Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Essence/Serum
M.A.C. Cosmetics' Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Essence/Serum is a good—not great—option for a basic antioxidant serum to help boost free-radical protection. In any product that is marketed as a serum (or essence), you want to see a comprehensive mix of beneficial ingredients, or if there isn't a broad mix at least one or two superstars in higher amounts. This formula falls somewhere in between this standard, and hence missed earning our highest rating.
Packaged in an attractive hard plastic pump-style bottle, M.A.C. did their homework here in designing a container to keep this formula's beneficial ingredients safe from air and light exposure. Its pump also features a handy twist-lock feature to help prevent spillage during travel.
Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Essence/Serum has a water-like gel texture, making it an ideal formula for those who prefer lighter formulas or those with oily to combination (including acne prone) skin.
In terms of antioxidants, M.A.C. included caffeine, vitamin E, green tea and algae extracts, among a few others. These antioxidants and anti-irritants can certainly boost skin's free-radical defense and improve its overall health. It also includes vitamin C, but the form of vitamin C chosen is a lesser known form (ascorbyl glucoside). There is some research showing ascorbyl glucoside can help improve discolorations in skin, but what does exist has only demonstrated effectiveness when combined with niacinamide—thus, you really don't know how beneficial this form of vitamin C is on its own (Journal of Cutaneous & Aesthetic Surgery, 2013 and Skin Research & Technology, 2006). While it has antioxidant benefit, it's not as impressive or proven as forms like ascorbic acid or magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.
Then, there is the fragrance. It's not overpowering, but it isn't subtle and it lingers for a bit after application. It's not a deal breaker (we're just happy it wasn't some form of citrus essential oil), but this quality combined with the fact it doesn't have the range of ingredients one would expect for the price keeps Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Essence/Serum from earning our highest rating. As we said in the opening, it's good, just not great.
- Contains a good, basic range of beneficial antioxidants and anti-irritants.
- Packaged to protect its delicate ingredients.
- Lightweight, water-like texture makes it ideal for oily to combination skin, but also those who prefer a lighter serum.
- For an anti-aging & skin-brightening serum, it lacks impressive forms of vitamin C, niacinamide or retinol.
- Contains a slightly iffy degree of fragrance.
A brightening serum that conditions and plumps skin for a smoother, more radiant look.
M.A.C. Cosmetics At-A-Glance
What more can one say for this long-standing makeup line whose products have spoken eloquently for themselves for years? In many ways, M.A.C. Cosmetics is a pivotal line not only for makeup artists but also for any in-the-know cosmetics consumer. Although M.A.C. has several singularly outstanding products, they generally excel by virtue of the range of choices offered. The color selection for everything from lipsticks to foundations is exceptional. Most of the makeup brushes are beautiful, full, and soft, as well as properly sized to fit the contours of the face and eyes.
When it comes to skincare you may be tempted to dismiss the small assortment M.A.C. offers and skip right to their makeup with its well-earned positive reputation. But doing so would mean missing a handful of beautifully formulated products that are worth trying. By no means is M.A.C.'s skin-care line one-stop shopping (at least not if you have blemishes, skin discolorations, or require more than a couple options per category), but you'll find more than just the color products impressive here, and the prices aren't unreasonable either!
M.A.C.'s salespeople are often trained makeup artists, too. This is especially true in the freestanding M.A.C. boutiques, where the staff tends to be true makeup artists.
Note: M.A.C. sets itself apart from other beauty brands by staying ahead of the curve by launching a seemingly-constant rotation of impressive limited edition products, usually with fashion-forward themes. Though it's impossible to review every limited edition product, many of M.A.C.'s are as impressive as those in their permanent collection.
Strengths: Some impressive moisturizers; praiseworthy foundations in a mostly gorgeous range of shades; good concealers; several great powder-based products including blush, bronzer, and eyeshadow in various finishes; dizzying array of lipstick shades in mostly sumptuous formulas; several very good mascaras (regular and waterproof); top-notch makeup brushes; many of the Prep + Prime products work as claimed.
Weaknesses:A few products with high levels of potential skin irritants.
For more information about M.A.C. Cosmetics call (800) 588-0070 or visit www.maccosmetics.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.