Illuminating Serum

$65 - 1 fl. oz.
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Skin Care > Serums > Serums
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This expensive serum comes in two tints: soft bronze and a pale golden champagne. Both contain the mineral pigment mica for a shiny luminous finish.

What’s intriguing is that the formula contains skin-repairing sodium hyaluronate along with a cell-communicating peptide and some moisture-binding ingredients. Those are great for all skin types, but the formula also contains two fragrant plant oils and an unidentified blend of essential oils, which is just more fragrance. Fragrant plants and essential oils cause irritation that hurts skin’s healing process and leads to collagen breakdown. That’s not illuminating, it’s disappointing! There are better serums and illuminating liquids to boost your skin’s radiance without causing irritation.

  • Contains a helpful blend of skin-repairing and cell-communicating ingredients to hydrate and help skin look younger.
  • Adds a luminous sheen to dull skin.
  • Expensive.
  • Contains fragrant plant oils and essential oils that can cause irritation.
  • Finish is too shiny for those with oily or combination skin.

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To the best of our knowledge, this is the only product that contains margarita powder. This ingredient is not listed in any of the regulatory databases we consult, and we have no idea what its function would be in a skin-care product, other than perhaps adding fragrance. It’s truly an odd choice (especially given the association between margaritas and tequila, and you’d never use tequila as skin care).

Give your skin a healthy, luminous base with our Illuminating Serum in bronze or champagne kiss. This radiance-boosting formula is rich in patented-peptides, powerful, antioxidants and hydrating hyaluronic acid. Blend bronze kiss for a hint of bronzer and champagne kiss for an opalescent inner glow.

Water, Sodium Hyaluronate, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Di-PPG-3 Myristyl Ether Adipate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Glycerin, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Wine Extract, Magnesium Asparate, Zinc Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Margarita Powder, Mica, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Benzoic Acid, Beta Carotene, Bismuth Oxychloride, Carmine, Chlorphenesin, Citrus Aurantium (Bitter Orange) Oil, Cupressus Sempervirens (Cypress) Oil, Essential Oils, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide

Colorescience PRO was founded by "the mother of mineral makeup" Diane Ranger, who bestowed that title on herself based on her role as founder of the mineral makeup behemoth Bare Escentuals in 1976. (Ranger subsequently parted ways with Bare Escentuals in 1991). Taking a cue from her Bare Escentuals days, Ranger designed Colorescience PRO to be all about "natural" loose-powder mineral makeup. Her goal was to offer medium- to full-coverage "healthy makeup" that is ideal for sensitive skin, with the added benefit of all-mineral, broad-spectrum sunscreen protection.

Ranger's concept has its strong points, but not all of the formulas jibe with the ideal of being great for sensitive skin. In fact, with the exception of only a handful of products, most include volatile fragrant oils and irritating ingredients, which are the last things that anyone's skin needs to stay healthy, whether sensitivity is an issue or not. This type of needless irritation hurts skin's healing process and disrupts its ability to produce healthy collagen.

Although Colorscience PRO offers some skin-care products, most of our readers' interest is on their color line, primers, and setting mists, so we concentrated our reviews on those products. What we found was that, except for the loose-mineral foundation and some of the brand's Sunforgettable products, this line falls short in terms of performance and value. To make matters worse, it's difficult to shop because it has opaque packaging, confusing shade names, and odd categories.

It's clear that Colorescience PRO knows how to make finely milled, silky powders packed with mineral sunscreens, but beyond that, there's not much to distinguish this line from lots of others that have capitalized on the runaway success of mineral makeup, despite the fact that mineral makeup really isn't anything new or all that wonderful.

The gem of this line is the loose-mineral foundation with sunscreen, and it indeed performs beautifully without irritating. The problem with this product is its price tag—$60—for a loose powder with sunscreen. That's ludicrous! Besides, all SPF-rated products must be applied liberally to get the stated level of sun protection, and how liberally are you going to apply a product that is this expensive?

Speaking of high prices, most of Colorescience's line is overpriced, despite the fact that there are a few worthwhile products. Just because high prices have become the norm for spa- and dermatologist-exclusive lines doesn't mean that the products are any better for you. Another notable frustration with this line is that not all of the products have been tested for their SPF rating, which means that you cannot rely on some of  them for sun protection.

For more information about Colorescience PRO visit or call (866) 426-5673.

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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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