Garnier is an international brand that needs no introduction in our country. Not only is it widely available on all of our drugstores, it is also used by a big number of people in this country, especially those who are into budget skincare because of its very affordable price.
Garnier is founded in France in 1904 with Alfred Amour Garnier’s launch of his 1st patented plant-based hair lotion, La Lotion Garnier. Over the decades Garnier expanded into skincare and cemented its reputation as a beauty expert. I bought this Light Complete Whitening Serum Cream and have been using it on and off for about two months and here’s what I think about it.
Water, glycerine, alcohol, stearic acid, octocrylene, palmitic acid, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, Niacinamide, dimethicone, silica, Triethanolamine, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, drometrizole trisiloxane, phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid, CI 77891, Tocopheryl acetate, ascorbyl glucoside, hydroxyethyl, acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, hydroxycitronellal, Phenoxyethanol, behenyl alcohol, polyhydroxystearic acid, silica silylate, limonene, linalool, benzyl salicylate, benzyl alcohol, Caprylyl glycol, carpyloyl salicylic acid, fragrance, myristic acid, acrylates/10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, geraniol, cetearyl alcohol, potassium cetyl phosphate, cetearyl glucoside, lemon fruit extract, tetrasodium EDTA, citronellol, hexyl cinnamal, glycerol stearate.
Since this is a whitening product, key brightening ingredients used are niacinamide and vitamin C. Niacinamide is 8th on the list while vitamic C in this serum cream is in the form of ascorbyl glucoside, which is its derivative form and not pure vitamin C (pure vitamin C is very unstable and hard to formulate so almost all brightening products use the derivative forms). Other key ingredients include exfoliant which is capryloyl salicylic acid, sun protection agents which are octocrylene, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, drometrizole trisiloxane, and phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid. These are all chemical sunscreens and the SPF for this serum cream is SPF36. I am quite concerned looking at alcohol as the third ingredient and I hope glycerine is enough to moisturise the skin, considering that this also contains capryloyl salicylic acid as exfoliant and lemon fruit extract, etc. There are also multiple fragrance used in this formulation which are hydroxycitronellal, limonene, linalool, benzyl salicylate, benzyl alcohol, fragrance, myristic acid, geraniol, citronellol, and hexyl cinnamal so if your skin is sensitive to fragrance, you might want to consider this factor.
Texture and Smell
It has quite a viscous creamy texture with a consistency like a sunscreen but buttery and a bit thicker. It feels less thick as I spread it on.
The texture is not sticky but it is definitely greasy.
The smell is really strong to me. It smells powdery, a bit citrusy, and comes off as quite artificial to my nose.
It also leaves a noticeable white cast on the skin. I’m not sure if this is what they meant by instant whitening.
I love a lot of Garnier products but this one is sadly not one of them. The ingredients list sort of confuse me because it is a serum cream but contains both exfoliant (capryloyl salicylic acid) and SPF ingredients. Maybe it is a unique formulation as a hybrid serum cream but I feel like there is too much going on. It contains sunscreen but only at SPF36 PA+++ which is lower than what I always use which is usually at SPF50 PA++++ so I tend to feel the urge to use another sunscreen after using this serum cream which is quite uncomfortable for me due to the finish of this product (more on this below).
Secondly, the smell is disturbingly strong to me. The powdery, citrusy smell turns me off as it doesn’t really dissipate so it lingers on. Lastly and most importantly, what disappoints me the most about this Garnier Light Complete Whitening Serum Cream SPF 36 is its texture and finish. It feels heavy and greasy on my oily combination skin. It reminds me a lot to first generation sunscreen that we were told to wear every time we went to the beach, past few years when sunscreen awareness is not as normalised as now. The whitecast is also troublesome as I still need to apply sunscreen after because I am used to using SPF50 PA++++ and above. Having to put on sunscreen on top of it makes my skin itchy and the finish chalky. It feels like it leaves a white cast layer on the skin and I feel like there is something sitting on top of my face.
I am now repurposing this by using it on my feet and it works well there so I am glad. Besides, it is super cheap so I don’t feel as gutted. As for the whitening effect, I can only see instant whitening from the white cast left and not so much on fading the scars or dark spots or lightening/brightening the skin tone. I think that if you want a brightening or “whitening” effect, it is better to use a concentrated targeted treatment like in a proper serum that is formulated specifically for that concern only instead of a multi-tasker product.
My rate: 2/5
Would I repurchase? No.