We normally don't discuss a lipstick's packaging first, but this time around it's needed! The clever packaging for this lipstick is a headache. Even after you've figured out how to use it (and you have to tear open the box to see the included diagram; since when did lipstick need a diagram?), it remains an annoyance with each use. Here's how it works: When you remove the cap from the base, you must push down on the clear plastic top of the component, which causes the lipstick itself to partially pop out. A stopper keeps the lipstick from dropping out entirely, but then you need to tug to remove it from the case—really, did anyone at Mary Kay try this before launching it?
This is Mary Kay's "age-fighting" lipstick, but if you wear it during the day, you're not doing much to defend against the leading cause of skin aging (the sun) because it doesn't contain sunscreen. Other than sunscreen, this is supposed to give lips their youthful fullness, but don't hold your breath as this formula isn't as state-of-the-art as they make it sound.
The formula is mostly plant oils and waxes (just like lots of other lipsticks), although it contains some good antioxidants and a peptide. The peptide is said to produce collagen, but there's no solid research supporting that it can do that for thinning lips. Besides, the lips losing their fullness with age isn't only about collagen depletion, it's a far more complex process. Texture-wise, this is creamy-smooth, but it retains a slickness that allows the semi-gloss finish to travel into lines around the mouth. If that's not an issue for you, this holds up well before a touch-up is needed, and the darker shades have a particularly strong stain. Sizzling Red is a gorgeous cool red, while Firecracker is a dazzling warm red. Rosette and Mystic Plum are equally gorgeous and Mary Kay offers a couple of bright pink softer nude tones, too.
Note: The formula contains fragrance in the form of orange peel wax.
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Weaknesses: The overall collection is a mixed bag of exciting and disappointing products; several outdated moisturizers and cleansers; no AHA or acceptable BHA products; the CC Cream doesn't provide good enough UVA protection; some lackluster makeup products.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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