Darphin Paris

Darphin Paris At-A-Glance

Strengths: Lauder's influence on this line has resulted in only a few improved products; there are some good cleansers; some worthwhile serums and moisturizers; a couple worthwhile masks and a good skin-lightening product that's remarkably similar to a less expensive option from Clinique (another Lauder-owned brand).

Weaknesses: Very expensive; no effective products to address acne or other types of breakouts; pervasive use of skin-irritating fragrant oils; only one sunscreen and it has problems; jar packaging for products that contain air- and light-sensitive ingredients.

From its beginnings as a spa line developed for French aestheticians in the late 1950s, Darphin's core belief is that beauty comes from inner balance and harmony of the body, mind, and soul. This vision was truly new decades ago, and while it sounds great as an image-enhancing philosophy, it never translated, either back then or now, into progressive products that will make a significant difference in the appearance of your skin. In fact, among all of the skin-care lines espousing natural ingredients and botanical extracts, Darphin is the least impressive, with inadequate, dated formulations. Close competitor (and forerunner) Clarins at least includes several daytime moisturizers with sunscreen and also offers a complete collection of sunscreens for the body. Not so with Darphin, whose sunscreen selection is limited at best. Apparently, inner balance involves putting your skin at risk for wrinkles, discolorations, sagging, and, potentially, cancer.

Estee Lauder acquired Darphin in 2003, but that investment has resulted in little improvement or change to this line, options that are desperately needed. Almost without exception, Darphin products are vastly overpriced for what you get. Many of them contain problematic ingredients or plants whose benefit for skin is unknown or merely anecdotal.

As you might expect, most of the anti-aging claims Darphin makes for its products stem from the exotic to commonplace plants and plant extracts they contain. Although it's appealing to think that familiar substances such as ginseng, sandalwood, and corn can firm skin and improve the signs of aging, they do no such thing. Adhering to Darphin's skin-care routines (all of which involve multiple products, most with redundant formulas) would leave skin vulnerable to sun damage, and the many fragrance components found in products throughout the line increase the chance that skin will suffer a phototoxic reaction when exposed to sunlight. Considering the premium prices of these products, that's a lot of potential for a literal and figurative burn!

For more information about Darphin Paris, owned by Estee Lauder, call (866) 880-4559 or visit www.darphhin.com.

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