Light Source Spot Correcting and Brightening Serum

by Stila  
Price:
$45 
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Category:
Skin Care > Retinol Products > Serums
Last Updated:
9/4/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

Said to be a "real skin-changer," this water-based serum has a silky texture that can feel somewhat tight once set thanks to the amount of film-forming agent (think hairspray) it contains. In no way does this tighten or lift sagging skin, but some may note the sensation as this sets. Although in many ways this is Stila's most intriguing skin-care formula, it suffers from the same ingredient missteps as almost all of their others: Fragrant plant oils may smell great but each poses a risk of irritation your skin is better off without. Lavender oil is of particular concern, and we explain why in the More Info section.

The fragrant oils are such a letdown when you consider this serum is otherwise worthwhile for its ability to fight brown spots (due to the amount of the ingredient alpha-arbutin, which is the key ingredient in the company's BrightPlex technology) and inclusion of several proven antioxidants plus a good mix of repairing and cell-communicating ingredients—and it's packaged to keep those ingredients stable during use (Stila seems to be aware of the issues jar packaging presents).

Pros:
  • Light, silky texture contains several proven antioxidants and other anti-aging ingredients.
  • Helps fight dark spots due to its alpha-arbutin content.
  • Packaged to keep the light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable.
Cons:
  • Contains fragrant oils known to be irritating.
  • Amount of film-forming agent can leave skin feeling tight.
More Info:

Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. It is a must to avoid in skin-care products, although it's fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).

A real skin-changer. This gentle anti-aging serum works on dark spots, hyperpigmentation, environmental aggressors and acne scar discoloration for a smooth, even skin tone. Alpine Rose Stem Cell Technology provides optimum antioxidant protection. Proprietary BrightPlex Technology contains encapsulated peptides that decrease melanin synthesis so your skin will look bright and uniform while defending against the environment. Go ahead, get even.

Water/Aqua, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Alpha-Arbutin, Potassium Sorbate, Disodium EDTA, Dimethicone, Posilicone-11, Decyl Glucoside, Maltodextrin, Phyllanthus Emblica (Indian-Gooseberry) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tetrahydro Curcuminoids, Ferulic Acid, Di-potassium Glycyrrhizinate, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Hydrolyzed Chondrus Crispus Extract, Sodium Dihydroacetate, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Sodium Oleate, Oligopeptide-68, Palmaria Palmata (Dulse) Extract, Phospholipids, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Rhododendron Ferrugineum (Alpine Rose) Leaf Cell Culture Extract, Isomalt, Lecithin, Sodium Benzoate, Lactic Acid, Lavandula Angustilfolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol

Makeup artist Jeanine Lobell has been at the helm of Stila since its inception in 1994, and her creations have an impressive history of blending innovation with eye-catching, fun packaging. Of course, this innovation is not without its price, and you will find some rather ordinary products where the packaging or dispensing method is the only thing that's exciting. Where Lobell struck gold is with her superlative collection of foundations. We’ve examined hundreds of makeup lines for this and previous editions of this book, and Stila has had and continues to maintain one of the best collections of truly neutral foundation colors. For anyone confused about what we mean by "neutral tones," you need look no further, though we are pleased that more mainstream lines (including L'Oreal, Revlon, Clinique, and even Cover Girl) are now creating wonderfully neutral foundation colors. Stila's foundations aren't inexpensive, but it's critical to get a foundation that's right for you, and that may mean splurging. Other stellar categories include concealers, blush, eyeshadows, brushes, and much better mascaras than in years past.

Once an independent brand with a first-to-market approach to clever cardboard packaging that was sleek, urban, and utilitarian at the same time, Stila's presence and product lineup and distribution expanded (with mostly favorable results) when it was acquired by Estee Lauder in 1999. It was a bit perplexing when Lauder announced in late 2005 that it would sell Stila to "optimize our portfolio of brands" and put more attention (read: financial resources) into their M.A.C. and Bobbi Brown brands (Source: The Rose Sheet, April 17, 2006, page 4). Ironically, of those three brands, Stila has the most compelling collection of products. M.A.C. and Bobbi Brown are no slouches, but Stila always had a slight edge, at least in the complexion-enhancing categories.

An affiliate of Sun Capital Partners (naming itself Stila Corporation) bought the brand from Lauder in spring 2006 and has been at the helm since. Lauder's no longer owning Stila led to the brand's hasty exit from department stores, a move that left many shoppers wondering what the heck happened (and, at least in the stores we visited, the sales associates were vague about the line's future). Luckily, Stila still has a home in Sephora stores worldwide, and is randomly distributed in select department stores. That's great news, because there is much to love about this line, and the most recent crop of products proves that Stila has every intention of remaining a competitive player in the compelling game that is the cosmetics industry.

For more information about Stila, call 866.784.5201 or visit www.stilacosmetics.com.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice 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 herself.

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