Capture Totale Dreamskin
1 fl. oz. for $110
Last Updated:12.02.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Skin Type: ALL

Dior is a great brand to shop for makeup and perfumes (to say nothing of their fashions and gorgeous handbags), but a terrible brand overall to rely on for skin care. It seems Dior's chemists have a love affair with problematic ingredients known to cause irritation. This is a case in point; from your skin's perspective, it's closer to a nightmare than a dream.

As with most of Dior's serums (all of which are stunningly overpriced for what you get), Capture Totale Dreamskin contains too much alcohol, which poses a strong risk of pro-aging irritation, as we detail in the More Info section.

You're also not getting much in the way of anti-aging ingredients. Instead, you get brightening pigments (meaning makeup, not skin care), preservative, and fragrance, none of which can help skin look and act younger—and none of these qualify as "exceptional skincare" from any perspective (well, except maybe Dior's).

What's sad is that we completely understand why someone would love this serum. It feels light and silky, the packaging is gorgeous, and the cosmetic pigments add a radiant, non-sparkling, youthful-looking glow to skin. But you can achieve this light show from lots of other products that omit the seriously problematic ingredients and the eyebrow-raising price tag.

Of course, given the price and prestige positioning of Dior, they go on and on about how this serum is THE ONE for your ideal skin, but really, the effects are strictly cosmetic. From our perspective, we'd rather achieve perfect skin via a smart anti-aging routine that revives skin's natural glow via gentle cleansing, soothing ingredients, exfoliants, silky serums, sun protection, and moisturizers loaded with skin-repairing and skin-replenishing ingredients. Rather than this one-note product, which is more makeup than skin care, a great routine will deliver skin that you never thought possible—but research has proven it can be done!

  • Leaves an attractive glow-y finish on skin.
  • Very silky; this "feels" expensive.
  • Contains a potentially irritating, pro-aging amount of alcohol.
  • Formula has more cosmetic pigments and fragrance than state- of- the- art anti-aging "perfect skin"–-creating ingredients.
  • Overpriced for what you get.
More Info:

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: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419; Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; "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).


Dreamskin is exceptional skincare that pushes the limits of traditional cosmetics. For the 1st time, a skincare treatment is capable of acting simultaneously on the quality, evenness and youthful beauty of skin. Its unique universal formula is a true breakthrough - it is both a global age-defying treatment and a perfect skin creator.


Aqua (Water), Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Alcohol, Glycerin, Polysilicone-11, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Phenoxyethanol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Magnesium Sulfate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Parfum (Fragrance), Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Secale Cereale (Rye) Seed Extract, Biosaccharide Gum-2, Hexadecene, Propylene Carbonate, Silica, Aluminum Hydroxide, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract, Adenosine, Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, Saponins, Stearic Acid, CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), Diamond Powder, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), BHT, Aframomum Angustifolium Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Geraniol, Sodium Benzoate, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, Polygonum Bistorta Root Extract, Pentaerythrityl Tetradi-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Tocopherol.

Brand Overview

Dior At-A-Glance

Strengths:Nearly all of the SPF-related products offer sufficient UVA protection; a few extraordinary foundations and mascaras; a good liquid concealer; an excellent powder eyeshadow set; some good lipsticks and eyeliners.

Weaknesses: Expensive; lackluster moisturizers and serums that contain more fragrance and preservatives than elegant ingredients; irritating toners and self-tanners; ordinary masks; lack of products to address the needs of those with blemishes or skin discolorations; some foundations with SPF ratings that are too low; mostly average makeup brushes.

If you're looking for a clear-cut case of style winning out over substance, here it is. The Dior name is synonymous with couture fashion and countless other lifestyle accoutrements, but they continue to falter when it comes to establishing a first-rate collection of skin-care products. Of course, the company believes their products are the crème de la crème and if we're judging on aesthetics alone, we see what they mean. However, what's inside the gorgeous components is what counts for your skin, and Dior's formulas leave a lot to be desired. On one hand, it's great that all of their sunscreens contain sufficient UVA protection; on the other, all of their moisturizers either leave skin wanting more or contain problematic ingredients with no skin-redeeming qualities.

