Au Naturale Eye Essentials Kit

Garnier Ultra Lift Serum is a Face Scorcher....and That's No LYE!

The first product in my series of the good, the bad and the ugly of skin care and makeup ingredients is a product from Maybelline's GARNIER brand.

The product is Garnier Nutritioniste Ultra Lift Firming Serum.

First off....let's hear a bit about why this product was chosen.

I love my stepmother to pieces. She is probably my best friend, as well as being a parent-figure. She has gorgeous skin, and looks about 20 years younger than she is without plastic surgery or Botox. She is very much into natural skin care and health care and her skin looks just fantastic. That being said, she can easily fall prey to slick advertising. She has always been a fan of Sarah Jessica Parker. When she saw her on an ad for Garnier skin care, she thought SJP must use all of those products (RIIIGHT...just like she uses a $5 box of hair color to achieve her base color and several shades of woven in highlights and lowlights...).

Sandy (my stepmom) rushed out to buy this line (she will try anything once...from drugstore to exclusive spa). She called me and told me she was eager to try the Ultra Lift Serum. A few days later, she called me and was nearly in tears because her skin was so sore. She said it felt like her skin was burning away. I thought she was exaggerating a bit until I saw her at Christmas. Her skin literally had a layer burned off and peeling. I took her bottle of serum (the only difference in her skin care regimen) and looked at the back. In addition to abour 30+ questionable ingredients in terms of safety, I saw SODIUM HYDROXIDE. Why on earth is Garnier putting lye in a firming serum?

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye. It is used in the soapmaking process. I used to use this regularly in order to make my soaps. If you are using handmade soap, you are using a soap made with lye at some point in the process). Lye is toxic. It is highly caustic, with the ability to cause severe burns and irritation, as well as breathing difficulties. It has been linked to cancer and toxicity to the lungs. Recently, lye has been linked more and more to cancer.

Why is LYE appropriate in soapmaking? The saponification process is a chemical reaction. In quick layman's terms, the scary, harsh lye becomes nothing to fear once it is blended with the fats...You could say that the harshness, the burn gets "cancelled out" by the glycerin and oil (IF MADE & CURED PROPERLY). If you are going to buy ANY product made with lye, you have to buy it from someone who has been doing this for, in my view, at least a year. You must use a scale. You must get EVERY SINGLE measurement exact. There is NO room for error when working with lye.

I recently sold all of my soapmaking equipment. This was sad. I had a very popular soap (Miss Honey Buns) and despite numerous requests to bring it back, I made my last loaf in November. I have 24 bars total of this and then I will have to buy some!

I mentioned before that my hubby works from his home office. When this happened, I was "evicted" from my large 2-room workshop to make room for his office equipment. It is imperative to have a completely separate area to make CP soap--AWAY from pets and children. I had that, and when I had to move to a smaller workshop which is within reach of my little ones being able to open a door, I knew I could no longer work with lye. It is that powerful. I no longer have lye in my house because of the risks.

So, as you can see, lye is in your cold process and other handmade soaps, but it is NOT going to harm your skin if the soapmaker is a pro and follows every step of the process.

HOWEVER, sodium hydroxide has no business being in a facial serum! This serum isn't laden with oils and there is not a saponification process to make the sodium hydroxide a non-factor. It is irresponsible and dangerous to keep this product on the market when effects ranging from mild redness and irritation to severe burns are more than likely to occur.

Here is what is in this serum:

INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Dimethicone, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, BIS PEG 18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Rosa Canina/Rosa Canina Fruit Oil (Omega 3+6), Hydrolyzed Rice Protein (Rice Protein), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Vaccinum Myrtillus/Vaccinum Myrtillus Extract, Glycine Soja (Glycine Soja Soybean Protein), Fagus Sylvatica Extract (Fagus Sylvatica Bud Extract), Polysilicone-8, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Polycaprolactone, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Lecithin, Poloxamer 188, Sodium Dehydroacetate, T-Butyl Alcohol, Phenethyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Chlorphenesin, Parfum/Fragrance.

Not so many good ingredients! The brand touts its Rice Protein (look at PERLIER'S BLACK RICE LINE FOR A GOOD RICE PRODUCT) and Omega 3's, Soy, etc...but there are dozens of iffy chemicals in this. What a horrible product!

Besides the LYE, what else should be avoided?

Chlorphenesin--Is restricted in Japan. Several studies have shown this ingredient to affect the brain and nervous system at just moderate doses.

Sodium Dehydroacetate--Linked to cancer and reproductive system toxicity

Poloxamer 188--broad systemic toxicity, toxicity to liver, kidneys

I have written to Garnier, so we shall see if I hear back. This is one of the worst ingredients labels I have encountered in many years of label reading!

I have several other products to look at in depth...Keep emailing me at and I'll be happy to answer your questions!

I must say that I am not a medical doctor and these statements are my viewpoints and should be considered opinions (although I have thoroughly researched them!)