Tested on animals:Yes
SkinActive Clearly Brighter Brightening & Smoothing Daily Moisturizer SPF 15 brings mixed results. It earns a tentative half-smile for providing broad spectrum protection, but its SPF 15 rating is well below the worldwide recommendation of SPF 30 or greater rating. SPF 15 isn't considered good enough, and we agree.
Turning to a positive, it's nice that this daytime moisturizer contains a generous amount of ascorbyl glucoside, an effective form of vitamin C that helps brighten skin.
On the really unhappy side, as is true for most of Garnier's products, this daytime moisturizer has a rather strong fragrance that lingers on skin. The fragrance poses a risk of sensitizing skin, as we explain in the More Info section. We wish a pleasant, perfume-like scent equated to great skincare, but that's akin to wishing carrot cake was as good for you as a plain carrot!
This moisturizer has a lightweight cream texture that morphs into a thin lotion which slightly hydrates before setting to a matte-feeling finish. The subtle glow this leaves behind helps brighten, but the overall formula is best for normal to oily skin—including breakout-prone skin.
What about the LipoHydroxyl Acid (LHA) touted in the claims? Can it lead to smoother, polished skin? The ingredient is known as capryloyl salicylic acid, and it's a fatty acid derivative of traditional salicylic acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid).
Research has shown that this ingredient can exfoliate skin, but in amounts of 5-10%, far below what's used here, not to mention this product's pH of 4.7 is borderline for exfoliation to occur (Journal of Cosmetic Science, December 2008). There's not much else to go on, so from our perspective this ingredient isn't worth seeking out over tried-and-true salicylic acid.
Between the out-of-date SPF rating, excess fragrance, and the likely ineffective exfoliating ingredient, there isn't enough to compel us to recommend this daytime moisturizer other than its pleasant-feeling esthetics. Your skin deserves more than that, and you can find superior options on our list of Best Daytime Moisturizers.
- Contains antioxidant and skin-brightening vitamin C
- Contains several fragrance ingredients that pose a risk of irritation.
- SPF 15 is well below the minimum rating most dermatologists advise for daily protection.
- Lipo-hydroxy acid unlikely to provide much if any exfoliation.
Sunscreens Rated Lower than an SPF 30: An extensive body of research and a growing number of medical organizations around the world have determined that a sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater is mandatory to ensure adequate sun protection.
While a sunscreen will provide protection at the SPF number on the label and may claim broad spectrum protection, we will always point out when it doesn't meet the standard of being an SPF 30 or greater because of how important it is for the health of your skin.
References for this information
Journal of Clinical Oncology, ePublication, September 2016
Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, and Photomedicine, August 2014, issue 4, pages 212-219
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, May 2008, issue 5 supplemental, pages S149-154
Why Fragrance is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This leads to all kinds of problems, including disruption of skin's healthy appearance, worsening dryness, redness, depletion of vital substances in skin's surface, and generally keeps skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see the negative influence of using products that contain fragrance has on skin, the damage will still be taking place even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see or feel the effects on your skin for your skin to be suffering. This negative impact and the visible damage may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410-1,419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166-175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77-80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821-832
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement pages 1-43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446—475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, issue 11, pages 789-798
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, issue 4, pages 191-202