Revival Firming + Brightening Cream Serum
1.6 fl. oz. for $35.95
Last Updated:01.02.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

This fragrance-free, water-based serum is supposedly for women over the age of 50 going through or finished with menopause. No question menopause causes changes in skin, but the type of changes that can be addressed by skin care can vary from woman to woman. In contrast, changes most menopausal women see (such as bone loss and sagging) cannot be addressed by skin care. Then we have the fact that age is not a skin type and is not a wise way to shop for skin care. A woman in her 50s could be dealing with breakouts, dry skin, enlarged pores, oily skin, or any number of other concerns that require vastly different products. Shopping by age is a minor factor, if a factor at all, yet the cosmetics industry treats the over-50 set as if they have the exact same needs.

Although the price point and size of this serum are attractive, the formula is really boring. You get some antioxidants such as soy protein and argan extract, and enough film-forming agent to make this set to a "tight" feel on skin (though no actual tightening is taking place), but that's about it. Finding a great serum at the drugstore is tricky because the best ones do tend to be pricier, as the formulas are expensive to make. Marcelle proves this by charging too much for a serum that does too little, and its texture is best suited for those with oily to combination skin.


Marcelle has created Firming + Brightening Cream Serum for women in their fifties who have reached menopause or post-menopause. Combining the effectiveness of a serum with the comfort of a cream, its immediate tightening effect firms the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles, while its brightening action eliminates brown spots, evens tone and clarifies complexion.


Aqua/Water/Eau, Propphylheptyl Caprylate, Glycerin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Argania Spinosa Kernel Extract, Sucrose Dilaurate, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Sorbic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Disodium Cocoyl Glutmate, Phenoxyethanol, Isohexadecane.

Brand Overview

Marcelle At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; Marcelle provides complete ingredient lists on its Web site; drugstores that retail this brand provide testers, including makeup testers; almost every product is fragrance-free; some good cleansers and makeup removers; impressive eyeshadows; great lipsticks and lip glosses.

Weaknesses: The hypoallergenic claims are misleading because this claim isn't regulated and there are no standards governing its use; formaldehyde-releasing preservatives not recommended for those with sensitive skin; the anti-acne products are mostly alcohol, which is damaging to skin and can increase oil production, making acne worse; dated moisturizer formulas; some greasy cleansers; a general lack of state-of-the-art ingredients; foundations with sunscreen do not provide sufficient UVA protection; average to poor mineral makeup; no shades for those with tan or darker complexions; mostly lackluster mascaras.

Nestled among the flashier lines filling the shelves and display cases in Canadian drugstores is this unassuming, attractively priced skin-care and makeup product line. The packaging is simple and the message clear: These are "hypoallergenic and perfume-free," ergo great for sensitive skin. In reality the claim that these products are hypoallergenic isn't accurate in the least—much like Almay—but that claim is Marcelle's major selling point.

First, the term "hypoallergenic" is not regulated; that is, there are no standards in place for that term so a cosmetics company can attribute hypoallergenic to any product they want, regardless of the ingredients. The second point is that even the most scrupulous company, even if it takes the greatest care about what ingredients it includes in its products, simply cannot know what your skin may be allergic to. Marcelle showcases the elimination of "perfume," (aka fragrance) but fragrance is not the only potential culprit in a cosmetic formulation. And third, allergic reactions are not the primary problems that a cosmetic can impart to skin. Irritation is far more pernicious and, indeed, many of Marcelle's products contain ingredients that have a high potential for causing irritation, such as alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (e.g., imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and Quaternium 15; one of their products even contains hydrochloric acid. (Can you believe that?!) Irritating skin-care ingredients not only cause free-radical damage but also lead to an increase in oil production in the pore and break down collagen.

Aside from the erroneous claims, Marcelle hasn't kept up to speed with their formulas in comparison to several other lines at the drugstore. You can easily find moisturizers from other lines that have far more elegant textures and formulas teeming with beneficial ingredients just not from Marcelle. Almost every product Marcelle sells is woefully out of date; their rudimentary formulas are akin to using a typewriter instead of a computer.

Color-wise, you'll find the foundation, concealer, and powder shade ranges are limited to those with fair to medium skin tones. Although it's great that the Marcelle displays provide testers for the makeup, much of it is better left alone. There are some high points, particularly the powder eyeshadows, lipstick, and lip glosses, but the mascaras are barely exciting, the pencils all need sharpening, and the powder blush fails to impress.

All told, Marcelle is best viewed as a line with a few sleeper products worth checking out at price points that won't stress most consumers' budgets, although a few dollars more will get you infinitely better options.

For more information about Marcelle, call (800) 387-7710 or visit www.marcelle.com.

Note: *All prices are in Canadian dollars.

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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