01.29.2014
1
Optimal Brightening Concentrate
1 fl. oz. for $74
Expert Rating
Community Rating (1)
Expert Reviews
Last Updated:01.29.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No

This skin-lightening product contains a form of vitamin C known as o-ethyl ascorbic acid, and that's it's only unique aspect. This form of vitamin C breaks down to ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) in skin, yet it's more stable than using pure ascorbic acid, which is highly prone to degrading when exposed to light and air. Based on how Optimal Brightening Concentrate is packaged, you can expect some improvement of dark spots but only if you're diligent (if not neurotic) about applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, rain or shine. Without sufficient daily sun protection and avoiding excess sun exposure, your dark spots won't stay lightened (or gone) for long.

Really the main problem this product has is that it’s so one-note.  Of lesser concern is the amount of fragrance and inclusion of a small amount of fragrance ingredients known to be irritating. Check out the superior (and often less expensive) products we recommend for brown spots on our list of Best Skin-Lightening Products. If you insist on skin care from NARS, this product is OK for all skin types except sensitive.

Community Reviews
Claims

The essence of the NARSskin collection. Infused with NARS' exclusive Light Reflecting Complex, this advanced radiance-boosting serum instantly brightens skin and revitalizes the complexion.

Potent Multi-Action Vitamin C clarifies and evens skin tone while working long term to prevent and help repair signs of aging while encapsulated Noni Fruit Extracts boosts cellular energy. Dark spots begin to fade from view and skin appears youthful, prismatic, and illuminated.

Ingredients

Water, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG-32, PEG-6, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Citrate, Parfum (Fragrance), Citric Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Viola Tricolor (Hydrolyzed Viola Tricolor Extract), Maris Aqua (Sea Water), Potassium Hydroxide, Agar, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Polysilicone-2, Trisodium EDTA, Algae (Algae Extract), Barium Sulfate, Morinda Citrifolia (Morinda Citrifolia Leaf Extract), Thymus Serpillum (Thymus Serpillum Extract), Potassium Sorbate, Tocopherol, Plankton Extract, Alumina, Citral, Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene, Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides)

Brand Overview

NARS At-A-Glance

Frenchman Francois Nars has been painting the faces of New York's top models since arriving in the United States in 1984. Their images and his handiwork have been seen on the covers of countless fashion magazines, most notably Vogue and Elle. As the story often goes for the talented makeup artists who have become celebrities in their own right, Nars became frustrated with the state of available makeup and, surprise, another cosmetic line was born.

Beginning (as Bobbi Brown did) by launching a small collection of lipsticks in 1994, the clamor for the colors was incredible, and demand for more NARS products from the artist grew. Shortly thereafter an entire product line followed, gaining attention with vibrant, deeply pigmented colors, sleek, tactile-enhanced packaging and risqué shade names.

As an overview, NARS makeup has many strengths—it reaches its zenith with blushes, tinted moisturizer, foundations, brushes, and lipsticks. If you’re a fan of bold colors, you’ll find them here, and the brand offers consistently impressive foundations and concealers. NARS consistently impresses when it comes to offering a wide range of shades to suit nearly any skin tone.

Where NARS often falls short is in the amount of fragrance added to many of their skincare formulas. In some cases, the amount and specific fragrance ingredients chosen outweigh the potential benefits, so be sure to double check their review before buying. Overall, NARS offers a lot to love, and if you don’t mind splurging a bit (as their prices can be on the spendy side) there are quite a few makeup picks that come with our highest recommendations.

Strengths: Superior foundations and foundation shade options; excellent blushes; splurge-worthy lipsticks; beautiful bronzers and consistently impressive color products.

Weaknesses: Can be expensive; a few skincare formulas contain high amounts of fragrance.

For more information about NARS, owned by Shiseido, call (888) 788-6277 or visit www.narscosmetics.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.


Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!

See all reviews for this brand

NARS At-A-Glance

Frenchman Francois Nars has been painting the faces of New York's top models since arriving in the United States in 1984. Their images and his handiwork have been seen on the covers of countless fashion magazines, most notably Vogue and Elle. As the story often goes for the talented makeup artists who have become celebrities in their own right, Nars became frustrated with the state of available makeup and, surprise, another cosmetic line was born.

Beginning (as Bobbi Brown did) by launching a small collection of lipsticks in 1994, the clamor for the colors was incredible, and demand for more NARS products from the artist grew. Shortly thereafter an entire product line followed, gaining attention with vibrant, deeply pigmented colors, sleek, tactile-enhanced packaging and risqué shade names.

As an overview, NARS makeup has many strengths—it reaches its zenith with blushes, tinted moisturizer, foundations, brushes, and lipsticks. If you’re a fan of bold colors, you’ll find them here, and the brand offers consistently impressive foundations and concealers. NARS consistently impresses when it comes to offering a wide range of shades to suit nearly any skin tone.

Where NARS often falls short is in the amount of fragrance added to many of their skincare formulas. In some cases, the amount and specific fragrance ingredients chosen outweigh the potential benefits, so be sure to double check their review before buying. Overall, NARS offers a lot to love, and if you don’t mind splurging a bit (as their prices can be on the spendy side) there are quite a few makeup picks that come with our highest recommendations.

Strengths: Superior foundations and foundation shade options; excellent blushes; splurge-worthy lipsticks; beautiful bronzers and consistently impressive color products.

Weaknesses: Can be expensive; a few skincare formulas contain high amounts of fragrance.

For more information about NARS, owned by Shiseido, call (888) 788-6277 or visit www.narscosmetics.com.