Arden's attempt at a BB cream doesn't bring anything new to this category, but then again, compared with many tinted moisturizer and foundations, BB creams aren't all that special. Generally, BB creams are more marketing hype than must-have product. Those from U.S. cosmetics brands are similar to a tinted moisturizer, whereas BB creams from Asia are generally thicker (like a foundation) and have a higher SPF rating. CC creams are more like liquid foundations, but not always. BB and CC creams typically provide sun protection and may or may not include beneficial ingredients like antioxidants or skin-lightening agents. Neither BB nor CC creams are as revolutionary as they're made out to be, and there is certainly no consistency among products from different brands.
What we have here is a BB cream that provides broad-spectrum sun protection via its in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen. It has a soft, creamy but not greasy texture that blends easily and sets to a hydrating, natural-looking satin finish best for normal to slightly dry skin. As with most U.S.-made BB creams, this provides sheer to light coverage.
In terms of beneficial ingredients, along with the sun protection you're getting a good mix of cell-communicating ingredients, antioxidants, and a tiny amount of repairing ingredients. This missed our top rating because the formula contains fragrance and fragrance ingredients (including citrus extracts) that can pose a risk of irritation. Because some of the sunscreen actives this contains can be irritating on their own, it's not a good idea to add fragrance to the mix—and this BB cream's scent lingers.
Three shades are offered, with Shade 01 and 02 being suitable for light to medium skin tones. Shade 03 is a decent option for tan skin tones. There are no colors for fair or dark skin tones.
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Titanium Dioxide 5.74%, Octisalate 5%, Oxybenzone 3%; Inactive Ingredients :Water/Aqua/Eau, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Caprylyl Methicone, C20-40 Pareth-3, Glycerin, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Steareth-21, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dipropylene Glycol, Silica, Stearic Acid, Adenosine, Allantoin, Alumina, Aminomethyl Propanol, Ammonium Polyacrylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, Cyclohexasiloxane, Decarboxy Carnosine HCL, Decylene Glycol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Disodium EDTA, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Lecithin, Mica, Parfum/Fragrance, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Polysilicone-11, Polysorbate 60, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Steareth-2, Stearyl Alcohol, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, BHT, Sodium Ascorbate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain: Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide.
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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