Water Bank Gel Cream
Laneige makes a big deal about Water Bank Gel Cream containing "Optimal Mineral Water" in this formula, but those claims turn out to be hogwash. We debunk the marketing mumbo jumbo in the brand summary, but ultimately this cream loses points for more critical reasons than that.…
First on the demerit list: This strongly fragranced formula can potentially irritate and damage skin both on and below the surface (see More Info for the full scoop), which is the exact opposite of what Water Bank Gel Cream alleges to do!
Concern number two: Jar packaging. Although Water Bank Gel Cream contains a handful of beneficial antioxidants, the jar packaging allows them to break down more rapidly, which shortchanges the anti-aging properties for skin in the long run (see More Info).
And just so you know, the cooling sensation you get from this gel-cream (caused by menthoxypropanediol) may feel nice on normal to oily/combination skin, but it has no benefit for skin.
In the end, due to the detrimental effects of the irritants and the jar packaging, which reduces the effectiveness of the formula, our advice is to bank your money on a superior option from our Best Moisturizers list instead.
- Contains beneficial skin-repairing and water-binding ingredients to retain skin's moisture level.
- Gel-cream base is suitable for normal to combination/oily skin.
- Fragranced formula can potentially irritate and damage skin, both on and below the surface.
- Jar packaging allows the antioxidants to break down rapidly, shortchanging you with regard to the anti-aging benefit.
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008; and American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012; and Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Jar Packaging: The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria that further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.
The vast majority of ingredients that are most beneficial for your skin are not stable in the presence of light and air, which is exactly what happens when you take the lid off a jar (Pharmacology Review, 2013; and Journal of Biophotonics, 2010).
One of the critical factors in any anti-aging or skin-healing formula is the amount and variety of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients, and the more the better. These function in a variety of ways to reduce the effects of the constant environmental stresses your skin experiences (Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012; and The Journal of Pathology, 2007).
Antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients not only can help prevent free-radical damage, but also, to a fairly impressive extent, help repair that damage. Surprisingly, almost all of these ingredients are just as vulnerable to sun exposure, pollution, and cigarette smoke as your skin (Pharmacognosy Review, 2013; and Journal of Biophotonics, 2010).
Once you open that jar you bought, you immediately compromise the stability of the anti-aging superstars it contains. (You can visualize their benefits disappearing like puffs of air each time you open up that lid!)
Strengths: SPF-rated products provide broad-spectrum sun protection; utilization of some intriguing melanin-inhibiting ingredients.
Weaknesses: Highly fragranced formulas put skin at risk of irritation; use of see-through bottles and jar packaging weakens the potency of the beneficial ingredients; claims for mineral water dont stand up to the research; despite a higher-than-average drugstore price point, Laneige products arent superior to their competitors.
Laneige is a South Korean brand owned by high-end cosmetics company, AmorePacific. Launched in 1994, the story behind this brand centers around mineral waterwhich they tend to label Optimal Mineral Waterharvested from the snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas. They allegedly spent 20 years perfecting its scientifically engineered properties for skin and, according to Laneige, this superior water is the secret to hydrating, protecting, and revitalizing skin.
Heres what we really know: All water thats included in cosmetics, regardless of the source, must go through a rigorous purification process, and there isnt any research showing that water from any one source is better for skin than water from any other source. More to the point, repairing and hydrating skin is not as simple as adding water. Even Laneiges highly touted mineral water wont retain moisture in skin unless the outer barrier is reinforced with ingredients like antioxidants, emollients, and skin-repairing ingredientsall of which are required or the water just evaporates. So, does Laneige deliver in that regard? Yes and no.
The problem is that their products tend to include beneficial ingredients right alongside potentially irritating ingredients (including fragrance), which detracts from what the good ingredients would otherwise be able to do for skin. In some cases, the jar or clear bottle packaging further impedes the potency and stability of the formula because many of the superstar ingredients break down in the presence of air and/or light.
As far as Laneige makeup goes, at the time of this review they sell only a BB cream in the United States, but it is also plagued by the inclusion of potentially irritating ingredients.
In the end, despite their highly touted Korean brand prestige and steeper-than-average mass-market price point (the line is sold at Target stores in the United States), Laneige ends up being more about marketing fluff than whats actually good for skin. Beyond the mineral water, Laneige products would have merit for their anti-aging prowess, but their inclusion of potential irritants and the use of packaging that compromises the stability of the beneficial ingredients renders the products generally unworthy of consideration.
For more information about Laneige, visit www.us.laneige.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.