Helen Mirren is an inspiring icon for the aging woman. She always looks effortlessly stunning. In fact, she’s so low maintenance she’s reputed to cut her own hair. In her new commercial for L’Oréal, she looks directly at the camera and says confidently, “We’ve still got and we’re still worth it.” Cheers to that! In the ad, she’s so charmingly sassy — so Helen Mirren — that I almost bought the product she’s touting, Age Perfect Rosy Tone Moisturizer ($24.99).
There seems to be a nascent trend for products that bring back your natural glow, wake up tired, wan skin and impart the rosiness of health — all without foundation or blush. The subliminal message is wonderful: No matter your age, you can be bare-skinned beauty. L’Oréal is full on with a pink apple-cheeked Mirren and a pot of cream that is whipped, rosy and as edible-looking as a raspberry fool at a summer picnic.
Those of you who know the Truth In Aging ethos will guess that I didn’t bask in Mirren's warm and inviting glow for long. It was straight on to the ingredient list and oh dear…Helen, I hope you don’t actually use this on your own skin and that, after encouraging other women to do so, you atone by giving your fee to a worthy cause.
I realize that L’Oréal Age Perfect Rosy Tone Moisturizer is a drugstore product, and I didn’t expect to find it brimming with smart anti-aging technologies. But I didn’t expect it to be quite so shockingly full of things that come straight from the to-be-avoided list. I’ll draw your attention to a few.
There’s PEG-40 stearate, which although not deemed to be an irritant, it may have toxic impurities and is not recommended to be applied on broken skin. Mineral oil is a cheap byproduct of petroleum and can also have impurities as well as being comedogenic. Octyldodecanol is an emollient that studies have shown can enhance the irritation effect of other ingredients. Controversial preservatives include parabens (associated with birth defects) and phenoxyethanol (a possible neurotoxin).
You have to get through various bulking agents, synthetic fragrance, polymers, colorings and light diffusers before getting to anything worthwhile, which really amounts to a couple of plant extracts. Although, I must admit that they are interesting. One is an extract from chickpeas that is supposed to protect skin tone. Iris extract is rich in isoflavones and mimics estrogen to resist wrinkle formation, dryness and sagging. The third, vigna aconitifolia seed extract, is said to work in similar way to retinol to encourage cell renewal, but without the irritating side effects.
There are about 50 ingredients in L’Oreal Age Perfect Rosy Tone Moisturizer, so these three don’t stand much a chance. “Washed out sometimes, washed up — never”, says Helen. I can’t say the same of L’Oréal.
Ingredients in Age Perfect Rosy Tone Moisturizer: Aqua/water, squalane, cyclohexasiloxane, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, peg-40 stearate, paraffinum liquidum/mineral oil, myristyl myristate, pentaerythrityl tetraethylhexanoate, octyldodecanol, sorbitan tristearate, butylene glycol, acrylamide/sodium acryloyldimethyltaurate copolymer, phenoxyethanol, synthetic fluorphlogopite, ci 77891/titanium dioxide, isohexadecane, capryloyl salicylic acid, acrylonitrile/methyl, methacrylate/vinylidene chloride copolymer, mannitol, methylparaben, ascorbyl glucoside, parfum/fragrance, chlorphenesin, stearyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, mica, polysorbate 80, paeonia albiflora root extract, disodium edta, ci 77163/bismuth oxychloride, ci 77491/iron oxides, hydrolyzed cicer seed extract, sorbitan oleate, isobutene, sodium hydroxide, iris florentina root extract, vigna aconitifolia seed extract, cyclodextrin, sodium cocoyl glutamate, faex extract/yeast extract, hexyl cinnamal, tin oxide, benzyl alcohol, hydroxycitronellal, benzyl salicylate, linalool, limonene, geraniol, alpha-isomethyl ionone, disodium succinate, f.i.l. # d191503/1