12.19.2014
24
Ultimate Brightening Serum
1.69 fl. oz. for $30
Expert Rating
Community Rating (0)
Expert Reviews
Last Updated:12.19.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes

Labeling this serum 'ultimate' and 'brightening' isn't a terrible exaggeration, but it is relatively overblown. Claiming to diminish skin discolorations caused from acne, sun, age, and other factors is not supported by the formulation. This works about the same as any lightweight moisturizer, but the extra benefits just aren't likely.

As a serum, it can be somewhat stickier than the best in this category due to the amount of acrylates (think hairspray-like ingredients) it contains. It has an interesting blend of plant-based antioxidants, an emollient, an anti-inflammatory ingredient, and a small amount of skin repairing ingredients, which are all great, it doesn't really contain anything in the way of "brightening" ingredients. If you take the term 'brightening' to mean it will lighten dark spots or red marks leftover from annoying blemishes, you will most likely be sorely disappointed.

On the bright side, it does come packaged in an airtight container that will keep the beneficial ingredients stable. It also doesn't contain fragrance which is always a benefit for skin. Other than that there really isn't much to say. While not an exciting product for skin, as a moisturizer for normal to slightly dry skin it would work just fine.

Pros:
  • Lightweight formula.
  • Contains some very good antioxidants, emollient, and antioxidants.
Cons:
  • Can feel somewhat sticky.
  • Claims about lightening dark spots and acne marks are tenuous at best.
Community Reviews
Claims

This super serum fights uneven tone and dull, lackluster skin. Enriched with effective evening and radiance-enhancing ingredients, it diminishes newly emerging and older skin pigmentation imperfections caused by acne blemishes, sun, age, or other factors.

Ingredients

Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Prunus Domestica Seed Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Propylheptyl Caprylate, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Caprylyl Methicone, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, PVP, Caffeine, Bisabolol, Saccharomyces Serevisiae Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Salix Alba (Willow) Leaf Extract, Adenosine, Physalis Alkekengi Calyx Extract, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Padina Pavonica Thallis Extract, Hydrolyzed Triticum Monococcum Seed Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Crosspoylmer, Phospholipids, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Disodium EDTA, Pentylene Glycol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Xanthan Gum, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexyglycerin, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopherol

Brand Overview

Sephora At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; some good cleansers and makeup removers; the Blotting Papers; good powder foundation; impressive blush and shiny eyeshadow options; great metallic finish eyeliner; awesome brow kit; bountiful selection of lipsticks and lip glosses; a couple of very good mascaras; several outstanding makeup brushes;  testers are available in-store for each product, and sales pressure is practically nonexistent.

Weaknesses: Mostly average to below-average toners, moisturizers, and sunscreens; no options for those dealing with acne or skin discolorations; some SPF-rated products (including foundations) lack sufficient UVA-protecting actives; the lip plumper is too irritating; too many disappointing eye-makeup products, including several disappointing eyeliners and brow pencils; unappealing shimmer powders.

Sephora's first foray into skin care was back in 1994, when they offered a colorful, artfully packaged selection of bath gels. Their facial skin-care came on the scene a few years later, but for the most part wasn't worth waiting for. Sephora must not have been too pleased with these earlier versions, because lots of retooling has been done, although, sad to say, that hasn't improved on the ordinary, mundane status their products have consistently shared. Makeup is what Sephora's house brand does best. The only reason to shop this inexpensive skin-care selection is for everyday basics or the occasional impulse buy you may or may not enjoy adding to your routine. Otherwise, most of the skin-care products can't compete with the other brands sold in Sephora boutiques worldwide.

Note: Sephora is categorized as one that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Sephora may not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brand’s state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law”. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.

For more nformation about Sephora, call (877) 737-4672 or visit www.sephora.com.

