Avon claims this water-based serum works like thousands of “micro-extractions to help visibly shrink pores,” along with a host of other attributes all designed to provide smooth, poreless skin. Never mind that we need our pores for health, but the claim is supposed to make someone with visible pores feel assured this is the product (a very expensive product) that will finally clean out and close the gaping appearance of blackheads and open pores.
All this product does is provide light hydration, while temporarily filling in pores (really temporarily). Skin appears smoother and may feel tighter due to the amount of film-forming agents this contains (think hairspray), but pore size itself isn’t affected; it hasn’t and can’t change one little bit from applying this product.
Flash Revitalizing Concentrate contains shiny coloring agents claimed to blur imperfections, but adding sheen to skin doesn’t blur anything, it just makes skin look shiny. And again, shine isn’t the same as using ingredients known to improve the shape of a pore. Nothing in here actually hides pores—they will still be in plain sight and you certainly won’t be able to forgo foundation or concealer.
Particularly troubling is that this serum contains the irritating menthol derivative menthyl lactate. The cooling sensation this provides may make you think the serum is working, and it is—just not the way you hoped. The irritation from menthyl lactate can lead to collagen breakdown and stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making pores appear larger than they really are (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Archives of Dermatologic Research, July 2008, pages 311–316; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135 and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and Medical Electron Microscopy, March 2001, pages 29–40).
Although this serum contains an impressive roster of antioxidants, some skin-identical ingredients, and a cell-communicating ingredient, none of these work like micro-extractions to rid pores of oil or of a buildup of dead skin cells that lead to blackheads. Most of the claims are as gimmicky as it gets, particularly the one concerning your skin looking dramatically younger in two weeks.
Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, PEG-8, Pentylene Glycol, Hdi/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, Silica, Ethoxydiglycol, Phytol, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Hydrolyzed Milk Protein, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Andrographolide, Plankton Extract, Panthenol, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Beta-Carotene, Bis-PEG-15 Dimethicone/Ipdi Copolymer, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Glycereth-26, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Steardimonium Hydroxypropyl Panthenyl Peg-7 Dimethicone Phosphate Chloride, Menthyl Lactate, Dimethiconol, Squalane, Polysorbate 60, Benzophenone-4, Phosphoric Acid, Lecithin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Polyacrylate, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Mica, Titanium Dioxide
The last few years have been an interesting time for the world's largest direct seller. Avon is sold in 120 countries and has an enormous range of products that goes beyond skin care and makeup, all sold by five million Avon representatives racking up annual sales of over $8 billion (Source: www.avoncompany.com). Yet due to several quarters of lackluster or poor financial performance, the company announced a multiyear restructuring plan in 2006. The anticipated cost of these changes is upwards of $500 million, which includes downsizing underperforming areas and focusing on remarketing their star products. In recent years, those key products have had "cosmeceutical" appeal, with claims that have gone beyond reality (but overexaggerated claims sell big in the cosmetics industry).
The Anew Clinical line ushered in several products claiming to work like (or, in some instances, better than) cosmetic corrective procedures. Whether you are considering laser treatments, Botox, Thermage, collagen injections, or even liposuction, the ads for Anew Clinical were designed to make you rethink that decision.
It is definitely impressive that Avon invested $100 million on a state-of-the-art research and product development facility in New York, but despite some innovative products that compete with the best of the best (typically for much less money), no cosmetics company has (or will) produce skin-care products that rival or beat the results obtainable from medical procedures. It's admittedly easier to slather on a cream or stroke a pad over your face than to make an office call and shoulder the expense for a cosmetic corrective procedure, but in this case convenience and savings don't equal—or even come close to—comparable results. And lest we forget, despite the onslaught of so-called cosmeceutical products claiming to mimic the results such procedures provide, the number of these procedures being performed increases each year. If any of these works-like-(insert cosmetic corrective procedure here) products did work, the number of procedures would be declining, not rising.
The National Advertising Division (NAD) took issue with several claims Avon made in ads for their Anew Clinical products (Source: www.nadreview.org/default.asp?SessionID=1149178&DocType=1&CaseType=1). In some cases, Avon reworded their claims in ad reprints, while in others they "respectfully disagreed" with the NAD conclusions but agreed to take their comments into consideration for future ads. We'll see how this turns out, but, based on their current ads, the message remains that Anew Clinical products are at the forefront of making cosmetic corrective procedure results as easy as calling your Avon representative and reciting your credit card number.
As a major international cosmetics company, Avon has several initiatives in place that prove its commitment to women and the environment. Whether donating to women's health concerns (most notably breast cancer), surpassing environmental regulations, or financially supporting alternative methods to animal testing, Avon's principles are responsible and admirable. If you pay attention to the best of what they have to offer, you will not only be supporting Avon's mission to improve the lives of women but also gaining some wonderful products, making it a win-win situation.
The bad news is that unless you know what you want and order from Avon's Web site, dealing with an Avon representative tends to be a frustrating experience. Try as they might, most of them are mere order-takers. They cannot keep up with the product assortment, sales, and changes that occur between Avon's "campaigns." One of the representatives we dealt with was quite frank about how much she didn't know, and mentioned that they are not kept as up-to-date as they should be, not to mention the haphazard assortment of testers or samples available. On the flipside, Avon is a wonderful mail-order company should you need to return or exchange products. Unlike companies with a similar business model (Arbonne comes to mind), Avon makes the process smooth and hassle-free, with a "if you're not happy, we're not" motto that epitomizes outstanding customer service.
For more information about Avon, call (800) 500-AVON or visit www.avon.com.
If you've been noticing more magazine and television ads for Avon recently, it's no accident. According to an article in the November 21, 2005, issue of The Rose Sheet, Avon's ad spending through 2008 will reach "historical heights" due in part to the brand's flat performance the past couple of years. Avon's CEO Andrea Jung admitted that the company's makeup business has struggled due to increased competition, a point we wholeheartedly agree with. Avon may be viewed as a skin-care innovator, but when it comes to makeup they're more follow-the-leaders than trail blazers. Admittedly, their foundations, powders, blush, and lipsticks have smoother, more state-of-the-art textures than ever, but with few exceptions none of them are setting a precedent that other, more innovative companies are likely to follow.
You will find some outstanding Avon makeup products to consider, but perhaps due to the sheer size of the collection there are far too many mediocre products, especially among the eyeshadows, pencils, and mascaras. Given that Avon isn't as easy to obtain as comparable products at your local drug or department store, many of the makeup items end up being a tough sell. After all, who wants to go out of their way for average products? Turning to what Avon does really well, you'll find their loose and pressed powders have amazingly silky textures and natural finishes. Their blushes are wonderful, and a few of the lipsticks and foundations are definitely worth talking about with enthusiasm. Another positive point is that Avon regularly discounts their makeup, often upwards of 50% during any given campaign (Avon's campaigns run for two weeks and the specials change each time). If you shop at the right time, the best of Avon color can be yours for less than you'd pay for most low-cost drugstore makeup.