This specialty skin-care product is overpriced and contains several problematic ingredients for all skin types. It supposedly gives your skin the “signature glow” Kate Somerville bestows upon her celebrity clients who see her for facials, but the glow comes from ingredients that cause free-radical damage and those that can be acutely irritating.
This product is propellant based and is housed in a metal canister that you affix a long, slightly curved wand to before dispensing over key areas of your face. You’re directed to apply this morning and evening, holding the applicator can ½ inch away from your face, then “striping” the product across the cheekbone, from mouth to ear, and along the jawline. The product dispenses as a slightly runny foam, and you must shake the can repeatedly throughout the process to make sure the foam texture maintains itself. Once applied, you’re told to massage the product into your face and neck area. The ingredients are then said to go to work improving wrinkles, sagging, and uneven skin tone (all signs of aging many of us struggle with).
You may be wondering if all this effort is worth it, and the answer is no. As mentioned above, Liquid Lift Advanced Wrinkle Treatment contains several problematic ingredients. One of them is the plant extract Tropaeolum majus. Also known as nasturtium, this plant is a good source of vitamin C but one of its principal ingredients is benzyl mustard oil. This fragrant oil can cause acute irritation and contact dermatitis (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com). It also contains fragrant lavender oil, which research has shown causes skin cell death and enhances oxidative damage, even when used in small amounts (Sources: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150 and Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). These irritants may create a “glow” to skin but that effect isn’t worth the damage that’s taking place beneath skin’s surface. Over time, it can lead to skin that looks older, not younger or refreshed.
This product also contains oxygenating ingredients that may provide a radiance boost (sort of like the slight flush you get after exercising) but these oxygenating ingredients only increase free-radical damage on skin, which is a key component of aging (Source: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, March 2012, ePublication). Although this product also contains vitamin-based antioxidants, they will likely degrade and be of little help to your skin in the presence of potent oxygenating ingredients. Needless to say, Liquid Lift cannot lift skin and it isn’t advanced, at least not if your goal is looking younger.
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Water, Perfluorohexane, A 70 Propellant*, Perfluoroperhydrophenanthrene, Dimethicone, Propanediol, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Perfluorodecalin, Tropaeolum Majus Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Phospholipids, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Sodium Hydroxide, Ehylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil
*Propellant is an Isobutane-Propane blend that evaporates when product is expelled from container, and dissipates prior to contact with skin.
The woman behind this line is a Los Angeles–based aesthetician who owns her own clinic, which specializes not only in aesthetic services but also in cosmetic corrective procedures involving injections (dermal fillers), lasers, Botox, and the like. The clinic is staffed with a doctor and nurses, which is definitely what you want if you're considering services beyond a facial or a massage.
The selling points of this line are Somerville's years of experience in the aesthetics industry and her allegedly devoted celebrity clientele. As such, her products and famous clientele get press in the pages of fashion magazines, which explains why we routinely get asked about this skin-care line. Somerville herself is every bit as attractive as her star clients, and the information on her Web site is presented in such a way that you sincerely believe she has your skin's best interests in mind. And wouldn't you want to trust your skin's needs to a professional who also tends to celebrities?
Knowing all these details, we were anticipating that most of the products bearing Somerville's name would be state-of-the-art slam dunks. Alas, many of them are far afield from that level of formulation. When it comes to giving skin what it needs to function as healthily and normally as possible (and, at these prices, that's what you should expect), this line is, unfortunately, hit or miss. What Somerville knows about giving an amazing facial is one thing, but she clearly missed the research that proves how problematic several of the plant oils that she uses can be. A professional concerned with the health of her clients' skin shouldn't be formulating products with cinnamon, grapefruit, and lavender oils, among others.
If we were one of Somerville's clients, we'd certainly take her to task for that oversight, but we'd also want to know why she offers only one sunscreen and doesn't offer any effective AHA or BHA exfoliants. A discussion of advanced skin science and state-of-the-art ingredients is not sufficient if your product line has gaps: limited sun protection options, no reliable exfoliants, no non-drying cleansers, and a complete lack of options to treat skin discolorations (pigment irregularities, unlike blackheads, cannot be manually extracted, which makes the absence of a skin lightening product an issue).
This product line may not be the one you want to build your skin-care routine around, but there are some exceptional products. Of all the aesthetician-backed lines we've reviewed, none come as close to providing the level of formulary excellence of many of Somerville's moisturizers and serums. They're pricey, but if you're going to spend in excess for skin-care products, you should be doing so on products that stand a very good chance of markedly improving your skin’s appearance. We are curious to see how this product line will expand and (hopefully) improve over the years. The current mishmash of awesome and awful products makes it risky to shop this line blindly (or on the sole rationale of a celebrity endorsement), but with careful consideration to avoid irritants you can find some products of value. Hopefully, she will expand the line to fill in the current gaps (especially for sun protection) and eliminate the irritants.
For more information about Kate Somerville, call (800) 984-5283 or visit www.katesomerville.com.