We wanted to rate this higher than we did, but there are two formulary issues that stopped us from doing so: Alcohol and fragrance. The amount of alcohol is potential cause for concern, as alcohol is a known skin irritant (and there's nothing youthful about its use in skin care). The fragrance, which appears at the end of the ingredient list, makes a surprising, unwelcome impact. The scent lingers on skin long after this BB cream has set (see More Info to learn why daily use of highly fragrant products is a problem for your skin).
Texture-wise, this somewhat thick yet lightweight cream is a breeze to apply. It sets to a soft matte finish that contains a hint of shine for subtle illumination, and you'll get some hydration, too, but not enough to quench the needs of dry to very dry skin (this BB cream is best for normal to combination or oily skin). Broad-spectrum sun protection is provided by an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen, so, like most BB creams, this is essentially a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen. Unlike many tinted moisturizer, this BB cream provides softer, more translucent color from both of its shades. The translucency is good, because both shades err a bit on the peachy side.
In terms of this containing anti-aging ingredients, the biggest portion is the sunscreen actives, which will protect against more wrinkles and brown spots assuming you apply this liberally. Otherwise, this contains more fragrance (in the form of fragrance chemical limonene) than anti-aging ingredients like niacinamide and antioxidant vitamins. Still, it's good L'Oreal included those at all but a greater amount of them without so much fragrance (and no alcohol) would've propelled this BB cream to our best rating.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Easy to apply and blend.
- Provides sheer, natural-looking coverage with a subtle glow.
- The fragrance this contains is potent and lingers long after the formula sets.
- Does not provide enough moisture (the finish feels powdery) for dry skin.
- Amount of alcohol is potentially irritating.
- Contains more fragrance than anti-aging ingredients, but fragrance isn't skin care.
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).
Experience 5 complexion-perfecting benefits in a single step. Youth Code BB Cream Illuminator instantly events, illuminates, perfects, moisturizes and protects skin. In one week, tone and texture are improved and skin is healthier looking.
Active: Octinoxate 4%, Titanium Dioxide 3.6%, Other: Water, Isononyl Isononanoate, Isohexadecane, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., PEG-20 methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Methyl Glucose Sesquisterate, Cetyl Palmitate, Nylon-12, Cyclohexasiloxane, Propylene Glyocl, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Stearyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Lithium Magnesium Sodium Silicate, Ethylhexyl Hydroxystearte, Disodium EDTA, Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Niacinamide, Triethanolamine, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Oxothiazolidinecarboxylic Acid, Benzyl Alcool, Ceraniol, Cellulose Acetate Butyrate, Polyphosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate, Citral, Ammonium Polyacryloydiemethyl Taurate, Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Seed Extract, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Fragrance; May Contain Iron Oxides, Bismuth Oxychloride
Just like its sister company Lancome, L'Oreal doesn't have its act together when it comes to skin-care products. For all their talk of advanced formulas, fancy double-page ads in fashion magazines, and impressive-sounding quotes from scientists at their research and development facilities, most of what L'Oreal offers for skin care is a whole lot of nothing—or at least nothing tremendously helpful for helping skin look and feel its best.
An ongoing issue with L'Oreal (at least in the United States) is the lack of sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients in their daytime moisturizers with sunscreen. Very few of them contain the actives that provide as much UVA protection as you can get from a sunscreen. Yet this major oversight (and it’s not just with the older products—several newer sunscreens launched with this deficiency) didn't stop L'Oreal from heralding the FDA's approval of their patented ecamsule (Mexoryl SX) sunscreen for use in the United States. (Mexoryl SX has been approved for years in Europe, and L'Oreal routinely uses it in the sunscreens they sell there.) The attention-getting headline was that Mexoryl SX provides "the best" and "most stable" UVA protection, but that's not entirely true; there are other options. Why didn't anyone in the media point out to L'Oreal that while Mexoryl SX may be great, that doesn't explain why the majority of their other sunscreens leave the consumers who use them vulnerable to UVA damage… Sigh… Inadequate UVA protection is not only unhealthy for your skin, it severely damages L'Oreal's credibility as an international skin-care authority.
Aside from the sunscreen frustrations, L'Oreal's moisturizers are a yawn-inducing, fairly repetitive bunch. A cursory review of their formulas demonstrates that L'Oreal is simply not keeping pace with the competition, just as Lancome isn't at the department-store level. When it comes to moisturizers or serums, just about anything from Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, or Aveeno is preferred. L'Oreal does well with most of their cleansers, along with scrubs and self-tanning products, but given the widespread availability and financial resources of this line they could be doing so much more. (You have to wonder if they're more interested in advertising and public relations than in advancing skin-care expertise.) The makeup has made major strides and now ranks as the best overall color collection at the drugstore—imagine the results if their skin care followed suit!
Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all L'Oreal skin-care products contain fragrance.
For more information about L'Oreal, call (800) 322-2036 or visit www.loreal.com or www.lorealparisusa.com.
L’Oreal Paris Makeup
L'Oreal's extensive makeup collection retains its stature as the overall best at the drugstore, though they have stiff competition from Revlon and, in some cases, sister company Maybelline New York. In recent years L'Oreal has made significant strides with foundation shades, powder textures, concealers, and, of course, superlative mascaras that rarely fail to impress. Their lipsticks are excellent and you will find many L'Oreal makeup products have a Lancome counterpart, and that the differences are minor, if they exist at all.
L'Oreal's displays in many drugstores have been updated to reflect better-organized products and shade categories (though testers are still scarce). Given the number of lipsticks they sell, it only makes sense to put them in color families so consumers have a better shopping experience. Their True Match products are also sensibly laid out, but the rest of the foundations aren't as organized, likely due to the smaller selection of shades. Speaking of foundations, L'Oreal has made further strides by offering more that provide sufficient UVA protection. Revlon still has the edge for consistently launching impressive foundations with sunscreen, but at least L'Oreal is (finally) catching up. The bottom line is that every category of L'Oreal’s makeup has some winning (and in some cases, benchmark-setting) products. They fall short with their powder eyeshadows, but not enough to warrant avoiding them, especially if you prefer sheer eye makeup. Still, with only minor tweaking and consistent adherence to the importance of UVA protection in their cosmetic products with sunscreen, L'Oreal could pull ahead to be the hands-down winner when it comes to shopping for makeup at the drugstore.