Philosophy's renewed hope in a jar re-energizing moisture mask has a unique, silky-cream texture but isn't much for moisturizing—so it ends up not being an ideal mask if you have very dry or dehydrated skin. If you have normal to dry skin, should you consider this for complexion renewal? Perhaps, but the formula is not without its drawbacks…
Despite the "hope in a jar" part of its name, this slightly thick mask is packaged in an opaque squeeze tube. It smoothes on easily and has a texture that feels unique rather than just like a standard facial moisturizer.
For lack of a better word, the cream feels a bit plasticizing; you can feel a slight tightening effect as this sinks in (an effect that comes from the amount of film-forming agent the mask contains). The texture has a noticeable smoothing and temporarily line-filling effect, traits that can make skin look better after rinsing—and this does rinse easily.
The problem begins with the amount of fragrance this mask contains. It's rather potent and although it dissipates after several minutes, it may pose a risk of irritation, as we explain in the More Info section below.
Fragrance has more prominence in this mask than some of its more intriguing ingredients, including some antioxidant plant extracts and the AHA ingredients glycolic and mandelic acid. Regarding those ingredients, the amounts of both are too low (and this formula's pH of 5.5 too high) for either to exfoliate skin. But even if the numbers were where they should be, getting AHA ingredients from a mask that's rinsed within minutes isn't going to help skin as much as from an exfoliant you'd leave on skin for several hours.
In the end, philosophy's renewed hope in a jar re-energizing moisture mask is a wash. You get some smoothing and slight moisturizing benefits, but at the expense of potential irritation from high amount of fragrance. Add to that the fact that the AHA ingredients cannot exfoliate skin and the beneficial ingredients like antioxidants are in short supply and you've got a mask that we don't think is worth the time or money. See our list of Best Facial Masks for superior options.
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Strengths: Relatively inexpensive; some of the best products are fragrance-free; very good retinol products; selection of state-of-the-art moisturizers; innovative skin-lightening product.
Weaknesses: Irritating and/or drying cleansers; average to problematic scrubs; at-home peel kits far more gimmicky than helpful; several products contain lavender oil; several products include irritating essential oils; the majority of makeup items do not rise above average status.
Believe in miracles. That's the "lifestyle" branding statement philosophy makes, which is an approach that is decidedly different from their former positioning, which encompassed family values and spirituality along with a dash of department-store élan and endearingly clever quips. The miracle angle may grab your attention, but the company is also quick to point out that its history is steeped in providing products to dermatologists and plastic surgeons worldwide (so, in addition to miracles, philosophy has a serious side, too). Although its heritage may have included providing clinically oriented products to doctors, we have yet to see or hear of any medical professional retailing philosophy products. And that's a good thing because, by and large, most of philosophy products are resounding disappointments. Moreover, several products, including almost all of their sunscreens, contain one or more known skin irritants. We would be extremely suspicious of a dermatologist or plastic surgeon who recommended such products to their patients, and even more so if they actually believed some of the more farfetched claims philosophy makes.
Interestingly, when you shop this line at department stores or at the cosmetics boutique Sephora, what you'll notice is the preponderance of food- and drink-scented bath products, all in vivid colors or cutely boxed for gift-giving. It seems that somewhere along the way, the company decided to promote these nose-appeal products while downplaying their more serious-minded, simply packaged skin care. Perhaps the body lotions and bubble baths have become philosophy's bread and butter. Given the hit-or-miss nature of their facial-care products, that's not surprising. Then again, they've also heavily promoted their anti-aging-themed Miracle Worker products...
So what's to like if you're into the vibe philosophy puts out? Well, this is still a line with some well-formulated staples, including an AHA product, some retinol options, and a handful of state-of-the-art moisturizers. The products that get the most promotion at the counter are the ones you should avoid, such as the at-home peels, scrubs, pads, and anti-acne products. However, the somewhat confusing, conflicting image philosophy presents shouldn't keep you from considering their best products—but it's not a lifestyle brand in the sense that using the entire line will somehow bring you a more joyful existence, or significantly improved skin. The philosophy line is now owned Coty, a cosmetics brand primarily known for their fragrances. Their acquisition of philosophy is their first major foray into a widely-distributed skin care brand.
For more information about philosophy, call (800) 568-3151 or visit www.philosophy.com.
Note: philosophy opts to use lowercase letters for every product they sell, so the listings below are simply following suit.
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