Garnier has created what can be described as a poor man’s Clarisonic. Unlike Clarisonic’s expensive battery-powered facial brush, Garnier’s option includes a built-in brush that is powered only by your hand as you massage it over your face. The bristles are relatively soft and composed of synthetic fiber, which essentially is just a glorified washcloth. As it turns out, although the brush isn’t a problem, the gel cleanser is. It is highly fragrant and contains irritants such as witch hazel and peppermint as well as the potent menthol derivative menthoxypropanediol. Garnier maintains this is gentle enough for daily use, but that must mean they haven’t seen the research about what risks these ingredients pose for skin. The novelty of a built-in brush isn’t enough to make this worth a try—not if you want to keep your skin healthy.
Manual cleansing with traditional cleansers is not always enough to reveal smoother, cleaner skin. The Brusher Gel-Cleanser is a breakthrough daily cleanser: an innovative, gentle soft-brush works with a nutrient-rich, non drying cleansing gel to deeply clean and gently exfoliate, leaving skin free of all impurities. Pores are refined, skin is 2x smoother* and more radiant.
Water, Lauryl Betaine, PEG-8, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citric Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana Extract/Witch Hazel Extract, Hexylene Glycol, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Limonene, Linalool, Mentha Piperita Extract/Peppermint Leaf Extract, Menthoxypropanediol, Methylparaben, Panthenol, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Grape Fruit Water, Fragrance>
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.