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philosophy

the microdelivery dream peel 6% aha/bha

1.70 fl. oz. for $ 60.00
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The microdelivery dream peel 6% aha/bha by philosophy turns out to be a questionable choice for skin. Here’s why…

While the glycolic and lactic acids (AHAs) + salicylic acid (BHA) are excellent chemical exfoliators for smoothing and hydrating skin as well as unclogging pores (thanks to BHA), here the formula’s pH of 4.2 goes slightly above the range needed for effective exfoliation (3-4). That’s not to say you won’t get any benefit at all—this could still help refine skin to a certain degree—but considering there are plenty of AHA and BHA exfoliants that get this formulary factor right, there’s really no reason to settle, especially since the formula goes from dreamy to nightmarish for your skin…

The nightmarish portion begins with the mix of irritants, including multiple fragrant citrus ingredients as well as witch hazel. The water form of witch hazel is less problematic than the extract form because of its diluted nature, but needless to say, the formula would be safer for skin without it. In our testing experience, we even felt a warming sensation on skin as we applied dream peel, which is an indicator of inflammation happening below the surface. That’s bad news for skin—see our More Info section to get the full scoop on how irritating skin care products can have long term repercussions.

This peel otherwise contains a good mix of replenishing ingredients, antioxidants, and hydrators. In particular, the inclusion of niacinamide is a welcome addition to help refine pores. But does that make up for the aforementioned flaws? No, and there’s no reason to subject skin to the irritants when there are several well-formulated AHA/BHA products without them.

In case you’re curious, the thin gel formula is dispensed through a rubbery spatula-like tip via the opaque squeeze tube. It looks fun and spa treatment-esque, but it’s a gimmick more than anything, as we found this made spreading the formula over skin take longer.

Pros:
  • Contains a mix of hydroxy acids known to improve skin.
  • Replenishing ingredients, antioxidants, and hydrators are good additions to the formula.
Cons:
  • Inflammatory effects of irritants in the formula can wreak havoc on skin.
  • The pH of 4.2 holds the chemical exfoliants back from working at their full potential.
Tested on animals: Yes

The microdelivery dream peel is an award-winning at-home face peel that works overnight and over time to reveal ultra-smooth, healthier-looking skin with refined lines and less-visible pores.

Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Lactic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Maltodextrin, Niacinamide, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Cetearyl Olivate, Panthenol, Salicylic Acid, Sorbitan Olivate, Polysorbate 20, Polymnia Sonchifolia Root Juice, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, Citric Acid, Punica Granatum Seed Oil, Disodium EDTA, Salvia Hispanica Seed Oil, Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glucose, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, Limonene, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Magnesium Hydroxide, Vanillyl Butyl Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Lactobacillus, Lactococcus Ferment Extract, Pantolactone, Hyaluronic Acid, Silanetriol, Sodium Benzoate, Sorbic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Ascorbic Acid, D&C Red No. 33 (Ci 17200), FD&C Red No. 4 (Ci 14700).

philosophy At-A-Glance

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.

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