renewed hope in a jar
philosophy’s built an entire line around its original and rather popular “hope in a jar” moisturizer. Now comes this product, which is supposed to be an amped-up version of the original. But this really isn’t the revolutionary, skincare-changing product philosophy claims and part of the issue is right there in the name (we’ll explain more in a bit)!
What renewed hope in a jar does have going for it is a lightweight, creamy texture that feels soothing to combination, normal, and dry skin (those with very dry skin will have to look for a cream that is more emollient).
When it comes to the formula, it definitely has promise: it contains three forms of AHA, including glycolic acid – and they’re at a pH that means they will be effective in exfoliating skin. That’s excellent news when it comes to anti-aging benefits, as AHAs can help smooth out and repair some amount of sun damage (one of the chief causes of aging). Disappointingly philosophy doesn’t reveal the percentage of AHAs it contains, but we suspect it has between 3–5% glycolic acid, while the others comprise less than 1% of the formula.
Also included are some antioxidants to help with free-radical damage – and this cream omits the potentially skin-damaging lavender oil present in its original incarnation.
A lingering problem is that there’s still fragrance included, and fragrance can cause irritation. Surprisingly, this contains more fragrance than the called-out anti-aging ingredient hyaluronic acid, yet fragrance isn’t the least bit anti-aging - if anything it is pro-aging!
Adding to the issue is that this is packaged in a jar. Even though philosophy is known for its “…in a jar” products, that doesn’t change the fact that jar packaging means the good ingredients in here aren’t going to stay effective for very long after the package is opened (see More Info for full details on the reasons why). Because of this, we suggest checking out one of the superior (and better-packaged) options on our list of Best Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Products.
- Lightweight cream sinks into skin and leaves it feeling moisturized.
- Contains AHAs at a pH that means they will work effectively to exfoliate skin.
- Has antioxidants that can help fight free radical damage.
- Packaged in a jar, meaning its light- and air-sensitive ingredients won’t stay stable for long after it’s opened.
- Contains fragrance, which has the potential to cause irritation.
Jar Packaging: The fact that it’s packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you’re dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria that further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.
The vast majority of ingredients that are most beneficial for your skin are not stable in the presence of light and air, which is exactly what happens when you take the lid off a jar (Pharmacology Review, 2013 & Journal of Biophotonics, 2010).
One of the critical factors in any anti-aging or skin-healing formula is the amount and variety of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients, and the more the better. These function in a variety of ways to reduce the effects of the constant environmental stresses your skin experiences (Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012 & The Journal of Pathology, 2007).
Antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients not only can help prevent free-radical damage, but also, to a fairly impressive extent, help repair that damage. Surprisingly, almost all of these ingredients are just as vulnerable to sun exposure, pollution, and cigarette smoke as your skin (Pharmacognosy Review, 2013 & Journal of Biophotonics, 2010).
Once you open that jar you bought, you immediately compromise the stability of the anti-aging superstars it contains. (You can visualize their benefits disappearing like puffs of air each time you open up that lid!)
philosophy skin labs original breakthrough moisturizer is changing the face of skin care again. The revolutionary lightweight, whipped formula of hope in a jar is renewed and infused with a new innovation: clinically proven skin renewal technology. This groundbreaking formulation features a triple blend of alpha hydroxy acids, 3 forms of hyaluronate plus an Asian fruit extract, delivering an even longer-lasting glow and continuous hydration benefits. Reaffirm your commitment to beautiful skin with renewed hope and face the future with a whole new outlook.
Strengths: Relatively inexpensive;some of the best products are fragrance-free; very good retinol products; selection of state-of-the-art moisturizers; innovative skin-brightening product.
Weaknesses: Irritating and/or drying cleansers; average to problematic scrubs; at-home peel kits far more gimmicky than helpful; several products contain lavender oil; several products include irritating essential oils;the majority of makeup items do not rise above average status.
Believe in miracles. That's the "lifestyle" branding statement philosophy makes, which is an approach that is decidedly different from their former positioning, which encompassed family values and spirituality along with a dash of department-store lan and endearingly clever quips. The miracle angle may grab your attention, but the company is also quick to point out that its history is steeped in providing products to dermatologists and plastic surgeons worldwide (so, in addition to miracles, philosophy has a serious side, too). Although its heritage may have included providing clinically oriented products to doctors,we have yet to see or hear of any medical professional retailing philosophy products. And that's a good thing because, by and large, most of philosophy products are resounding disappointments. Moreover, several products, including almost all of their sunscreens, contain one or more known skin irritants. We would be extremely suspicious of a dermatologist or plastic surgeon who recommended such products to their patients, and even more so if they actually believed some of the more farfetched claims philosophy makes.
Interestingly, when you shop this line at department stores or at the cosmetics boutique Sephora, what you'll notice is the preponderance of food- and drink-scented bath products, all in vivid colors or cutely boxed for gift-giving. It seems that somewhere along the way, the company decided to promote these nose-appeal products while downplaying their more serious-minded, simply packaged skin care. Perhaps the body lotions and bubble baths have become philosophy's bread and butter. Given the hit-or-miss nature of their facial-care products, that's not surprising. Then again, they've also heavily promoted their anti-aging-themed Miracle Worker products...
So what's to like if you're into the vibe philosophy puts out? Well, this is still a line with some well-formulated staples, including an AHA product, some retinol options, and a handful of state-of-the-art moisturizers. The products that get the most promotion at the counter are the ones you should avoid, such as the at-home peels, scrubs, pads, and anti-acne products. However, the somewhat confusing, conflicting image philosophy presents shouldn't keep you from considering their best products, but it's not a lifestyle brand in the sense that using the entire line will somehow bring you a more joyful existence, or significantly improved skin. The philosophy line is now owned by Coty, a cosmetics brand primarily known for their fragrances. Their acquisition of philosophy is their first major foray into a widely-distributed skin care brand.
For more information about philosophy, call (800) 568-3151 or visit www.philosophy.com.
Note: philosophy opts to use lowercase letters for every product they sell, so the listings below are simply following suit.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.