The big claim for this daytime moisturizer with sunscreen is that the sunscreen actives stay on the skin's surface where they're most needed (very true) while the "advanced actives" penetrate deeply. That sounds impressive, but, in truth, lots of SPF-rated moisturizers can make the same claim. In other words, Somerville doesn't have a unique technology in play that makes this worth considering over lots of other effective options; this is simply one more option to consider. However, its price may discourage liberal application, and you must apply it liberally to get the SPF rating stated on the label.
Otherwise, this moisturizer with sunscreen is best for normal to dry skin. It contains an in-part avobenzone sunscreen for reliable UVA screening and has a smattering of anti-aging ingredients, most present only in tiny amounts (but it's better to see some than none at all). The mineral mica is included and adds a subtle luminescence you may appreciate.
This came close to earning a best rating, but its relatively low amount of anti-aging ingredients (beyond the sunscreen) and the inclusion of fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation held it back. The fragrance ingredients are present in low amounts, so they're unlikely to be problematic, but the ideal daytime moisturizer with sunscreen should be fragrance-free because that's what research has shown is best for skin.
Does triple duty, providing intense hydration, UV protection, and anti-aging benefits. The cutting-edge new delivery system in Daily Deflector™ Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Anti-Aging Sunscreen ensures that the sunscreen stays in a reservoir on the surface of the skin—where it is most effective—and the advanced actives penetrate deeply—where they’re able to produce the greatest results.
Active ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Avobenzone 3.0%, Oxybenzone 4.0%
Other Ingredients: Water, Squalane, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Adipic Acid/Diglycol Crosspolymer, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol Dibenzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Steareth-21, PEG-100 Stearate, Diethylhexyl Syringylidene Malonate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium PCA, Urea, Cyclotetrasiloxane, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Dimethiconol, Trehalose, Silica, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Maltodextrin Crosspolymer, Ethylhexyl Cocoate, Lentinus Edodes Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Cucumis Melo Fruit Extract, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polyquaternium-51, Sodium Hyaluronate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Lecithin, Glycolipids, Sodium Hydroxide, Mica, Fragrance (Parfum), Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Titanium Dioxide
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.
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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