Ultra-Lift Transformer Anti-Age Skin Corrector Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen
1.7 fl. oz. for $16.99
Last Updated:02.14.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

With an alluring name that sounds like it does it all (Cool! One product for all your skin concerns!), this facial moisturizer ultimately disappoints because it's the sunscreen ingredients don't provide sufficient anti-aging protection from the sun's UVA rays. See More Info to learn which UVA-protecting ingredients must be in any SPF-rated product you're considering!

Along with the sun protection issue are formulary issues typical of Garnier's anti-aging skin-care products: This contains more skin-damaging alcohol and potentially irritating fragrance than it does state-of-the-art ingredients to help the skin look and act younger. It also contains a sensitizing preservative (methylisothiazolinone) that is not recommended for use in leave-on products (Source: Contact Dermatitis, November 2013, pages 271–275).

Garnier claims this product contains "retinol from nature," but in truth the formula doesn't contain retinol per se; rather, it contains retinyl linoleate, a derivative of retinol that's not as effective as the real deal. It's also worth mentioning that retinyl linoleate (and retinol itself) as used in skin care products are always synthetic, so "retinol from nature" is misleading.

On the plus side, this moisturizer has a light, slightly creamy texture and contains pigments that add a subtle brightening effect without making the skin look too white or washed out. That's a nice cosmetic benefit for dull, dry skin, but the formulary drawbacks previously mentioned don't make this a product to run out and buy.

As for the seemingly magic "auto-adjusting pigments", they're just standard cosmetic pigments added in a manner that makes them look sheer and a bit shiny on all skin tones. Big whoop!

  • Silky, lightweight lotion texture.
  • Contains complexion-enhancing pigments that brighten skin.
  • The active ingredients do not provide good enough UVA protection.
  • The amount of alcohol poses a risk of irritation.
  • Contains more fragrance than state-of-the-art anti-aging ingredients.
  • Does not contain "retinol from nature"; the form of retinol it contains is synthetic (that's not a bad thing, it just makes Garnier's claim misleading).
More Info:

This moisturizer does not include the ingredients needed to shield your skin from the sun's entire range of damaging UVA rays, which is essential for anti-aging benefits. The sun's UVB rays are what cause sunburn, and the SPF number reflects that protection, but there is no rating for the sun's silent, though more penetrating (and in many ways more damaging), UVA rays. Any SPF-rated product should contain one or more of the following UVA-protecting ingredients listed as "active" to ensure you are getting UVA protection: avobenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, Mexoryl SX (ecamsule), or Tinosorb (Sources: Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, December 2011, pages 81–90; Cosmetic Dermatology, Second Edition, Baumann, Leslie MD, McGraw Hill, 2009, pages 246–252; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, Supplement, 2009, pages 19–24; The Encyclopedia of Ultraviolet Filters, Shaath, Nadim A., Allured Publishing, 2007; and Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, and Photomedicine, October 2003, pages 242–253).


The auto-adjusting texture transforms on contact with skin for immediate correction and brightening. It releases micro-pigments that instantly adjust to any skin tone whether you are fair, medium, or deep, making skin flawless, smooth and radiant. Over time, the formula with Pro-Retinol from Nature boosts natural cell renewal while actually protecting skin's surface moisture barrier, to help prevent dryness* so wrinkles are reduced and firmness is restored.


Active Ingredients: Octisalate 4.9%, Octocrylene 4.4%; Inactive Ingredients: Water. Glycerin, Dimethicone, Isopropyl Isostearate, PTFE, Alcohol Denat., Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Behenyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylamide, Fragrance, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate / Steareth-25 Methacrylate, Crosspolymer, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Cetyl Alcohol, Mannitol, PEG-100 Stearate, Argania Spinosa Kernel Extract, Dimethiconol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Arachidyl Alcohol, Retinyl Linoleate, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Laureth-7, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Carbomer, Cetearyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Linalool, Silica, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Benzyl Alcohol Methylisothiazolinone, Geraniol, Citral; May Contain Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides

Brand Overview

Garnier Nutritioniste At-A-Glance

Strengths: Interesting and potentially helpful cleansing oil and foundation primer.

Weaknesses: Insufficient UVA protection from some of the sunscreens; average to below average moisturizers and eye creams; mostly irritating cleansers; no effective products for blemish-prone skin; jar packaging.

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.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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bad product

I got a sample of ultra lift, my face as dried out and has a red rash. I also noticed when you apply makeup over it as it already has a tint that is barely noticeable it turned my skin orange looking after about one hour. I would not use this product again.I use it for three days and now it's in the trash. I can't say everyone will have this experience but mine was terrible. My skin is very red and flaky and dry now,it made me look older. Its also painful.

Reviewed by
Carol D
Not what I expected

When I bought this product I didn't expected it to be a tanning product. I guess when your tan it looks like your skin if firmer but this product turned me orange not tan. I would not buy this again and I would not recommed it to anyone. If I could give negative numbers I would. I am going back to CVS to see if I can get my money back. Very disappointed.

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