Aqua Glow Serum Concealer fares much better than Stila's Aqua Glow Serum Foundation, mostly because its finish doesn't have the distracting, artificial-looking shimmer of the coordinating foundation. Instead, Aqua Glow Serum Concealer impresses with its smooth, fluid texture, moderate coverage, and infusion of anti-aging ingredients that most liquid concealers lack. There's one drawback to consider, which we explain below...
The slightly fluid, lotion-like texture is dispensed via a squeeze tube outfitted with a bulb-like clear tip, presumably to reinforce the serum part of the name. To that end, we're pleased that the serum name isn't just a marketing gimmick—Stila's formula contains anti-aging ingredients like those usually seen in serums, antioxidants, fatty acids, and fermented minerals.
This concealer's formula has a nice amount of slip to make blending easy without letting the concealer slide to where you don't want it. The finish is soft matte, while the coverage falls squarely in the medium range. Coverage is enough to hide minor red marks and dark circles, but not quite enough for deeper discolorations. Still, it layers well if you need more concealment—it just doesn't approach the level of coverage most would consider "full."
Sadly (and despite claims to the contrary), we found that this creases instantly into lines around the eyes, and keeps creasing unless it's set with powder. If you act quickly, you can minimize if not eliminate the creasing issue.
Turning to the shades, Stila offers options for fair to dark (but not very dark) skin tones. The only shade to be cautious of is Medium, which appears very peach and only becomes peachier as it sets. Those with fair skin will be pleased that Stila didn't forget them, and the results aren't too pink or ghostly white.
Ultimately, this liquid concealer is worth considering if you prefer medium coverage and a soft matte finish from an easy-to-apply formula. The anti-aging ingredients ably support the serum name, making this concealer's formula a step above most liquid concealers. Almost all of the shades are impressive, and the only significant negative is its immediate tendency to crease into lines—something you can overcome if you quickly set this with powder.
Special note for those with sensitive skin: Aqua Glow Serum Concealer contains a small amount of the fragrance ingredient sodium anisate, which might pose a risk of irritation.
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, visit www.stilacosmetics.com.
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