Unlike most brands selling BB creams, Dr. Brandt's contribution to the trend comes in only one shade, although it's supposed to "blend seamlessly" with most skin tones. It doesn't really do that; on most people, once this is blended, it sets to a light, peachy tan tone. The color is too dark for fair to light skin tones and too light for darker skin tones, so it is really an option only for light-medium to tan skin tones. Interestingly, when first dispensed from the tube, the color looks grayish beige; once you begin blending, it changes into a more natural-looking color.
Also breaking from other BB creams, Brandt chose to use synthetic rather than mineral sunscreen actives. This change gives Flexitone BB Cream a lighter, almost soufflé-like texture that instantly feels different from most BB creams. Despite the lack of mineral actives, you're still getting broad-spectrum sun protection from avobenzone, which is on hand to provide sufficient UVA screening.
This sets to a soft satin finish with a natural-looking, subtle glow that enlivens skin without being shiny. Coverage is sheer, another difference from most BB creams, as the latter tend to offer more coverage, typically between the coverage of a tinted moisturizer and liquid foundation.
Drawbacks include a very low amount of antioxidants and the inclusion of oil from the plant Perilla ocymoides, which is known to cause contact dermatitis. Perilla seed oil also has anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties, but its irritant potential outweighs those benefits; there are lots of non-fragrant plant oils that soothe and provide antioxidant benefits without the risk of irritation (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, April 2003, pages 560–563; and Biochemical Pharmacology, August 2004, pages 433–439). The amount of perilla seed oil isn't enough to earn this BB cream a bad rating, but its inclusion certainly makes it less desirable than most other BB creams, despite the distinctive touches Brandt added that set this apart from its competitors.
If you decide to give this a go, it's best for normal to dry skin. It is not recommended for extra-sensitive skin, but is OK for breakout-prone skin.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Soft, soufflé-like texture feels lighter than most BB creams.
- Easy to blend to its lovely natural-glow finish.
- Despite the claims, "flexitone" technology doesn't match everyone's skin tone equally well.
- Perilla seed oil is a potential irritant.
- Lacks the array of anti-aging ingredients that the best BB creams contain.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2%, Homosalate 7%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 3%, Oxybenzone 5.5%
Other Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Glycerin, Sucrose Stearate, Sucrose Distearate, Synthetic Wax, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Polyester-8, Phenoxyethanol, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Mica, Butylene Glycol, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Lysolecithin, Perilla Frutescens (Perilla) Seed Oil, Cellulose Gum, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Hydrolyzed Pearl, Siegesbeckia Orientalis Extract, Rabdosia Rubescens Extract,Silanetriol, Silica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides
Dr. Fredric Brandt is a Miami- and New York City–based dermatologist whose claim to fame rests on two main points. The first (and it is a very important credibility factor for consumers) includes the many celebrity clients he claims to work with, while the second is his assertion that he performs more Botox and collagen injections than any other dermatologist in the world. (The picture on the back of his book shows him clad in white, wearing surgical gloves, and holding a syringe.) According to Allergan, the company that makes Botox, they no longer rank the physicians who purchase Botox from them; however, they did confirm that Dr. Brandt was definitely one of their biggest buyers. Yet regardless of how much Botox or collagen Dr. Brandt or any other physician uses, what in the world does that have to do with cosmetic formulations? If anything, you have to wonder why Brandt is using so much Botox and collagen if his products truly fight wrinkles, as he claims they do.
Beyond Brandt's cosmetic enhancement procedures, he is the author of Age-less: The Definitive Guide to Botox, Collagen, Lasers, Peels, and Other Solutions for Flawless Skin. His book and skin-care line are competing against the vastly more popular books and product line from fellow dermatologist Dr. N.V. Perricone. Although Perricone's skin-care line has some drawbacks, including irritating ingredients and the lack of supporting research for his neuropeptide products, the majority of his products, though overpriced, have more pros than cons. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Dr. Brandt, whose namesake skin-care line is one of the more disappointing ever assembled by a dermatologist.
Brandt's products are sold with the tag line that they are "prescription strength, prescription-free," and "are formulated under dermatologic control for maximum safety and efficiency and offer the highest performance without a prescription." Aside from how unbelievable that assertion is, what is not mentioned is the fact that none of the ingredients in Brandt's products are comparable, in any way, shape, or form, to prescription formulations. And what is "dermatologic control" anyway, given that there are no such standards anywhere in the world? Moreover, what do dermatologists know about the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, much less cosmetics? The two arenas of expertise are completely unrelated.
Dr. Brandt positions his products as clinically superior to what you would find in other cosmetics lines, when nothing could be further from the truth. Many of his products tout benefits that don't just stretch the truth, but snap it in two—and these fallacies are all the more disconcerting coming from an esteemed dermatologist. When products contain the problematic ingredients that are so pervasive in Brandt's line, such as irritating plant extracts, drying detergent cleansing agents, and far too many products with skin cell–damaging lavender oil, it becomes nothing more than a too-expensive-for-no-good-reason line that should be approached with extreme caution.
The line does have a few bright spots: many of Brandt's products do contain significant amounts of antioxidants, though that certainly doesn't make his line unique because many other product lines do that too. (Here it's fair to say that while no specific amounts have been established for any antioxidant that will ensure their effectiveness, the general consensus among researchers is that more antioxidants are better than less, and less is still better than none at all.) Unless you're a devoted patient of Dr. Brandt and would be racked with guilt for not purchasing his products while visiting for an appointment, there is no reason to seek out this disappointing line.
For more information about Dr. Brandt's products, call (800) 234-1066 or visit www.drbrandtskincare.com.