Substiane (+)
1.35 fl. oz. for $56.99
Last Updated:01.15.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

The claim for this product is that it is "replenishing care for mature skin." First, being "mature" is not a skin type. Not everyone over a certain age has the same type of skin. Women of all ages can have oily skin, blemishes, rosacea, blackheads, and more, and this formula won't address any of those skin conditions. Plus, what age is mature skin supposed to be? Is it over 50? 60? 70? It doesn't matter, because as we said, age is not a skin type.

Aside from the issue of age, this emollient, basic moisturizer is decent enough, although its claims exceed what the formula can really do. It does contain a small amount of skin-repairing ingredients and antioxidants, but it should contain a more generous amount—something women of any age need. It also has silica and cornstarch high up on the ingredient list, which are absorbents that have nothing to do with replenishing whatsoever, and, to some extent, these reduce the moisturizing properties of the other ingredients.

What this also contains is something called Pro-xylane,a made-up term representing a group of ingredients in the formula. This patented trade name was coined by L'Oreal, who happens to own La Roche-Posay. You would think that if this blend of ingredients was so special, then other L'Oreal-owned companies would use it, too, but they don't. This ends up being a good emollient base, but there is no research showing it has special benefit for skin. It certainly isn't a must-have.

Overall this is an average moisturizer for dry skin, but that's about it.

  • Contains some good emollients for dry skin.
  • Expensive for what amounts to an average formula.
  • Age is not a skin type, so the "mature skin" designation isn't helpful.
  • Pro-xylane isn't a wonderful, must-have ingredient blend.
  • The absorbent ingredients keep this from being as moisturizing as it otherwise would be.

Replenishing care for mature skin. Daily treatment moisturizer formulated with Pro-Xylane 5% and LINACTYL 4% to help re-densify mature skin and restore skin's substance to help visibly reinforce skin structure.


Water, Glycerin, Shea Butter, Cyclohexasiloxane, Apricot Kernel Oil, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Isohexadecane, Corn Starch, Silica, Hydroxypropyl Tetrahydropyrantriol, Beeswax, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone, Palmitic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Propylene Glycol, PEG-20 Stearate, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Stearyl Alcohol, Dimethiconol, Arginine PCA, Serine, Disodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Linseed Extract, Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Polysorbate 80, Acrylamide/ Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Benzoic Acid, Fragrance

Brand Overview

La Roche-Posay At-A-Glance

Strengths: A few good cleansers; anti-aging formulas tend to be stably packaged to get the most out of the air/light-sensitive ingredients; many fragrance-free options; a unique lip moisturizer; some praiseworthy specialty products.

Weaknesses: Some problematic, overly irritating exfoliants; several ho-hum moisturizers and sunscreens; ineffective skin-lighteners; disappointing toner.

L'Oreal-owned La Roche-Posay has a pharmaceutical lineage based in France, and the company speaks of their thermal spring water as the cornerstone of their commitment to dermatological skin care. Sound familiar? L'Oreal-owned Biotherm makes similar claims for the water in their products, yet their marketing niche is spas, while La Roche-Posay caters to doctors and consumers interested in effective, no-frills skin care. Regardless of the source of their water, or how many minerals there may be in it, or the other benefits they assert it has, water is water and skin can't tell the difference. Even if the water were somehow "special," it takes a lot more than water to create and maintain healthy skin. This is something La Roche-Posay is aware of, because they do offer a fairly broad range of products to address the various needs of skin.

Their thermal spring water is said to be a rich source of selenium. Selenium is a nonmetallic element that has potent antioxidant ability. However, almost all of the research surrounding its benefits pertains to dietary or supplemental consumption, not to topical application. According to the research, selenium is absorbed into skin and helpful when applied topically only when applied as l-selenomethionine (Source: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, July 2004, pages 149–155). It is unknown whether the water La Roche-Posay uses contains this form of selenium, but we wouldn't bank on it for a unique benefit.

For a dermatologist-oriented line like La Roche-Posay, most of the products are surprisingly devoid of state-of-the-art or other interesting ingredients. There are some standout products, such as those with retinol and stabilized vitamin C; however, most of them are one-note options that offer the help of their promoted ingredient but don't commingle it with anything else of value to skin. It's ironic that although there's not a jar package to be found in this line, most of the moisturizers lack light- or air-sensitive ingredients, so jar packaging actually wouldn't be a problem. In fact, most of the moisturizers are downright monotonous. For the money, these products will leave your skin wanting more.

If you steer your way to the well-formulated products La Roche-Posay offers, you will find some first-rate options. They're not as varied as what many other lines offer, but for a pragmatic, no-frills approach to serious skin care, they'll do just fine. In fact, among all of the L'Oreal-owned skin-care lines, La Roche-Posay comes closest to successfully competing with the best of the best. It's up to you to decide if "close" is good enough. However, if you need to avoid fragrance and a range of potentially irritating plant extracts prevalent in the products of many brands, this line may suit your skin to a T.

Note: La Roche-Posay is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although La Roche-Posay does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law.” Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.

For more information about La Roche-Posay, owned by L'Oreal, call (888) 577-5226 or visit www.laroche-posay.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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Excellent product with result

If like me you are allergic to almost everything to put on your skin. La Roche Posay is the best beauty manufacturer on the planet i am old and no wrinkles on my face(btw in France we do not talk about age specially for women. I have been using their product at an early age. As i am born France this labs has been around for a while and they have been just recently bought by L'Oreal and are still very independent. So allergy and getting old Substiane is a good solution.

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