Laneige extols BB Cushion SPF 50+ as a revolutionary BB cream with "cushion technology" that comes into play as you press the included puff (or your fingertips) into the compact's sponge soaked with the liquid formula. While that may sound intriguing, this kind of compact isn't the most practical, and, more important, the formula itself is a mixed bag of good and bad. Let's investigate each of the highly touted "5-in-1" benefits to see why.
Benefit number one: Brightens. BB Cushion does contain the hydroquinone derivative, arbutin, which may have melanin-inhibiting properties. However, in this type of compact, the arbutin won't remain stable for long, although we do applaud Laneige for the effort.
On the plus side, what will help prevent future dark spots from forming is the in-part mineral sunscreen, which leads us to benefit number two: Protects. BB Cushion SPF 50+ offers broad-spectrum sun protection via a blend of mineral and non-mineral sunscreen actives, which is great from a health and anti-aging perspective!
Benefit three: Cools and hydrates (via "Optimal Mineral Water"). We debunk the mineral water gimmick in the brand summary, but here's where things get even murkier: The formula is noticeably fragranced, which means there is the potential for skin damage and irritation (see More Info). Even though BB Cushion SPF 50+ might feel nice, what it's doing below the surface is putting skin at risk. That's enough reason to avoid it, but if you're still curious, read on.
Benefit four: Prevents shine. BB Cushion has a subtle light-reflective finish that looks natural and works great for normal to dry (and even slightly oily) skin, but because it lacks oil-absorbing ingredients, it does NOT prevent shine. If you have oily skin and were drawn to this product because of that claim, forget about it.
Benefit five: Provides long-lasting coverage.
This can be applied semi-sheer or built up for more coverage. In either regard, BB Cushion holds up reasonably well throughout the workday, so we can give them that point.
Despite some decent qualities, this BB cream comes with some potentially skin-irritating side effects that really make it more trouble than it's worth. If you're intrigued regardless, three shades are offered in the United States: Light (suitable for light, but not truly fair, skin tones), Medium (on the warm side, but workable), and Dark (orangey, proceed with caution). But really, why bother when there are BB creams that far outperform this one? Check those out in our list of best-rated Tinted Moisturizers/BB Creams here.
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 (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008; and American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012; and Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Brightens. Protects against UVA/UVB rays. Cools and refreshes. Helps prevent shine. Delivers natural, longer-lasting coverage.
Active: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (7%), Titanium Dioxide (4.15%), Zinc Oxide (9.8%). Other: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Arbutin, Butylene Glycol, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate/Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Aluminum Hydroxide, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Stearic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Phenoxyethanol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Isostearic Acid, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Isopropyl Palmitate, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Acrylates/Stearyl Acrylate/Dimethicone,Methacrylate Copolymer, Melia Azadirachta Extract, Yeast Extract, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.
Strengths: SPF-rated products provide broad-spectrum sun protection; utilization of some intriguing melanin-inhibiting ingredients.
Weaknesses: Highly fragranced formulas put skin at risk of irritation; use of see-through bottles and jar packaging weakens the potency of the beneficial ingredients; claims for “mineral water” don’t stand up to the research; despite a higher-than-average drugstore price point, Laneige products aren’t superior to their competitors.
Laneige is a South Korean brand owned by high-end cosmetics company, AmorePacific. Launched in 1994, the story behind this brand centers around mineral water—which they tend to label “Optimal Mineral Water”—harvested from the snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas. They allegedly spent 20 years perfecting its scientifically engineered properties for skin and, according to Laneige, this “superior water” is the secret to hydrating, protecting, and revitalizing skin.
Here’s what we really know: All water that’s included in cosmetics, regardless of the source, must go through a rigorous purification process, and there isn’t any research showing that water from any one source is better for skin than water from any other source. More to the point, repairing and hydrating skin is not as simple as adding water. Even Laneige’s highly touted mineral water won’t retain moisture in skin unless the outer barrier is reinforced with ingredients like antioxidants, emollients, and skin-repairing ingredients—all of which are required or the water just evaporates. So, does Laneige deliver in that regard? Yes and no.
The problem is that their products tend to include beneficial ingredients right alongside potentially irritating ingredients (including fragrance), which detracts from what the good ingredients would otherwise be able to do for skin. In some cases, the jar or clear bottle packaging further impedes the potency and stability of the formula because many of the superstar ingredients break down in the presence of air and/or light.
As far as Laneige makeup goes, at the time of this review they sell only a BB cream in the United States, but it is also plagued by the inclusion of potentially irritating ingredients.
In the end, despite their highly touted Korean brand prestige and steeper-than-average mass-market price point (the line is sold at Target stores in the United States), Laneige ends up being more about marketing fluff than what’s actually good for skin. Beyond the mineral water, Laneige products would have merit for their anti-aging prowess, but their inclusion of potential irritants and the use of packaging that compromises the stability of the beneficial ingredients renders the products generally unworthy of consideration.
For more information about Laneige, visit www.us.laneige.com.
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