L'Oreal's series of Wrinkle Expert moisturizers is meant to make choosing the best anti-aging moisturizer as easy as counting the number of candles on your birthday cake. To that end, they offer age-designated moisturizers for women aged 25, 35, 45, and 55+.
The problem? Age is not a skin type! A woman at age 29 can absolutely have more signs of aging than a woman of 39 or 45—it all depends on how much sun damage she's accumulated from neglecting daily sun protection. Plus, a woman at 50 can have oily, blemish-prone skin and a woman in her 20s can have dry skin. And, of course there's the issue of how well someone has taken care of her skin over the years.
Ironically none of the Wrinkle Expert moisturizers contain ingredients that have any relevance based on age. Even more to the point is that there's absolutely no research showing skin needs special ingredients at different ages. In fact, regardless of your age it will benefit and thrive in the short and long term if you use daily sun protection with SPF 30 or greater and when all your products are loaded with antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients.
Sadly, those ingredients are largely absent here; the few antioxidants that are included won't remain effective for long due to each Wrinkle Expert moisturizer being packaged in a jar. See More Info for details.
For someone with normal to combination skin that leans towards being slightly dry, this moisturizer's creamy yet lightweight texture provides smoothing moisture and a supple feel. But then you also need to consider that the formula contains more fragrance than state of the art ingredients, including label-touted collagen (which, for the record, cannot shore up the collagen in your skin).
See our list of Best Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) for numerous options (including with sunscreen) that contain a great mix of ingredients to help skin look smoother and younger, including seeing far less fine lines and wrinkles. Those are the "wrinkle experts" we recommend checking out!
Jar Packaging & Anti-Aging Moisturizers: This anti-aging formula is packaged in a jar, which means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable for long once it's opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients are air-sensitive and begin to break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective.
Jars are also unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, contaminating the product. This leads to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.
When shopping for an anti-aging moisturizer, the ingredients that provide the most benefit for addressing visible signs of aging among many other concerns need to be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging.
References for this information:
Pharmacology Review, July 2013, issue 14, pages 97-106
Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, issue 3, pages 252-259.
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, May 2011, issue 9, pages 4676-4683
Current Drug Delivery, November 2011, issue 6, pages 640-660
Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82-88
Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1-10
Why Fragrance is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This leads to all kinds of problems, including disruption of skin's healthy appearance, worsening dryness, redness, depletion of vital substances in skin's surface, and generally keeps skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see the negative influence of using products that contain fragrance has on skin, the damage will still be taking place even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see or feel the effects on your skin for your skin to be suffering. This negative impact and the visible damage may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410-1,419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166-175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77-80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821-832
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement pages 1-43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446—475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, issue 11, pages 789-798
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, issue 4, pages 191-202
L'Oreal Paris At-A-Glance
Strengths: Budget-friendly prices; good makeup removers; wide assortment of self-tanning options; one of the best, most comprehensive makeup collections at the drugstore, with superb options in almost every category; the mascaras are a tough act to follow.
Weaknesses: Jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas; many of their skincare formulas contain problematic amounts of fragrance and/or other irritants; exaggerated anti-aging claims.
L'Oreal's extensive makeup collection retains its stature as one of the better selections at the drugstore, though they have stiff competition from Revlon and, in some cases, sister company Maybelline New York. In recent years L'Oreal has made significant strides with foundation shades, powder textures, concealers, and, of course, superlative mascaras that rarely fail to impress. Their lipsticks are excellent and you will find many L'Oreal makeup products have a Lancome counterpart, and that the differences are minor—if there are any at all.
L'Oreal's displays in many drugstores reflect better-organized products and shade categories (though testers are still scarce). Given the number of lipsticks they sell, it only makes sense to put them in color families so consumers have a better shopping experience. Their True Match products are also sensibly laid out, but the rest of the foundations aren't as organized, likely due to the smaller selection of shades. Speaking of foundations, L'Oreal has made further strides by offering more that provide sufficient UVA protection. Revlon still has the edge for consistently launching impressive foundations with sunscreen, but at least L'Oreal is (finally) catching up.
The bottom line is that every category of L'Oreal’s makeup has some winning (and in some cases, benchmark-setting) products.
Unfortunately, despite the brands’ enormous presence in the beauty industry, L'Oreal's moisturizers and treatment products are a nearly all unremarkable and repetitive. When it comes to moisturizers or serums, just about anything from Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, or Aveeno is preferred. L'Oreal does well with most of their cleansers, along with scrubs and self-tanning products, but given the widespread availability and financial resources of this line, they could be doing so much more. The good news is their makeup has made major strides and now ranks as the best overall color collection at the drugstore—imagine the results if their skin care followed suit.
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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