Do you remember when magazines were our only source of beauty information? How, at the end of every year, we would eagerly peruse the Elle or Allure award lists to find out what products were worth investing in? And how often we ended up disappointed when they didn’t perform as well as they claimed?
Magazine awards haven’t changed much since then. Their lists are still full of lots of duds and average performers. But now, thanks to the internet and blogs, we’re much better informed and can check out whether a product really deserves an award before splurging our hard-earned money on it.
Last month, Allure unveiled its 2014 Best of Beauty winners, and, as always, a lot of their picks are questionable. The moisturizers are particularly disappointing. Here’s why:
Caudalie Premier Cru La Creme Riche ($158.00)
Caudalie is a big believer in the anti-aging power of grapes. This cream contains several extracts derived from grape seeds, which are rich in antioxidants such as proanthocyanidins, polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. The most potent is resveratrol, which can prevent UVB-induced damage. The cream also contains other antioxidants, such as Tocopherol (a form of Vitamin E), and peptides, but their concentrations are too small to work well. Also antioxidants degrade quickly when exposed to light and air, which happens every time you open the jar. The rest of the formula is made of emollients and humectants that keep skin hydrated and soft.
An average moisturizer with some good anti-aging properties derived from grapes. Too bad it’s packaged in a jar.
Water, Glycerin*, Glyceryl Stearate Se*, Coco-Caprylate*, Pentaerythrityl Distearate*, Cetearyl Glucoside*, Cetearyl Alcohol*, Octyldodecyl Myristate*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Ethylhexyl Palmitate*, Jojoba Esters*, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein*, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate*, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract*, Polyglycerin-3*, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer*, Palmitoyl Grape Seed Extract*, Hydrogenated Apricot Kernel Oil*, Diheptyl Succinate*, Propyl Grapevine Shoot Extract Olivate*, Tribehenin*, Parfum (Fragrance), Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Tocopherol*, Palmitoyl Grapevine Shoot Extract*, Pentylene Glycol, Citric Acid*, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Xanthan Gum, Acacia Decurrens Flower Wax*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax*, Carbomer, Ceramide 2, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Carboxymethyl Beta-Glucan, Sodium Phytate*, Polysorbate 20, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Citrate, Ci 77491 (Iron Oxides), Ci 77492 (Iron Oxides), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol, Coumarin. *Plant origin.
Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Moisture Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 ($50.00)
This moisturizer contains ceramides, a group of lipids that makes up about 50% of the skin’s natural protective barrier, which helps prevent water loss; humectants like Glycerin that help draw water from the environment into the skin; emollients, like Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, that keep skin soft; and silicones, like Dimethicone, that temporarily fill in fine lines and wrinkles, making them look smaller. It also features Vitamin E, but its antioxidant properties won’t last long. Every time you open the jar, it loses a bit of its effectiveness. The real anti-aging properties of the cream are due to the SPF. It contains Octinoxate, Octisalate, and Oxybenzone, which protects skin against UVB rays, and Avobenzone, which is effective against UVA rays. But that doesn’t mean you can skip sunscreen. Rather, you should use the cream in conjunction with it.
A basic moisturizer with SPF.
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate, 7.14%, Octisalate, 4.75%, Oxybenzone, 4.00%, Avobenzone, 3.0%; Inactive Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Adenosine, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Bisabolol, Caprylyl Glycol, Caramel, Carbomer, Ceramide 1, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6 LI, Cholesterol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fucose, Glucose, Glucuronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Jojoba Esters, Kefiran, Panthenol, Parfum/Fragrance, Phytosphingosine, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, BHT, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Red 40 (Ci 16035).
RoC Multi Correxion 5 In 1 Restoring Night Cream ($28.99)
The winner of the Allure Breakthrough Award in 2013, it has made it into the best skincare products list this year too. What makes it so special? Hexinol, a molecule with anti-inflammatory properties that can decrease the signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, photodamage, and uneven pigmentation. Too bad the only studies showing it works were conducting by the company. Ascorbyl Glucoside, a form of Vitamin C, can help reduce those signs of premature aging as well, but it won’t do much in this cream. Why? There is just too little of it, and the jar packaging won’t keep it stable and effective for long anyway. The rest of the formula is pretty basic. It contains humectants, like Glycerin, to draw water into the skin, emollients, like Shea Biutter, to make skin soft and smooth, and silicones, like Dimethicone, to fill in fine lines and wrinkles, making them look smaller temporarily.
A boring formula that can moisturize skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but only temporarily. It won’t help prevent more from forming either.
Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Propylene Glycol, Steareth-2, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Hexylresorcinol, Steareth-21, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Behenyl Alcohol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Sclerotium Gum, Mica, Methylparaben, Titanium Dioxide, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Ethylparaben, Fragrance, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Xylitol, Sodium Hydroxide.
Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer ($45.00)
The only award Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer deserves to win is Most Boring Formula. Where are the antioxidants? The retinoids? The Alpha Hydroxy Acids? The skin-lighting agents? The sunscreen actives? All it contains is a bunch of humectants, emollients, and silicones that will keep skin hydrated, smooth and soft. All things a moisturizer is surely supposed to do, but at this price point I expected a lot more.
A very basic moisturizer. It moisturizes skin, leaving it soft and smooth, but don’t expect anything more.
Water Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Triethylhexanoin, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Trehalose, PEG-5 Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Stearic Acid, Isostearic Acid, Behenic Acid, Alcohol, Carbomer, Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Betaine, Fragrance, Silica, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycyl Glycine, Sodium Metabisulfite, Disodium EDTA, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Witch Hazel Leaf Extract, Lamium Album Flower Extract, Citrus Junos Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Zingiber Aromaticus Extract, Benzoic Acid.
The Bottom line
Don’t trust magazine awards. Instead, always research the ingredients to find out whether a product can really deliver what it promises. It will save disappointments (and money).
Do you buy beauty products that win magazine awards? And have you tried these moisturizers?
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