AmorePacific

AmorePacific At-A-Glance

Strengths: Almost nothing unless you count sleek packaging as a strength; a very good lip balm; sunscreen with reliable UVA protection.

Weaknesses: Expensive; drying, soap-like cleansers; bar soap; toners with plant irritants; only one sunscreen; no effective AHA or BHA products; no products to manage acne or lighten skin discolorations; only one sunscreen; redundant formulas advertised as being the solution for all manner of skin problems, despite identical key ingredients.

AmorePacific is a South Korean cosmetics line whose skin-care products rolled out to U.S. Sephora stores in mid 2009. According to a business associate of mine who lives in Seoul, the line is hugely popular in Korea and everyone is clamoring for the products. Every month, all over the world, something else becomes "wildly" popular, whether it's in Asia, Europe, South America, or the United States. And, of course, popularity must mean it's the best thing ever…. In Korea we've watched Chinese herbal products, SK-II, different skin lighteners, blemish balms, and on and on gain momentum and then take a back seat to a new kid on the block who is currently getting all the attention.

Despite the fad status of AmorePacific in Korea, let us state emphatically that this product line isn't worth even mild enthusiasm. Without question, from a formulary standpoint, it is among the weakest of the Asian brands, which include globally known lines such as Shiseido, Cle de Peau Beaute, Shu Uemura, and Boscia. Those companies all have a far greater proportion of outstanding products when compared with AmorePacific.

AmorePacific has put together a hodgepodge philosophy of skin care based loosely on a blend of Eastern philosophy, holistic medicine, and technological advances. Reading the background information on the brand's Web site they claim to have combined the best of both worlds: ancient knowledge passed down from generations mingled with the advantages of modern science. Perhaps AmorePacific hasn't paid attention to the dozens of other lines in their part of the world or around the globe making the exact same claims, so there is nothing unique here. Regardless, marketing shtick doesn't create good skin care and that is exactly the problem with AmorePacific; very little of what this line offers is aligned with modern science in regard to skin care.

As is true for a healthy diet, there is an enormous amount of research into what practices and what ingredients can significantly improve skin's health and appearance, whether for wrinkles, skin color, acne, rosacea, sun damage, dry skin, oily skin, blackheads, and on and on. Antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, cell-communicating ingredients, topical disinfectants, and exfoliants (AHAs and BHA) all have vast research showing their positive impact on skin. For some reason AmorePacific uses almost none of these. In addition, AmorePacific lacks products for most of the aforementioned skin-care concerns, they only have one sunscreen (we mean really, one sunscreen, now that's antiquated, but not in a good way), and their formulations are endlessly redundant with different claims randomly attached to different products.

As for the Eastern philosophy, we don't know how that is supposed to take care of skin because there certainly isn't any data or substantive information explaining why or how it would help, but AmorePacific's formularies don't suggest Eastern, Western, Northern, or Southern ideas of any kind. Moreover, ancient philosophy isn't going to help your skin any more than a 1980s computer is going to help you access the Internet today.

Standing back and looking at specific products, even though there are a few really good options, the prices aren’t justified and you can find better products for far less. However, if you choose to shop this line and are OK with spending more than necessary, at least you’ll know from pur reviews which products approach being worthy of a purchase. However, do not use this line for one-stop shopping because their philosophy does not include what is essential to address a wide range of skin-care concerns.

For more information about AmorePacific, call (877) 552-6673 or visit www.amorepacific.com.

Note: The AmorePacific products reviewed on Beautypedia include those that are currently being sold in Sephora stores in the United States. The company offers an even pricier range of products at upscale department stores such as Neiman Marcus. We're not sure what ancient philosophy that's about; perhaps their spiritual wisdom is that the people who shop Sephora don't deserve their best products and that the products at Neiman Marcus are only for the elite, who have more cash to waste; that must be the Tao according to AmorePacific. Our will review those products in the future.

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