philosophy's uplifting miracle worker instant-effect cool-lift & tightening moisturizer booster isn't uplifting for any skin type. This overly fragrant lotion is laden with both natural and synthetic fragrances along with a strong form of menthol high up on the ingredient listing. From the perspective of keeping skin youthful and healthy, this is unacceptable.
No matter how you look at it, the research makes it abundantly clear that problematic ingredients like these aren't the least bit skin-friendly. This isn't stellar anti-aging skincare in any way, shape, or form and it can't actually lift sagging skin. See More Info to learn how fragrant products can hinder anti-aging results.
It pains us to continue, but it's our job to help you cut through the hype and misleading information so you can avoid wasting money and being disappointed.
The second ingredient in this emollient lotion (plant butters are present) is pullulan. It's a film-forming ingredient best known for its use in making breath strips. As the second ingredient, it works by placing an invisible layer of starch over the face that dries and sets to a somewhat tacky finish.
Oddly enough, this product does live up to its name and provides a very noticeable tightening sensation which is enhanced by the cooling sensation from the menthyl lactate (we would say the sensation feels more burning than cooling, but it depends on how quickly your skin reacts to this ingredient). Of course, the lifting effect is incredibly temporary with no skin-renewing benefit in the short or long term. Skin feeling lifted or tighter isn't the same as actually lifting or tightening skin long term.
Much of this formula is exceedingly problematic for skin, but it does contain a few impressive skin-replenishing and skin-restoring ingredients between the troublesome ones. There are close-to-miraculous anti-aging skincare products to be found, but regrettably this isn't one of them. See our list of Best Moisturizers, Nighttime to get you started!
Why Fragrance is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This leads to all kinds of problems, including disruption of skin's healthy appearance, worsening dryness, redness, depletion of vital substances in skin's surface, and generally keeps skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see the negative influence of using products that contain fragrance has on skin, the damage will still be taking place even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see or feel the effects on your skin for your skin to be suffering. This negative impact and the visible damage may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446-475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, issue 11, pages 789-798
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, issue 4, pages 191-202
Aging, March 2012, pages 166-175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77-80
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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