Aloette

Aloette At-A-Glance

Strengths: Great cleanser, moisturizers that meet or exceed basic expectations; and specialty products; almost every category of makeup has some winning products to consider.

Weaknesses: Several products contain irritating essential oils, including peppermint. No products to effectively address the needs of those with blemish-prone skin; overpriced anti-aging products with mundane formulas; only one sunscreen and it contains an irritating citrus oil; lip gloss with wintergreen; lackluster powder.

Founded in 1978 and now based in Atlanta, Aloette is a direct sales line that offers its customers an opportunity to become part of the franchise, assuming they're willing to host parties and promote the products to friends, family, and coworkers. The products are also available on some home shopping channels, including The Shopping Channel in Canada, where owner Christina Cohen (herself once an Aloette salesperson) promotes the brand in person. You may hear her drive home the point that Aloette products are "scientifically formulated using the latest technology" and "are manufactured to meet the most stringent quality standards," shop talk that sounds distinctive but is in fact a hallmark of any cosmetics company that takes its products and commitment to its customers seriously. As you will see from the reviews below, Aloette is in no way as technologically advanced as they would like you to believe.

Not surprisingly, aloe does play a big role in Aloette's products. Before we get into discussing why aloe isn't the best ingredient to build an assembly of products around, it is worth noting that in recent years Aloette has realized on their own that it takes more than this well-known plant to create good skin-care products, and the good news is that the line has launched other formulations with more variety.

As for aloe, is it as beneficial for skin as the hype would lead you to believe? Aloe can serve as a water-binding agent for skin due to its polysaccharide (complex carbohydrate) and sterol content (another sterol that's beneficial for skin is cholesterol). Although research has shown aloe also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial qualities, no study has proven it to be superior to other ingredients having similar properties, including vitamin C, green tea, pomegranate, and many other antioxidants (Source: www. naturaldatabase.com).

In its pure form, aloe is a consideration for soothing skin, likely due to its refreshing and non-occlusive texture, and for treating minor inflammation. However, when mixed into a cosmetic it is doubtful those qualities remain, though it still plays a role in binding moisture to skin (Source: Skin Research and Technology, November 2006, pages 241–246). Those facts didn't keep Aloette from including aloe in virtually every product they sell; yet their newest products include several other (much more modern) ingredients known to improve skin functioning and enhance its appearance.

For all Aloette's attempts to modernize their skin-care offerings, there's an overriding problem in their efforts to appear more "pure and natural." This came about from the addition of several irritating ingredients, so that more often than not an otherwise well-formulated product (claims notwithstanding) is sullied by one or more potent irritants. Using such products won't make good on Aloette's promise of smooth, radiant skin. Overall, there aren't many compelling reasons to begin your skin-care search here, but for those so inclined Aloette does have some worthwhile products, many sporting reasonable prices.

For more information about Aloette, call (800) 256-3883 or visit www.aloette.com.

Aloette Makeup: Aloette's makeup is known as Color Blends. This well-rounded collection presents some viable options for foundation, eyeshadow, loose powder, blush, pencils, mascara, lipstick, and brushes. Yet viable doesn't mean exciting or worth your while. In contrast to our review of Aloette's makeup products for the previous edition of this book, we found that their products haven't improved or kept up with similar top picks among drugstore and department-store lines that are often available for less money. What happened? It's clear that not enough of the products were updated, and those that were didn't keep pace with the best of the best. One more note: If you attend an in-home Aloette show, you will hear how their makeup is "vitamin-infused, mineral enhanced and has the benefits of aloe vera in it." Although many of the makeup items below do contain vitamins (typically vitamin E), they are present in very small amounts that pale in comparison to the numerous standard cosmetic ingredients that precede them, meaning they won't benefit skin, they just support the content claim. As for the minerals, they must be referring to standard mineral pigments such as titanium dioxide and mica, because they're the only ones present. Aloe does make an appearance in most of Aloette's makeup, but as we mentioned in the skin-care product introduction, it functions primarily as a soothing and water-binding agent, not a miracle.

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