Skin Type: Combination, Oily
You've heard of BB cream and CC cream—now, Marcelle's adding to the makeup alphabet soup with their DD Cream Daily Defense SPF 25. "What's the difference?" Just like BB creams, DD creams (at least those we've encountered) are pretty much tinted moisturizers dressed up with a different name. In this case, "DD" stands for "Daily Defense."
First off, this DD cream is fragrance-free, which is always good! It has a texture that is somewhat thick on first application, but quickly thins out for sheer coverage that evens out the skin tone. (If you're looking to cover up any imperfections, though, this is too sheer to do so.)
The two colors available are very natural-looking for light to medium skin tones, and this DD cream has an attractive mattifying effect that works well for combination to oily skin tones. It also wears well without emphasizing pores or fine lines.
This reason this product doesn't earn our highest rating is the sun protection. Marcelle calls this out as an "anti-aging" BB cream, with SPF 25. However, the prevailing recommendation that your daytime sun protection product be rated SPF 30 or greater. This revised recommendation is due to the fact that most people are not applying sunscreen liberally enough to earn the stated level of protection on the label; therefore, a higher SPF rating will be more advantageous.
Note: This DD cream also contains a small amount of platinum, which Marcelle says can "deflect the appearance of fine lines." That's just marketing hype, because there's little to no evidence that platinum has any benefit for skin, and while platinum jewelry is reflective, a dusting of platinum in makeup won't have this effect, and if there were any more than a dusting, this product would be way above this price point!
Active: Octinoxate 7.5%. Inactive: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Octyldodecanol, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Bis-PEG/PPG-14/14 Dimethicone, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Isopropyl Myristate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Hexyl Laurate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Illite, Sodium Chloride, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Poly(Glycol Adipate)/Bis-Hydroxyethoxypropyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Talc, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Isododecane, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Trihydroxystearin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Propylene Carbonate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Seedcake Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Seed Extract, Colloidal Platinum, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Butylene Glycol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Phenoxyethanol,. May contain: Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Iron Oxides.
Strengths: Inexpensive; Marcelle provides complete ingredient lists on its Web site; drugstores that retail this brand provide testers, including makeup testers; almost every product is fragrance-free; some good cleansers and makeup removers; impressive eyeshadows; great lipsticks and lip glosses.
Weaknesses: The hypoallergenic claims are misleading because this claim isn't regulated and there are no standards governing its use; formaldehyde-releasing preservatives not recommended for those with sensitive skin; the anti-acne products are mostly alcohol, which is damaging to skin and can increase oil production, making acne worse; dated moisturizer formulas; some greasy cleansers; a general lack of state-of-the-art ingredients; foundations with sunscreen do not provide sufficient UVA protection; average to poor mineral makeup; no shades for those with tan or darker complexions; mostly lackluster mascaras.
Nestled among the flashier lines filling the shelves and display cases in Canadian drugstores is this unassuming, attractively priced skin-care and makeup product line. The packaging is simple and the message clear: These are "hypoallergenic and perfume-free," ergo great for sensitive skin. In reality the claim that these products are hypoallergenic isn't accurate in the least—much like Almay—but that claim is Marcelle's major selling point.
First, the term "hypoallergenic" is not regulated; that is, there are no standards in place for that term so a cosmetics company can attribute hypoallergenic to any product they want, regardless of the ingredients. The second point is that even the most scrupulous company, even if it takes the greatest care about what ingredients it includes in its products, simply cannot know what your skin may be allergic to. Marcelle showcases the elimination of "perfume," (aka fragrance) but fragrance is not the only potential culprit in a cosmetic formulation. And third, allergic reactions are not the primary problems that a cosmetic can impart to skin. Irritation is far more pernicious and, indeed, many of Marcelle's products contain ingredients that have a high potential for causing irritation, such as alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (e.g., imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and Quaternium 15; one of their products even contains hydrochloric acid. (Can you believe that?!) Irritating skin-care ingredients not only cause free-radical damage but also lead to an increase in oil production in the pore and break down collagen.
Aside from the erroneous claims, Marcelle hasn't kept up to speed with their formulas in comparison to several other lines at the drugstore. You can easily find moisturizers from other lines that have far more elegant textures and formulas teeming with beneficial ingredients just not from Marcelle. Almost every product Marcelle sells is woefully out of date; their rudimentary formulas are akin to using a typewriter instead of a computer.
Color-wise, you'll find the foundation, concealer, and powder shade ranges are limited to those with fair to medium skin tones. Although it's great that the Marcelle displays provide testers for the makeup, much of it is better left alone. There are some high points, particularly the powder eyeshadows, lipstick, and lip glosses, but the mascaras are barely exciting, the pencils all need sharpening, and the powder blush fails to impress.
All told, Marcelle is best viewed as a line with a few sleeper products worth checking out at price points that won't stress most consumers' budgets, although a few dollars more will get you infinitely better options.
For more information about Marcelle, call (800) 387-7710 or visit www.marcelle.com.
Note: *All prices are in Canadian dollars.
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!