Bright Renew Emulsion
Bright Renew Emulsion is one of Laneige's better products due to its intriguing mix of melanin-inhibiting ingredients to fade dark spots and even out skin tone. Not only that, Laneige also upped the ante by including antioxidants and soothing agents for further anti-aging and anti-redness benefit!
Chief among the skin-lightening, pigmentation-fading superstars are acetyl glucosamine, niacinamide, arbutin, and Saururus chinensis extract. Cumulatively, these ingredients work together to fade discolorations, whether from sun damage (i.e., brown spots) or hyperpigmentation left over from acne. Bright Renew Emulsion also has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness, for an even more uniform skin tone (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2007 and 2004; Phytotherapy Research, 2004; and Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 2013).
More to love, the formula is housed in air-tight, opaque packaging that helps keep it as potent and stable as possible. Bright Renew Emulsion has a lightly hydrating, silky lotion texture suitable for all skin types (except sensitive; see below).
Our only complaint is that the formula is fragranced enough that its scent lingers. That means it can potentially irritate skin over time (see More Info). Without that, this would have earned our top rating for its promising dark spot–fading and anti-aging capabilities!
On a side note: The "Himalaya Snow Water" on the ingredient list isn't compliant with regulated naming standards (it should just be listed as "water"). More to the point: Water in cosmetics, regardless of the source, must go through a rigorous purification process, and there isn't any research showing that water from any one source is better for skin than water from any other source. Long story short: This water from the Himalayas isn't anything special for skin!
- Intriguing mix of melanin-inhibiting ingredients to fade dark spots and brighten skin tone.
- Contains antioxidants and soothing agents for further anti-aging and anti-redness benefit.
- Lightly hydrating lotion-like texture is ideal for normal to dry or combination skin.
- The inclusion of potentially irritating fragrance detracts from the beneficial formula.
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008; and American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012; and Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Strengths: SPF-rated products provide broad-spectrum sun protection; utilization of some intriguing melanin-inhibiting ingredients.
Weaknesses: Highly fragranced formulas put skin at risk of irritation; use of see-through bottles and jar packaging weakens the potency of the beneficial ingredients; claims for mineral water dont stand up to the research; despite a higher-than-average drugstore price point, Laneige products arent superior to their competitors.
Laneige is a South Korean brand owned by high-end cosmetics company, AmorePacific. Launched in 1994, the story behind this brand centers around mineral waterwhich they tend to label Optimal Mineral Waterharvested from the snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas. They allegedly spent 20 years perfecting its scientifically engineered properties for skin and, according to Laneige, this superior water is the secret to hydrating, protecting, and revitalizing skin.
Heres what we really know: All water thats included in cosmetics, regardless of the source, must go through a rigorous purification process, and there isnt any research showing that water from any one source is better for skin than water from any other source. More to the point, repairing and hydrating skin is not as simple as adding water. Even Laneiges highly touted mineral water wont retain moisture in skin unless the outer barrier is reinforced with ingredients like antioxidants, emollients, and skin-repairing ingredientsall of which are required or the water just evaporates. So, does Laneige deliver in that regard? Yes and no.
The problem is that their products tend to include beneficial ingredients right alongside potentially irritating ingredients (including fragrance), which detracts from what the good ingredients would otherwise be able to do for skin. In some cases, the jar or clear bottle packaging further impedes the potency and stability of the formula because many of the superstar ingredients break down in the presence of air and/or light.
As far as Laneige makeup goes, at the time of this review they sell only a BB cream in the United States, but it is also plagued by the inclusion of potentially irritating ingredients.
In the end, despite their highly touted Korean brand prestige and steeper-than-average mass-market price point (the line is sold at Target stores in the United States), Laneige ends up being more about marketing fluff than whats actually good for skin. Beyond the mineral water, Laneige products would have merit for their anti-aging prowess, but their inclusion of potential irritants and the use of packaging that compromises the stability of the beneficial ingredients renders the products generally unworthy of consideration.
For more information about Laneige, visit www.us.laneige.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.