This lightweight serum-textured lightener has a great name that sounds futuristic and ultra-effective all at once. But what's in a name? In this case, not much that's new and definitely nothing worthy of the $100+ price tag! The water- and silicone-based formula contains a good amount of a form of vitamin C (ascorbyl glucoside) known to help lighten and brighten skin, but this is far from the only lightening product or serum to use vitamin C in an amount research has shown to be effective. Still, this isn't as "potent" as the claims state, and Lauder's HD-90 Technology sounds good on paper but is more marketing mumbo-jumbo than reliable information.
The vitamin C is joined by a mix of antioxidants plus acetyl glucosamine, which can help smooth skin texture and increase moisture content, though Lauder offers this ingredient in several other products that cost less, so again, the splurge isn't warranted. Despite our reservations about the price, the fact remains that this is a good formula that stands a strong change of working to lighten dark spots and, at the same time, brightening an uneven skin tone.
The brightening portion comes from the mineral pigments mica and titanium dioxide this fragranced skin-lightening product contains. That makes skin look softly radiant but, you guessed it, you can get this benefit from lots of other products that cost less—and many of those omit the fragrance this product contains (which is why it missed our top rating).
For less expensive skin-lightening products worth considering, visit our list of Best Skin-Lightening Products.
- Lightweight serum texture works well under any moisturizer.
- Contains an effective amount of vitamin C.
- Treats skin to a broad range of antioxidants.
- Very expensive, yet the formula doesn't support the price.
- Fragranced formula poses a slight risk of irritation.
Magnify your skin's clarity like never before. Our first brightening system with HD-90 Technology features a naturally derived ingredient so potent it takes brightening to a new dimension.
Water, Dimethicone, Polysorbate-40, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Polyacrylmide, Yeast Extract, Myristyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Acetyl Glucosamine, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Chamomilla Recutita(Matricaria) Flower Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Laureth-7, Hordum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Extract, Gentiana Lutea (Gentian) Root Extract, Plankton Extract, Hypnea Musciformis (Algae) Extract, Gellideila Acerosa (Algae) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract , Pueraria Lobata Root Extract, Algae Extract, Sucrose, PEG-10, Dimethicone, Pantethine, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Whey Protein, Lecithin, C-13,14 Isoparaffin, Sorbitol, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol Dicaparate, Caffeine, Glycyrrhetinc Acid, O-Cymen 5-Ol, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Sodium RNA, Phytosphingosine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hydroxide, Silica, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Mica, Titanium Dioxide
From its humble but attention-getting beginning in 1946, Estee Lauder has grown to become a multibillion-dollar company whose products are sold all over the world and advertised in just about every fashion and women's lifestyle magazine you can think of. Their product assortment is mind-boggling and would be much more frustrating to wade through if their tester units weren't so well-organized and their salespeople so well-trained. (Although most of what they talk about is claim-driven and not worth paying much attention to, they do know their way around the huge assembly of products.)
We suppose the biggest compliment We can pay to the venerable Estee Lauder line is that their state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums have had a hand in redefining how we evaluate products. They (and some Lauder-owned companies, notably Clinique) are so far ahead of their department-store competition in these two areas that they alone have been consistently raising the bar as new research comes to light. In fact, we are confident telling anyone who asks me where to find the best moisturizers in the department store to sail right past Lancome, Chanel, Clarins, Shiseido, and Elizabeth Arden (among others) and park themselves in front of the Lauder counter (or a Lauder-owned line specializing in skin care such as Clinique—definitely not Origins, but you have to read about Origins to see why). We don't agree with most of the claims Lauder makes for their products and the fragrance is often intrusive, but when it comes to formulary excellence culminating in products that give skin what it needs to function optimally, they are tough to beat.
Despite Lauder's formulary innovations, they're not immune to problem products. Some of their cleansers contain irritating ingredients, jar packaging is prevalent, and their sole product for acne isn't going to help anyone's blemishes improve (actually, Estee Lauder is not the line to shop if managing acne is your concern). The company has also taken a somewhat "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach, much like the many skin-care companies with cosmetic products targeted at women considering cosmetic corrective procedures. Some of the claims (and statistics) about what their skin-care alternatives (to these procedures) can accomplish still stretch the boundaries of what's possible, but most of them have impressive ingredients that benefit skin. They just can't change skin in the same effective way a cosmetic corrective procedure can.
There are more reasons than ever to consider Estee Lauder. Their products (surprisingly) don't address every skin-care need or concern, but few lines in this book received so many Paula's Pick ratings, and congratulations are due for developing products that, claims aside, keep Lauder on the cutting edge of a very competitive industry. And, by the way, all of this praise is coming from the standpoint that Lauder was resolutely unhelpful in sending us any information for this book.
For more information about Estee Lauder, call (877) 311-3883 or visit www.esteelauder.com.
Estee Lauder Makeup
Although Estee Lauder has made some impressive strides with its skin-care formulations, their makeup collection has become a frustrating mixed bag. We were genuinely surprised at how many average makeup items have recently appeared. Of course, there have also been some improvements, most notably in the foundation, eyeshadow, and lipstick categories. But for such an established, worldwide brand to not have more to extol is almost embarrassing. That attitude of bigger and better things is there in the descriptions, but the products tell a different story.
The most frustrating element by far is the number of foundations with sunscreen that either lack essential UVA-protecting ingredients or carry an SPF rating that is below standard. In contrast, the sunscreens in Lauder's skin-care lineup are almost all top-notch. Even more perplexing is that Lauder's sister company Clinique really has its act together when it comes to foundations with UVA-protecting ingredients, and they feature a lower price point for superior products.
Despite the shortcomings, many women will continue to shop for makeup at their local Lauder counter, and there is still reason to do that—just not with the same blanket sense of confidence you may have had in the past. This is an exhaustive makeup line, with seemingly endless choices. We like that Lauder's makeup tester units are much more user-friendly, particularly for foundations, powders, and concealers. Their sales staff is more enthusiastic and present (often to the point of hovering) than the staff of many competing lines, but also quite helpful and up-to-date on product comings and goings. We feel strongly that you won't be disappointed with any of the Lauder makeup rated Paula's Picks below. Without question, those products are shining examples that prove Lauder has the capability to elevate the current state-of-the-art, raising the bar for their competitors. If only such innovation were evident in the entire line, there would be few reasons to shop elsewhere, save for the prices. As is, and more than ever, it pays to be a savvy consumer when you're about to navigate the cosmetics department.