Review - Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart (launched 14 August 2016)
This product was given to me (for free) for the purpose of trial and review. But if you have the patience to finish reading this review you would agree with me that I still give my honest opinion on this product.
I was very excited to have been invited to attend the Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart product pre-launch event at the Beautyheaven headquarters. We attended a presentation where the representative from the brand gave us quite detailed information about the product. Elizabeth Arden supplied each of attendee a full size "City Smart" for trial and review.
The product features a few things
1. a "Hydrating Shield" to screen out pollutants.
4. "DNA enzyme complex" which "strengthens skin by supporting its natural repair systems"
In my review I will outline my experience and/or response to each of these features.
I have listed the ingredients of this product at the bottom of the page.
Ingenious soft tube packaging with a pump! This design minimises the contact of product with air, which in turn reduces the rate of the "antioxidants" in the product from being "oxidised" and loosing the effectiveness. Bonus point - scored!
And now for the more serious stuff...
Let's talk about the function. First is the "shield". The City Smart information leaflet says "Smart polymers form an invisible skin shield to screen out skin-dulling pollutants". In the pre-launch presentation, we have been told that some pollutants are so small that they can get into human pores and invoke inflammatory response. On my inspection, the ingredients which form the "shield" are likely to be the ACRYLATES/POLYTRIMETHYLSILOXYMETHACRYLATE COPOLYMER (and possibly also ACRYLATES/ETHYLHEXYL ACRYLATE/DIMETHICONE METHACRYLATE COPOLYMER).
They are both silicone acrylates polymers. The theory is that the silicone forms a film (the so-called "shield") on top of the skin, so that pollutants cannot get into the pores. While the concept is great, there is just one problem... If pollutant particles cannot get in, other substances cannot get out either. (Think sebum, and dead skin cells.) Immediately, this is a red flag for me.
Another relevant point to note is that this product is silicone heavy. I have roughly counted that there are about 10 variations of different forms of silicone. In the cosmetics industry, silicone itself is generally considered safe to use and non-comedogenic. However, "shield-forming" function aside, apart from preventing skin moisture lost to an extent, silicone does very little other than being filler and a slipping agent (and hence the very nice smooth feeling after application). Due to this reason, I do not purchase skincare products which contain a high percentage of silicone, as I do not consider it to be an "active ingredient". Silicone-heavy products for me are "cosmetics" rather than "skin care", although silicone is so common that it is almost impossible to avoid completely.
The ingredients list shows two prominent physical sunscreen components, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, as the 5th and 6th ingredients. What is slightly concerning, however, is the inability of Elizabeth Arden to market this products as an "SPF" product in the Australian market. Because of this, the effectiveness of the sunscreen can be considered "unknown" for the purpose of using it in Australia and I would highly recommend (and this is what I did) using either a chemical sunscreen (with SPF) under City Smart or a physical sunscreen (with SPF) on top of City Smart, or both, if sun exposure is anticipated.
There is a good cocktail of antioxidants in City Smart such as green tea extract, ferulic acid, idebenone (an analogue of co-enzyme Q10) and vitamin E. While I am very impressed with this mix, the first antioxidant is listed as the 22nd ingredient in the list, flagging to me a low concentration of antioxidants. Also thrown into this mix is carnosine (listed as the 20th ingredient), an anti-glycation (damage to protein by sugar molecules) and anti-oxidant which has been widely studied in the context of ingestion. Studies on the effects of topical use are limited.
"DNA enzyme complex"
I can spend a day on this topic. In short, from reading the ingredients list the "enzymes" are likely to be contained in a plant extract (ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA EXTRACT) and also a bacterial lysate (MICROCOCCUS LYSATE) which, if given the optimal conditions, have the ability to identify DNA damage and excise it. However, the enzymes themselves do not repair DNA. The excision of damaged DNA may trigger the intrinsic repair mechanism to then repair the damage. In fact, Elizabeth Arden's promotional material only goes so far to say this complex "strengthens skin by supporting its natural repair systems".
