Mary KayTimewise Repair Foaming Cleanser-Volu-Firm
4.5 fl. oz. for $25
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Brand Overview
Expert Reviews

This cleanser, which is definitely on the pricey side, feels creamy, but because some of its main ingredients have more in common with soap than with gentle water-soluble cleansers this can end up making skin feel tight and dry. Despite that issue, this does cleanse thoroughly and removes makeup.

Mary Kay maintains this leaves skin "exceptionally moisturized," and although it does contain some moisturizing ingredients, they're commingled with potentially drying cleansing agents, which is counterproductive to being exceptionally moisturized to say the least.

This is an OK cleanser for normal to oily skin, but is not recommended for dry skin. And, of course, nothing about this cleanser can firm skin or add volume, so don't take the "Volu-Firm" portion of the name literally.

Note: Although the ingredient list doesn't mention fragrance, this formula contains three ingredients whose sole function is fragrance. Among them are ethylene brassylate and methyldihydrojasmonate.

  • Removes makeup easily and rinses without a residue.
  • Contains ingredients that help soften skin.
  • Several of the main cleansing agents are soap-like and potentially drying.
  • The overall formula isn't able to leave skin "exceptionally moisturized."
  • Cannot firm skin or add volume to sagging areas.
Last Updated:04.06.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Community Reviews

Gently cleanses and tones skin to help reveal a fresh, youthful-looking complexion as it helps the skin maintain its delicate moisture balance to leave it feeling soft, supple and exceptionally moisturized. Skin is perfectly prepared to receive additional skin care treatments.


Water, Glycerin, Potassium Stearate, Dipropylene Glycol, Sorbitol, Potassium Myristate, Myristic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate SE, PEG-60 Glyceryl Isostearate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, PEG-32, Potassium Laurate, Glycol Stearate Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Tripeptide-1, Centella Asiatica Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, PEG-6, Butylene Glycol, Polyquaternium-7, Lauric Acid , Sodium Chloride, Maltodextrin, Ethylene Brassylate, Ethyl Linalool, PEG-4 Laurate, Trimethylbenzenepropanol, Isobutyl Methyl Tetrahydropyranol, Gamma-Undecalactone, Phenylisohexanol, Subtilisin, Methyldihydrojasmonate, Lipase, Tetradecyl Aminobutyroylvalylaminobutyric Urea Trifluoroacetate, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

Brand Overview

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 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

About the Experts

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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