Ageless Clarity Daily Resurfacing Pads are supposed to exfoliate lines and wrinkles, and while the solution in which these pads are steeped contains ingredients that can do that, at least in theory, the formula just has too many problems to recommend.
Nuance's site claims that the star ingredients in here are alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and lactic acid (note that lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid; the two are not different categories of ingredients), and those can indeed help brighten skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and reduce pore size.
AHAs perform beautifully when they're in the proper pH range for exfoliation to occur, but the pH in this formula is too high for that (around 4.4; the upper limit for effectiveness is 4), so you're not quite getting a brightening effect or reducing fine lines in the way a well formulated AHA would.
When it comes to reducing pore size, salicylic acid (BHA) is far more effective than AHAs because it can penetrate oil, and even though it is present in this formula, there is such a small amount that it won't make a difference (BHA is optimally effective at 1% to 2%).
Then there's the serious matter of the SD alcohol this contains, which can cause dryness and free-radical damage as well as collagen breakdown if used repeatedly. See More Info to learn more on why alcohol should not be included in skincare products.
The formula also includes witch hazel water, which means more alcohol, potentially irritating citrus extracts, and the research proven irritating fragrance chemical eugenol. Ouch! Together, this mix has the potential to make your skin feel and look worse, not better.
There are many other beneficial exfoliating products that we recommend instead of these pads. You can find them on our lists of Best AHA Exfoliants (to treat wrinkles, fine lines, and even skin tone) and Best BHA Exfoliants (to reduce pore size, redness, and signs of aging).
There is a significant amount of research showing alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels. Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skincare products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If this weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol causes skin cells to self-destruct.
The research also showed that these destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer their exposure to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration. (Sources: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419; Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, August 2009, pages 20–24; "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; Alcohol, volume 26, Issue 3, April 2002, pages 179–190; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, April 2001, pages 109–166; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
For more on alcohol's (as in, ethanol, denatured alcohol, and ethyl alcohol) effects on skin, see our article on the topic, Alcohol in Skin Care: The Facts.
With alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid & vitamins A & C.
Water (Aqua), Sodium Lactate, Butylene Glycol, Lactic Acid, SD Alcohol 40-B, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharinum (Sugar Maple), Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Polysorbate 80, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Fragrance (Parfum).
A reasonably priced retinol product with packaging that keeps the retinol stable; good skin-brightening product; excellent cream body cleanser; good body cream for dry skin.
Many products contain lavender oil, which is a known skin irritant, despite its nice scent; most of the moisturizers are packaged in jars, meaning many of the beneficial ingredients will lose their effectiveness once the lid is opened; many of the “star” ingredients lack independent research proving their effectiveness; very few fragrance-free products; an anti-acne product that has the potential to make acne breakouts worse.
It’s a simple fact of the cosmetics industry, and it’s been the case for decades: A beautiful actress or model touting the benefits of a brand can have an enormous influence on how people make decisions about what products to buy! Everyone from Cindy Crawford to Jennifer Aniston has sold their face and fame to a cosmetic company to proclaim its benefit. Now, actress Salma Hayek has an eponymous line of skincare and makeup products called Nuance Salma Hayek.
Hayek’s acting career began in her native Mexico, where she became a star after appearing in successful films and telenovelas. She then made the jump to Hollywood and found commercial success in English-speaking projects, as well as branching out into directing and producing. Cosmetics companies took note of Hayek’s success and ethnic beauty, which lead to Revlon contracting Hayek to be one of their models in late 1999.
In 2011, Hayek decided to strike out on her own by creating Nuance Salma Hayek. The actress says the inspiration for the line is her grandmother, who used traditional Mexican home remedies to craft her own skincare products. Many of Nuance’s products contain the same ingredients (or at least derivatives of those ingredients) used by Hayek’s grandmother, such as blue agave and prickly pear. As nostalgic and folksy as that sounds, anecdotal stories about skin care don’t relate to the phenomenal evolution of research that now exists about skin.
While it is possible that blue agave and prickly pear are decent ingredients for skin, there is scant evidence or any research proving that to be the case. Though there certainly isn’t any negative information yet about these extracts, the fact that Nuance relies heavily on them for anti-aging benefit means they’re ignoring some truly great ingredients with vast amounts of proven research showing they work!
Even more to the point, regardless of how good an ingredient is for skin, whether the concern is dryness, acne, signs of aging, oily skin, blackheads, sagging, puffy eyes, or anything else, skin is a complex organ, and one or two good ingredients is not even remotely enough to take the best care of it. Believing these kinds of homespun tales will end up hurting your skin. The same way eating only the same two or three foods every day wouldn’t keep your body healthy, two or three ingredients won’t keep your skin healthy, either.
Aside from the marketing spin, the line itself, which is extensive, has far more negatives than positives. The facial moisturizers rely heavily on jar packaging, meaning the light-and air-sensitive ingredients in those products will start to lose their effectiveness as soon as the jar is opened. Another misstep is the inclusion of lavender oil in many products—a not-so-great natural ingredient that research has shown can cause many problems, including skin-cell death, meaning it has no place in skincare products! Yes, lavender smells good, but oftentimes what pleases your nose isn’t going to make your skin happy.
Of course, there are some standout products among Nuance’s offerings. There is a good—and affordable—retinol product, as well as an excellent skin lightener, a truly great body cleansing cream, and a body moisturizer that’s great for dry skin. As a whole, though, the line is largely unimpressive, and is bolstered more by its celebrity cache than by the strength of its products’ performance.
Note: Although Nuance Salma Hayek offers makeup, too, only the skincare is reviewed at this time. We noticed that our area CVS stores carried only a small portion of the makeup, and many items were deeply discounted, which is a sign the color line might be going away.
Nuance Salma Hayek is sold exclusively at CVS Pharmacies. For more information, visit www.cvs.com or call 1-888-607-4287.
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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