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Reading the initial reviews online, Benefit “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation ($34.00, Amazon.com) sounds like a dream come true. The foundation contains a Benefit’s Oxygen Wow Hydrating Complex, which they claim helps boost cellular respiration for a “plumping up” effect.
Does it really infuse skin with oxygen?
Not really, no. Still, this may be a good thing: While a lot of “oxygenated” creams contain hydrogen peroxide, or even spheres of actual oxygenated air, some scientists believe these oxides and oxygenated creams could lead to damage within the skin: “Increased oxygen concentrations can also lead to an increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). If antioxidant defenses are not completely efficient, ROS can cause cell injury including DNA damage.” (Toxicology Letters, 2002).
Still, there is more to the picture than that: Whether or not an oxide causes damage to the skin depends on whether or not there are other antioxidants present; the stability of these antioxidants (i.e., light, air exposure, stabilizers); whether or not the oxides are micronized or encapsulated, etc. The small concentration of titanium dioxide in “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation acts more as a sunscreen than an actual source of oxygen – and this is, in truth, a very good thing.
Does the Product Increase Cellular Respiration? What Does that Mean?
I have to hand it to Benefit’s marketing department on this one: Saying a product contains “oxygen” and increases “cellular respiration” gives the impression that this product is somehow infusing your skin cells with oxygen, helping them “breathe.” In true scientific terms, cellular respiration is a process in which cells convert nutrients into energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and waste products. I’ve never read any independent published scientific studies that have shown any of the ingredients in “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation to increase cellular respiration when applied topically. I’m assuming they are making the claim on the basis of including yeast, S. cerevisiae, which has been shown to aid in wound repair (Nature, 2000).
My point? I doubt Benefit “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation increases oxygenation or cellular respiration rates very much. And if the effects by some stretch of the imagination happened to be dramatic, this would not be a very good thing either. The body does a very good job of naturally regulating its own levels of oxygen and ATP, and it could have detrimental effects, such as oxidative damage from the release of excess reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Still, this is one pretty great foundation!
So, no, I’m not a fan of the scientific-sounding claims. Yet I must say, Benefit “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation is a great foundation. A little goes a long way, as just one pump was enough to cover my entire face. It is very thin, light, and blendable, yet layers well to give buildable coverage. Due to its high concentration of silicones, it does not accentuate or get stuck within tiny skin crevices, but rather fills these in, sealing with a dewy, light-reflective finish. Due to the iron oxides and silica, it also appears to immediately “brighten” the skin somewhat.It is a little difficult to find a shade that is an absolute match – Benefit “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation comes in only nine different shades (shown above) at this time. Another issue is that the high concentration of silicones may make this difficult for women with oily or acne-prone skin to wear; you may look like you’re shining like a headlight after a few hours. Yet for those with dry or aging skin, this is a dream!
What’s more, vitamins C and E work to provide antioxidant support and to enhance the power of sunscreen up to four times when used in concentrations of 15% and 2%, respectively (Acta Dermato-venearologica, 1998). Although Benefit “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation contains far less vitamins C and E than this, it’s still a good benefit to have.
Although this post originally may have sounded a little harsh, in truth, I love Benefit “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation for those with normal, dry, or aging skin. No, I don’t love the quasi-science claims of increased oxygenation and cellular respiration, but, in truth, your skin will look more plump and hydrated due to the silicones and light-reflective particles. I guess it’s just more exciting to believe it’s because from increased oxygen – sometimes, i suppose, ignorance is bliss. Either way, Benefit “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation is a buy for everyone except those with oily or acne-prone skin.
Product Rating: 9/10 (High or optimized concentration of proven ingredients: 2/3. Unique formulation or new technology: 3/3. Value: 3/3. Sunscreen: 1/1).
Ingredients in Benefit “Hello Flawless!” Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation
Aqua (Water), Dimethicone, Glycerin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Isododecane, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate / Dicaprate, Pentylene Glycol, Maris Aqua (Sea Water), Phenoxyethanol, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Silica, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Stearic Acid, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, Alumina, Tocopheryl Acetate, Propylene Carbonate, Prolinamidoethyl Imidazole, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, BHT. [+/- : CI 77002 (Aluminum Hydroxide), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)]. N° 06161/A.