Facial mists are increasing in popularity in the world of skincare, and Kate Somerville is entering the market with its Nourish Hydrating Firming Mist. While this lightweight mist does have some positive qualities, the brand makes a misstep by including multiple potentially irritating ingredients, some with phototoxic potential, and as a result, this earns our lowest rating.
Nourish Hydrating Firming Mist comes in an opaque bottle with a misting spray pump and a plastic cap. The good news is that its packaging will keep the beneficial ingredients included (such as antioxidants beet root and algae) stable, protected from light and air exposure.
The problems with this formula are apparent from the first spray, however. Though the texture is lightweight and silky, it has a strong lavender scent that comes from the inclusion of lavender oil. Though it's not very high on the ingredient list, lavender oil can be a potent skin irritant (see More Info for details). That aside, fragrance can cause problems for sensitive skin, and Nourish Hydrating Firming Mist is quite fragrant.
Another concern is that this also contains sweet orange oil (listed in the ingredients as citrus aurantium dulcis oil), which contains substances that can cause a phototoxic reaction when sun is exposed to skin—and that's even if you're wearing sunscreen. See More Info for an in-depth look at the potential problems sweet orange oil can cause.
The rest of the ingredient list is made up of preservatives, film-forming agents, some skin-identical ingredients (like glycerin and adenosine), and two peptides at the end. Though this is labeled as a hydrating product, those looking for a boost of moisture won't find much benefit here: There is very little in the way of emollients, and this includes two absorbent ingredients that are better suited to products for oily skin. One of those ingredients, montmorillonite clay, is claimed here to "detoxify" your pores, but your skin doesn't need detoxifying (see More Info for details on why beauty products can't detoxify your skin).
Though Nourish Hydrating Firming Mist has a couple of positive qualities (its texture and the inclusion of antioxidants), the potentially irritating ingredients it contains mean it's a product we can't recommend. If you are looking for a facial mist, you can find superior options on our list of Best Toners (which are essentially what facial mists are designed to do!).
Lavender Oil: In-vitro research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool and linalyl acetate, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application of as little a concentration as 0.25% causes cell death (Cell Proliferation, June 2004). This study was conducted on endothelial cells, which are cells that line blood pathways in the body and play a critical role in the inflammatory process of skin.
As linalool and linalyl acetate are both rapidly absorbed by skin and can be detected within blood cells in less than 20 minutes, endothelial cells are an ideal choice for such a test (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, 1992). The results of this research also demonstrated that lavender has a damaging effect on fibroblasts, which are cells that produce collagen.
The fragrance constituents in lavender oil, linalool and linalyl acetate, oxidize when exposed to air, and in this process their potential for causing an allergic reaction is increased (Contact Dermatitis, 2008).
If you're wondering why lavender oil doesn't appear to be problematic for you, it's because research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it happening for your skin to suffer damage (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
Ingredients That Have Phototoxic Potential: This product contains sweet orange oil, which is loaded with a class of substances known as furanocoumarins (psoralen) and coumarins. These substances are primarily responsible for what's known as a phototoxic reaction when skin is exposed to the sun. The potential result of UV exposure while wearing this product—even when wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen, as none are 100% effective—is that skin may become discolored (Journal of Food and Agriculture, 2013 and Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 2007).
That's aside from the irritation potential of these essential oils, which is a result of their fragrance compounds (fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types) that can damage healthy collagen production and impair skin's ability to heal (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
Why Beauty Products Can't Detoxify Your Skin: Despite the claims of many a cosmetics company, you cannot "detox" your skin. In fact, brands making this claim never specify which substances their product supposedly banishes—which makes sense, as your skin isn't capable of storing any sort of toxin. An actual toxin is a poison, and we're talking REAL poisons, such as those produced by plants, animals, or insects (think snake venom or bee stings).
So-called toxins cannot leave your body through the pores or through your skin, whether via sweat or other means—they're filtered, broken down, and removed by the kidneys and liver. Heavy metal toxicity, for example, can't be "sweated" or otherwise drawn out of skin; this requires medical treatment to remove them from the body.
Regardless of the skin concern you're battling, "toxins" aren't to blame—and if you're serious about wanting results, stick to what the research says really works (and ignore fantasy claims about "detoxifying" cosmetic products).
Deliver an instant surge of hydration to your skin with Kate’s refreshing Firming Mist! The weightless, alcohol-free formula contains the powerful anti-wrinkle ingredient Matrixyl 3000™, which is clinically proven to lift and firm skin while reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Extracts of Beet Root, Algae, Ginger and Green Tea combine to hydrate, nourish, tone and firm skin, while Montmorillonite Clay helps detoxify and refine pores. Hints of aromatic Lavender and Orange Essential Oils help you relax and de-stress. Gently mist skin before applying serums and moisturizers, or throughout the day to refresh and restore a youthful, dewy glow.
Water/Aqua/Eau, Propanediol, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Butylene Glycol, Algae Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Montmorillonite, Aminomethyl Propanol, Adenosine, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil , Carbomer, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7.
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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