We’ll state right from the beginning that this product does not mattify skin and is incapable of controlling excess oil and its resulting shine. The texture of this product and how it feels on skin resembles a lightweight moisturizer, not a mattifier. And no longer how long you wait, this never sets to a matte finish—from the get-go, your skin begins and stays shiny.
So assuming you’re not interested in this for controlling shine, it is worth considering in other respects? Although it contains some helpful ingredients (including antioxidants) for dry skin, many of the plant extracts it contains are fragrant and documented irritants. This also contains fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation, another strike. Ironically, applying irritating ingredients to oily skin stimulates excess oil production at the base of the pores, so skin ends up being more oily and pores become (or stay) enlarged. If you want to see improvements in oily skin, the best approach is to treat your skin gently with effective products designed to absorb excess oil, exfoliate inside the pore, and help normalize pore function (Sources: Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366; and Dermatology, January 2003, pages 17–23).
Bottom line: Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum is not recommended. Yes, this does contain clay, but its surrounded by thickening agents and emollients that keep it from doing its job of absorbing excess oil.
Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum is a treatment formula for normal to oily skin that tones and hydrates while minimizing the appearance of pores and controlling shine. It is also proven to provide 24-hour antioxidant protection.
Aqua (Water), Isononyl Isononanoate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Steareth-2, Steareth-21, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Solum Fullonum (Fuller's Earth), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Spiraea Ulmaria Extract, Sanguisorba Officinalis Root Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Silica, Polyacrylamide, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Tetrasodium EDTA, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Laureth-7, Sodium Hydroxide, Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol, Geraniol, Phenoxyethanol, BHT
The story of how Boston-bred "fresh" came into existence is full of compelling adjectives and phrases like "dynamic," "passions," "inspiration," and "destined to create." It seems that back in 1991, two happy newlyweds, both with artistic backgrounds, felt there was a void in the world of luxury bath soaps. They searched far and wide, but could not find a soap that met their criteria. They began experimenting, gained a following for what they developed, and fresh was born.
Their success has led them from a single boutique in Boston to a series of shops in New York City and a presence in upscale department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. In 2000, fresh was purchased by luxury good purveyor (and owner of Sephora) LVMH, which is not surprising given fresh's price point and positioning.
Naturally, given all of this attention, fresh quickly expanded beyond soaps. They now also offer "future of beauty" products that capitalize on such innocuous-sounding, good-for-you ingredients as black tea, rice, and soy, coupled with the latest scientific advances. In other words, according to fresh, they're giving you the best of nature and science, with a heavy accent on natural (even though in most cases it's the synthetic ingredients that are responsible for their product's texture and functionality).
In the marketing copy each fresh product includes a history of how it came to be. It's pleasant to read about products inspired by stories passed down from one generation to the next, and about cultural secrets that have been discovered, incorporated into cosmetic potions, and adorably packaged for your "fresh lifestyle" experience. However, we wouldn't encourage anyone to rely on fables and anecdotal information when it comes to making serious decisions about how to care for your skin, any more than you would do so to make dietary or health-care decisions. What your grandmother ate or what your great-grandmother put on her skin is no more relevant than basing your computer needs on what they were using back then. We now know a lot more about skin care than ever before in history. Going back to the old ways may sound idealistic, but that doesn't take the best care of you.
Almost the entire fresh premise revolves around their products' fragrance content. For all their talk of cutting-edge technology and the wisdom of traditional remedies, what you will notice most about all of these products is the almost overpowering fragrance. Compared with countless other skin-care and hair-care lines, including Aveda, Bath & Body Works, and Origins, fresh is far more perfumed—and that spells trouble for all skin types. Perfume and eau de cologne, natural or otherwise, are serious problems for skin. The irony is that fresh's signature scents are what put them on the map, and what continue to enthrall consumers. (Women find it hard to give up fragrance in their skin-care products, just like lots of women can't eschew sun tanning, smoking, or using overly expensive skin-care products.) In contrast, many of the natural ingredients in fresh products are present only for show, not effect, and the effects from the beneficial plants are impeded by irritating plant extracts.
From facial skin care to body and hair care, fresh products are a collection of relatively standard to below-average formulations counting on the romanticized stories behind them to help them make the leap from store shelf to your home, and that seems to be happening quite a lot. However, very few of fresh's facial-care products have anything that approaches the current state of the art, especially in regard to interesting skin-identical ingredients, anti-irritants, or antioxidants. And for all the fancy posturing, their soaps are just that, soap, and the fragrance is the only unique aspect of each. None of this makes for superior skin care.
For more information about fresh visit www.fresh.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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