Here's yet another moisturizer claiming to lift and firm skin, this time with what Lauder calls its "Photo-Activated Lift Complex," which is supposed to "harness the beneficial power of visible light." Those claims sound good, but are largely marketing jargon, having nothing to do with the actual ingredients or performance of this moisturizer. The truth is that no skin-care product can lift and "sculpt" the skin in the way this claims to do; we have no idea how you harness the beneficial power of visible light, nor does Lauder. (They don't explain this anywhere on their website.) See More Info to learn how skin-care products can and can't help firm the skin.
This does provide broad-spectrum sun protection, but it is only SPF 15, and new research indicates that SPF 20 to 25 is the minimum you should be using, and we encourage you to do so. Daily use of products with SPF is the number one way to prevent most signs of aging, but there are many products with higher SPFs to consider over this one.
This formula also boasts a good mix of ingredients designed to condition the skin, as well as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. The problem is that it's packaged in a jar, which means most of the beneficial ingredients will start losing their potency as soon as you open the container—you're simply not getting enough bang for your buck. See More Info for why jar packaging should be avoided when shopping for anti-aging skin-care products.
There's also the issue of this product's price. For sun protection to be truly effective, it must be applied liberally, and most people will be less likely to do that with an expensive product. We say pass this one up and instead try one of the better options on our list of Best Moisturizers With Sunscreen.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Contains a good mix of beneficial ingredients.
- The jar packaging allows the beneficial light- and air-sensitive ingredients to lose their effectiveness.
- The cost could discourage liberal application, which is needed for maximum sun protection.
- This is only an SPF 15, and new research shows that SPF 20 to 25 is the least you should be applying daily.
Help for Sagging Skin: Many skin-care products claim they can firm and lift skin, but none of them work, at least not to the extent claimed. A face-lift-in-a-bottle isn't possible, but with the right mix of products, you will see firmer skin that has a more lifted appearance—and that's exciting! To gain these youthful benefits, you must protect your skin from any and all sun damage every day, use an AHA (glycolic acid or lactic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant, and use products that have a wide range of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients. Remember, no single product can do it all; it's the combination of products that has extensive research showing it can significantly improve many of the signs of aging, such as firming skin, reducing wrinkles and brown spots, and eliminating dullness. You'll find them on our list of Best Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Products.
Jar Packaging: The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. 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 (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
You want it all-the lifted look, the firmer feeling and the radiance that reflects how beautiful you are.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3.00%, Octisalate 5.00%, Octocrylene 2.70% Ingredients: Water\Aqua\Eau, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Polyethylene, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Di-C12-15 Alkyl Fumarate, Petrolatum, Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Propanediol, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Hexyldecyl Stearate, Dimethicone, Laminaria Saccharina Extract , Algae Extract, Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract, Plankton Extract, Artemia Extract, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Linoleic Acid, Malachite, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Yeast Extract\Faex\Extrait De Levure, C12-16 Alcohols, Ethylhexylglycerin, PEG-100 Stearate, Whey Protein\Lactis Protein\Proteine Du Petit-Lait, Trehalose, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Ergothioneine, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Acetyl Glucosamine, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Glucose Oxidase, Lactoperoxidase, Caffeine, Cholesterol, Sorbitol, Palmitic Acid, Decarboxy Carnosine HCL, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Polysilicone-11, Caprylyl Glycol, Isohexadecane, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Glucose, Zinc PCA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Behenyl Alcohol, Citric Acid , Sodium Hyaluronate , Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate , Polysorbate 80 , Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Sorbate, Maltodextrin, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Lecithin, Potato Starch Modified, Hexylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 5 (Ci 19140), Red 4 (Ci 14700), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Mica.
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.