11.26.2014
6
1452
clear days ahead oil-free salicylic acid acne treatment & moisturizer
Rating
2 fl. oz. for $39
Last Updated:11.26.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This is a very good beta hydroxy acid (BHA, or salicylic acid) exfoliant for acne-prone skin! It’s medicated with 1% salicylic acid and its pH of 3.6 ensures it will function as an exfoliant. Surprisingly, the formula doesn’t contain irritants such as fragrant oils or alcohol—a rarity in anti-acne products—and it’s fragrance-free!

In addition to the salicylic acid being effective, the formula has a silky, slightly hydrating lotion texture that treats skin to a beneficial blend of fatty acids (which may help reduce inflammation from acne) as well as cell-communicating ingredients and antioxidant vitamin E (listed as tocopheryl acetate). Really, the only drawback is the price; you can spend half as much and get nearly twice the amount of product with the BHA exfoliants from Paula’s Choice. But, if you’re sold on philosophy, this is definitely one of their better products to consider.

Pros:

  • Contains 1% salicylic acid (BHA) formulated at a pH to ensure it works as an exfoliant.
  • Treats skin to anti-inflammatory fatty acids and cell-communicating ingredients for extra benefits.
  • Fragrance-free, silky lotion texture.
  • Provides light hydration.

Cons:

  • Expensive, and there are other well-formulated BHA products.
Claims

clear days ahead oil-free salicylic acid acne treatment & moisturizer helps clear skin, while delivering breathable, oil-free hydration for completely clear skin.

Ingredients

Active: Salicylic Acid (1.0%),Other: Water, Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, Acacia Decurrens/Jojoba/Sunflower Seed Wax/Polyglyceryl-3 Esters, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Squalane, Lecithin, Oligopeptide-10, Tocopheryl Acetate, Trimethylpentanediol/Adipic Acid Copolymer, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate-60, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Ethoxydiglycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, O-Cymen-5-Ol

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.

philosophy Makeup

Minimalism is a big theme among philosophy's dwindling, uneven range of makeup. Whereas the color options from this company used to be extensive, well-organized, and at times clever, what's lining the counter now needs help, in more ways than one. The major issue is the plethora of ordinary products that cost far too much for what they don't offer, which is innovation and, in almost every case, selection. The line shines brightest (pun intended) with its lip color offerings, though the best products in this category are counterbalanced by glosses or lip balms with needless irritants. If you're a fan of philosophy's skin-care products and are considering their makeup, you don't want to try to build a comprehensive color wardrobe with it. However, you'd be wise to explore the handful of pleasant surprises here, including an excellent bronzing lotion, foundation primer with sunscreen, and the multi-use makeup brush.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
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06.06.2015
Best BHA exfoliant!!!

I have tried all of Paula's choice BHA exfoliants and they do not come even close to being as good as this is! This exfoliants leaves you with a beautiful matte finish unlike Paula's BHA exfoliants leave a shiny finish which in my opinion looks gross!

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
03.17.2015
hmm

hmm..wondering if could be used as spot treatment

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Reviewed by
Stephanie C.
01.11.2015
There are better bha exfoliants out there!

I have acne prone oily skin with only minor break outs. I didn't feel the money spent for this product was justified. It only has 1 % salicylic acid but I feel 2% would have been better. I didn't feel I had the same results I have had with other products that have the full 2%. The opening is also too large and every time you squeeze some out you get A LOT of product and have to wash the rest away. Kind of a waste with a pricey product you use 2 times a day every day!

Recommend
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Reviewed by
Erica S
01.03.2015
Ph

I haven't used this product yet. I'm wondering if it's layered with a moisturizer, like suggested, if then the ph will be altered and the BHA won't be able to function.

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Reviewed by
L craft
01.05.2015
Beautypedia Team Response

Hello, and thank you for your question! Another moisturizer should not affect the pH of this product (since the pH is most crucial when it is formulated), so it should be just fine to use this with a moisturizer.

—Paula's Choice Research Team
04.28.2014
contains alcohol!!!

This product contains Cetearyl Alcohol. It's in the ingredients list. Why does Beauty Cop say that it doesn't have alcohol!!! Other than that, this moisturizer is pretty good at controlling acne without drying up the skin.

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Recommend
Results
Reviewed by
Angelica
04.29.2014
Beautypedia Team Response

Hi, and thanks for your comments! Cetearyl alcohol is considered one of the "good" alcohols used in skin care products because it is a fatty alcohol. When we call out alcohols, we're referring to ingredients like alcohol denatured, which can be drying and harmful to skin. You can find out much more about both good and bad alcohols in this article, which explains the subject in much greater detail!

—Paula's Choice Research Team
12.04.2013
Reduces pore size

I have used this once (and sometimes twice) a day for the past year and found it to be very effective at reducing the size of my pores and helping keep my face free from the occasional sporadic breakout. It doesn't irritate my skin, makes my face feel smooth, and gives my combination skin some but not all the moisture it needs. My only complaint is that the tube opening is rather large so it is hard to squirt out just the amount you need.

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Reviewed by
Tamie C.
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