As a result of a mailman mix-up, I returned from vacation to find a lovely, but unexpected sample of Stella McCartney Radiance & Youth Elixir waiting for me to test. I decided to use my total lack of knowledge about the product to my benefit. I purposefully didn't Google the product or read any of the marketing materials, which I knew would no doubt prepare me for (and guide me through) the beautiful transformation of my skin. And, after a 10-day trip across Equador, my face really was in need of something called Radiance & Youth Elixir.

I used it on my 50-year old combination skin as directed (morning and night), although I did skip the "anytime you need a pick-me up" recommendation on the product label. (That is the job of either chocolate or coffee, not a $70 facial cream) My results? A complete bust.... except for having a slightly greasy face for almost two weeks. Not dewy, or super moisturized.... greasy. Greasy as in my 18-hour makeup was completely gone by noon. And, frankly, I don't know any woman who thinks greasy is an interchangeable or accurate synonym for "radiant". Sure the elixir felt good gliding on and the slightly medicinal aroma convinced me that it must be packed with powerful goodies, but the bottom line is that after two weeks of use my skin looks exactly as it did before my twice-daily meetings with Stella. Sigh, I really wanted it to work.

In fairness, perhaps I need to give Radiance & Youth Elixir more time. So I will continue to use it until the sample bottle is empty and will report back then. Maybe it is a product that falls into the "damage prevention" category and not the "damage repair" category. But if you are looking for something even remotely resembling an immediate improvement - even the most subtle of immediate improvements - this is not a product I would suggest you consider. Unless, of course, you are going for the slightly-greasy look.

Ingredients in Stella McCartney Radiance & Youth Elixir

Centaurea Cyanus Flower Water, Aqua (Water), Alcohol, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Algin, Maltodextrin, Camellia Sinensis Leaf
Extract, Geraniol, Linalool, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Hexyl
Cinnamal, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil,
Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum
(Lemon) Leaf Oil, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus Bud Oil,
Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Pelargonium
Graveolens Flower Oil, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis
(Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Vetiveria Zizanoides
Root Oil, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, "4sb02-1."