philosophymiracle worker miraculous anti-aging concentrate
0.95 fl. oz. for $62
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Yet another miraculous anti-aging product from the cosmetics industry, not exactly a shock given women’s insatiable appetite for products with this claim. The name is a joke, but the formula isn't funny. The “breakthrough” technology in here is like saying a skateboard is the latest in transportation.

Although this serum does contain some very good antioxidants along with peptides, which, in theory, have cell-communicating ability that may result in younger-looking, healthier skin, there is nothing in here unique to philosophy. What keeps this serum from earning a recommendation is the inclusion of the preservative methylisothiazolinone, which is contraindicated for use in leave-on products due to its sensitizing potential (Sources: Chemical Research in Toxicology, February 2005, pages 324–329; Contact Dermatitis, November 2001, pages 257–264; and European Journal of Dermatology, March 1999, pages 144–160).

Interestingly, when we perused online consumer reviews of this product, we noticed several women wrote that they experienced red, stinging skin, which isn’t surprising given the inclusion of methylisothiazolinone. Ironically, philosophy likely included this preservative to replace parabens, and parabens have a pretty stellar track record for not causing skin reactions. Despite the claims to the contrary, parabens are not the evil, harmful group of preservatives many brands make them out to be.

Perhaps the real miracle is how philosophy can convince women that this product is the anti-aging serum to buy! We would be far more convinced if philosophy’s formula was supported by published research, but that’s not the way most cosmetics brands operate.

Last Updated:07.01.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Community Reviews

This versatile, gel-textured, oil-free, age-defying essential features breakthrough peptide technology that bolsters the skin’s self-restorative capacity, supporting natural collagen to increase firmness and elasticity, and minimize lines and wrinkles.


Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Hexyldecanol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cocoyl Hexapeptide 23, Myristoyl Pentapeptide-9, Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract, Lysolecithin, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Dimethicone, Tropolone, Squalane, Polysorbate 60, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Retinyl Palmitate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glutathione, Beta-Glucan, Tocopheryl Acetate, Arginine, Bisabolol, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Hydroxyproline Palmitamide, SD Alcohol 40b, 1,2 Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Methylisothiazolinone

Brand Overview

philosophy At-A-Glance

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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