[W.] Double Lightening Serum
0.5 fl. oz. for $93
Last Updated:04.25.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Housed in a dual-chamber component are two products. One is designed to lighten discolorations while the other is said to provide "micro-exfoliation" for smoother, renewed skin. The Active Lightening Serum is meant for daytime use. It has a lotion texture and contains the ingredient undecylenoyl phenylalanine, a substance with limited research pertaining to its efficacy on discolorations, although it appears promising when the concentration is 1%–2% (Sources: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, December 2009, pages 260–266; and Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, Epublication, October 23, 2009). Sothys appears to include at least 1% undecylenoyl phenylalanine, so this is a potential consideration for fighting discolorations, but not in comparison to hydroquinone or arbutin. There isn't much else to say about the rest of the Active Lightening Serum, other than that it is quite ordinary.

The Soft Peel is for nighttime use. It also has a lotion texture and contains the ingredient undecylenoyl phenylalanine, though in a much lower amount than the Active Lightening Serum. Soft Peel also contains salicylic acid, but in an amount that’s too low for exfoliation to occur, and the pH of Soft Peel is too high to permit exfoliation anyway. So, this is basically a lightweight moisturizer with a tiny amount of anti-irritants.

Although this lightening serum has potential, it's discouraging that the Sothys line is practically void of sun-protection options. Sun protection isn't even recommended as part of the [W.] Lightening range, and unprotected sun exposure is the main cause of brown discolorations.


A lightening care product to unify the skin, give radiance and correct dark spots. With its dual action pump flask it focuses on the different needs and biological activities of the skin in the prevention of excessive melanin. During the day it helps to inhibit the transfer of melanin and at night it provides a gentle micro-exfoliation to stimulate cell renewal.


Active Lightening Serum (0.5 ounce): Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Diethylhexyl Succinate, Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine, Isononyl Isononanoate, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Polyacrylamide, Triethanolamine, Butylene Glycol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Fragrance, Glyceryl Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, PEG-30 Stearate, Methylparaben, Laureth-7, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Sodium Methylparaben, Agarum Cribosum Extract, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Limonene Soft Peel (0.5 ounce): Water, Glycerin, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether, Cyclopentasiloxane, Sorbitol, Propylene Glycol, Cyclohexasiloxane, Triethanolamine, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylene Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Malic Acid, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Propylparaben, Acacia Senegal Extract, Butylparaben, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Ethylparaben, Inulin, Limonene, BHT

Brand Overview

Sothys Paris At-A-Glance

Strengths: Shockingly, this line has no strengths, but it does deserve mention for good self-tanning products and their Double Lightening Serum.

Weaknesses: Expensive; a preposterous number of ordinary moisturizer and serum formulas sold with grandiose claims; overuse of fragrance; several moisturizers contain.

We have to admit we weren't looking forward to reviewing this line. We've been aware of Sothys for some time, and over the years many women have asked us what we thought of it. We don't ever mind being asked what we think of a product line, but in this case it was the way we were asked that we found depressing. Somehow this spa-oriented line has developed an almost reverent reputation for being a superior skin-care line.

A question would go like this, "What do you think of Sothys?" We would reply, "Not much, the formulas are either out of date or contain problematic ingredients and the price tag is silly for what you get." Inevitably, the response would be, "Really? I thought it was one of the best lines around … it's French, you know?" Sigh. Yes, we do know. But …

Despite a long French-heritage, dating back to 1946, this spa-oriented brand with a vast array of products doesn't deserve a reputation for being anything other than an overpriced spa  brand to avoid.

Most of Sothys skin-care formularies are so far behind the times that using them is akin to using a typewriter instead of a computer—the formulations are as ordinary and mundane as it gets. Almost all their moisturizers lack any reasonable amount of antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, or cell-communicating ingredients. Also consider that there are no effective products for those struggling with blemishes or blackheads, despite their claims. It is astounding that in a line with dozens of facial moisturizers (most with repetitive formulas), not a single one includes a sunscreen. How can this brand be so incredibly blind to the number one cause of wrinkles and skin aging? If they aren't aware of the critical importance of sun protection, then how much do you want to trust them in any other aspect of helping your skin?

Sothys makes much ado about the training it provides to aestheticians. Not having attended any of their classes, we can't speak specifically to the content of what they teach, but if their products are even vaguely representative of what they inculcate, woe to those aestheticians who rely on Sothys as their source of skin-care education.

When all is said and done, and you've gotten past the smoke and mirrors, nothing else matters if you don't have well-formulated products, sunscreens, exfoliants, acne products, options for rosacea and sensitive skin, and/or reasonable pricing. And that's where Sothys falls flat on its scrubbed, steamed, masked, and spa "purified" face.

For more information about Sothys Paris, call (305) 594-4222 or visit www.sothys-usa.com.

Note: Several names on Sothys Web site and other sites retailing this brand list one name on the product page and another on the product itself. In our reviews we list the name on the product itself.

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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