Younger-looking skin after 21 nights? That's the promise this mega-pricey 3-product set makes. You get a one-week supply of three vials of serum (each a different formula) that, taken together, add up to 1 ounce of product. Now that's what we call sticker shock!
As it turns out, despite the fancy packaging, this treatment is far from exciting and absolutely not worth the money. If you're curious (but please drop all curiosity after reading this review), here's how the set breaks down, week by week.
Week 1 is essentially a fluid that contains the AHA glycolic acid, but the amount of this exfoliating ingredient (likely 2–3%) isn't enough to make much difference on sun-damaged skin, even though the serum's pH is within range for exfoliation to occur. This also contains salicylic acid, but likely too low an amount to offer much benefit. What really makes this a no-go is the inclusion of alcohol. As the second ingredient, it makes Week 1 of this 3-week treatment about as far from anti-aging as you can get, because alcohol causes collagen breakdown and hurts the skin's ability to heal (see More Info to find out why irritation from alcohol is such a problem).
Week 2's serum is similar to that of the Week 1 product, minus the salicylic acid and with only a dusting of glycolic acid. It's mostly water, alcohol, slip agents, and a citrus extract that, like all citrus, poses a risk of irritation. Once again, the alcohol makes this pro-aging rather than anti-aging, and the formula contains too few beneficial ingredients to make it worth your time or money.
Finishing the trio is the Week 3 serum, which is just a lightweight moisturizer that contains a small amount of alcohol (definitely less cause for concern than the amount of alcohol present in the Week 1 and Week 2 serums). This product is not the brilliant capper of a 21-night treatment; on its own, it's barely passable as a moisturizer, and definitely puts your skin at risk of irritation from the amount of citrus extract and fragrance it contains.
You can save a lot of money by avoiding this misnamed treatment and consider a well-formulated AHA or BHA exfoliant instead (or, for what this costs, a professional AHA or BHA peel from a dermatologist). See our Best Products section for our top exfoliant picks.
Irritation from Alcohol The irritation from products with high amounts of alcohol, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation, and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For this reason, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
Irritation from 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. 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).
This 3-phase program transforms the skin thanks to the complementary action of 3 serums with a gradual concentration of active ingredients: As of week 1, the skin is incredibly smoother and more even; its radiance is boosted. During week 2, the skin texture becomes refined and more uniform. At the end of week 3, the skin regains its tone and elasticity. Visibly younger-looking at the end of the intensive treatment, the skin seems restored and enlivened with spectacular energy and radiance.
Week 1: Water, Alcohol, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, PEG-8, PEG-150, Glycolic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Acacia Senegal Gum, Salicylic Acid, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance, Adenosine, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Citrus Madurensis Fruit Extract, Polyglycerin-3, Mallow Extract, Sorbitol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Algin, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Yeast Extract, Decyl Glucoside, Pentylene Glycol, Cellulose Gum, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Soy Flour, Aframomum Angustifolium Seed Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Kluyveromyces Extract, Evening Primrose Root Extract, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Geraniol, Red 4, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, BHT Week 2: Water, Alcohol, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, PEG-8, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Citrus Madurensis Fruit Extract, Polyglycerin-3, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-150, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Polyacrylamide, Decyl Glucoside, Yeast Extract, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Mallow Extract, Adenosine, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Hydrolyzed Soy Flour, Sorbitol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Algin, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Laureth-7, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Glycolic Acid, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Cellulose Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Geraniol, Red 4, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, BHT Week 3: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Methicone, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Pentylene Glycol, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Phenyl Trimethicone, Jojoba Esters, Alcohol, Citrus Madurensis Fruit Extract, Fragrance, Xanthan Gum, Sorbitol, Yeast Extract, Tromethamine, Sodium Polyacrylate, Mallow Extract, Silica, Decyl Glucoside, Algin, Hydrolyzed Soy Flour, Sodium Hyaluronate, Adenosine, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Titanium Dioxide, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cellulose Gum, Aframomum Angustifolium Seed Extract, Kluyveromyces Extract, Evening Primrose Root Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Polyglycerin-3, Steareth-2, Steareth-21, Carbomer, Tetrasodium EDTA, Hexylene Glycol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, BHT, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanol, Limonene, Glycolic Acid, Acacia Senegal Gum, Salicylic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Iron Oxides, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Red 4,Geraniol
Strengths:Nearly all of the SPF-related products offer sufficient UVA protection; a few extraordinary foundations and mascaras; a good liquid concealer; an excellent powder eyeshadow set; some good lipsticks and eyeliners.
