Thursday, 20 October 2011

Review- Max Factor Ageless Elixir

Let me begin by giving you a disclaimer; I did not buy this- I was sent it by Super Savvy Me for the purposes of trial and marketing. The fact that I have received this for free has not influenced my opinion at all.

Max Factor describes Ageless Elixir as a 2 in 1 foundation and serum, with the aim of protecting the skin from aging. It contains SPF15 which they claim will reduce melanin exposure thus reducing further age spots and wrinkles caused by UV damage. Max Factor also claims that this helps care for your skin with anti-oxidants and moisturisers. The foundation is supposed to help even the skin tone without clogging in fine lines and wrinkles and diffusing their appearance with light reflecting particles.

These are all very bold claims. I have to say I was dubious whether I could get a skin treatment and makeup in one step but I found it interesting. After all, who wouldn’t want to take a few minutes out of the daily routine? However some of the science seemed odd to me. I’m not a scientist but I like to think I have an understanding of the basics of cosmetics science. Dubious scientific claims tend to bring out the nerd in me.

For a start, niacinaide and N-acetyl Glusosamine are skin lighteners. Topical applications of either in the quantities used in this formula are unlikely to lighten skin significantly. The moisturising comes from glycerine, an effective moisturiser but something I personally dislike in a foundation; I’ll come to that later. The anti-oxidant package consists of vitamin E, allantoin, panthenol and green tea. Green tea is a fantastic anti-oxidant and can slow aging but it is unlikely to have an effect on extrinsic aging in these quantities. I’m not going to get into the vitamin E debate. There are too many conflicting studies about its topical use. It can heal, causes irritation, can prevent aging, can thin skin making it more likely to sag… See, this is why people get irritated with science! Panthenol (aka pro-vitamin B5) is a fantastic ingredient that can heal skin, and it can give a smooth appearance. Allantoin seems to work well in small concentrations to prevent skin irritation and as a protectant. The SPF15 is obviously beneficial but it isn’t broad. So as usual, we’ve got some fancy sounding ingredients that sound great in advertising and some fairly standard ingredients that work but aren’t exactly ground-breaking.

Ok, wake up- the science bit is over. 

The packaging is acceptable. It isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, being a bit beige and boring, but the pump to disperse the product is very good. One small pump is enough to cover my face. The texture of the product is incredibly sticky. If I use my fingers to apply it they feel gluey and need washing immediately. I found using a brush, in either stroking or stippling motions, made the product smear. Using a sponge gives the best results but as I hate using them I find this quite a negative.

My skin isn’t the worst but there are things I dislike about it. I’m prone to sensitivity breakouts on my chin and I have some acne scarring. My discoloration isn’t bad but I do have prominent nasal labial folds. I also have combination skin with a slightly oily T-zone and slightly dry cheeks and under eye area. Therefore I need a foundation that brightens my skin without settling into lines, won’t irritate my skin, won’t oxidise and will last on my nose and forehead. So does Max Factor’s Ageless Elixir do this?

Medium/Full coverage? Don't think so!
In a word, no. For a start, the Ageless Elixir will not settle onto my skin without using primer and an awful lot of powder. I can’t imagine I get much of the supposed skin benefits over primer. Not only that I can feel a constant film on my face- I can feel that I’m wearing foundation. I find this a lot with glycerine heavy foundations and I’ve never liked them.

The coverage is supposed to be medium to full but I find it to be quite sheer. You can still see some of my imperfections.  Because it is sticky and doesn’t set, layering is difficult and I’ve found it makes my pores look very obvious. It does nothing to reduce my dark circles, so I still have to use a concealer. However, it doesn’t sink into the fine lines around my mouth and eyes, with or without primer. I’m also not a fan of the colour. It's darker than the Revlon shades that I find work on my skin. I used the lightest shade, Light Ivory. As you can probably see from the comparison shots, it is slightly too dark. Becuse of the shade being too dark, the camera hasn't picked up how ashy this is. I’m a cool-neutral so a shade has to be seriously ashy to look bad on my skin but I felt I looked quite grey and washed out. I suspect this is due to the light reflecting pigments being silvery/white rather than a pink or golden tone. However, looking on the positive, it didn’t oxidise. I’d rather look like a mushroom than an oompa loompa. I couldn’t see the benefits of the light reflecting pigments as I had to wear so much powder over the top. 
Light Ivory, Buff, Shell

All the fancy sounding ingredients suggest there should be long term benefits of the product. I only used it for 3 weeks before I gave up on it, but I can state conclusively that my skin felt no benefits whatsoever. I don’t look any younger from using it- in fact, the ashy tone made me look older! Not only that but I ended up with a huge breakout on my chin and cheeks. I can’t say having whiteheads and cystic acne made me feel particularly youthful, despite their links to teenage hormones.
FOTD using Ageless Elixir.

I can categorically state that I HATE this foundation. It might be good for those with drier, less sensitive skin than mine but if you have sensitive or combination skin avoid it. The shade range isn’t particularly good either. For this finish of foundation I would rather buy Photofinish. Bourjois Healthy Mix seems to have similar benefits for nearly half the price of Ageless Elixir, which seems expensive for a 30ml high street foundation at £12.99. As for mine, it's heading to someone who might see the benefits- because I certainly don't.

Probably works well on skin that needs a lot of moisture and likes glycerine
Great pump applicator
Didn’t settle into lines so long as primer was used
Doesn’t oxidise

Poor coverage
Not for combination/oily skin
Needs to a lot of powder and primer to feel comfortable on the skin, negating the spurious skin benefits
Gave me a combination of cystic acne and whiteheads
Application is a nightmare

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