This sunscreen provides reliable broad-spectrum protection that includes stabilized avobenzone for sufficient UVA (think anti-aging) screening. Its lightweight cream texture feels elegant, not heavy or thick, and it smooths easily over skin, imparting a noticeable shiny golden glow (seriously, if you intend to apply this from head to toe you will be gleaming with more shimmer than you might want).
You may be tempted to try this after reading Somerville's claim that the "high-performance formula smoothes, protects, and firms all at once" but in truth, that's what any well-formulated sunscreen will do! Simply protecting skin from further sun damage means skin can go about repairing itself and begin generating healthy collagen, which, surprise, firms skin! So, while the claim is accurate, don't take it to be a unique selling point for this sunscreen.
It's great that Somerville included some notable antioxidants, as these help boost a sunscreen's effectiveness and help thwart free-radical damage from sun exposure. We wish that the fragrance ingredients known to be irritating had been left out, but this isn't a highly fragrant formula and those ingredients are listed last, so we're giving this one a thumbs up for its overall impressive formula.
This lightweight, high-performance 3-in-1 formula smoothes, protects, and firms all at once, providing broad spectrum protection against the damaging aging effects of UVA and UVB rays and helps fight free radicals, while also smoothing and hydrating skin for radiant, flawless-looking results.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, 3%; Homosalate, 7.5%; Octisalate, 5%; Octocrylene, 2.5%; Oxybenzone, 4%; Inactive Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Diisopropyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Propanediol, Undecylcrylene Dimethicone, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Bis-PEG/PPG-20/5 PEG/PPG-20/5 Dimethicone, Methoxy PEG/PPG-25/4 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ethyl Methicone, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ethyl Ferulate, Polyglyceryl-5 Trioleate, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Disodium Uridine Phosphate, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Silica, Caffeine, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tocopheryl Acetate, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Carbomer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Phospholipids, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Hydrolyzed Chondrus Crispus Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (77491)
Kate Somerville At-A-Glance
Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists on their website; effective Anti Bac Clearing Lotion for acne; good eczema cream; some fantastic serums and moisturizers chock-full of beneficial ingredients.
Weaknesses: Expensive; irritating cleansers and scrubs; several products contain irritating ingredients with no proven benefit for skin; disappointing CC cream.
The woman behind this line is a Los Angeles–based aesthetician who owns her own clinic, which specializes not only in aesthetic services but also in cosmetic corrective procedures involving injections (dermal fillers), lasers, Botox, and the like. The clinic is staffed with a doctor and nurses, which is definitely what you want if you're considering services beyond a facial or a massage.
The selling points of this line are Somerville's years of experience in the aesthetics industry and her allegedly devoted celebrity clientele. As such, her products and famous clientele get press in the pages of fashion magazines, which explains why we routinely get asked about this skin-care line. Somerville herself is every bit as attractive as her star clients, and the information on her Web site is presented in such a way that you sincerely believe she has your skin's best interests in mind. And wouldn't you want to trust your skin's needs to a professional who also tends to celebrities?
Knowing all these details, we were anticipating that most of the products bearing Somerville's name would be state-of-the-art slam dunks. Alas, many of them are far afield from that level of formulation. When it comes to giving skin what it needs to function as healthily and normally as possible (and, at these prices, that's what you should expect), this line is, unfortunately, hit or miss. What Somerville knows about giving an amazing facial is one thing, but she clearly missed the research that proves how problematic several of the plant oils that she uses can be. A professional concerned with the health of her clients' skin shouldn't be formulating products with cinnamon, grapefruit, and lavender oils, among others.
If we were one of Somerville's clients, we'd certainly take her to task for that oversight, but we'd also want to know why she offers only one sunscreen and doesn't offer any effective AHA or BHA exfoliants. A discussion of advanced skin science and state-of-the-art ingredients is not sufficient if your product line has gaps: limited sun protection options, no reliable exfoliants, no non-drying cleansers, and a complete lack of options to treat skin discolorations (pigment irregularities, unlike blackheads, cannot be manually extracted, which makes the absence of a skin lightening product an issue).
This product line may not be the one you want to build your skin-care routine around, but there are some exceptional products. Of all the aesthetician-backed lines we've reviewed, none come as close to providing the level of formulary excellence of many of Somerville's moisturizers and serums. They're pricey, but if you're going to spend in excess for skin-care products, you should be doing so on products that stand a very good chance of markedly improving your skin’s appearance. We are curious to see how this product line will expand and (hopefully) improve over the years. The current mishmash of awesome and awful products makes it risky to shop this line blindly (or on the sole rationale of a celebrity endorsement), but with careful consideration to avoid irritants you can find some products of value. Hopefully, she will expand the line to fill in the current gaps (especially for sun protection) and eliminate the irritants.
For more information about Kate Somerville, now owned by Unilever, call (800) 984-5283 or visit www.katesomerville.com.
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