Weaknesses: Expensive; lackluster moisturizers and serums that contain more fragrance and preservatives than elegant ingredients; irritating toners and self-tanners; ordinary masks; lack of products to address the needs of those with blemishes or skin discolorations; some foundations with SPF ratings that are too low; mostly average makeup brushes.
If you're looking for a clear-cut case of style winning out over substance, here it is. The Dior name is synonymous with couture fashion and countless other lifestyle accoutrements, but they continue to falter when it comes to establishing a first-rate collection of skin-care products. Of course, the company believes their products are the crème de la crème and if we're judging on aesthetics alone, we see what they mean. However, what's inside the gorgeous components is what counts for your skin, and Dior's formulas leave a lot to be desired. On one hand, it's great that all of their sunscreens contain sufficient UVA protection; on the other, all of their moisturizers either leave skin wanting more or contain problematic ingredients with no skin-redeeming qualities.
Fragrance is huge for Dior, and a visit to their counter attests to this, as fragrances line the counter right beside the skin-care tester unit. It would be better for skin if the two categories were kept separate, but in most cases the amount of fragrance added to Dior's skin-care products is greater than the token amounts of state-of-the-art ingredients (and the effectiveness of most of those is further diminished by jar packaging). If you wouldn't put perfume on your face, think twice about applying it in the form of an expensive skin-care product.
On the plus side, there are a few very good products to consider if you don't mind spending the extra money. If you're a fan of Dior's fashions and want to experiment with their cosmetic products, you'll find that their makeup outshines the skin care and has improved in ways that keep the panache while making genuine improvements. Despite all manner of claims to the contrary (everything from purifying pores to lifting skin to the point that sagging is a thing of the past), the most attractive part of Dior's formulas is how they're dressed, not how they perform.
For more information about Dior, call (212) 931-2200 or visit www.dior.com.
Always fashion-forward, Dior's makeup is more well-designed and attractive than ever, offering standout products in almost every category. The most notable change over the past several years has been Dior's improved foundation formulas and shades. It's now the exception rather than the rule to find overtly peach, pink, or rose-toned shades among Dior's many complexion-enhancing options. Even better, Dior has recently introduced foundations to compensate for its previous too-low SPF efforts, with formulas available in SPF 15, 20 and 25, a couple of which even include UVA-protecting ingredients. Such a move shows that while Dior may still struggle with an overall lackluster skin care line, they are at least working to meet dermatologist-recommended benchmarks for sun protection.
You will also be very impressed with Dior's powder blush, eyeshadows (though their shiny finish is not the best for Baby Boomer eyes), the DiorSkin concealer, brow gel, and most of the mascaras. If you're a fan of lip gloss and are willing to tolerate a double-digit price, you'll be in cosmetics heaven wading through all the lip-shining options here. On the flip side, neither the standard pencils nor most of the lipsticks are worth the money. With any designer-based line built on artifice, price is more than a matter of dollars. It's indicative of a company’s image and remains a prestige factor that often speaks louder than the products themselves. Dior is guilty of maximizing its assets to play up its image, but with their makeup line the good news for you is that, for the most part, they really pay attention to what’s inside all the luxe containers, too.
One more note: Dior’s makeup tester units are much more accessible and user-friendly than for previous editions of this book. We also found their counter staff to be more accommodating and definitely less condescending than several other European-bred lines.
Note: Dior is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Dior does not conduct animal testing for its 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 don’t 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.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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