Review of Garnier UltraLift Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer
Garnier claims very good things for their UltraLift cream. In fact, they were so confident that it works to make skin appear more youthful, they sent out thousands of free 14-day ‘UltraLift Challenge’ samples, along with a ‘wrinkle reader’ to measure the visible results of using the moisturising cream on an everyday basis. I was lucky enough to receive one of these sample packs, and although I didn’t find that every claim lived up to my expectations, I was pleased enough with the product to buy full sized jars of both the day and night creams and continue my ‘UltraLift Challenge’ for another four weeks. Although it is not my sole moisturiser of choice, it has become a regular part of my skincare routine.
What Does Garnier UltraLift Do?
In a nutshell, the cream is intended to reduce wrinkles, and even get rid of them; make the skin firmer, and give a smoother, more even complexion
Garnier’s claims appear to be backed up not only by the views of women using the cream (80% of over 18,000 women said that they saw results), but by research into one of the natural active ingredients of the moisturiser – an extract of cherries that contains AHAs, which have long been known to have beneficial effects on skin.
Active (Natural) Ingredients in UltraLift and What They Do for Skin
Ginger Extract: Whilst there are dozens of extraordinary claims for the properties for ginger (very few of which are supported by research), Garnier claims only that their cream contains a ginger extract that has a ‘relaxing’ effect on the skin. This doesn’t seem to be backed up by any research links that I could find, so it may be true or it may just be a little bit of flim flam.
Cherry Extract with AHAs: AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy acids) act as an exfoliant by loosening the top, dead, layer of skin (the dead skin that is removed, for instance, in normal abrasive exfoliating skin care routines), and stimulating the production of new skin cells and collagen, which gives skin its firmness and elasticity. Research into AHAs has focused mainly on sun- or acne-damaged skin, although the results seem to suggest that positive effects are thought likely to be seen in non-damaged skin, particularly in the area of preventing and combating wrinkles and thinning skin due to aging.
AHAs and Possible Sensitivity: There is a small potential sensitivity issue with AHAs – they are considered very safe, but can cause dryness, peeling and redness in people with already sensitive skin. This is much less likely at the low concentrations found in moisturising creams, including Garnier’s, and the effect does tend to disappear over time with repeated use, but if you have very sensitive skin it’s worth being aware of the possibility.
Day 1 of the UltraLift Challenge
I tried to measure my skin against the wrinkle reader, but really I can’t tell if the pictures are of the corner of an eye or mouth. I don’t have any ‘wrinkles’ as such, but like anyone else, I think there’s room for improvement – the faint hint of a line here and there that threatens to become a wrinkle in a couple of years. I don’t match up to any of the ‘wrinkle reader’ photos, so I can’t measure the results that way, but the cream promises to ‘firm’ the skin, so I’ll judge it on that instead. Pressing my skin lightly with my finger pads I find that there is some room for improvement in that area, and as I’ve mentioned in other skin care and make up reviews, being British, with the UK’s cloudy, rainy weather to contend with for most of the year, I’m always a tiny bit pale and pasty, so I’m hoping that the exfoliating and renewing effects of the cream will have a little brightening effect.
Day 14 of the UltraLift Challenge
Ok, I’ve been applying the cream, after cleansing, to my face and neck every morning. It feels very cool and refreshing, and absorbs well within a few minutes. It has an immediate tightening effect on my skin as soon as I apply it. I’m not sure this is a visible effect, but I can certainly feel it.
Because it’s summer here in the UK, I haven’t been using as much make up, but on the odd occasion when I’ve been going out for the day and applied full foundation and all the other accoutrements of beauty, I’ve found the cream makes an excellent smooth base. It did tingle a little the first three or four times I applied it, but that tingle disappeared with repeated use.
I have not noticed any difference in the ‘firmness’ of my skin – on the first day of the Challenge I pressed lightly with my finger pads, and now, after 14 days, it still feels much the same as it did, although I have noticed that my skin is a lot smoother.
But although Garnier have given only a 14-day supply of the cream, I have read elsewhere that skin care products can take longer to show any real effects – up to about 4-6 weeks, and for the AHAs to kick in fully can take a lot longer. So, armed with jars of both the day and night UltraLift creams, I’m going to continue for another few weeks.
