Umbrian Clay Face Treatment

by fresh  
Price:
$48 - 3.4 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Facial Masks > Oil-Absorbent Masks
Last Updated:
3/25/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This product is designed to be used as a cleanser, mask, or spot treatment for blemishes. No matter which way you use it, the effect, supposedly, is to be detoxifying and neutralizing—in fact, it is neither. First, skin doesn’t need to be detoxified; there is no research proving otherwise, and no one in the cosmetics industry has ever identified what toxins they claim to be removing from skin or how much is being removed with a product like this. What utter nonsense!

Second, this is mostly absorbent fuller’s earth and lavender water, which makes the price insulting. Fuller’s earth is used as an absorbent and thickening agent in lots of cosmetics; all claims pertaining to it being an important aid for skin conditions like eczema and acne are folklore, and are not based on any legitimate research anywhere. When it comes to improving matters for those prone to blemishes and blackheads, fuller’s earth is certainly no match for benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and a good clay mask without fragrant irritants and film formers.

A purifying multi-functional treatment with a neutralizing action that detoxifies the skin.

Solum Fullonum (Fuller's Earth), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Cocamidopropyl Betainamide MEA Chloride, Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Lamium Album Flower Extract, Fusanus Spicatus Wood Oil, Xanthan Gum, Polyacrylamide, Methylparaben, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Chlorexidine Digluconate, Laureth-7, Phenoxyethanol, Linalool, Farnesol, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, BHT

The story of how Boston-bred "fresh" came into existence is full of compelling adjectives and phrases like "dynamic," "passions," "inspiration," and "destined to create." It seems that back in 1991, two happy newlyweds, both with artistic backgrounds, felt there was a void in the world of luxury bath soaps. They searched far and wide, but could not find a soap that met their criteria. Of course, they began experimenting, gained a following for what they developed, and yet another clone of The Body Shop was born.

Their success has led them from a single boutique in Boston to a series of shops in New York City and a presence in upscale department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. In 2000, fresh was purchased by luxury good purveyor (and owner of Sephora) LVMH, which is not surprising given fresh's price point and positioning.

Naturally, given all of this attention, fresh quickly expanded beyond soaps. They now also offer "future of beauty" products that capitalize on such innocuous-sounding, good-for-you ingredients as black tea, rice, and soy, coupled with the latest scientific advances. In other words, according to fresh, they're giving you the best of nature and science, with a heavy accent on natural (even though in most cases it's the synthetic ingredients that are responsible for their product's texture and functionality).

In the marketing copy each fresh product includes a history of how it came to be. It's pleasant to read about products inspired by stories passed down from one generation to the next, and about cultural secrets that have been discovered, incorporated into cosmetic potions, and adorably packaged for your "fresh lifestyle" experience. However, we wouldn't encourage anyone to rely on fables and anecdotal information when it comes to making serious decisions about how to care for your skin, any more than you would do so to make dietary or health-care decisions. What your grandmother ate or what your great-grandmother put on her skin is no more relevant than basing your computer needs on what they were using back then. (Oh, that's right, there weren't computers back then—my point exactly.) We now know a lot more about skin care than ever before in history. Going back to the old ways may sound idealistic, but that doesn't take the best care of you.

Almost the entire fresh premise revolves around their products' fragrance content. For all their talk of cutting-edge technology and the wisdom of traditional remedies, what you will notice most about all of these products is the almost overpowering fragrance. Compared with countless other skin-care and hair-care lines, including Aveda, Bath & Body Works, and Origins, fresh is far more perfumed—and that spells trouble for all skin types. Perfume and eau de cologne, natural or otherwise, are serious problems for skin. The irony is that fresh's signature scents are what put them on the map, and what continue to enthrall consumers. (Women find it hard to give up fragrance in their skin-care products, just like lots of women can't eschew sun tanning, smoking, or using overly expensive skin-care products.) In contrast, many of the natural ingredients in fresh products are present only for show, not effect, and the effects from the beneficial plants are impeded by irritating plant extracts.

From facial skin care to body and hair care, fresh products are a collection of relatively standard to below-average formulations counting on the romanticized stories behind them to help them make the leap from store shelf to your home, and that seems to be happening quite a lot. However, very few of fresh's facial-care products have anything that approaches the current state of the art, especially in regard to interesting skin-identical ingredients, anti-irritants, or antioxidants. And for all the fancy posturing, their soaps are just that, soap, and the fragrance is the only unique aspect of each. None of this makes for superior skin care.

For more information about fresh, call (800) 373-7420 or visit www.fresh.com.

Fresh Makeup

Fresh's makeup offers very little to get excited about. Those who adore a lot of shimmer in their cosmetics will fare best with this line. The company's lineup includes very few matte options, and given the overwhelming prevalence of shimmer products, those over 40 should approach cautiously. This much shine works best on younger, unlined skin because shine makes wrinkles more apparent, not less. The packaging has a youth-oriented appeal, so clearly the marketing department knew who their customers were most likely to be.

Doubtless many shoppers of all ages have been lured to try Fresh cosmetics due to the beautiful packaging, but beautiful exteriors don't have anything to do with the quality of the product inside. If you shop carefully, there are a handful of products you'll probably be satisfied with, but be prepared to pay dearly; just as Fresh didn't skimp on the shimmer, it certainly didn't skimp on its retail pricing.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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