Mary Kay

TimeWise Replenishing Serum+C

1.50 fl. oz. for $ 56.00
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Brand Overview

This serum is separated into four vials, with the contents of each said to last one week. After four weeks, you’re supposed to see amazing results. On seeing the ingredient list, we were disappointed. Not only does the formula contain more alcohol and film-forming agent than superstar, beneficial anti-aging ingredients, but also it doesn’t list a single form of vitamin C. We called the company to inquire about this, and they reported that the vitamin C is coming from the Myrciaria dubia and Terminalia ferdinandiana fruit extracts. The former is said to have the highest potency of vitamin C, which is an impressive claim. As it turns out, Myrciaria dubia (also known as camu-camu) is a potent source of vitamin C, although the amount in this serum is proportionately low, so it comes down to a “who cares?” ingredient, at least in the manner Mary Kay chose to include it. (Why not just use vitamin C itself in a potent stable form rather than deliver it through a plant?) Despite the medicinal vials of serum and collagen-protecting claims, this isn’t a serum to get even mildly excited about. Lots of companies offer products with vitamin C along with other beneficial ingredients and no irritants.

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

With NEW TimeWise Replenishing Serum + C, skin will appear lifted and firmed. This antioxidant-rich serum is formulated with ingredients that enhance the production of new collagen and help keep existing collagen from breaking down. It also contains ingredients known to support elastin. The formula is enriched with a potent blend of multiple botanical sources, known for their high levels of vitamin C. The four weekly vials help maximize product freshness and provide an effective weekly application measurement to help you get the best results for your money.

Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Betaine, Alcohol, PEG-32, Maltodextrin, Polyacrylamide, Triethanolamine, Diazolidinyl Urea, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Alcohol Denatured, Disodium EDTA, Malpighia Punicifolia (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Argania Spinosa Kernel Extract, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Urea, Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, Glucosamine Hcl, Methylparaben, Algae Extract, Yeast Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Lecithin, Silanetriol Trehalose Ether, Myrciaria Dubia Fruit Extract, Secale Cereale (Rye) Seed Extract, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Laureth-7, Xanthan Gum, Punica Granatum Extract, Propylparaben, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Carbomer, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Extract, Pinus Sylvestris Bark Extract, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Leaf Extract, Rutin, Benzophenone-4, Ethylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Titanium Dioxide

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 Avon, Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble (Olay), and Johnson & Johnson (Neutrogena, Aveeno, RoC). These include outdated cleansers, toners, and moisturizers, along with letdowns in products designed for oily, blemish-prone skin. The TimeWise product range has expanded considerably, and offers a few state-of-the-art products worthy of its name (although, as with all skin-care products, they're not going to turn back the hands of time and erase all signs of aging).

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 brands state that they dont 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.

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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