as you can get.
Chanel’s spin on this serum is that it contains a rare plant ingredient sourced from the Himalayas (it’s never sourced from, say, the suburbs of Chicago) that is said to detoxify cells so skin can be born again. Sigh. The message is that our skin cells harbor toxins that lead to signs of aging, and if these toxins are not removed (by a rare, purified plant, of course), then youthful skin isn’t possible. It isn’t true. Skin cells do not harbor toxins that keep you from looking younger. Toxins from food, air pollution, and the like are filtered from the body by the liver and kidneys, not the skin. And even if skin cells were harboring toxins that needed to be removed, there’s no research proving the plant extracts in this serum can do anything of the sort. Mostly they just add fragrance, but fragrance isn’t skin care (see More Info for details).
What’s most disappointing is that for what this costs, the most beneficial ingredients (those that have solid research supporting their usefulness for aging skin) are in short supply. There’s far more fragrance than anything anti-aging, which is fairly standard for Chanel’s antiwrinkle products. We think this serum’s price tag is toxic and the claims unsupportable, and we suggest you check out our Best Products section for brilliantly formulated moisturizers and anti-aging products in any price range.
- Considering the exorbitant price, none.
- Lists alcohol as the second ingredient, which is far from anti-aging.
- With a couple of exceptions, contains more fragrance than state-of-the-art ingredients to improve skin.
- Toxin-removing claims are not supported by published research.
Alcohol in Skin-Care Products
Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin’s ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: “Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In,” Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
Irritation From Fragrance and Fragrant Oils
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin’s ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
This ground-breaking concentrate, empowered by Golden Champa PFA, is derived from the legendary golden flower of the Himalayas. Purified to its most potent essence, this natural ingredient frees cells of their toxins, restoring them to their purest, most vital, youthful state. Detoxified and revitalized, skin is now reborn.f the
Aqua (Water), Alcohol, Glycerin, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Water, PEG/PPG/Polybutylene Glycol-8/5/3 Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Squalane, Butylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyl, Dimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Isotridecyl Isononanoate, Pentylene Glycol, Urea, Glucosamine HCL, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzophenone-3, Sclerotium Gum, PPG-8-Decyltetradeceth-30, Xanthan Gum, Propylene Glycol, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Algae Extract, Faex (Yeast Extract), Neoruscogenin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, PEG-8, Carbomer, Ruscogenin, Polysorbate 20, Tocopherol, Magnolia Champaca Flower Oil, Methylparaben, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Propylparaben, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Palmityol Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Red 4, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Red 4.
The history of this Paris-bred line is steeped in fashion, jewelry, and fragrance firsts. The image-is-everything fashion sensibility and fragrance know-how have been loosely translated to Chanel’s ever-imposing skin-care collection, now divided into several categories, although most of them have overlapping, overly exaggerated claims and over-the-top pricing. The company likes to mention its research facility, referred to as C.E.R.I.E.S. (Centre de Recherches et d'Investigations Epidermiques et Sensorielles) as a way to give credibility to its products and the formulary expertise of Chanel's team of scientists, but its studies are not necessarily the kind of independent research that shows up in medical journals.
Founded in 1991 and funded by Chanel, the goal of this research facility is "to help provide a scientific foundation for the design of skin care products and to promote public awareness of the principles underlying maintenance of healthy, attractive skin." Examining Chanel's often lengthy ingredient lists reveals that they believe healthy, attractive skin requires mostly standard, banal ingredients coupled with lots of fragrance and just a smattering of anything resembling state-of-the-art ingredients. Designing skin-care products whose purpose is to reinforce healthy skin doesn't involve strong scents, irritants such as alcohol, or sunscreens whose SPF ratings fall below the standards set by major health organizations, including the American Academy of Dermatology and corresponding international academies as well. Furthermore, their Nº 1 products claim to increase skin's oxygen uptake, something that essentially puts skin on the fast track for more free-radical damage, and no one at C.E.R.I.E.S. seems to have any idea about how to treat acne-prone skin. (Well, let's face it, acne is never fashionable.)
Just like most Chanel skin-care products, the research facility and its ties to the dermatology community make it sound more impressive than it really is. Chanel's influence on fashion and luxury accoutrements is legendary and ongoing; but their skin-care products simply cannot compete with what many other lines are doing, including Estee Lauder, Clinique, Prescriptives, Olay, Dove, Neutrogena, and many others. Considering the couture-level prices, too much of Chanel's skin care is average, and that doesn't look good on anyone.
For more information about Chanel, call (800) 550-0005 or visit www.chanel.com.
Chanel pulls out all the stops to present their makeup in the most flattering light. Many of their products are deserving of the best status, but, frustratingly, an equal number disappoint, seeming to coast on Chanel's name and attention to upscale, designer-influenced packaging rather than providing true quality. For example, few companies have foundations with textures as varied and state-of-the-art as Chanel. However, most of their foundations with sunscreen are formulated without essential UVA-protecting ingredients, even though Chanel clearly knows about this issue, as evidenced from their numerous skin-care products that do contain avobenzone or titanium dioxide. Neglecting adequate UVA protection while going on about how the product creates younger-looking skin is not only inaccurate, it's harmful to your skin's health and appearance.
Beyond inadequate sunscreen, Chanel's eye and lip pencils have extraordinary prices, but ordinary to poor performance, and most of their "we're trying to be unique and clever" products don't do much to prove they're worthy of purchase. It's hard to ignore that much of what Chanel does well other lines do just as well (and sometimes better), and with a more realistic price range to boot. However, the overall situation is better than standard but well-dressed formulas with shamelessly affluent prices, because although it's not inexpensive, the best of Chanel's makeup is truly outstanding. What's needed to establish consistency is an overhaul of the many products that have fallen behind formula-wise. We doubt Chanel will reevaluate their pricing for the better, but given that, the least you should expect is stellar performance from everything you buy that bears the iconic double C logo!
Note: Chanel is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Chanel does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law.” Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.