Estee Lauder reminds me of those big old media companies trying to move into the digital age because its old newsprint business is dying, while it can’t quite bring itself to embrace change. Via the Truth In Aging’s Twitter feed, we were asked if  we’d taken a look at Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator ($58). I hadn’t, but when I did what I saw was Rupert Murdoch trying to impersonate Mark Zuckerberg.

Estee Lauder has a bit of an issue, its consumer base is dying as fast as Reader’s Digest’s and so the company has been buying up younger, greener hipper beauty brands such as Origins. The memo must have gone round saying that everyone, Origins or not, needs to go big on botanicals. And after the old school base of silicones, Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator has raided the green market.

Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator is pitched as suitable for every ethnicity and skin tone and able to deal with redness, acne marks and dark spots. Much is made of a key active contributing to even skin tone is ascorbyl glucoside, this is supposed to be a stable form of vitamin C combined with glucose, but about which little independent information or research seems to exist. Acetyl glucosamine does have some research behind it to show that it reduces hyperpigmentation, but it seems to do a better job when coupled with niacinamide (unfortunately not present here).

As far as the plant extracts go, turmeric seems to have the most relevance in dealing with hyperpigmentation, as research shows that it inhibits melanin production.  Mulberrry is also a skin lightener with the slightly different action of inhibiting tyrosinase activity. Grapefruit may also inhibit melanin as well, but the research is sparse and the only convincing one mixed it with orange and vitamin C. Gentiana lutea (gentian extract) is likely here because of its anti-bacterial activity that might help keep acne at bay.

Other botanicals have an important role too. I especially like scutellaria baicalensis, which is a proven antioxidant and one study has show it to inhibit UVB damage. Trametes versicolor is a type of mushroom that is also an antioxidant.

So far, I’m fairly impressed with Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator, but sadly the second half of the formula degenerates into what is mostly a motley mix of fillers such as the emollient isohexadecane, co-polymers and solvents.

I was amused to see that Estee Lauder’s Idealist has a product twin. Not an identical one, but one that bears a striking resemblance. It is Even Better Dark Spot Corrector by sister company Clinique. Well, at least they keep their formula sharing in the family.  My guess is that one day Estee Lauder will be retired and Clinique will take over as the company’s anti-aging brand but without embracing the new too, too much. They are certainly chips off the same block.  Rather like Rupert and James.

Ingredients in Estee Lauder Idealist

Water, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, PEG-10, Dimethicone, Gentiana Lutea (Gentian) Root Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Morus Bombycis (Mulberry) Root Extract, Trametes Versicolor Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Salicylic Acid, Caffeine, Cholesterol, Acetyl Glucosamine, Squalane, Yeast Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Isohexadecane, Dimethoxytolyl Propylresorcinol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Polysorbate 20, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Sulfite,  Sodium Metabisulfite, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Di-C12-18 Alkyl Dimonium Chloride, Fragrance, Tromethamine, Tin Oxide, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Linalool, Limonene, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891) , Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Carmine (CI 75470)

Ingredients in Clinique

Water\aqua\eau ,dimethicone ,isododecane ,cyclopentasiloxane ,polysilicone-11 ,butylene glycol ,ascorbyl glucoside ,peg-10 dimethicone ,curcuma longa (turmeric) root extract ,oryza sativa (rice) bran extract ,citrus grandis (grapefruit) peel extract ,hordeum vulgare (barley) extract\extrait d'orge ,triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract ,betula alba (birch) bark extract ,cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract ,dimethoxytolyl propylresorcinol ,scutellaria baicalensis root extract ,morus bombycis (mulberry) root extract ,trametes versicolor extract ,saccharomyces lysate extract ,yeast extract\faex\extrait de levure ,peg-6 ,tromethamine ,salicylic acid ,polysorbate 20 ,cholesterol ,isohexadecane ,propylene glycol dicaprate ,helianthus annuus (sunflower) seedcake ,caffeine ,tocopheryl acetate ,acetyl glucosamine ,simethicone ,glycyrrhetinic acid ,polysorbate 80 ,sodium hyaluronate ,di-c12-18 alkyl dimonium chloride ,sodium rna ,squalane ,sodium sulfite ,sodium metabisulfite ,caprylyl glycol ,hexylene glycol ,ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer ,acrylamide/sodium acryloyldimethyltaurate copolymer ,disodium edta ,phenoxyethanol ,yellow 6 (ci 15985) ,yellow 5 (ci 19140)