Mary Kay

Timewise Even Complexion Dark Spot Reducer

0.34 fl. oz. for $ 40.00
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Brand Overview

The popularity of metal roller ball applicators continues with this addition from Mary Kay, except now it is about helping improve dark spots rather than the typical use for rollerballs, which is relieving puffy eyes. This is a water-light serum-type product in a tiny container outfitted with the aforementioned metal rollerball applicator. The idea, of course, is to use the rollerball to target the dark spot, which is completely unnecessary and useless; your finger would do the exact same job. What would have been a far better idea is if this had a concentrated formula regardless of the kind of applicator.

Despite the gimmicky applicator, Timewise Even Complexion Dark Spot Reducer does contain some ingredients that are up to the task! They consist primarily of vitamin C (in the form of ascorbyl glucoside) and niacinamide, along with lesser amounts of various plant extracts that have limited research on their ability to fight excess pigmentation. Those ingredients are popular in other formulas as well.

This product is easy to apply, and suitable for all skin types; however, for the money, we encourage you to check out the options on our list of Best Skin-Brightening Products, especially if you have numerous dark spots or simply want to use a product to treat uneven skin tone over your entire face and not just spot treat.

Note: This product contains fragrance in the form of ethylene brassylate. Myrtle leaf extract (listed as Myrtus communis) also poses a slight risk of irritation.

  • Contains ingredients with research showing they fade brown spots.
  • Lightweight texture practically disappears into the skin.
  • Rollerball applicator is easy to use and allows you to spot-treat (though the brightening ingredients this contains can benefit skin all over the face).
  • This isn't a potent product so the small size makes it a pricy choice.
  • Contains fragrance in the form of ethylene brassylate.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

This lightweight serum helps reduce the appearance of past damage and dramatically reduces the look of dark spots.

Water/Eau, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Triethanolamine, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Lactobacillus Ferment, Ferula Foetida Root Extract, Myrciaria Dubia Fruit Extract, Castanea Satvia (Chestnut) Seed Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Hydrolyzed Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Undaria Pinnatfida Extract, Squalane Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Tocopherol, Butylene Glycol, Glucose, Ethoxydiglycol, Maltodextrin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Alcohol Denat., Decylene Glycol, Tetramethyl Acetyloctahydronaphthalenes, Ethylene Brassylate, Ionone, Methyl Decenol.

Mary Kay At-A-Glance

Strengths: Most of the products are fragrance-free; packaging that keeps light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use; a handful of well-formulated moisturizers; very good eye-makeup remover; effective wrinkle filler; excellent cream blush and several other impressive makeup products.

Weaknesses: The overall collection is a mixed bag of exciting and disappointing products; several outdated moisturizers and cleansers; no AHA or acceptable BHA products; the CC Cream doesn't provide good enough UVA protection; some lackluster makeup products.

The last few years haven't been glamorous for one of the world's largest direct sellers of cosmetics. Mary Kay lost a lawsuit filed by TriStrata, the company whose founders hold over 100 patents on the use of AHAs in skin-care products. It was revealed that Mary Kay's former AHA products infringed on three of these patents, and, after some back-and-forths in court, Mary Kay ended up paying royalties of over $40 million (interest included) to TriStrata. Perhaps because they're still licking their wounds after this defeat, the company has not launched any new AHA products, and no longer sells the ones that were in question during the legal battle (Source: www.bizjournals.com/dallas/stories/2006/04/03/daily26.html).

However, the company's spin on the issue of AHAs is that they no longer use them because skin-care technology has advanced. That's an interesting twist, but the fact of the matter is that AHA products, when well-formulated, are still considered advanced and capable of doing far more for skin than the alternatives Mary Kay has devised (including an at-home microdermabrasion scrub and products with vitamin C derivatives).

Although they're not a company for you if you are looking for exfoliants (though you should be looking for a good exfoliant), Mary Kay has recently developed a surprising number of excellent products. With over 1.6 million Mary Kay consultants selling products in 30 countries, this family-owned company (founder Mary Kay Ash passed away in 2001) has slowly been proving that they intend to remain competitive with the best of the best. A refreshing change of pace is the omission of fragrance from almost all of the products. Now that is what we call progress!

Despite its size and capital (wholesale figures were $3 billion in 2012), Mary Kay still has a lot to learn. For instance, although their guiding philosophy of empowering women is admirable, the assortment of products still leaves much to be desired. Yes, things are looking up, but there are several weak spots that keep Mary Kay from being in the same league as Avon, Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble (Olay), and Johnson & Johnson (Neutrogena, Aveeno, RoC). These include outdated cleansers, toners, and moisturizers, along with letdowns in products designed for oily, blemish-prone skin. The TimeWise product range has expanded considerably, and offers a few state-of-the-art products worthy of its name (although, as with all skin-care products, they're not going to turn back the hands of time and erase all signs of aging).

If improvements like those in Mary Kay's latest products were translated to the entire line, it would be standing much taller, at least as far as what current, substantiated skin-care research indicates is optimum for creating and maintaining healthy skin. As is, this is a line to approach with a keen understanding of what to focus on and what to avoid. One last bit of good news: Mary Kay offers well-packaged samples of selected products, either directly or from your consultant.

Unless mentioned otherwise, all Mary Kay products are fragrance-free.

Note: Mary Kay is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Mary Kay does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they dont test on animals unless required by law. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Research Team.

For more information about Mary Kay, call (800) 627-9529 or visit www.marykay.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.

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