M.A.C.'s Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula SPF 30 Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has a somewhat redundant name, but its formula is a winner for those with normal to oily or combination skin, even if it's prone to breakouts. True to its name, this is capable of providing broad-spectrum protection, but there's even more to extol…
Critical UVA (the sun's most aging rays) screening is provided by zinc oxide, which joins two other non-mineral sunscreen actives that kick in some UVA and ample UVB protection. Applied liberally, this will protect your face and neck from skin-damaging UV light.
One of the other great aspects of this product is its lightweight, slightly creamy lotion texture feels smooth and not the least bit slick or heavy. In fact, this sets to a slight matte (in feel) finish that provides a bit of hydration (not enough for those with dry skin to rely on) and works well under makeup.
The "Bright" part of the name describes this daytime moisturizer's finish, which is courtesy of the mineral pigments mica and titanium dioxide. The effect is strictly cosmetic, but no question this instantly brightens skin. (This is akin to a more subtle version of M.A.C.'s iconic Strobe Cream.)
Along with anti-aging sun protection, you're also getting a good roster of antioxidants, including a form of vitamin C (ascorbyl glucoside). The amount of this vitamin is good, but in terms of it promoting a more even skin tone, the research isn't there to support the claim. Still, it's not a throwaway ingredient and the mere act of protecting skin from further sun damage, which this can do, will help make skin tone look more even over time.
Now for the drawbacks—Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula SPF 30 Moisturizer contains M.A.C.'s "signature Lightful fragrance" and although its placement on the ingredient list is toward the end, the fragrance does tend to waft and linger long after this moisturizer has absorbed. Because of this, there is some concern that the added scent poses a risk of irritating skin, including skin around the eyes. However, the concern isn't so significant that we don't feel comfortable recommending this.
The lingering fragrance is what kept this daytime moisturizer from earning our top rating. Today's best daytime moisturizers contain minimal to no fragrance, so while M.A.C. wasn't stingy with antioxidants, and esthetically this has a lot going for it, the lingering scent was enough to keep it from the top spot.
Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula SPF 30 Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 earns points for its reliable broad spectrum sun protection, smooth lotion texture that hydrates without heaviness, addition of antioxidants, and, last but not least, opaque, pump-style packaging that keeps those light- and air-sensitive antioxidants stable during use. If not for the lingering fragrance, this would've handily earned our top rating. But it came close, and is a viable daytime moisturizer option for those with normal to oily or combination skin.
How We Rate Daytime Moisturizers with SPF: "Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen" are differentiated from ordinary sunscreens as formulas that make direct anti-aging or other cosmetic claims by the brand, such as "deep moisture" or "redness-relieving." Claims like "combats free radical damage," "protects and firms," "improves skin texture" or others that insinuate benefits beyond what a standard sunscreen formula provides.
Daytime Moisturizers with SPF are judged based upon whether they provide broad-spectrum sun protection, their SPF rating, potential for irritation, packaging, and aesthetics. They must also meet the same standards as an anti-aging moisturizer—the inclusion of beneficial antioxidants or other ingredients to back up the claims of improvements in signs of aging on skin beyond what sun protection alone provides. For more detail on how we rate this category of products, see the Best Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen section of Beautypedia.
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.50%, Zinc Oxide 4.00%, Oxybenzone 2.50%. Inactive Ingredients: Water\Aqua\Eau, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Biosaccharide Gum – 1, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Sucrose, Polygylceryl-10 Pentastearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Squalane, Gentiana Lutea (Gentian) Root Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract\Extrait D’Orge, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Extract, Algae Extract, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Porphyra Yezoensis (Algae) Extract, Silk Powder\Serica\Poudre De Soie, Caffeine, Acetyl Glucosamine, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricnoleate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tourmaline, Cholesterol, Alumina, Silica, Polyethylene, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Xanthan Gum, Tromethamine, Caprylyl Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Citric Acid, Stearic Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorpenesin, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).
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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