Prep + Prime Face Protect Lotion SPF 50 once earned our highest rating, but its most recent reformulation turned out to be a downgrade. Why? While it still provides reliable broad-spectrum sun protection and some beneficial ingredients, those are now combined with potentially irritating, fragrant ingredients that can actually pro-age skin.
That's a shame considering the blend of antioxidant-rich plant extracts and beneficial kukui oil that this has to offer (and more to love, the opaque squeeze tube packaging helps keep them stable). The formula also has anti-inflammatory properties to help calm skin, but then things go awry…
What soothing benefit Prep + Prime Face Protect Lotion SPF 50 could have had is largely negated by a handful of fragrant irritants in the formula. Although the scent isn't overpowering, it's particularly concerning that this contains a problematic component of lavender oil, linalool. (See More Info to find out why linalool is bad news for skin.)
Though linalool is present in a small amount here, the fact that it is combined with other fragrance ingredients (lavender flower water) emphasizes its risk for provoking inflammation and free-radical damage in skin.
Otherwise, this daytime moisturizer has a thin, breathable lotion texture that absorbs comfortably into skin. It isn't overly emollient nor is it too drying—just somewhere nicely in between for those with normal to combination/dry skin.
FYI: The formula does have a slight sheen from the inclusion of mica, and though it's subtle, it's something those with oily skin should avoid if they want a truly shine-free complexion.
In the end, Prep + Prime Face Protect Lotion SPF 50's combination of good and bad ingredients amount to a gamble for skin. Instead, look to our list of Best Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen for skin-friendly options.
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).
M.A.C. Cosmetics At-A-Glance
What more can one say for this long-standing makeup line whose products have spoken eloquently for themselves for years? In many ways, M.A.C. Cosmetics is a pivotal line not only for makeup artists but also for any in-the-know cosmetics consumer. Although M.A.C. has several singularly outstanding products, they generally excel by virtue of the range of choices offered. The color selection for everything from lipsticks to foundations is exceptional. Most of the makeup brushes are beautiful, full, and soft, as well as properly sized to fit the contours of the face and eyes.
When it comes to skincare you may be tempted to dismiss the small assortment M.A.C. offers and skip right to their makeup with its well-earned positive reputation. But doing so would mean missing a handful of beautifully formulated products that are worth trying. By no means is M.A.C.'s skin-care line one-stop shopping (at least not if you have blemishes, skin discolorations, or require more than a couple options per category), but you'll find more than just the color products impressive here, and the prices aren't unreasonable either!
M.A.C.'s salespeople are often trained makeup artists, too. This is especially true in the freestanding M.A.C. boutiques, where the staff tends to be true makeup artists.
Note: M.A.C. sets itself apart from other beauty brands by staying ahead of the curve by launching a seemingly-constant rotation of impressive limited edition products, usually with fashion-forward themes. Though it's impossible to review every limited edition product, many of M.A.C.'s are as impressive as those in their permanent collection.
Strengths: Some impressive moisturizers; praiseworthy foundations in a mostly gorgeous range of shades; good concealers; several great powder-based products including blush, bronzer, and eyeshadow in various finishes; dizzying array of lipstick shades in mostly sumptuous formulas; several very good mascaras (regular and waterproof); top-notch makeup brushes; many of the Prep + Prime products work as claimed.
Weaknesses:A few products with high levels of potential skin irritants.
For more information about M.A.C. Cosmetics call (800) 588-0070 or visit www.maccosmetics.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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