Fragrance is huge for Dior, and a visit to their counter attests to this, as fragrances line the counter right beside the skin-care tester unit. It would be better for skin if the two categories were kept separate, but in most cases the amount of fragrance added to Dior's skin-care products is greater than the token amounts of state-of-the-art ingredients (and the effectiveness of most of those is further diminished by jar packaging). If you wouldn't put perfume on your face, think twice about applying it in the form of an expensive skin-care product.

On the plus side, there are a few very good products to consider if you don't mind spending the extra money. If you're a fan of Dior's fashions and want to experiment with their cosmetic products, you'll find that their makeup outshines the skin care and has improved in ways that keep the panache while making genuine improvements. Despite all manner of claims to the contrary (everything from purifying pores to lifting skin to the point that sagging is a thing of the past), the most attractive part of Dior's formulas is how they're dressed, not how they perform.

For more information about Dior, call (212) 931-2200 or visit www.dior.com.

Dior Makeup

Always fashion-forward, Dior's makeup is more well-designed and attractive than ever, offering standout products in almost every category. The most notable change over the past several years has been Dior's improved foundation formulas and shades. It's now the exception rather than the rule to find overtly peach, pink, or rose-toned shades among Dior's many complexion-enhancing options. Even better, Dior has recently introduced foundations to compensate for its previous too-low SPF efforts, with formulas available in SPF 15, 20 and 25, a couple of which even include UVA-protecting ingredients. Such a move shows that while Dior may still struggle with an overall lackluster skin care line, they are at least working to meet dermatologist-recommended benchmarks for sun protection.

You will also be very impressed with Dior's powder blush, eyeshadows (though their shiny finish is not the best for Baby Boomer eyes), the DiorSkin concealer, brow gel, and most of the mascaras. If you're a fan of lip gloss and are willing to tolerate a double-digit price, you'll be in cosmetics heaven wading through all the lip-shining options here. On the flip side, neither the standard pencils nor most of the lipsticks are worth the money. With any designer-based line built on artifice, price is more than a matter of dollars. It's indicative of a company’s image and remains a prestige factor that often speaks louder than the products themselves. Dior is guilty of maximizing its assets to play up its image, but with their makeup line the good news for you is that, for the most part, they really pay attention to what’s inside all the luxe containers, too.

One more note: Dior’s makeup tester units are much more accessible and user-friendly than for previous editions of this book. We also found their counter staff to be more accommodating and definitely less condescending than several other European-bred lines.

Note: Dior is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Dior 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.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment 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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Dior serum and dream skin

I received samples of Dior capture totale le serum and dream skin,enough for a few days. The serum is lovely and silky and I didn't need to use my usual moisturiser over the top. I applied Dream skin next, before my make up. It left my skin feeling very smooth. Unfortunately its quite expensive, so I probably wouldn't buy it.

Reviewed by

As someone who's been using this for over a year now, I have to say LOVE! Paula, I was surprised to hear you call it a "serum", because it was never designed or sold to be one. It's a "skin tone perfector". I apply it daily OVER my moisturizer (directions tell you to apply this way) and in place of a primer. I find my makeup glides on smoother and lasts longer + my complexion has become SO much more even in texture and tone. LOVE indeed!

Reviewed by
Maggie M
Effective as a makeup product

I understand the ingredients in this product can do harm to your skin, but having used this I can't say I've seen dramatic negative changes in my skin. If anything this makes my skin more beautiful looking. It has treatment, but it mainly is a makeup product giving a very natural but effective glow to my skin. I use it over my anti-oxidant and sunscreen and it has changed the way my skin looks. I find the claims to be true, something I can't say about many other products.

Reviewed by
I must have been crazy....

I must have been crazy the day I bought this "kit" comprised of four products. Instead of getting "dreamy" skin I got little red bumps on my cheeks and a lot more redness. But, cosmetically, it was perfectly elegant.

Reviewed by

The best primer ever...

Reviewed by
as Paula says

It's as Paula has said. I didn't see the review before I bought the product and used it, but I have been using the product and it really has not improved my skin and simply acts as a primer if anything. Vastly overpriced for a primer too.

Reviewed by
Justice L.
not serum

This is sold at Sephora not as a serum, but to be applied as the last step of your skin care regimen, so I would consider this to be a makeup primer, not a serum. I like how it feels and my skin. I does not irritate my (rosacea; sensitive skin)

Reviewed by
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