TimeWise Even Complexion Essence promises to restore a natural, even tone to skin while helping to reverse skin discolorations. Eschewing the established skin-lightening agent hydroquinone, this water-based serum contains niacinamide, ascorbyl glucoside (a form of vitamin C) and undecylenoyl phenylalanine instead.
There is research showing that niacinamide can interrupt the transfer of melanocytes (pigmented skin cells) to keratinocytes (regular skin cells that make the protein keratin), which would essentially cut the discoloration process off at the pass. The researchers pointed out that a positive outcome was dose-dependent, the dosage was not revealed (Source: Experimental Dermatology, July 2005, pages 498–508). A smaller study done on human skin, revealed that a 5% concentration of niacinamide produced a noticeable effect on discolorations after four weeks of use (Source: British Journal of Dermatology, July 2002, pages 20–31) but there's reason to believe lower strengths work too, especially when combined with other skin-lightening ingredients (as is the case with this product).
There is less substantiated research concerning the ability of the vitamin C derivative ascorbyl glucoside to lighten skin, but it has shown potential. And emerging research is showing that the novel ingredient undecylenoyl phenylalanine is an exciting option, especially when combined with niacinamide, as is the case here.
Ultimately, this is a very good skin-lightening product that's worth considering by all skin types. It has a lightweight serum texture and the formula contains several vitamin- and plant-based antioxidants as well as repairing and cell-communicating ingredients like peptides. When used daily, this stands a fairly good chance of improving brown spots, though as with any skin-lightening product, daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen is essential to fading brown spots and preventing new ones.
Formulated with Mary Kay’s patent-pending Lucentrix complex. Clinically shown to restore skin’s natural, even tone by helping to reduce visible dark spots and reverse skin discoloration. See results in as little as four weeks. And with continued use, the powerful results get even better.
Water, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Triethanolamine, Betaine, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, 1-Methylhydantoin-2-Imide, Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Citrus Medica Limonum Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Thymus Extract, Sanguisorba Root Extract, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Oenothera Biennis Seed Extract, Serine, Threonine, Proline, Arginine, Glycine, Alanine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, Sodium PCA, Sorbitol, Polysorbate 20, Butylene Glycol, Laurenth-7, C13-14 Isoparaffin, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Polyacrylamide, Boron Nitride, Carbomer, Sodium Citrate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Mica, Titanium Dioxide
Mary Kay At-A-Glance
Strengths: Most of the products are fragrance-free; packaging that keeps light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use; a handful of well-formulated moisturizers; very good eye-makeup remover; effective wrinkle filler; excellent cream blush and several other impressive makeup products.
Weaknesses: The overall collection is a mixed bag of exciting and disappointing products; several outdated moisturizers and cleansers; no AHA or acceptable BHA products; the CC Cream doesn't provide good enough UVA protection; some lackluster makeup products.
The last few years haven't been glamorous for one of the world's largest direct sellers of cosmetics. Mary Kay lost a lawsuit filed by TriStrata, the company whose founders hold over 100 patents on the use of AHAs in skin-care products. It was revealed that Mary Kay's former AHA products infringed on three of these patents, and, after some back-and-forths in court, Mary Kay ended up paying royalties of over $40 million (interest included) to TriStrata. Perhaps because they're still licking their wounds after this defeat, the company has not launched any new AHA products, and no longer sells the ones that were in question during the legal battle (Source: www.bizjournals.com/dallas/stories/2006/04/03/daily26.html).
However, the company's spin on the issue of AHAs is that they no longer use them because skin-care technology has advanced. That's an interesting twist, but the fact of the matter is that AHA products, when well-formulated, are still considered advanced and capable of doing far more for skin than the alternatives Mary Kay has devised (including an at-home microdermabrasion scrub and products with vitamin C derivatives).
Although they're not a company for you if you are looking for exfoliants (though you should be looking for a good exfoliant), Mary Kay has recently developed a surprising number of excellent products. With over 1.6 million Mary Kay consultants selling products in 30 countries, this family-owned company (founder Mary Kay Ash passed away in 2001) has slowly been proving that they intend to remain competitive with the best of the best. A refreshing change of pace is the omission of fragrance from almost all of the products. Now that is what we call progress!
Despite its size and capital (wholesale figures were $3 billion in 2012), Mary Kay still has a lot to learn. For instance, although their guiding philosophy of empowering women is admirable, the assortment of products still leaves much to be desired. Yes, things are looking up, but there are several weak spots that keep Mary Kay from being in the same league as
If improvements like those in Mary Kay's latest products were translated to the entire line, it would be standing much taller, at least as far as what current, substantiated skin-care research indicates is optimum for creating and maintaining healthy skin. As is, this is a line to approach with a keen understanding of what to focus on and what to avoid. One last bit of good news: Mary Kay offers well-packaged samples of selected products, either directly or from your consultant.
Unless mentioned otherwise, all Mary Kay products are fragrance-free.
Note: Mary Kay is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Mary Kay does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brand’s state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law”. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Research Team.
For more information about Mary Kay, call (800) 627-9529 or visit www.marykay.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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