G.M. Collin

   Strengths: Almost all of the sunscreens contain titanium dioxide for broad-spectrum protection; one effective AHA product; well-formulated ceramide-enhanced capsules.
   Weaknesses: Expensive; terrible toners and facial masks; several sunscreens contain skin cell–damaging lavender oil; no effective products to manage acne or skin discolorations; products in every category are either loaded or laced with irritants; the self-tanner contains lavender oil; the men’s products will leave guys wondering why they ever bothered with a skin-care routine.

   Most of the time when I’m asked to review a particular line, I understand why there is interest. And usually it’s because there are some new enticing advertisements showing up in the media, or because there’s a new or redesigned infomercial on TV, or because some company hired a celebrity model or actress to endorse the products. There’s almost always a draw of some kind to bring attention to an otherwise unknown group of products, something that captures the attention of my readers and prompts them to ask for my thoughts on the products.
   In the case of G.M. Collin, however, a French line sold primarily in spas and salons, I just can’t figure out why there’s such a demand to know more about it because there is no real attention-getting marketing making the rounds. Perhaps, unbeknownst to me, there are a lot of aestheticians turning cartwheels to promote the products, claiming they are the best thing for skin since the advent of moisturizers. Whatever the reason, let me assure you, it has nothing to do with the value of the products themselves.
   Founded by a dermatologist from France in the late 1950s, G.M. Collin is now based in Montreal, Canada. Supposedly, the Canadian company “adapted” this French brand to enhance their products’ “dermo-corrective capacity” to better suit clientele living in North America. It seems that North Americans must endure a distinct climate and must have a “way of life” that differs from those in other parts of the world (though it’s anyone’s guess exactly what those differences are). Anyway, G.M. Collin claims its products are tailored to North America’s unique needs. As you might suspect, they aren’t, but it’s this kind of hackneyed marketing that keeps consumers wondering if G.M. Collin products really do offer something special. 
   Is there anything to the company’s assertion that one should choose skin-care products based on your continent, weather patterns in your neighborhood, or your way of life? Absolutely not—climate and your lifestyle do not determine your skin type. Yes, climate and lifestyle can affect your skin, but they don’t change your skin type, and they don’t affect everyone’s skin the same way; in fact, for lots of people, they don’t affect their skin at all. First of all, let’s talk about climate. It is critical that you choose your skin-care products based on your skin type, not on what the local meteorologist (or G.M. Collin) says it should be. If your skin changes during the year (e.g., becomes drier during the winter months), then you may need to consider changing the products you use depending on the season. But that isn’t about where you live, it’s about how your skin reacts. Skin can react to the weather, stress, your health, hormonal changes, and other factors.
   Second is lifestyle. We all know that lifestyle can affect skin; for example, spending time outdoors without sun protection can cause myriad problems, and smoking also has negative effects. Stress may also take its toll on your skin, as can allergies to certain substances. 
   Third, and even more inane than basing your skin-care routine on climate, is basing it on what continent you’re on, which is what G.M. Collin seems to be doing, as if they are using North America–specific formulations for their products. Like many parts of the world, North America has four seasons, ranging from ice cold to sweltering, and your skin may or may not react to them differently. What does any of that have to do with skin-care formulations? Nothing—and that becomes clear from the ingredient labels on the G.M. Collin products.
   In summary, the entire philosophy behind G.M. Collin is as silly and unhelpful as deciding what to eat based on where you live. Everyone will have individual tastes, but it doesn’t change the fact that we all need the same healthy foods to take the best care of our bodies. 
   Once you get past the claims, a closer look at the formulas reveals products that are more about perfume and eau de cologne than skin care. Almost all G.M. Collin products contain one or more known irritants, which is not good skin care on any continent, and several of the touted ingredients have unknown or negligible benefit for skin. The cleansers are problematic and overpriced. The products for those struggling with acne, oily skin, discolorations, rosacea, and all manner of sensitive skin are ineffective, lacking even one ingredient known to improve such skin conditions. 
   Let me end your curiosity right here: G.M. Collin is among the most disappointing spa-oriented lines I’ve ever reviewed. In fact, if the spa where you’re considering booking an appointment uses this brand exclusively, I advise you to book elsewhere. When it comes to formulating effective, gentle skin-care products that perform as claimed, the team behind G.M. Collin simply doesn’t know what they’re doing. 
   For more information about G.M. Collin, call (800) 341-1531 or visit www.gmcollin.com/.

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