Day 28 of Using Garnier UltraLift
A month into using the day cream and two weeks using the night cream, and I’m very pleased. My skin seems to have a more even tone – which normally I can only achieve by using a good foundation - and believe it or not, one of my friends said that I looked ‘more relaxed’. I puzzled a bit over this because I’m hectically busy with writing and preparing for a graduate course, until I noticed a couple of days later that a little line just between my eyebrows – probably from poring over books and concentrating, I think – has vanished. It wasn’t really a wrinkle as such, but I’m guessing a few years down the line it would be – so all credit to Garnier, I’m very impressed
I still can’t feel any ‘firming’ qualities from the cream, but I’m going to continue using it for at least another couple of weeks, partly because I really like the feel of applying it – it’s thick enough to feel like a real cream but light enough to absorb quite rapidly – and partly because I want to give the possible firming effects a chance by trying out the cream for a full six weeks.
Day 42 of the UltraLift Challenge – the Six Week Mark!
The Things I Like About the Cream
The Scent – It has a light, fresh, slightly floral natural smell that isn’t too ‘perfumey’.
Application – I like the way this goes on, it’s quite a luxurious feel, with a nice thick coverage that fully absorbs very quickly. On the occasions when I’ve applied make up straight after, it gives a nice base that stops the foundation streaking at all so that I can use less, look more natural, and still have a nice even tone.
Moisturising – my skin really did feel hydrated and protected all day, and very sheer and silky too. The cream does feel a little sticky for a few minutes at first, but it does absorb rapidly and hasn’t left my skin feeling greasy or coated at all.
Gets Rid of Minor Blemishes – I don’t have a very even skin tone naturally. I’m very pale, with some patchy redness in my cheeks. This has reduced considerably over the weeks I’ve been using Garnier’s creams, and although I still haven’t got picture-perfect alabaster skin, I do have a much more even complexion.
Brighter Skin – Garnier doesn’t claim this outright as one of the effects of the cream, but the AHAs in the formula would account for it through their exfoliating and skin-renewing properties. I’ve noticed in the last couple of weeks that I look less pasty and wan. Although it is summer here, I don’t spend any time in the sun (being extremely pale, I burn too easily), and it isn’t a ‘sun-kissed’ brightening in any case, but more of a natural shift from ‘a wee bit pasty-looking’ to ‘healthy’.
‘Wrinkle’ Reducing – as I said at the start, I don’t really have any wrinkles, but I did notice that a ‘concentration’ line between my eyebrows disappeared (unless of course I deliberately frown – this is a moisturiser I’m talking about after all, not a fully-fledged face lift!). Since I've started using the creams, I also don’t think I’ve noticed – even in the bathroom mirror, which is far too revealing and honest for my taste – the tiny little lines that are a sort of ‘pre-wrinkle’ warning sign that age will one day catch up with me. I'm sure I've noticed such horrors before, so I'm going to tentatively credit their disappearance to the creams.
Price – Garnier is a mid-priced brand, and a decent sized pot of the cream (50ml) will set you back around (or for less than, if you shop around online a little) $/£10.
And the ‘Non-Results’ – things that didn’t happen (but that Garnier claims for the cream)
Did Not Firm My Skin – ‘firm skin’ is one of the major claims of the product, but it’s something I couldn’t detect, although I do always notice a temporary ‘tightening’ effect when I apply either the day or night cream. I am wondering if this short-lived tightening is a kind of ‘prequel’ to the AHAs’ clinically proven ability to encourage more collagen production in the deeper layers of skin; from what I’ve read of the research, that particular effect would take much longer to show – maybe months of use. I think I might continue to use the creams to see if they do have this effect over longer periods.
During Garnier’s big drive to market this product, a very large proportion of women did get the desired result from the cream within the 2-week timescale Garnier sets for their sample testing, and with the other benefits, even if, like me, you don’t feel you really need to get rid of any wrinkles, or firm up your skin too much, I think this is definitely a cream worth trying.
I’m coming to like Garnier’s products more and more. They’re low-fuss, reasonably priced, and they largely do what they promise without making extravagant claims. I do think Garnier underestimate the time it takes some of their products to work – I saw much more difference at six weeks than their own estimate of two weeks for their UltraLift cream, but on the whole I think most women probably already know that it takes time before skin care products begin to show results, so perhaps that isn’t a major failing.
I like to use a lot of different creams, and pamper myself rotten, so I can’t say that Garnier’s will become my sole moisturiser of choice, but like few other staples in my skin care routine, I think that when I’m not testing out new products or attempting to create a home spa in my pitifully inadequate bathroom, I will be relying on this moisturiser as a regular and long-term daily (and nightly) cream.