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Clarins

Extra-Firming Wrinkle Control Regenerating Night Cream

1.60 fl. oz. for $ 93.00
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Clarins' Extra Firming Wrinkle Control Regenerating Night Cream's one great quality is that its beautifully creamy texture feels great on dry skin—but that alone isn't enough to justify the high price and poor choice of jar packaging.

As we explain in the More Info section, the numerous plant-derived beneficial ingredients this moisturizer contains won't remain stable once this is opened.

It would be great if the plants really could lift and "extra firm" skin, but that result is highly unlikely, especially given most of the natural ingredients have little published research proving their worth for skin. More important (and even more disappointing), this product contains more fragrance than the called-out plant extracts. See More Info to learn how highly fragrant products hurt skin.

Skip this one and look to the brilliantly formulated options on our list of Best Moisturizers.

Pros:
  • Beautifully creamy texture feels great on dry skin.
Cons:
  • Overpriced.
  • Jar packaging won't keep the natural ingredients stable once opened.
  • Fragrant formula poses a risk of irritation.
  • Contains more fragrance than the called-out plant extracts.
  • Highly unlikely to provide "extra firming" or lift.
More Info:Jar Packaging & Anti-Aging Moisturizers: Beneficial anti-aging ingredients, which include all plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients, are unstable, which means they begin to break down in the presence of air. Once a jar is opened and lets air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective. Routine exposure to daylight also is problematic for these ingredients.

Jar packaging is also unsanitary because you dip your fingers into the jar with each use, contaminating the product. This stresses the preservative system, leading to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.

Remember: The ingredients that provide the most benefit in addressing visible signs of aging must be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging to remain effective throughout usage. Buying products in this type of packaging means that the ingredients have the best chance of remaining effective—to the benefit of your skin!

References for this information:

Pharmacology Review, July 2013, pages 97–106

Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, pages 252–259

Current Drug Delivery, November 2011, pages 640–660

Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, May 2011, pages 4676–4683

Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82–88

Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1–10

Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.

This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin's barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin's surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.

A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.

References for this information:

Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419

Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175

Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80

Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832

Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202

International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43

Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475

American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: Yes

Night after night, this cream works to regenerate the look of skin, making it appear firmer and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. The complexion is left looking radiant and more even. It contains powerful plant extracts that offer short-term and long-lasting benefits. Skin feels lifted and firmer, smoother, and more radiant in a lasting way. Kangaroo flower, the main active ingredient, helps to preserve the skins youthful look.

Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Propanediol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cetearyl Glucoside, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Parfum/Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Anigozanthos Flavidus Extract, Betaine, Sorbitol, Butylene Glycol, Diospyros Mespiliformis Leaf Extract, Maltodextrin, Tromethamine, Sanicula Europaea Extract, Kalanchoe Pinnata Leaf Extract, Balanites Roxburghii Seed Oil, Mitracarpus Scaber Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Hydrated Silica, Lapsana Communis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Furcellaria Lumbricalis Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Maris Sal/Sea Salt/Sel Marin.

Clarins At-A-Glance

Strengths: Broad selection of effective, broad-spectrum sunscreens; some good self-tanning products; some good cleansers and gentle topical scrubs; a great foundation primer;superb foundations and powders; very good powder blush; wonderfully creamy lipsticks; great lipglosses and mascaras.

Weaknesses: Overpriced; pervasive reliance on jar packaging; most products have more fragrance than beneficial plant extracts; poor toners; an overabundance of average moisturizers; no effective products for lightening discolorations or treating acne; no AHA or BHA products; disappointing eye pencils; average eyeshadows and makeup brushes.

