At one time, this was among the least impressive of the numerous BB creams because its sunscreen failed to provide sufficient UVA protection, which left skin vulnerable to wrinkles. A minor reformulation now has this product offering titanium dioxide plus octinoxate so broad-spectrum sun protection is assured. Despite this improvement, the formula is still highly fragrant and contains a potentially problematic amount of skin-damaging alcohol.
This has a lightweight, thin cream texture that feels more like a lotion when applied, and it is easy to blend. It sets to a satin finish that feels slightly moist, making this preferred for normal to dry skin, as the name states.
Three shades are offered, and all are on the peachy side. Since this isn’t as sheer as a tinted moisturizer, the peachy tint can look more obvious (the formula provides light coverage) but the Fair/Light shade is workable.
Although Garnier has printed some impressive-looking before-and-after photos on the box for this BB cream, the reality is that this effect is best achieved with a good foundation, not a product like those whose shades tend to look off and whose formula slips easily into lines and large pores.
As mentioned above, this BB cream is intensely fragranced and contains numerous fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation. Between that and the paltry amount of beneficial extras (BB creams are supposed to contain beneficial ingredients like antioxidants and skin lightening agents) this is not recommended over lots of other BB creams and tinted moisturizers.
Active: Octinoxate 4%; Titanium Dioxide 2.1%. Inactive Ingredients: Water, Isononyl Isononanoate, Isohexadecane, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Cetyl Palmitate, Nylon-12, Cyclohexasiloxane, Propylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Stearyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Lithium Magnesium Sodium Silicate, Disodium EDTA, Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Caffeine, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Benzyl Alcohol, Geraniol, Cellulose Acetate Butyrate, Polyphosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate, Citral, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate.
May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides
Debuting with permanent hair dye and then making the segue to a full line of hair-care products emphasizing carefree, casual styles with can't-miss-it colorful packaging has been Garnier's formula for penetrating the U.S. market. Several well-known actresses have had dual roles as spokesperson for Garnier's hair dyes and skin-care products, with splashy ads appearing in magazines and on television commercials.
Unfortunately, this group of products hasn't got much going for it except the lure celebrity spokespeople provide. The amount of fragrance is perhaps forgivable for a French-owned product line, and in most of the Nutritioniste products it's not too intrusive. What is deplorable is the lack of sufficient UVA protection in the sunscreens. A skin-care line has no right to speak about the anti-aging benefits and "breakthrough approach" of its products when they cannot get this fundamental aspect consistently right.
It's also disappointing that some products contain irritating peppermint, which made us wonder whether the dermatologists who consulted for Garnier had any idea of what's good for skin and what isn't. It seems they didn't, because what they ended up with is a mix of pro and con products that make it impossible for consumers to assemble a sensible skin-care routine, not to mention products that make skin-lifting claims most dermatologists would dismiss as cosmetics puffery.
The hook for this line is the way it is said to bring nutrition and dermatology together. The products are "fortified" with antioxidants such as lycopene and nutritional ingredients such as fatty acids, vitamins (A and C, never present together in the same product!), and minerals. Garnier wants you to think this is a revolutionary idea, but it isn't—did they also overlook that everyone else, from L'Oreal (Garnier is owned by L'Oreal) to Estee Lauder and Clinique, has been using such ingredients in their products for years? And why consult a nutritionist (as Garnier did) when their training and professional expertise has little to do with application of anything to the skin? The whole scenario proves Garnier was more concerned with creating an attention-getting story for this line rather than formulating truly breakthrough products.
Despite our disdain for the way Garnier's marketing takes precedence over making the products as good as they could be formulary-wise, there are some bright spots. Because Garnier is owned by L'Oreal, it's no surprise to find that there are lots of similarities between the better and worse aspects of L'Oreal's skin care as well as with L'Oreal's department-store sister company Lancome. In some ways, Garnier's formulas best those of both companies by including a greater array of antioxidants and intriguing skin-identical ingredients. The occasional jar packaging choice reduces the effectiveness of some of these products, but other than that, Lancome users should take note of the happy face–rated products in this line. You'll be getting a better product for considerably less money here (though, at least for now, no free gift with purchase—but you can buy Lancome foundations or mascaras instead when gift time comes around).
For more information about Garnier Nutritioniste, call (800) 370-1925 or visit www.garnierusa.com.