Elizabeth Arden's SUPERSTART Skin Renewal Booster is one of a growing number of products being formulated to boost your skin's ability to defend and repair itself. Although that's great, the claims for this product are what you should expect from any well formulated serum or moisturizer. So, although Arden's contribution isn't bad, it's not must-have, either.
The sheer, water-based formula is suitable for all skin types, including breakout-prone skin. This booster is housed in an attractive glossy pump bottle that neatly dispenses the product while keeping light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use.
Because Arden's claims for this product center on repairing skin's barrier to strengthen its surface defenses (a strong, intact barrier equals healthier-looking skin), it's good that the formula contains ingredients that can do just that. Glycerin leads the pack, but is given able support from caprylic/capric triglyceride, oligosaccharides, ceramides, and cholesterol. All of those ingredients are excellent for repairing and replenishing skin's barrier, so they're a welcome addition.
What's not as welcome is the inclusion of fragrance—especially because its amount exceeds (at least, based on the ingredient list as printed on the packaging) the presence of a few ingredients that would benefit skin more if present in greater amounts. The amount of fragrance isn't a deal-breaker, but it is iffy enough that it did hold SUPERSTART Skin Renewal Booster back from earning our top rating.
Beyond the barrier-repair ingredients mentioned above, an intriguing standout is the inclusion of probiotics, a type of friendly bacteria. Arden included lactobacillus as well as a lesser-used probiotic known as kefiran (a by-product of the yogurt-like beverage known as kefir).
Research on topical application of probiotics appears promising; however, in the case of lactobacillus, a study has shown greater concentrations (5%) are needed for visible results on skin—and we're skeptical Arden is using that much in this booster (Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2012). In addition, a double-blind study showed that consuming this probiotic as a supplement produces greater benefits than what we've seen so far via topical application (Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, October 2015).
What about kefiran? To date, there's only been one published study pertaining to topical application, and it showed kefiran has antimicrobial and wound healing benefits, which doesn't necessarily translate to barrier repair, but there's some association. The kicker is the concentration needed to produce results was 70%, far below what's in this product (International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 2005)!
Summing up, Elizabeth Arden's SUPERSTAR Skin Renewal Booster misses our top rating due to the iffy amount of fragrance it contains—in greater amounts than some of the helpful ingredients present. However, this is an intriguing, lightweight serum-like product, which all skin types can use to boost the benefits a regular serum or moisturizer provides. Without question, this product will help repair skin's barrier—it's just not quite amazing enough to forgo your other well formulated skincare products. It is best thought of exactly as Arden positions it, as a "boost" for your other products or as a booster to help skin repair its barrier.
Elizabeth Arden At-A-Glance
Strengths: Some excellent serums and a few noteworthy moisturizers; praiseworthy concealers; a handful of well-formulated makeup products including foundation, blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick.
Weaknesses: No products for those battling blemishes; several products whose sunscreen lacks sufficient UVA protection; most of the foundations with sunscreen fail to provide sufficient UVA protection; lackluster eye and brow pencils; some problematic lip color products; jar packaging weakens some otherwise great formulas.
Former nurse Elizabeth Arden was a pioneer in the beauty industry. At the turn of the 20th century, Arden began her legacy when she opened her first salon, with the now-familiar red door. Over the next several years she introduced new products and services to women unaccustomed to such choices, and almost single-handedly made it acceptable for modern women to wear makeup. And while Arden understood and met these beauty needs, she was also adept at self-promotion and packaging, helping to solidify the idea that what holds the product should be as beautiful as the woman who uses it. She was the front-runner in the cosmetics industry for quite some time, until another young go-getter by the name of Estee Lauder began her own empire—one that would eventually lead to the Elizabeth Arden line being almost an afterthought in the mind of many consumers.
Not only has Arden's image been diminished over the years due to odd distribution patterns (consumers were getting mixed messages as this prestige line began showing up in drug and discount chain stores), but also through their own formulary mistakes and seeming unwillingness to pay attention to current research. Given the history of this line and several outstanding products they've produced in the past, it's very frustrating that what's offered today is such a mishmash of good and bad, with a hefty dose of average. Arden still has several sunscreens that fall short by leaving out sufficient UVA protection. In contrast, Estee Lauder and the Lauder-owned lines have their sunscreen acts together and consistently impress by including other state-of-the-art goodies to amplify the environmental protection of their moisturizers.
Many of Arden's products also contain potentially problematic ingredients or are packaged in a way that puts the light- and air-sensitive ingredients at risk of breaking down shortly after the product is opened. Given Elizabeth Arden's (the woman) pioneering, innovative spirit, we can't imagine her being completely pleased with the state of her namesake skin-care line (Arden passed away in 1966). Having the gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones as a spokesmodel for most of the early 2000s may have raised more interest in this brand than in years past, but a pretty face and eye-catching ads don't always translate to good skin care, as evidenced by the reviews on this site. There are some very impressive products in this line, but it's definitely one that demands careful attention to what you're buying lest you put your skin at risk.
For more information about Elizabeth Arden, call (800) 326-7337 or visit www.elizabetharden.com.
Elizabeth Arden Makeup
Cosmetics trailblazer Elizabeth Arden may have been single-handedly responsible for bringing modern makeup to American women (she opened the famous Red Door Salon in 1910 and formulated the first blush and tinted powders in 1912), but today's lineup of Arden makeup has far more disappointments than its pioneering namesake would have liked. Most of the Arden foundations with sunscreen either leave out the five prime UVA-screening active ingredients or because their SPF numbers are unnecessarily low. Either way, only one of the foundations with sunscreens can be relied on as your sole source of facial sun protection.
In contrast to the mostly disappointing foundations, you'll be pleased with what Arden offers for concealer, eyeshadow, lipstick, and mascara. Each of these categories has some brilliant products to consider, and they serve to prove, at least to a modest extent, that Elizabeth Arden makeup is not to be counted out just yet. The remaining products have little to extol, either because they are truly ineffective or because the competition has Arden beat by a mile. A continual bright spot for Arden is that their tester units are typically well organized and the colors are grouped so it's easy to zero in on what you like.
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