The only thing botanical about this cleanser is its name; it contains far more synthetic ingredients than plants. That’s not necessarily bad for skin, but it does speak to this product’s misleading claims as there is nothing purifying or hypoallergenic about it. See More Info to learn why you cannot rely on the hypoallergenic claim.
The first ingredient listed after water is TEA-lauryl sulfate, a cleansing agent known for its irritating properties. The other detergent cleansing agents are gentle enough, but they should have come first in this formula for it to truly be appropriate for sensitive skin as claimed.
The small amount of plant extracts in here include Kunzea ericoides, an Australian plant that has some antibacterial properties, but in a cleanser it is just rinsed down the drain so any benefit for blemishes is minimal (and this doesn’t have the research behind it that antibacterial agents like triclosan do). This also contains milk thistle, which is a good antioxidant, but problematic for those with hay fever. However, in a cleanser, it poses less of a problem than if it was left on the skin. Psidium guajava is another plant extract included, which has a tiny amount of research showing it can be an antioxidant, which is nice, but useless in a cleanser that is rinsed down the drain.
Overall, this cleanser has far more concerns than benefits and is not the best option from Mary Kay.
“Hypoallergenic” is little more than a nonsense word meant to make products sound safer or somehow better for sensitive skin. There are no accepted testing methods, ingredient restrictions, regulations, guidelines, rules, or procedures of any kind, anywhere in the world, for determining whether or not a product qualifies as being hypoallergenic. Any company can label any product “hypoallergenic” because there is no regulation that says they can’t, no matter what proof they may point to—and what proof can they provide given there is no standard against which to measure? Given that there are no regulations governing this supposed category, which was made up by the cosmetics industry, there are plenty of products labeled “hypoallergenic” that actually contain problematic ingredients and that can indeed trigger allergic reactions, even for those with no previous history of skin sensitivity. The word “hypoallergenic” gives you no reliable understanding of what you are or aren’t putting on your skin (Sources: www.fda.gov; Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, May 2004, pages 325–327;and Ostomy and Wound Management, March 2003, pages 20–21).
This corrective facial cleanser purifies skin and helps cleanse pores. Removes and helps control excess oil without drying, and leaves skin feeling clean as it reduces shine. Contains a special antioxidant-rich botanical complex, is hypoallergenic, and formulated without synthetic dyes or added fragrance. Suitable for sensitive skin.
Water, TEA-Lauryl Sulfate, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, CocamidopropylBetaine, Sodium Methyl CocoylTaurate, Dimethicone, KunzeaEricoides Leaf Extract,SilybumMarianum Fruit Extract, PsidiumGuajava Fruit Extract; MomordicaGrosvenorii Fruit Extract, Lauramine Oxide, Triethanolamine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, PEG-150 Distearate, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea, DMDM Hydantoin
Mary Kay At-A-Glance
Strengths: Most of the products are fragrance-free; packaging that keeps light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use; a handful of well-formulated moisturizers; very good eye-makeup remover; effective wrinkle filler; excellent cream blush and several other impressive makeup products.
Weaknesses: The overall collection is a mixed bag of exciting and disappointing products; several outdated moisturizers and cleansers; no AHA or acceptable BHA products; the CC Cream doesn't provide good enough UVA protection; some lackluster makeup products.
The last few years haven't been glamorous for one of the world's largest direct sellers of cosmetics. Mary Kay lost a lawsuit filed by TriStrata, the company whose founders hold over 100 patents on the use of AHAs in skin-care products. It was revealed that Mary Kay's former AHA products infringed on three of these patents, and, after some back-and-forths in court, Mary Kay ended up paying royalties of over $40 million (interest included) to TriStrata. Perhaps because they're still licking their wounds after this defeat, the company has not launched any new AHA products, and no longer sells the ones that were in question during the legal battle (Source: www.bizjournals.com/dallas/stories/2006/04/03/daily26.html).
However, the company's spin on the issue of AHAs is that they no longer use them because skin-care technology has advanced. That's an interesting twist, but the fact of the matter is that AHA products, when well-formulated, are still considered advanced and capable of doing far more for skin than the alternatives Mary Kay has devised (including an at-home microdermabrasion scrub and products with vitamin C derivatives).
Although they're not a company for you if you are looking for exfoliants (though you should be looking for a good exfoliant), Mary Kay has recently developed a surprising number of excellent products. With over 1.6 million Mary Kay consultants selling products in 30 countries, this family-owned company (founder Mary Kay Ash passed away in 2001) has slowly been proving that they intend to remain competitive with the best of the best. A refreshing change of pace is the omission of fragrance from almost all of the products. Now that is what we call progress!
Despite its size and capital (wholesale figures were $3 billion in 2012), Mary Kay still has a lot to learn. For instance, although their guiding philosophy of empowering women is admirable, the assortment of products still leaves much to be desired. Yes, things are looking up, but there are several weak spots that keep Mary Kay from being in the same league as
If improvements like those in Mary Kay's latest products were translated to the entire line, it would be standing much taller, at least as far as what current, substantiated skin-care research indicates is optimum for creating and maintaining healthy skin. As is, this is a line to approach with a keen understanding of what to focus on and what to avoid. One last bit of good news: Mary Kay offers well-packaged samples of selected products, either directly or from your consultant.
Unless mentioned otherwise, all Mary Kay products are fragrance-free.
Note: Mary Kay is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Mary Kay does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brand’s state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law”. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Research Team.
For more information about Mary Kay, call (800) 627-9529 or visit www.marykay.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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