Positively Radiant Maxglow Serum + Primer
Aveeno’s Positively Radiant Maxglow Serum + Primer doesn’t perform exactly as it claims to, and between this disappointment and its fragranced formula, we’re unimpressed.
Housed in a clear plastic bottle, you’re instructed to shake this oil- and water-based dual-phase liquid before using. While Aveeno describes this as both a serum and a primer, in essence it’s more like… well, an essence or a toner. It has the same fluid texture, application method, and refreshing feeling as those products, whereas most serums and primers are thicker.
This delivers lightweight hydration while making skin look moisturized and plumped. It contains beneficial, antioxidant-rich non-fragrant plant oils (among them macadamia, sunflower, and jojoba oils) alongside panthenol, which helps skin lock in moisture.
But (and you knew that was coming), there’s also fragrance in the mix, and while it’s not overpowering (and diminishes quickly after application), it still poses a risk of causing skin irritation. Another issue is that this doesn’t really function well as either a serum or primer. Why not? Well, most well-formulated serums contain a greater complement of concentrated beneficial ingredients. And this comes up short as a primer because it doesn’t improve the application of makeup (any more than any other toner would), doesn’t create a significantly smoother canvas for makeup, and doesn’t improve its wear-time at all. It’s a primer in name only.
- Delivers lightweight hydration while making skin appear refreshed.
- Contains beneficial non-fragrant plant oils + moisturizing panthenol.
- Light on beneficial ingredients you’ll find in the best serums.
- Doesn’t work well as a primer.
- Contains fragrance, which can irritate skin.
Refresh and prep in one step AVEENO® POSITIVELY RADIANT® MAXGLOW™ Serum + Primer. Create a glowing, smooth canvas for makeup and brighten your skin with this multi-tasking face primer and serum. Designed to illuminate and prime skin in one simple step, this fast-absorbing formula goes on light and locks in moisture for brighter, more radiant skin—with or without makeup.
Strengths: A few good cleansers and sunscreen products; fantastic Skin Relief Healing Ointment and soothing bath wash products; a handful of well-formulated baby-care products.
Weaknesses: Well-intentioned but ineffective anti-acne products; reliance on a single showcased ingredient (typically soy) that makes their anti-aging products less enticing than the competition; ineffective products to address hyperpigmentation; formulas packaged in a jar wont remain stable.
Beginning with its first product in 1945, Soothing Bath Treatment, still sold today as part of the company's Baby line of products, Aveeno has prided itself on using natural ingredients. In some ways, they were a pioneer in the field, though for years the only natural ingredient of note in their products was oatmeal. Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson purchased the brand in 1999, and wasted almost no time expanding it. A handful of bar cleansers and bath products were spun off into complete collections of facial-care products and an ever-growing number of body lotions and washes, not to mention shaving gels (Aveeno is one of the few companies whose shaving gels are truly fragrance-free).
Not surprisingly, many of the facial-care products from Aveeno are similar to those from Johnson & Johnson-owned Neutrogena. The differences typically lie in the natural ingredients each brand promotes. A cornerstone ingredient for Aveeno is soy, while Neutrogena has experimented (with varying degrees of success) with copper, retinol, salicylic acid, and melibiose. Overall, Neutrogena has a much larger and more comprehensive selection of products, though their formulas are also more problematic. Aveeno would do well to diversify a bit, or at least acknowledge that it takes more than a single star ingredient to provide superior skin-care products. As is, most of their anti-wrinkle products don't compete favorably with the more well-rounded options, not just from Neutrogena but also from Olay, Dove, and, in some respects, L'Oreal.
Getting back to the issue of soy, you'll see from the reviews it is indeed a helpful ingredient for skin, just not in the same multifaceted, does-everything manner Aveeno touts on each soy-containing product's package. A big proponent for Aveeno's use of soy is dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf. She is quoted on Aveeno's web site, stating that "It is now clear that the ability of natural soy to deliver multiple benefits to skin plays a lead role in high performance skin care." That sounds great but it doesn't explain why Aveeno ignores research on countless other antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, or cell-communicating ingredients, all elements Dr. Graf uses in her separate, namesake product line. Interestingly, with Graf's own products relying on a blend of efficacious ingredients, including soy, it's a good question why she decided to endorse Aveeno's one-note soy products.
The bottom line is that when it comes to shopping for skin-care products at the drugstore, Aveeno, for all its talk of being a leader in "Active Naturals," doesn't have the all-inclusive product assortment needed to take the best possible care of your skin. However, paying attention to their top offerings is time (and money) well-spent!
For more information about Aveeno, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (866) 428-3366 or visit www.aveeno.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.