SkinActive Clearly Brighter Brightening & Smoothing Daily Moisturizer SPF 15
SkinActive Clearly Brighter Brightening & Smoothing Daily Moisturizer SPF 15 brings mixed results. It earns a tentative half-smile for providing broad spectrum protection, but its SPF 15 rating is well below the worldwide recommendation of SPF 30 or greater rating. SPF 15 isn't considered good enough, and we agree.
Turning to a positive, it's nice that this daytime moisturizer contains a generous amount of ascorbyl glucoside, an effective form of vitamin C that helps brighten skin.
On the really unhappy side, as is true for most of Garnier's products, this daytime moisturizer has a rather strong fragrance that lingers on skin. The fragrance poses a risk of sensitizing skin, as we explain in the More Info section. We wish a pleasant, perfume-like scent equated to great skincare, but that's akin to wishing carrot cake was as good for you as a plain carrot!
This moisturizer has a lightweight cream texture that morphs into a thin lotion which slightly hydrates before setting to a matte-feeling finish. The subtle glow this leaves behind helps brighten, but the overall formula is best for normal to oily skin—including breakout-prone skin.
What about the LipoHydroxyl Acid (LHA) touted in the claims? Can it lead to smoother, polished skin? The ingredient is known as capryloyl salicylic acid, and it's a fatty acid derivative of traditional salicylic acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid).
Research has shown that this ingredient can exfoliate skin, but in amounts of 5-10%, far below what's used here, not to mention this product's pH of 4.7 is borderline for exfoliation to occur (Journal of Cosmetic Science, December 2008). There's not much else to go on, so from our perspective this ingredient isn't worth seeking out over tried-and-true salicylic acid.
Between the out-of-date SPF rating, excess fragrance, and the likely ineffective exfoliating ingredient, there isn't enough to compel us to recommend this daytime moisturizer other than its pleasant-feeling esthetics. Your skin deserves more than that, and you can find superior options on our list of Best Daytime Moisturizers.
- Contains antioxidant and skin-brightening vitamin C
- Contains several fragrance ingredients that pose a risk of irritation.
- SPF 15 is well below the minimum rating most dermatologists advise for daily protection.
- Lipo-hydroxy acid unlikely to provide much if any exfoliation.
While a sunscreen will provide protection at the SPF number on the label and may claim broad spectrum protection, we will always point out when it doesn't meet the standard of being an SPF 30 or greater because of how important it is for the health of your skin.
References for this information
Journal of Clinical Oncology, ePublication, September 2016
Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, and Photomedicine, August 2014, issue 4, pages 212-219
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, May 2008, issue 5 supplemental, pages S149-154
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 leads to all kinds of problems, including disruption of skin's healthy appearance, worsening dryness, redness, depletion of vital substances in skin's surface, and generally keeps 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 the negative influence of using products that contain fragrance has 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 always need to see or feel the effects on your skin for your skin to be suffering. This negative impact and the visible damage may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410-1,419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166-175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77-80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821-832
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, issue 11, pages 789-798
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, issue 4, pages 191-202
Designed with our Antioxidant Complex of Vitamin C & E, Pine Bark Essence, and gentle exfoliating Lipo-Hydroxyl Acid (LHA), this fast absorbing, non-greasy formula turns dull, rough skin into smooth, polished-looking skin with a more radiant, even tone.
Garnier Nutritioniste At-A-Glance
Strengths: Interesting and potentially helpful cleansing oil and foundation primer.
Weaknesses: Insufficient UVA protection from some of the sunscreens; average to below average moisturizers and eye creams; mostly irritating cleansers; no effective products for blemish-prone skin; jar packaging.
Debuting with permanent hair dye and then making the segue to a full line of hair-care products emphasizing carefree, casual styles with can't-miss-it colorful packaging has been Garnier's formula for penetrating the U.S. market. Several well-known actresses have had dual roles as spokesperson for Garnier's hair dyes and skin-care products, with splashy ads appearing in magazines and on television commercials.
Unfortunately, this group of products hasn't got much going for it except the lure celebrity spokespeople provide. The amount of fragrance is perhaps forgivable for a French-owned product line, and in most of the Nutritioniste products it's not too intrusive. What is deplorable is the lack of sufficient UVA protection in the sunscreens. A skin-care line has no right to speak about the anti-aging benefits and "breakthrough approach" of its products when they cannot get this fundamental aspect consistently right.
It's also disappointing that some products contain irritating peppermint, which made us wonder whether the dermatologists who consulted for Garnier had any idea of what's good for skin and what isn't. It seems they didn't, because what they ended up with is a mix of pro and con products that make it impossible for consumers to assemble a sensible skin-care routine, not to mention products that make skin-lifting claims most dermatologists would dismiss as cosmetics puffery.
The hook for this line is the way it is said to bring nutrition and dermatology together. The products are "fortified" with antioxidants such as lycopene and nutritional ingredients such as fatty acids, vitamins (A and C, never present together in the same product!), and minerals. Garnier wants you to think this is a revolutionary idea, but it isn'tdid they also overlook that everyone else, from L'Oreal (Garnier is owned by L'Oreal) to Estee Lauder and Clinique, has been using such ingredients in their products for years? And why consult a nutritionist (as Garnier did) when their training and professional expertise has little to do with application of anything to the skin? The whole scenario proves Garnier was more concerned with creating an attention-getting story for this line rather than formulating truly breakthrough products.
Despite our disdain for the way Garnier's marketing takes precedence over making the products as good as they could be formulary-wise, there are some bright spots. Because Garnier is owned by L'Oreal, it's no surprise to find that there are lots of similarities between the better and worse aspects of L'Oreal's skin care as well as with L'Oreal's department-store sister company Lancome. In some ways, Garnier's formulas best those of both companies by including a greater array of antioxidants and intriguing skin-identical ingredients. The occasional jar packaging choice reduces the effectiveness of some of these products, but other than that, Lancome users should take note of the happy facerated products in this line. You'll be getting a better product for considerably less money here (though, at least for now, no free gift with purchasebut you can buy Lancome foundations or mascaras instead when gift time comes around).
For more information about Garnier Nutritioniste, call (800) 370-1925 or visit www.garnierusa.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.