Artistry by Amway At-A-Glance
Strengths: One of the few cosmetics companies that offers complete ingredient lists on their Web site; features some excellent moisturizers, serums, powder, lipstick, and eyeshadow options.
Weaknesses: Expensive for what you get (especially the Time Defiance products); lacks an effective disinfectant for blemishes; no viable skin-lightening options; some problematic toners and masks; foundations and lipstick with either low SPF ratings or a lack of sufficient UVA protection; OK makeup brushes.
Over 3 million people in 80 countries are selling Amway products, and for the most part their goal is to not only sell you products but to get you to sell the products yourself—and then you're supposed to get other people to sell them, and so on and so on. Statistically speaking, that means you have at some time been approached by someone offering you the opportunity to start a new business selling Artistry or other Amway products. As one Amway sales representative said to me, "Why would the company make anything that wasn't wonderful?" Obviously, no cosmetics line is perfect, or they wouldn't discontinue products and introduce new ones as this line has done, often with mixed results. The way Amway representatives, with the company's blessings, go about recruiting other salespeople to join their ranks is actually quite controversial. Amway is a multilevel marketing juggernaut with mythic proportions. Type "Amway cult" into any search engine and over 90,000 results are returned. A shopping experience accompanied by a recruitment push that could result in a risk of needing to be deprogrammed? Now that really is different! The company is aware of their detractors, and offers videos on their Web site to dispute the claims against them.
Contacting an Amway representative (Quixtar is the parent company, and they are part of the larger Alticor group of companies) is an interesting experience. Most are all too eager to perform a show-and-tell about the products, all with a presentation that's peppered with effusive praise and none-too-subtle hints that any products you like could make you more money than you thought possible, assuming you're willing to spread the word, and add to their "downline"—the term for those starting to sell the products under someone else's umbrella.
To shop Amway online is a tricky experience, at least in comparison to almost any other Internet commerce site. According to an article in Forbes magazine (June, 26, 2001) "Quixtar is the online offspring of $5 billion, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Amway Corp. Launched by the company at the height of the Internet stock craze in September 1999, Quixtar's business model is virtually identical to Amway's, only it's Web-enabled. IBOs [independent business owners] gather for online meetings and in chat rooms on the Web, and introduce friends, family, and co-workers to the password-protected Quixtar Web site where they can buy thousands of the same mostly overpriced health, beauty and household products that Amway sells." we agree with Forbes--this is an odd way to shop for products!
When it comes to their skin care products, Artistry (which debuted in 1968) insists that they test their products extensively, but there is no published research or documentation (other than claims and snippets of data) forthcoming from the company. A claim to have study results is not the same as seeing the study first-hand—there are lots of ways to conduct studies to net the results you want. Further, as is true with many cosmetics companies, there are problematic ingredients in several products. On the plus side, more and more Artistry products are staying on the cutting edge of skin care science, from using cell-communicating ingredients to launching sunscreens with improved textures and efficient UVA-protecting ingredients.
Don't expect bargains: These products have prices right up there with the high-end department-store brands. Several products are worthy of consideration, though you have to be strong-willed and assertive to avoid the corporate trappings that are part and parcel of shopping this line.
For more information about Artistry, call (800) 253-6500 or visit www.artistry.com.
Quixtar's Artistry makeup has expanded since it was last reviewed, primarily in the foundation category. Perhaps coincidentally, this is also where the line excels. It’s a bit unfortunate that obtaining these products isn’t as easy as stopping by your nearest department store, because the foundation shade range is extensive and impressive. Other categories don’t fare quite as well, but overall the line offers a good selection of options to design your face. The positive wearability and ease of application many of these products have is overshadowed in Artistry's print and Web site information, where some skin-enhancing benefit is attributed to each cosmetic. Most of these claims (especially the anti-aging and look-younger talk) are typical hype, as evidenced by the ingredient lists, where the featured state-of-the-art ingredients appear only in tiny amounts that are listed after the fragrance or preservatives. Don't count on Artistry makeup to parlay significant skin-care benefits, but do rely on it (especially the foundations) as a well-executed cosmetics line to shop for many makeup essentials.