The two ingredients are not new inventions. Both ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA EXTRACT and MICROCOCCUS LYSATE are present in an array of Clinique Repairwear products. As usual I have doubts on how stable the enzymes are in this particular product, the effective concentration, how can the enzymes be effectively delivered through layers of skin cells, how can the enzymes be transported across the cell membrane (and the nuclear membrane) where they will finally (and hopefully) find their target and do their job. Certainly there is no evidence that these enzymes would cause any damage to skin, so there is no harm done if you want to give it a go. But personally speaking, like any other "DNA" claims in cosmetic products I would discount this aspect altogether when considering the functions of the product.
City Smart is a thin lotion and glides on skin very smoothly. It is also slightly tinted to a beige skin colour but it goes onto skin completely transparent. I use approximately 1.5 to 2 pumps for the whole face and neck. It is very lightweight, with a subtle fragrance that is close to nothing and does not linger. The texture feels like a thin makeup primer. We are meant to use this product after moisturiser and before makeup.
During the trial period (approximately 10 days) I used City Smart daily. For those 10 days I have a very dewy look which I love. I have tried using this product without makeup, with foundation on top, and with CC/BB cream on top. Whenever I use this product, I notice that the shine that sometimes can happen to my T-zone is completely controlled - No shininess even after 10 hours. The shine-control ability is truly amazing and it is something that I did not expect at all. It is also very comfortable to wear - I cannot feel that the product is there. Overall, I am very surprised at the excellent cosmetic effects of this product.
Unfortunately, from day 5 onwards, I have noticed 2 (big) pimples and some congestions in places that are normally not prone to congestions (i.e. forehead and cheek). By day 10, the 2 big pimples have turned gigantic, 1 on each side of my cheek (what a great look) and new congestions started to pop up around my lips! So I had to stop using City Smart and, not surprisingly, the congestions have cleared up in the next 7 days. Coincidence? Maybe. But I am not brave enough to trial it again for another 10 days.
All-in-all, a good product to use for the cosmetic effects. As a preventative product, it will be pretty hard to tell whether the shield or the antioxidant blend has worked (I could not see a visible difference to skin tone and other signs of aging, for example). Personally speaking, I do not like applying a high level of silicone on my skin on a daily basis and I am also reluctant to spend so much money ($89 per 40ml) on anything that is this silicone heavy and without proper SPF.
CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, WATER/AQUA/EAU, ISODODECANE, DIMETHICONE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, ZINC OXIDE, 012-15 ALKYL BENZOATE, ISOPROPYL MYRISTATE, PENTYLENE GLYCOL, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, SILICA DIMETHYL SILYLATE, CAPRYLYL METHICONE, POLYGLYCERYL-3 POLYDIMETHYLSILOXYETHYL DIMETHICONE, ACRYLATES/POLYTRIMETHYLSILOXYMETHACRYLATE COPOLYMER, GLYCERIN, ALUMINUM HYDRDXIDE, STEARIC ACID, PEG-9 POLYDIMETHYLSILOXYETHYL DIMETHICONE, CARNOSINE, ACRYLATES/ETHYLHEXYL ACRYLATE/DIMETHICONE METHACRYLATE COPOLYMER, ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA EXTRACT, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, DISODIUM EDTA, ERGOTHIONEINE, FERULIC ACID, HYDROGEN DIMETHICONE, HYDROXYDECYL UBIQUINOYL DIPALMITOYL GLYCERATE, LECITHIN, MICA, MICROCOCCUS LYSATE, PARFUM/FRAGRANCE, PEG/PPG-18/18 DIMETHICONE, PLANKTON EXTRACT, SODIUM PCA, TIN OXIDE, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, TRIETHOXYCAPRYLYLSILANE, ALPHA-ISOMETHYL IONONE, LINALOOL, CHLORPHENESIN, PHENOXYETHANOL, IRON OXIDES (CI 77491, CI 77492. CI 77499), TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891).
Red = Silicone
Orange = Silicone for film forming
Green = Antioxidant
Purple = enzymes