Tested on animals:Yes
M.A.C.'s Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula SPF 30 Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has a somewhat redundant name, but its formula is a winner for those with normal to oily or combination skin, even if it's prone to breakouts. True to its name, this is capable of providing broad-spectrum protection, but there's even more to extol…
Critical UVA (the sun's most aging rays) screening is provided by zinc oxide, which joins two other non-mineral sunscreen actives that kick in some UVA and ample UVB protection. Applied liberally, this will protect your face and neck from skin-damaging UV light.
One of the other great aspects of this product is its lightweight, slightly creamy lotion texture feels smooth and not the least bit slick or heavy. In fact, this sets to a slight matte (in feel) finish that provides a bit of hydration (not enough for those with dry skin to rely on) and works well under makeup.
The "Bright" part of the name describes this daytime moisturizer's finish, which is courtesy of the mineral pigments mica and titanium dioxide. The effect is strictly cosmetic, but no question this instantly brightens skin. (This is akin to a more subtle version of M.A.C.'s iconic Strobe Cream.)
Along with anti-aging sun protection, you're also getting a good roster of antioxidants, including a form of vitamin C (ascorbyl glucoside). The amount of this vitamin is good, but in terms of it promoting a more even skin tone, the research isn't there to support the claim. Still, it's not a throwaway ingredient and the mere act of protecting skin from further sun damage, which this can do, will help make skin tone look more even over time.
Now for the drawbacks—Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula SPF 30 Moisturizer contains M.A.C.'s "signature Lightful fragrance" and although its placement on the ingredient list is toward the end, the fragrance does tend to waft and linger long after this moisturizer has absorbed. Because of this, there is some concern that the added scent poses a risk of irritating skin, including skin around the eyes. However, the concern isn't so significant that we don't feel comfortable recommending this.
The lingering fragrance is what kept this daytime moisturizer from earning our top rating. Today's best daytime moisturizers contain minimal to no fragrance, so while M.A.C. wasn't stingy with antioxidants, and esthetically this has a lot going for it, the lingering scent was enough to keep it from the top spot.
Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula SPF 30 Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 earns points for its reliable broad spectrum sun protection, smooth lotion texture that hydrates without heaviness, addition of antioxidants, and, last but not least, opaque, pump-style packaging that keeps those light- and air-sensitive antioxidants stable during use. If not for the lingering fragrance, this would've handily earned our top rating. But it came close, and is a viable daytime moisturizer option for those with normal to oily or combination skin.
- Provides broad spectrum sun protection.
- Packaged to keep its light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use.
- Contains a good mix of antioxidants for further environmental protection.
- Hydrates without feeling heavy or greasy.
- Instantly brightens skin.
- The fragrance, which tends to linger, poses a slight risk of irritation.
How We Rate Daytime Moisturizers with SPF: "Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen" are differentiated from ordinary sunscreens as formulas that make direct anti-aging or other cosmetic claims by the brand, such as "deep moisture" or "redness-relieving." Claims like "combats free radical damage," "protects and firms," "improves skin texture" or others that insinuate benefits beyond what a standard sunscreen formula provides.
Daytime Moisturizers with SPF are judged based upon whether they provide broad-spectrum sun protection, their SPF rating, potential for irritation, packaging, and aesthetics. They must also meet the same standards as an anti-aging moisturizer—the inclusion of beneficial antioxidants or other ingredients to back up the claims of improvements in signs of aging on skin beyond what sun protection alone provides. For more detail on how we rate this category of products, see the Best Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen section of Beautypedia.