Vital Light Day SPF 15 Illuminating Anti-Ageing Cream-All Skin Types

by Clarins  Vital Light
Price:
$88 - 1.7 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer with Sunscreen
Last Updated:
4/30/2014
Jar Packaging:
Yes
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This daytime moisturizer with sunscreen contains stabilized avobenzone for critical UVA (think anti-aging) protection. What a shame it's so expensive and that the jar packaging won't keep the antioxidants it contains stable during use. Please see More Info for further details on the problems jar packaging presents.

This has a lightweight creamy texture that makes skin look smooth, while the amount of film-forming agent (polymethyl methacrylate) it contains can make skin feel a bit tighter (but keep in mind that feeling tighter isn't the same as sagging skin actually becoming tighter). The amount of alcohol is potential cause for concern, as is the fact that this product contains far more fragrance than state-of-the-art anti-aging ingredients.

The formula doesn't contain anything known to reawaken skin's luminosity, but keeping it protected from further sun damage will definitely result in better-looking (and acting) skin. Because you can easily obtain this benefit from numerous other moisturizers with sunscreen, this Clarins option is a tough sell.

Pros:
  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection and helps skin look smoother.
Cons:
  • Expensive for what amounts to an average formula.
  • Jar packaging won't keep the antioxidants stable during use.
  • Contains more fragrance and preservative than anti-aging ingredients—and fragrance isn't skin care.
More Info:

All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.

Alcohol causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs your 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.

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).

Only Clarins science harnesses the power of three rare pioneer plants that firm, unify and restore deep luminosity with spectacular age-defying results. Exclusive Cochlearia Officinalis and Waltheria extracts* help strengthen the collagen network, reduce wrinkles, firm and promote a youthful-looking glow. Spergularia extract helps lighten age spots and hyperpigmentation for a smooth, unified skin tone. Protects from future ageing with UVA/UVB sunscreens.

Active: Homosalate (10%), Octisalate (5%), Avobenzone (3%), Octocrylene (2.7%) Other: Water, Glycerin, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cetearyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Fragrance, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA, Tiliroside, Butylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Isohexadecane, Cochlearia Officinalis Flower/Leaf/Stalk Extract, Spergularia Rubra Extract, Tromethamine, Thermos Thermophillus Ferment, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Lapsana Communis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Palmitoyl Dipeptide-5 Diaminohydroxybutyrate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Red 33

Clarins is a distinctively French line whose beginnings go back to 1954. It was then that founder Jacques Courtin-Clarins began formulating plant-based treatments for his clients. He parlayed this into a Beauty Institute, and from there, with an all-natural mantra that was slightly ahead of its time, the business grew. Never wavering from its original marketing angle, Clarins has steadfastly held on to the belief that whatever grows from the ground and smells nice must be the cure for every skin ailment, from breakouts to loss of firmness to the dreaded "sponginess" of cellulite. A visit to today's white- and red-trimmed Clarins counter confirms that the plant-based, natural-extract rhetoric is still intact, and the counter staff is eager to discuss it (yet ask them what some of the non-plant, unnatural ingredients are doing in their products and you may be met with a blank stare).

You'll also find that Clarins routinely offers facial appointments at their counters, yet more often than not these appointments, which are done behind a privacy screen, are about selling products, not about performing a legitimate facial. (For example, cleansing, toning, and facial massage are included, while extractions are not.) One other point of difference you may hear about is the Clarins Anti-Pollution Complex. First added to their products in 1991, this Complex consists of a group of plant extracts — though what they may be is a mystery, since all manner of plant extracts show up in these products, with few repeats. This "high-performing" protection is supposed to shield skin from pollutant gases, corrosive particles, and industrial emissions. Although that sounds good, it's not true and there isn't a shred of proof to the contrary (Clarins research is unpublished). Plant extracts, alone or in combination — regardless of the remote locations they may come from — cannot keep pollution off the skin. If anything, the amount of fragrance in these products can weaken the skin's defense mechanisms, resulting in more damage from the pollution our skin encounters daily.

This line is enormous, and is absolutely one of the most cumbersome around. Within it, the assortment of plant extracts ranges from the usual to the exotic and ultimately to the no-one-knows-what-in-the-heck-these-are! Clarins has something for every skin concern imaginable—from keeping pollution off the face (not possible) to lifting a sagging jaw line (not possible without surgery), and even protecting skin from electromagnetic waves (give me a break). It would seem there is nothing these supposedly miraculous products can't do! And you'll find a horde of plants here with the promise that this can really all come true.

However, once you're armed with even a modicum of ingredient knowledge and a fair helping of myth-busting, you'll realize how ridiculously out of whack all of this hype is. That's not to imply that all of these products are bad—there are good ones—or that all of the plant extracts aren't good—because many are very good anti-irritants, antioxidants, emollients, or antibacterial agents. However, many plant extracts are also potential allergens or skin irritants. Clarins also has its fair share of ordinary, standard, and completely unnecessary products whose claims are at best misleading and at worst downright false, and overall the products are incredibly overpriced for what you get. What is most startling is the redundancy among the Clarins products. There are few differences, for example, between the moisturizers and the mask cleansers, and the oil-control products are more reruns than they are new alternatives for skin care.

Note: All Clarins products contain fragrance.

For more information about Clarins, call (866) 252-7467 or visit www.clarins.com.

Clarins Makeup

Clarins showcases its prodigious skin-care products so prominently that you may not have noticed that their excellent makeup collection has become even more impressive. Evaluating Clarins makeup is 180 degrees different from evaluating the lackluster and confusing assortment of skin-care products they sell. When it comes to foundations, powders, and lipsticks, texture is critically important. Luckily, this is where Clarins color line excels, despite premium prices and going a bit overboard with fragrance. Their foundations are marvelous, the lone concealer is much better than their former attempts in this area, and every powder-based product feels incomparably silky while looking stunningly smooth on skin. (Keep in mind, however, that even the best makeup looks only as good as the skin on which it is applied.) Giving Lancome and Dior a run for their money, Clarins' mascaras are surprisingly good, and at least their lipsticks feel as rich as you'll need to be to afford repeat purchases. You don't need to spend this much money to get beautiful results and stellar products, but if your budget allows you to fill your makeup bag with department-store products, Clarins' nicely organized makeup display should be one of your first stops.

Clarins likes to promote that many of their foundations contain a special anti-pollution complex to safeguard your skin. Don't believe it for a second, because there is no way to completely shield skin from the effects of pollution and antioxidants. Besides, the kinds of ingredients that can reduce, not block or eliminate, pollution-based free-radical formation are rarely included in Clarins makeup.

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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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