If you're new to the world (and hype) of BB creams, you should know that they're not as revolutionary as they're made out to be. There are many good ones, and this Lancome BB cream is among them, but here's the thing: BB creams are just a twist on tinted moisturizers with sunscreen. Sometimes BB creams treat skin to other beneficial ingredients, but sometimes not. In short, a product labeled BB cream isn't necessarily any better than your regular tinted moisturizer or liquid foundation.
Lancome's entry into the BB cream ring isn't so wonderful that it's worth splurging on over less expensive BB creams, but they got a lot right. True to the name, the sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection. Its texture is light yet creamy, provides sheer to light coverage, and sets to a natural-looking satin finish suitable for normal to dry or combination skin.
The company claims this provides 24-hour moisturize moisture but since you don't need sun protection at night and you need to cleanse your face at the end of the day (we never recommend sleeping in makeup!), you should not keep this on that long. From a formulary perspective, nothing in this BB cream goes the distance to moisturize skin all day; it's an ordinary, somewhat underwhelming formula.
Although Lancome calls out the multi-vitamin and antioxidant aspect of this BB cream, the fact is these ingredients are present in tiny amounts. There's more alcohol (the kind that damages skin) than antioxidants, though even the amount of alcohol is likely well below the amount we'd caution against.
What we're most concerned about is the lingering floral fragrance this BB cream has, because it comes from the inclusion of several fragrance ingredients known to irritate skin. That's a good reason to think twice about choosing this BB cream over lots of others, and you can check out More Info to learn more about the problems daily use of fragrant products can cause.
If, after all of this you still want to test this, Lancome offers four shades. The colors are a bit on the peachy to golden side, but not terribly so, and work best for light (not fair) to tan skin tones.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Natural-looking coverage and finish.
- Blends easily and evenly.
- Fragrant formula poses a risk of irritation.
- Contains only a tiny amount of antioxidant ingredients.
- Pricey compared with many other BB creams that offer better formulas.
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Titanium Dioxide 5.8%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glycerin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Hexyl Laurate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Pentylene Glycol, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Triethanolamine, Silica, Alumina, Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Sulfate, Alcohol Denat., Ascorbyl Glucoside, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Tristearin, Acetylated Glycol Stearate, Panthenol, Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Butylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea, Fragrance, Linalool, Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Citronellol, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate; May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.
French flair, free gifts with purchase, constant magazine ads, and attractive packaging impel women to seek out the Lancome counter. Once you're there, though, unless you're captured by the enticing claims, the skin-care products are resoundingly dull, and we mean really, really dull (the makeup is a different story). With new research and developments in skin care many cosmetics companies typically improve their formulas, even if just in a small way. That’s not the case with Lancome, which tends to raise their prices while producing lackluster, ordinary formulas with little benefit for skin.
Even more shocking is that their most expensive skin-care items tend to be the most disappointing, usually for what they lack rather than for what they contain. It's startling to realize that their priciest moisturizer is remarkably similar to dozens of other Lancome creams priced more reasonably (but still too high when you consider what you're getting for the money). It seems that all it takes to justify the excessive prices is a good story based around a rare ingredient and claims of delivering a younger look. What a shame so many consumers are taken in by this kind of marketing mumbo jumbo.
L'Oreal-owned Lancome, along with L'Oreal's own skin-care products sold at the drugstore, has fallen well behind their competition. For all their lofty claims and beautiful models, many other companies leave them in the dust. Most of the Lauder companies (Clinique, Estee Lauder), along with Dove, and Olay have skin-care formularies that consistently outperform those of Lancome and L'Oreal in terms of what substantiated research has shown is necessary to have healthy, more wrinkle- and age-resistant skin. Lancome claims to understand women, and they certainly know how to entice them with pretty packaging and scientific-sounding claims. It would be far better if they had an intimate understanding of what it really takes for skin to look its best and function optimally.
The biggest improvement Lancome has made is that almost all of their sunscreens now include the right UVA-protecting ingredients. Who knows why it took them so long to get this straightened out (L'Oreal is no stranger to this issue, as they have developed and patented new UVA filters throughout the years), but it is now easier than ever to find a reliable sunscreen from Lancome. Given their prominence and presence in department stores around the world, Lancome isn't easy to ignore. My suggestion is to look beyond most of the skin care and focus on what they do best: makeup (especially foundations and mascaras).
Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all Lancome products contain fragrance.
For more information about Lancome, owned by L'Oreal, call (800) 526-2663 or visit www.lancome.com.
L'Oreal-owned Lancome is a stellar, French-bred collection of makeup that remains the best reason to shop this line. Because most of Lancome's skin-care products have problematic elements (be it jar packaging, insufficient sun protection, or dated formulas), it is a relief to find that, for the most part, the colorful side of their business has more than its share of innovative products. We enjoyed the fact that no matter where we shopped, Lancome's counter personnel were friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. There's a lot to keep track of, and Lancome deserves credit for keeping their salespeople so well informed.
If you're looking for a force to reckon with for foundations, Lancome is a must-see. They continue to offer some of the most elegant, silky formulas anywhere and in a color range that is overwhelmingly neutral, whether your skin is porcelain or ebony. The only troubling aspect is that most of Lancome's foundations with sunscreen do not contain adequate UVA protection or the SPF rating is too low. Lancome obviously knows about the risks with these issues (after all, they market ecamsule, their version of the UVA-protecting ingredient Mexoryl SX, and brag about its UVA range). And considering that, we are not recommending as many of their foundations as we have in previous editions of this book. Beyond this major gripe, you will discover that Lancome has a well-deserved reputation for their fantastic mascaras, and that their latest powders and eyeshadows apply with a silkiness that makes them gratifying to work with. The rest of the makeup encompasses many valid choices, but before you commit to Lancome, consider the similar options available for less from sister companies L'Oreal and Maybelline New York. Striking a balance among the best of each of these lines will give you first-class makeup that beautifies without breaking the bank.
Note: Lancome is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Lancome 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.