Sephora Makeup

Once an incomplete line lacking such basics as foundation and concealer, Sephora's color collection has blossomed into a comprehensive group of products, most of which are priced considerably lower than products from the many other lines sold in their boutiques. Although the low price and the selection may draw you in, not everything is worth exploring; for example, some of the products (for example the inexpensive pencils, which are not worth considering) demonstrate the old adage that sometimes you really do get what you pay for. That's not to say you have to spend a lot of money for quality makeup, but it does seem that many of Sephora's potential bargains are below average in terms of performance.

What you really should pay attention to are the pressed-powder foundation, one of the concealers, the powder blush, the liquid shimmer, and a few of the mascaras. Of course, the hallmark of this line has always been an extensive selection of makeup brushes. That still holds true, and you'll find that in this case the prices are more than fair.

More than most other makeup lines, Sephora excels with their accessory offerings. From makeup bags to train cases and on to all manner of beauty tools (from tweezers to nail clippers and manicure aids), the selection means you will assuredly find something that meets your needs. It's easy to get caught up in the variety and scope of Sephora's makeup, and testers are readily available so you can play all you want. That's great, but it doesn’t compensate for a line with more than its share of average to poor products (and they change frequently, often not for the better). However, if you pay attention to the favorably rated products, you're more than likely to be very pleased.

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

Sephora At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; some good cleansers and makeup removers; the Blotting Papers; good powder foundation; impressive blush and shiny eyeshadow options; great metallic finish eyeliner; awesome brow kit; bountiful selection of lipsticks and lip glosses; a couple of very good mascaras; several outstanding makeup brushes;  testers are available in-store for each product, and sales pressure is practically nonexistent.

Weaknesses: Mostly average to below-average toners, moisturizers, and sunscreens; no options for those dealing with acne or skin discolorations; some SPF-rated products (including foundations) lack sufficient UVA-protecting actives; the lip plumper is too irritating; too many disappointing eye-makeup products, including several disappointing eyeliners and brow pencils; unappealing shimmer powders.

Sephora's first foray into skin care was back in 1994, when they offered a colorful, artfully packaged selection of bath gels. Their facial skin-care came on the scene a few years later, but for the most part wasn't worth waiting for. Sephora must not have been too pleased with these earlier versions, because lots of retooling has been done, although, sad to say, that hasn't improved on the ordinary, mundane status their products have consistently shared. Makeup is what Sephora's house brand does best. The only reason to shop this inexpensive skin-care selection is for everyday basics or the occasional impulse buy you may or may not enjoy adding to your routine. Otherwise, most of the skin-care products can't compete with the other brands sold in Sephora boutiques worldwide.

Note: Sephora is categorized as one that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Sephora may not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brand’s state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law”. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.

For more nformation about Sephora, call (877) 737-4672 or visit www.sephora.com.

Sephora Makeup

Once an incomplete line lacking such basics as foundation and concealer, Sephora's color collection has blossomed into a comprehensive group of products, most of which are priced considerably lower than products from the many other lines sold in their boutiques. Although the low price and the selection may draw you in, not everything is worth exploring; for example, some of the products (for example the inexpensive pencils, which are not worth considering) demonstrate the old adage that sometimes you really do get what you pay for. That's not to say you have to spend a lot of money for quality makeup, but it does seem that many of Sephora's potential bargains are below average in terms of performance.

What you really should pay attention to are the pressed-powder foundation, one of the concealers, the powder blush, the liquid shimmer, and a few of the mascaras. Of course, the hallmark of this line has always been an extensive selection of makeup brushes. That still holds true, and you'll find that in this case the prices are more than fair.

More than most other makeup lines, Sephora excels with their accessory offerings. From makeup bags to train cases and on to all manner of beauty tools (from tweezers to nail clippers and manicure aids), the selection means you will assuredly find something that meets your needs. It's easy to get caught up in the variety and scope of Sephora's makeup, and testers are readily available so you can play all you want. That's great, but it doesn’t compensate for a line with more than its share of average to poor products (and they change frequently, often not for the better). However, if you pay attention to the favorably rated products, you're more than likely to be very pleased.