Michael Todd True Organics sells toners for use after cleansing, so this combination product is somewhat odd for their brand. Nonetheless, cleansing and toning really need to be two separate steps because they give the skin two distinct benefits that can't be achieved together. Cleansing is about taking away dirt, excess oil, and makeup, while toners, at least the well-formulated ones, are about giving skin back what it needs to look and act younger. Unfortunately, that's not what you're getting from this product.
All of the above is merely a prelude to the fact that this cleanser is just a cleanser, not the time-saving solution it's made out to be. In many ways, it's similar to the other cleansers in this line, so we suppose those provide a toner benefit, too, even though the company makes the 2-in-1 claim only for this product.
Michael Todd True Organics also claims that the charcoal in this cleanser penetrates "deep into pores," but it cannot do that, especially when it's in a cleanser that you apply and then quickly rinse off.
Charcoal is an absorbent ingredient, but it doesn't have any cleansing abilities. Its reputation for detox comes from its medical use where activated charcoal is taken orally as a means to absorb an excess of drugs (prescribed or illicit) before they cause harm—but that has nothing to do with purging gunk from clogged pores. Charcoal can absorb oil when included in a leave-on product, but it ends up being too drying for most skin types, and it isn't used very much. In fact, there isn't really enough of it in this cleanser to be drying or absorbent.
In the end, this cleanser has the same mix of pros and cons as others from Michael Todd True Organics: gentle, effective cleansing agents paired with fragrant oils that pose a risk of irritation, especially when used around the eyes. See More Info for details on why irritation is a problem for all skin types.
Several beneficial ingredients (including those we like to see in well-formulated toners) are included, but they're rinsed from the skin before they can do much good. Again, cleansers take away, toners add; hence, they should be two distinct products—although we certainly understand the appeal of combining two skin-care steps in one product!
Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For these reasons, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
A three-in-one facial cleanser-toner-makeup remover to clean deeply to remove impurities while also toning the skin. Highly absorbent charcoal penetrates deep into pores to gently remove dirt, oil and other impurities without the drying effects of alcohol. Antioxidant Vitamins together with organic teas and essential oils help fight environmental stressors.
Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Cocoglucoside (Palm Kernel), Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Organic Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Organic Centella Asiatica Extract , Organic Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract , Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugarcane) Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Organic Extra Virgin Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Activated Charcoal, Xanthan Gum, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Zingiber Officinalis (Ginger) Root Oil, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Bark Oil, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol.
Several products contain a good range of anti-aging ingredients; products are packaged to keep the light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use; good moisturizing mask.
Many of the products are highly fragrant and/or contain fragrant plant extracts or oils known to be irritating; several of the serums contain the exact same ingredients, just listed in a different order, which makes things needlessly confusing; in a line full of anti-aging lotions and potions; no options with reliable amounts of ingredients proven to treat dark spots, red marks from acne, or breakouts; the claim of aloe being special for skin is overinflated.
What do the popular hair accessory line called SCUNCI (aka "scrunchy") and the natural-themed skin-care brand Michael Todd True Organics have in common? Both are associated with a man named Lewis Hendler. Hendler founded SCUNCI in the early '90s and sold the company to Conair in 2005. Then, in 2008, Hendler acquired the little-known Michael Todd True Organics skin-care brand.
As we understand it, there really was someone named Michael Todd who played a role in the brand's history, but there's no mention of the real Michael Todd to be found on the company's website. We did find a press release explaining that he is or was a model and actor, but that's about it. Hendler is the brand's public face, along with a few lesser known celebrities.
This Florida-based company has captured the attention of many consumers due to its claims of using natural and organic ingredients coupled with active anti-aging and anti-acne ingredients (all of which, by the way, are synthetic, which is just fine for skin, just not as "all natural" as the company wants you to believe).
Like many natural-themed lines, Michael Todd True Organics promotes some of the most absurd and misleading information imaginable about skin and skin care. A big one—directly from the owner himself—is that everything we put on our skin is absorbed into the body … cosmetic ingredients go right past the skin and into the bloodstream. If that were true (it isn't, thank goodness, but we'll get to that shortly), then moisturizers couldn't moisturize, exfoliants couldn't remove the top layers of dead, dried skin, and sunscreens would not prevent sunburns or tanning. Most skin-care ingredients do their job by staying on top (or at least in the top layers) of the skin, not by being absorbed into the body.
In essence, if absorption into the body were true, then even Hendler would have to admit that his own products (many of which contain problematic ingredients like neem oil and/or lavender oil, which are toxic when ingested) would do little for the skin because as soon as you apply them—poof! They're in the body, just like as soon as you swallow food it's on its way to your digestive system.
The truth is that skin is a very good barrier, and that it's difficult to get cosmetic ingredients to penetrate much past the uppermost layers, much less into the bloodstream, as almost all cosmetics chemists will tell you. The good news is that keeping skin-care ingredients, such as moisturizing agents, skin-repairing ingredients, sunscreen actives, and antioxidants, in the skin's outermost layers is really helpful—it means that the skin's surface (its first line of defense) has a better chance of remaining healthy, smooth, and better able to protect itself against environmental damage. But assuming everything we put on our skin did get into the body, thinking that natural ingredients are safer is wrong; there are hundreds of problematic natural ingredients that could cause serious health problems if they routinely got into the body.
Michael Todd True Organics is big on promoting what their products don't contain, including water, which is bizarre given that water is one of the most natural ingredients on earth. But, more to the point, these products absolutely do contain water in the form of aloe juice; aloe is 99.5% water (Sources: Indian Journal of Dermatology, volume 53, issue 4, 2008, pages 163–166; and http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Js2200e/6.html#Js2200e.6). You're not really getting a more concentrated product simply because it's based on aloe rather than pure water.
What's important to know is that there are good and bad natural ingredients, as well as good and bad synthetic ingredients. Seeing a preponderance of natural ingredients on a skin-care label is no guarantee the product you're considering is better or safer than one that contains natural and synthetic ingredients.
The Michael Todd brand also avoids the usual group of ingredients that have been given an undeserved bad rap, such as parabens, sulfates, triclosan, mineral oil, and synthetic fragrances, all of which we discuss elsewhere on our website (A quick summary: None of the aforementioned ingredients are dangerous for skin. If you still are concerned, don't think for a minute that this is the only line that leaves them out!)
What Michael Todd's product information doesn't tell you about is the extensive amount of research that shows how problematic the fragrant oils and plant extracts that they include in their products are. The irony is that the ingredients they brag about not using are comparably better and, yes, safer for your skin! That's not to say that this brand's products are unsafe; rather, it's to illustrate the point that synthetic ingredients aren't automatically evil, and that all-natural ingredients are not angelic.
The company definitely ups the beneficial ante with ingredients like retinol, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and vitamins (all synthetic by the way), but these great ingredients are surrounded by not-so-great ingredients, many of which are overly fragrant—and the research is clear: Fragrance isn't skin-caring in the least.
Sadly, what you get with almost the entire Michael Todd line is a mixed bag. Product after product contains a frustrating mix of beneficial and problematic ingredients—and many of the products pose a strong risk of irritation, especially those with numerous citrus oils, and irritation is always bad for skin, whether the source is synthetic or natural.
For more information on Michael Todd True Organics, call 772-343-0222 or visit www.michaeltoddtrueorganics.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.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!