For a product that claims "Toner, reinvented," this alcohol-free toner doesn't add anything new or all that exciting. If anything, its core ingredients may just leave your skin feeling confused! The water-based formula contains a high amount of a type of clay known as montmorillonite, which is absorbent, not moisturizing. The formula also contains several fragrant plant extracts that pose a risk of irritation, and are often seen in "natural" AHA exfoliants. This toner doesn't exfoliate and ingredients such as sugar maple extract do not work like tried-and-true AHAs such as glycolic acid.
A few beneficial ingredients are included, but it's basically too little, too late. Even if this toner had more of the good stuff, with each use you're exposing skin to fragrant oils (including detrimental lavender; see More Info for details) known to cause irritation. Talk about a big step backward!
Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. It is a must to avoid in skin-care products, although it's fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
Toner, reinvented. Alcohol-free toner nourishes skin with conditioners and without dryness. Hyaluronic Acid supports your moisture barrier so skin is toned without tightness. Alpine Rose Stem Cell Technology provides optimum antioxidant protection. Helps brighten, clarify and balance skin in a single swipe. Why dry when you can nurture your skin?
Water/Aqua, Polysorbate 20, Montmorillonite, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit/Leaf Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Hydroxide, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract, Butylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Disodium EDTA, Maltodextrin, Beta Glucan, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Hydrolyzed Chondrus Crispus Extract, Sodium Dihydroacetate, Citric Acid, Phospholipids, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Rhododendron Ferrugineum (Alpine Rose) Leaf Cell Culture Extract, Isomalt, Lecithin, Sodium Benzoate, Lactic Acid, Lavandula Angustilfolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin
Makeup artist Jeanine Lobell has been at the helm of Stila since its inception in 1994, and her creations have an impressive history of blending innovation with eye-catching, fun packaging. Of course, this innovation is not without its price, and you will find some rather ordinary products where the packaging or dispensing method is the only thing that's exciting. Where Lobell struck gold is with her superlative collection of foundations. We’ve examined hundreds of makeup lines for this and previous editions of this book, and Stila has had and continues to maintain one of the best collections of truly neutral foundation colors. For anyone confused about what we mean by "neutral tones," you need look no further, though we are pleased that more mainstream lines (including L'Oreal, Revlon, Clinique, and even Cover Girl) are now creating wonderfully neutral foundation colors. Stila's foundations aren't inexpensive, but it's critical to get a foundation that's right for you, and that may mean splurging. Other stellar categories include concealers, blush, eyeshadows, brushes, and much better mascaras than in years past.
Once an independent brand with a first-to-market approach to clever cardboard packaging that was sleek, urban, and utilitarian at the same time, Stila's presence and product lineup and distribution expanded (with mostly favorable results) when it was acquired by Estee Lauder in 1999. It was a bit perplexing when Lauder announced in late 2005 that it would sell Stila to "optimize our portfolio of brands" and put more attention (read: financial resources) into their M.A.C. and Bobbi Brown brands (Source: The Rose Sheet, April 17, 2006, page 4). Ironically, of those three brands, Stila has the most compelling collection of products. M.A.C. and Bobbi Brown are no slouches, but Stila always had a slight edge, at least in the complexion-enhancing categories.
An affiliate of Sun Capital Partners (naming itself Stila Corporation) bought the brand from Lauder in spring 2006 and has been at the helm since. Lauder's no longer owning Stila led to the brand's hasty exit from department stores, a move that left many shoppers wondering what the heck happened (and, at least in the stores we visited, the sales associates were vague about the line's future). Luckily, Stila still has a home in Sephora stores worldwide, and is randomly distributed in select department stores. That's great news, because there is much to love about this line, and the most recent crop of products proves that Stila has every intention of remaining a competitive player in the compelling game that is the cosmetics industry.
For more information about Stila, visit www.stilacosmetics.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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