Although positioned as a moisturizer, Luminous Intensive Cream's fragrance-free formula is similar to that of a moisturizing skin-lightening product. It contains a potentially effective amount of the lightening ingredient arbutin, but, sadly, the jar packaging means that this sensitive ingredient will become less effective after the first use (see More Info to learn why jar packaging is a problem).
This contains the cosmetic pigments mica and titanium dioxide for a brightening effect, but you can get that from hundreds of other products that cost significantly less and offer more benefits than this one.
The diamond powder present is said to lighten dark spots, but it cannot do that, at least not beyond the cosmetic effect of adding sparkles to skin (in the hopes that they will distract from the brown spots, but really a concealer does far more). Perhaps the diamond powder was included to justify this product's price, but even at half the price, this would not be worth banking on if your concern is skin discolorations.
Luminous Intensive Cream has a texture that suits normal to dry skin, but this simply isn't worth considering over dozens of other skin-lightening products, including those that also moisturize.
By the way, the ingredient hexanoyl dipeptide-3 norleucine acetate is said to regenerate skin via a mild peeling action that's supposed to leave skin looking younger. That sounds great, but the minimum amount required for that effect is 0.5%, and in this product you're likely getting much less than that (Source: http://dir.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/detail/tradeName.html?id=10731).
The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients (including the arbutin) won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so 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, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
A rich, daily cream that moisturizes, calms, and brightens. Powerful ingredients including diamond powder work to prevent discoloration, reduce inflammation, even tone and illuminate the skin.
Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, C12-20 Acid PEG-8 Ester, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Arbutin, Cetyl Alcohol, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Benzimidazole Diamond Amidiethyl Urea Carbamoyl Propyl Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Carbomer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dimethicone, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Lecithin, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, PEG-8, Sambucus Nigra Flower Extract, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ascorbic Acid, Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate, Mica, Titanium Dioxide.
Erno Laszlo At-A-Glance
Strengths: One good toner; some good moisturizers; pH-correct AHA product; tinted moisturizer with sunscreen; workable concealer, powders, and powder blush.
Weaknesses: Expensive; the majority of products contain one or more considerably irritating ingredients; basic skin-care regimen revolves around using drying bar soap and alcohol-laden toners; the TranspHuse line; jar packaging.
According to the company's brochure, Dr. Erno Laszlo, a Hungarian dermatologist, was "the first to combine the exact science of his profession with the art of cosmetology" using "precisely diagnosed treatments dispensed with a doctor's touch." He treated Hungarian royalty, women whose lack of beautiful skin was apparently enough to get them shot in the face by potential suitors (no kidding)—until Laszlo saved the day with his revolutionary products. We admit that that's great copy, but there are rumors that he was never a medical doctor in Hungary or anywhere else in Europe, and he was certainly never licensed to practice medicine in the United States. Medical status aside, the claims and "story" behind these products are just another verse in the litany of hyperbole the cosmetics industry is famous for.
In his time (1920s through the 1930s), Laszlo's notoriety was built on "prescribing" skin-care regimens for wealthy women who could afford to "succumb to the 'Laszlo Ritual' of daily skin care." The ritual included regimented splashing of the face with extremely hot water before and after washing with bar soap. Today's Laszlo ritual talks of harnessing the power of water not only to cleanse skin but also to tone, firm, hydrate, clear, and energize skin. Amazing isn't it? If water alone and a certain splashing technique with traditional bar soap can take care of skin, then what's the point of Laszlo's profusion of (mostly poor) products? Why not just offer some soap and a tip sheet on how to splash most effectively, and let the water perform the miracles the company claims it can? If you think this sounds as ridiculous as we do, imagine trying to explain it to customers without backing away sheepishly. While neighboring cosmetics counters extol advanced formulas claiming to work like Botox or speak of their potent, patented cosmeceutical ingredients, Laszlo's team is going on and on about splashing skin with water and the "clocking system" they use to determine your skin type (a system that is more complicated than helpful).
Looking at historical background is one thing, but the real problem with legendary or ancient skin-care routines is that new research more often than not negates what we once thought to be true. After all, in Laszlo's heyday, no one knew about sun damage or the need for exfoliation, or that hot water can hurt skin and cause surfaced capillaries. Water-soluble cleansers weren't around, no one knew the connection between antioxidants and skin care, elegant sunscreens didn't exist, and Laszlo clearly didn't know that soap is too irritating and that irritation is a problem for skin (it's one of the major causes of collagen destruction). Plus, alkaline substances (that's what soap contains) have research showing they can increase the bacterial content in skin and damage the skin's healing process. With today's gentle cleansing options, there is no need to subject skin to the harshness of soap, regardless of how oily it is.
Further, anyone with any skin type who adheres to routine use of Laszlo's products is only setting themselves up for trouble, whether it's persistent irritation or a dry, tight feeling that will have you reaching for a moisturizer in desperation (and possibly making oily or breakout-prone areas worse as a result). There are some reliable, well-formulated products in this line, but following Laszlo's regimented routine is a path to skin irritation and dryness—and that's not the way to "worship your skin."
For more information about Erno Laszlo, call (888) 352-7956 or visit www.ernolaszlo.com.
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