RoC Brilliance Anti-Aging Face Primer (Discontinued)
1 fl. oz. for $23.99
Category:Makeup > Sensitive Skin Products > Foundation Primer
Last Updated:02.08.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This primer is a standard silicone-based formula that is nearly identical to the serum packaged with RoC’s Brilliance products. You may recall these products are sold as 2-step kits, with the serum being the “activator” that’s said to generate a small electric pulse (E-PULSE) to improve wrinkles and other signs of aging. What’s interesting is that in the Brilliance kits, RoC maintains that the serum and accompanying product (such as eye cream) must be used together to generate the “pulse” of electricity, but according to the claims for this primer, the pulse is generated without the need for the second product!

Ultimately, the E-PULSE technology hasn’t proven effective as claimed. It appears that not even RoC believes their own claims, at least not as it relates to needing two products to generate the electric charge to improve skin; we wish they’d make up their minds.

This product’s value as a primer is mostly due to the silky-smooth finish it leaves behind. The formula contains tiny amounts of vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate) and copper, but you can achieve greater anti-aging benefits, plus prime your skin for makeup, by applying a serum from our Best Serums list instead.

  • Fragrance-free.
  • Silky, lightweight texture makes skin feel very smooth.
  • Lacks a good range of the anti-aging ingredients you’ll find in well-formulated serums, and most serums do double duty as foundation primers (so you don’t need a separate product labeled “primer”).
  • E-PULSE technology is overblown and lacks substantiated research proving it makes a discernible difference.

A revolutionary anti-aging primer that goes even further to give you brilliantly beautiful and younger-looking skin that’s velvety smooth to the touch. You will notice this luxurious, lightweight formula creates an invisible barrier between skin and makeup. The formula contains E-PULSE, a revolutionary and patented micro-current technology that works continuously through the day to tighten and tone the look of skin.


Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Zinc, Tocopheryl Acetate, Copper Powder

Brand Overview

RoC At-A-Glance

Strengths: Some well-packaged products with retinol; all the sunscreens provide sufficient UVA protection.

Weaknesses: Mediocrity reigns supreme—few of the formulas are particularly exciting; antiwrinkle claims tend to go too far; jar packaging.

Originally the brainchild of a French pharmacist, RoC does its best to convince women concerned with wrinkles that using RoC products will erase those pesky lines and, of course, that RoC is the only company that keeps its promises. That doesn't bode well for the other J&J product lines Aveeno and Neutrogenawouldn't that mean they must be lying about the promises they make for their products? Regardless, the promises RoC makes, including all of the same old same old "you will look younger too" rubbish, aren't viable and don't hold up under closer scrutiny. None of what they assure you their products can do is possible beyond a cosmetic extent, and moreover the majority of RoC's U.S.- and Canada-sold formulas are either boring or one-note. They don't even come through with distinctive or interesting moisturizers.

For example, RoC is big on retinol, and includes it in products with and without sunscreen in the United States. Retinol is a cell-communicating ingredient as well as an antioxidant, and its benefits for skin are many (Sources: Archives of Dermatology, May 2007, pages 606–612; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, March/April 2005, pages 81–87; and Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, December 2005, pages 237–244). However, for the most part, the amount of retinol in RoC's U.S.-sold products is barely a dusting, and so your skin won't receive much, if any, benefit from it. Ironically, although RoC promotes retinol much more than Neutrogena and Aveeno (all are J&J-owned companies), the latter two lines sell better retinol products! Several of the moisturizers with retinol sold by RoC in Canada also have much better formulations.

Another ingredient RoC has been touting lately is DMAE (dimethyl MEA). This ingredient is described in detail in the reviews below, but suffice it to say that DMAE isn't a panacea for wrinkles or skin that has lost firmness. Lastly, soy is promoted by RoC as an anti-aging powerhouse. Soy has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits for skin, but once again RoC shortchanges the consumer by including barely any of it. And it's probably no surprise that sister company Aveeno (and, to a lesser extent, Neutrogena) offers better (and less expensive) options if soy is what you want to try.

Taken together, isn't it interesting how all of these Johnson & Johnson brands offer similar products to different target audiences? Neutrogena is the all-encompassing line, going after consumers battling acne and wrinkles; Aveeno stresses its "Active Naturals" and plays on its oat heritage; RoC is made to appeal to consumers who want to take a serious, more clinical-minded approach to fighting the signs of aging. None of these lines have all the answers, but all of them have a few worthwhile products. It's just that with RoC, those looking for state-of-the-art options beyond retinol have the fewest choices—and that's a promise made clear by the reviews that follow!

For more information about RoC, call (800) 762-1964 or visit www.rocskincare.com. And for a better selection of state-of-the-art retinol products from RoC, see the reviews for RoC Canada.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

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