This water-based serum has the requisite thin, serum-y texture that’s a cross between a gel and a fluid lotion. Although it contains several ingredients that can make skin look and feel smoother, it also contains some potent fragrant citrus oils known to be irritating. In particular, the lime and bergamot oils can cause a phototoxic reaction when skin is exposed to sunlight, meaning this serum stands a strong chance of making dark spots worse (or encouraging new ones), which we assume isn't what you want (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com).
Also worth noting is that, despite its thin texture, this serum leaves a greasy-slick feel on skin that doesn't dissipate easily. You may or may not mind the finish (especially if you apply this at night) but ultimately we don't advise that anyone applies this hyper-expensive serum due to the problems high amounts of citrus oils present—and we didn't even go into detail about the other problematic ingredients this serum contains, such as peppermint and ginger oils. Ouch!
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin’s ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Aging and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
One more comment, just in case you’re curious: this serum cannot (we repeat: cannot) restore lost volume or lift sagging skin. Skin care has limitations, and volume loss/sagging cannot be adequately addressed without the use of cosmetic corrective procedures such as dermal fillers and, when needed, surgery.
Is your skin getting everything it needs? If not, then it's probably time for some real nutrition.This luxuriously silky serum—specially formulated to rescue, restore, and renew—utilizes the proprietary Restor8™ Complex of anti-aging ingredients and skin moisturizers to address eight signs of aging: wrinkles and sagging skin, dehydration and lack of volume, dullness and uneven pigmentation, roughness and enlarged pores. A sophisticated concentration of Vitamins, Nutrients, Peptides, and Antioxidants helps to smooth and firm, moisturize and plump, even out skin tone, and refine texture.
Water/Aqua/Eau, Dimethicone, Propanediol, Isohexadecane, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Isocetyl Stearate, Glycerin, Myristyl Alcohol, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Maltodextrin, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Peel Oil, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Oil, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Sucrose Palmitate, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Myristyl Glucoside, Siegesbeckia Orientalis Extract, Triethanolamine, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tocopheryl Acetate, Rabdosia Rubescens Extract, Polysorbate 80, Glyceryl Linoleate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Commiphora Mukul Resin Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Ceramide 2, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Citral, Limonene, Linalool
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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