Clarins is a distinctively French line whose beginnings go back to 1954. It was then that founder Jacques Courtin-Clarins began formulating plant-based treatments for his clients. He parlayed this into a Beauty Institute, and from there, with an all-natural mantra that was slightly ahead of its time, the business grew. Never wavering from its original marketing angle, Clarins has steadfastly held on to the belief that whatever grows from the ground and smells nice must be the cure for every skin ailment, from breakouts to loss of firmness to the dreaded "sponginess" of cellulite. A visit to today's white- and red-trimmed Clarins counter confirms that the plant-based, natural-extract rhetoric is still intact, and the counter staff is eager to discuss it (yet ask them what some of the non-plant, unnatural ingredients are doing in their products and you may be met with a blank stare).

You'll also find that Clarins routinely offers facial appointments at their counters, yet more often than not these appointments, which are done behind a privacy screen, are about selling products, not about performing a legitimate facial. (For example, cleansing, toning, and facial massage are included, while extractions are not.) One other point of difference you may hear about is the Clarins Anti-Pollution Complex. First added to their products in 1991, this Complex consists of a group of plant extracts though what they may be is a mystery, since all manner of plant extracts show up in these products, with few repeats. This "high-performing" protection is supposed to shield skin from pollutant gases, corrosive particles, and industrial emissions. Although that sounds good, it's not true and there isn't a shred of proof to the contrary (Clarins research is unpublished). Plant extracts, alone or in combination regardless of the remote locations they may come from cannot keep pollution off the skin. If anything, the amount of fragrance in these products can weaken the skin's defense mechanisms, resulting in more damage from the pollution our skin encounters daily.

This line is enormous, and is absolutely one of the most cumbersome around. Within it, the assortment of plant extracts ranges from the usual to the exotic and ultimately to the no-one-knows-what-in-the-heck-these-are! Clarins has something for every skin concern imaginablefrom keeping pollution off the face (not possible) to lifting a sagging jaw line (not possible without surgery), and even protecting skin from electromagnetic waves (give me a break). It would seem there is nothing these supposedly miraculous products can't do! And you'll find a horde of plants here with the promise that this can really all come true.

However, once you're armed with even a modicum of ingredient knowledge and a fair helping of myth-busting, you'll realize how ridiculously out of whack all of this hype is. That's not to imply that all of these products are badthere are good onesor that all of the plant extracts aren't goodbecause many are very good anti-irritants, antioxidants, emollients, or antibacterial agents. However, many plant extracts are also potential allergens or skin irritants. Clarins also has its fair share of ordinary, standard, and completely unnecessary products whose claims are at best misleading and at worst downright false, and overall the products are incredibly overpriced for what you get. What is most startling is the redundancy among the Clarins products. There are few differences, for example, between the moisturizers and the mask cleansers, and the oil-control products are more reruns than they are new alternatives for skin care.

Note: All Clarins products contain fragrance.

For more information about Clarins, call (866) 252-7467 or visit www.clarins.com.

Clarins Makeup

Clarins showcases its prodigious skin-care products so prominently that you may not have noticed that their excellent makeup collection has become even more impressive. Evaluating Clarins makeup is 180 degrees different from evaluating the lackluster and confusing assortment of skin-care products they sell. When it comes to foundations, powders, and lipsticks, texture is critically important. Luckily, this is where Clarins color line excels, despite premium prices and going a bit overboard with fragrance. Their foundations are marvelous, the lone concealer is much better than their former attempts in this area, and every powder-based product feels incomparably silky while looking stunningly smooth on skin. (Keep in mind, however, that even the best makeup looks only as good as the skin on which it is applied.) Giving Lancome and Dior a run for their money, Clarins' mascaras are surprisingly good, and at least their lipsticks feel as rich as you'll need to be to afford repeat purchases. You don't need to spend this much money to get beautiful results and stellar products, but if your budget allows you to fill your makeup bag with department-store products, Clarins' nicely organized makeup display should be one of your first stops.

Clarins likes to promote that many of their foundations contain a special anti-pollution complex to safeguard your skin. Don't believe it for a second, because there is no way to completely shield skin from the effects of pollution and antioxidants. Besides, the kinds of ingredients that can reduce, not block or eliminate, pollution-based free-radical formation are rarely included in Clarins makeup.

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.