Serums like this are classic examples of why expensive doesn't mean better. Despite the Chanel name and the gorgeous sleek packaging, this serum is mostly water and alcohol. Can you believe that?! For what this costs, it should be overflowing with proven anti-aging ingredients to build collagen and firm skin. Sadly, it's not; in fact, the amount of alcohol in this serum poses significant problems for all skin types. Please see More Info below for details on why alcohol in this amount is something you should avoid.
The claims are enticing, but in truth this serum cannot lift skin, not even a fraction of a millimeter. Chanel maintains that this serum contains an ingredient known to stimulate tensin, a protein in skin. Tensin is one of the proteins that make up fibroblasts, which are substances in skin that generate collagen. Despite the claim, skin is far more complex than one protein, and the alcohol will kill off fibroblasts, not increase them.
The extract from the plant Canarium luzonicum is the ingredient Chanel refers to in their claims, calling it Elemi PFA, but there is no research proving what effect, if any, this ingredient has on tensin in skin (or any facet of skin, for that matter). If Chanel has research proving tensin is wonderful, they're not sharing it. Plus, if this ingredient is so beneficial, you have to wonder why they’re not including it in many of their other anti-aging products that also claim to lift skin.
Even if this ingredient were proven effective, Chanel includes only a dusting of it. Fragrance, it seems, is more important, even though the research is clear that fragrance is a problem for keeping skin in top shape. Any serum we recommend has to be irritant-free, and that includes fragrance (you can find our top picks on our Best Serums list).
In the world of skin care, expensive doesn't mean better—and this serum is far from being "ultra-" anything, except ultra-expensive!
Alcohol causes dryness, free-radical damage, and impairs the skin's ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production, and that certainly won't help lift sagging skin or re-contour your jawline!
Many skin-care products claim they can firm and lift skin, but none of them work, at least not to the extent claimed. A face-lift-in-a-bottle isn't possible, but with the right mix of products, you will see firmer skin that has a more lifted appearance—and that's exciting! To gain these youthful benefits, you must protect your skin from any and all sun damage every day, use an AHA (glycolic acid or lactic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant, and use products that have a wide range of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients. This combination of products (remember, one product doesn't do it all) has extensive research showing how they can significantly improve many of the signs of aging, such as firming skin, reducing wrinkles and brown spots, and eliminating dullness. You'll find them on our list of Best Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Products.
This powerful concentrate helps skin achieve a youthful appearance, providing a natural lifting effect at the very heart of the skin. Powered by Elemi PFA, a customized ingredient that does much more than boost collagen and elastin levels, it stimulates the production of tensin – a protein that is key to maintaining a youthful-looking face. Skin appears lifted, facial contours re-sculpted, and skin tone looks even and radiant.
Water, Alcohol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Dimethicone, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, VP/Dimethconylacrylate/Polycarbamyl/Polyglycol Ester, Propylene Glycol, Beheneth-25, Glyceryl Stearate, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Sweet Almond Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Amorphophallus Konjac Root, Sorbitan Laurate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Canarium Luzonicum Gum Nonvolatiles, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, Carbomer, Citric Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin Polysorbate 20, Methylparaben, Licorice Root Extract, Ethylparaben, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Red 4
Strengths: Sleek and occasionally elegant packaging; the sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection; a handful of good cleansers and a topical scrub; some impressive foundations with sunscreen; an assortment of good makeup products including concealer, blush, mascara, eyeshadow and bronzer.
Weaknesses: Expensive, with an emphasis on style over substance; overpriced; overreliance on jar packaging; antioxidants in most products amount to a mere dusting; no products to successfully address sun- or hormone-induced skin discolorations with research-proven ingredients; mostly mediocre to poor eye pencils; extremely limited options for eyeshadows if you want a matte finish.
The history of this Paris-bred line is steeped in fashion, jewelry, and fragrance firsts. The image-is-everything fashion sensibility and fragrance know-how have been loosely translated to Chanel’s ever-imposing skin-care collection, now divided into several categories, although most of them have overlapping, overly exaggerated claims and over-the-top pricing. The company likes to mention its research facility, referred to as C.E.R.I.E.S. (Centre de Recherches et d'Investigations Epidermiques et Sensorielles) as a way to give credibility to its products and the formulary expertise of Chanel's team of scientists, but its studies are not necessarily the kind of independent research that shows up in medical journals.
Founded in 1991 and funded by Chanel, the goal of this research facility is "to help provide a scientific foundation for the design of skin care products and to promote public awareness of the principles underlying maintenance of healthy, attractive skin." Examining Chanel's often lengthy ingredient lists reveals that they believe healthy, attractive skin requires mostly standard, banal ingredients coupled with lots of fragrance and just a smattering of anything resembling state-of-the-art ingredients. Designing skin-care products whose purpose is to reinforce healthy skin doesn't involve strong scents, irritants such as alcohol, or sunscreens whose SPF ratings fall below the standards set by major health organizations, including the American Academy of Dermatology and corresponding international academies as well. Furthermore, their Nº 1 products claim to increase skin's oxygen uptake, something that essentially puts skin on the fast track for more free-radical damage, and no one at C.E.R.I.E.S. seems to have any idea about how to treat acne-prone skin. (Well, let's face it, acne is never fashionable.)
Just like most Chanel skin-care products, the research facility and its ties to the dermatology community make it sound more impressive than it really is. Chanel's influence on fashion and luxury accoutrements is legendary and ongoing; but their skin-care products simply cannot compete with what many other lines are doing, including Estee Lauder, Clinique, Prescriptives, Olay, Dove, Neutrogena, and many others. Considering the couture-level prices, too much of Chanel's skin care is average, and that doesn't look good on anyone.
For more information about Chanel, call (800) 550-0005 or visit www.chanel.com.
Chanel pulls out all the stops to present their makeup in the most flattering light. Many of their products are deserving of the best status, but, frustratingly, an equal number disappoint, seeming to coast on Chanel's name and attention to upscale, designer-influenced packaging rather than providing true quality. For example, few companies have foundations with textures as varied and state-of-the-art as Chanel. However, most of their foundations with sunscreen are formulated without essential UVA-protecting ingredients, even though Chanel clearly knows about this issue, as evidenced from their numerous skin-care products that do contain avobenzone or titanium dioxide. Neglecting adequate UVA protection while going on about how the product creates younger-looking skin is not only inaccurate, it's harmful to your skin's health and appearance.
Beyond inadequate sunscreen, Chanel's eye and lip pencils have extraordinary prices, but ordinary to poor performance, and most of their "we're trying to be unique and clever" products don't do much to prove they're worthy of purchase. It's hard to ignore that much of what Chanel does well other lines do just as well (and sometimes better), and with a more realistic price range to boot. However, the overall situation is better than standard but well-dressed formulas with shamelessly affluent prices, because although it's not inexpensive, the best of Chanel's makeup is truly outstanding. What's needed to establish consistency is an overhaul of the many products that have fallen behind formula-wise. We doubt Chanel will reevaluate their pricing for the better, but given that, the least you should expect is stellar performance from everything you buy that bears the iconic double C logo!
Note: Chanel is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Chanel does not conduct animal testing for its 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 brands 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 Beautypedia Research Team.
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.
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