Youth Code Dark Spot Correcting & Illuminating Serum Corrector
1 fl. oz. for $24.99
Last Updated:12.19.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

We have to give L’Oreal credit for creating a skin lightening product (in serum form) that contains two known skin lightening ingredients, niacinamide and the vitamin C derivative ascorbyl glucoside. The problem is that other brands (including drugstore competitor Olay) did this sooner and did it better.

L’Oreal’s fragranced skin lightening option doesn’t bring anything new to the table, despite fancy packaging and the Youth Code name. The lightweight serum has some hydrating ability and the amount of niacinamide is impressive, but the formula also contains alcohol (the kind that causes irritation that keeps skin from being its healthy, youthful best). The amount of alcohol isn’t high, but its inclusion before the vitamin C doesn’t make this a must-have product. In addition to options from Olay, you’ll find numerous other superior options for lightening dark spots on our Best Skin-Lightening Products list. If you decide to try this option, it is best for normal to oily skin.

Note: the "10 years of gene research" claim on the box for this product sounds impressive, but what would really matter for your skin is a better formula!


Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Niacinamide, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Alcohol Denat., Ascorbyl Glucoside, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, C13-14 Isoparaffin, PEG-100 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Glyceryl Stearate, Triethanolamine, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Palmitic Acid, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Laureth-7, Xanthan Gum, Oxothiazolidinecarboxylic Acid, Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Seed Extract, Ethylhexyl Hydroxystearate, Polyacrylamide, Cetyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, Bismuth Oxychloride, Limonene, Fragrance

Brand Overview

L'Oreal Paris At-A-Glance

Strengths: Budget-friendly prices; good makeup removers; wide assortment of self-tanning options; one of the best, most comprehensive makeup collections at the drugstore, with superb options in almost every category; the mascaras are a tough act to follow.

Weaknesses: Jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas; many of their skincare formulas contain problematic amounts of fragrance and/or other irritants; exaggerated anti-aging claims.

L'Oreal's extensive makeup collection retains its stature as one of the better selections 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 there are any at all.

L'Oreal's displays in many drugstores 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.

Unfortunately, despite the brands’ enormous presence in the beauty industry, L'Oreal's moisturizers and treatment products are a nearly all unremarkable and repetitive. 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. The good news is their 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.

For more information about L'Oreal, call (800) 322-2036 or visit www.loreal.com or www.lorealparisusa.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.

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