L'Oreal Paris

Youth Code SPF 30 Day Cream

1.60 fl. oz. for $ 24.99
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Brand Overview

This daytime moisturizer with sunscreen contains stabilized avobenzone for reliable UVA (think anti-aging) protection, and its base formula feels light and silky, making it suitable for normal to oily skin. As is the norm for L’Oreal moisturizers, the formula lacks a range of beneficial ingredients that all skin types need to look and act younger.

This is quite fragrant, and contains fragrance ingredients known to be irritating (see More Info for details). Normally, we’d comment that the jar packaging was the wrong approach because such packaging exposes key ingredients to degrading light and air, but no such ingredients are present in this average product. The illumination comes from bismuth oxychloride, a pigment and opacifying agent most often seen in mineral makeup. In short, this product means L’Oreal hasn’t cracked any youth code for skin.

Note: This product is also known as Youth Code Dark Spot Correcting & Illuminating SPF 30 Day Cream. The shortened name above reflects what L’Oreal printed on the product itself.


  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection and includes stabilized avobenzone for critical UVA screening.
  • Silky, lightweight texture.


  • Lacks antioxidants and other beneficial anti-aging ingredients (beyond the sunscreen ingredients, of course) that can help skin act younger.
  • Fragrant formula puts skin at risk for irritation, which can make wrinkles worse.

More Info:

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. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: Yes

Restore luminosity and fight discoloration with Youth Code Dark Spot Correcting & Illuminating SPF 30 Day Cream. This rich, hydrating formula prevents future discolorations from forming while minimizing the appearance of existing dark spots for a more even, radiant and youthful complexion.

Active: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate (5%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (7%); Other: Water, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Polyacrylamide, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Copolymer, Bismuth Oxychloride, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Ethylhexyl, Hydroxystearate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Caprylyl Glycol, Stearyl Alcohol, Sorbic Acid, Laureth 7, Xanthan Gum, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Seed Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Limonene, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Disodium Ethylene Dicocamide PEG-15 Disulfate, Oxothiazolidinecarboxylic Acid, Citral

L'Oreal Paris At-A-Glance

Strengths: Budget-friendly prices; good makeup removers; wide assortment of self-tanning options; one of the best, most comprehensive makeup collections at the drugstore, with superb options in almost every category; the mascaras are a tough act to follow.

Weaknesses: Jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas; many of their skincare formulas contain problematic amounts of fragrance and/or other irritants; exaggerated anti-aging claims.

L'Oreal's extensive makeup collection retains its stature as one of the better selections at the drugstore, though they have stiff competition from Revlon and, in some cases, sister company Maybelline New York. In recent years L'Oreal has made significant strides with foundation shades, powder textures, concealers, and, of course, superlative mascaras that rarely fail to impress. Their lipsticks are excellent and you will find many L'Oreal makeup products have a Lancome counterpart, and that the differences are minorif there are any at all.

L'Oreal's displays in many drugstores reflect better-organized products and shade categories (though testers are still scarce). Given the number of lipsticks they sell, it only makes sense to put them in color families so consumers have a better shopping experience. Their True Match products are also sensibly laid out, but the rest of the foundations aren't as organized, likely due to the smaller selection of shades. Speaking of foundations, L'Oreal has made further strides by offering more that provide sufficient UVA protection. Revlon still has the edge for consistently launching impressive foundations with sunscreen, but at least L'Oreal is (finally) catching up.

The bottom line is that every category of L'Oreals makeup has some winning (and in some cases, benchmark-setting) products.

Unfortunately, despite the brands enormous presence in the beauty industry, L'Oreal's moisturizers and treatment products are a nearly all unremarkable and repetitive. When it comes to moisturizers or serums, just about anything from Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, or Aveeno is preferred. L'Oreal does well with most of their cleansers, along with scrubs and self-tanning products, but given the widespread availability and financial resources of this line, they could be doing so much more. The good news is their makeup has made major strides and now ranks as the best overall color collection at the drugstoreimagine the results if their skin care followed suit.

For more information about L'Oreal, call (800) 322-2036 or visit www.loreal.com or www.lorealparisusa.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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