Meaningful Beauty Cindy Crawford

Meaningful Beauty At-A-Glance

Strengths: The company provides complete ingredient lists on their Web site; good fragrance-free cleanser; excellent lightweight moisturizer; sunscreen now rated SPF 20 and includes zinc oxide; packaging that keeps light- and air-sensitive antioxidants stable during use.

Weaknesses: Expensive; the mask contains irritating eucalyptus oil; no products to manage acne, lighten skin discolorations, or exfoliate.

It's impossible to deny that Cindy Crawford's natural-born, unique beauty and style helped establish her as one of the world's most famous supermodels, but, to borrow a word from this company's title, how is that "meaningful" for you and your skin? Now that Crawford's modeling career is not as prolific as it was in her heyday during the '80s to mid-'90s, she's making alternative career choices while still occasionally lending her image to other brands in print ads. That brings us to her cosmetics-related endeavor, where she has a partnership with the infomercial/direct-response, distributor guru Guthy-Renker (of ProActiv and Principal Secret fame). Suddenly you can't be beautiful without Cindy and her tidy skin-care line.

It stands to reason that the next question should be: When it comes to celebrities creating their own products lines (think Lauren Hutton and Victoria Principal) does being beautiful or acquiring fame equal skin-care knowledge? Clearly, they are not associated. Although Crawford may be an astute businesswoman, her cosmetic acumen is sparse relative to her knowledge of how to market herself and her image. Her knowledge of cosmetics does not coincide with what consumers need to take the best possible care of their skin, and the proof is in the products themselves.

Meaningful Beauty offers a small assortment of skin-care products, replete with the usual list of sounds-too-good-to-be true anti-aging, firming, and look-younger-overnight claims. Every line needs a story and Crawford's is that she created Meaningful Beauty so she could share her personal secret to flawless skin with the rest of the world. We're sure we don't really need to mention it, but don't count on obtaining any level of perfection akin to Crawford's, from using her products or anyone else's. That kind of hope in the bottle doesn't exist anywhere in the world. More to the point, given that the most essential way to keep skin healthy is to protect it from the sun, why does Meaningful Beauty offer only one sunscreen? Limitations abound with this line: if you experience breakouts, want an exfoliant, or have skin discolorations you'll need to look elsewhere because no such options exist in this line.

To enhance this line's credibility, especially among those who might be skeptical about Cindy's knowledge of skin care, the company pamphlets and Web site state that the products were developed in coordination with Paris-based cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jean-Louis Sebagh. Apparently, Dr. Sebagh has been formulating antioxidant-rich potions for his celebrity clients, including Ms. Crawford, since the days when she was jetting to Europe for modeling assignments. But if he wasn't giving her a well-formulated sunscreen it was a waste of her time and money.

Nonetheless, celebrities of a certain age the world over don't look younger solely because of their skin-care routine; instead, they rely on strategically administered cosmetic corrective procedures and surgery in conjunction with quality skin care. And they don't have to fly to Europe to get that, because state-of-the-art research and superb, quality skin-care products and procedures are readily available worldwide. It's not the secret of one doctor somewhere in France or anywhere else.

Although antioxidants are excellent for skin, and the more the better, antioxidants alone cannot reverse aging or undo years of damage from unprotected sun exposure (meaning wrinkles), because most of the wrinkles we see on our skin are the result of sun damage, not aging! Antioxidants have wonderful qualities for skin, and we are learning more about their abilities every day, but they are not anti-aging miracle workers, especially if skin has lost its firmness or has begun to sag.

It is worth mentioning that most of the Meaningful Beauty products contain at least one antioxidant in a relatively "meaningful" amount. That indicates that the chemists behind these product formulas are at least interested in more than just adding antioxidants as window dressing. As helpful as that is, what is just silly is how Meaningful Beauty showcases melon extract as their exotic specialty ingredient so that consumers think they are getting something unique that no other company has.

If Cindy Crawford and Dr. Sebagh believe these are the best skin-care products around, they are either ignoring or are unaware of the shortcomings plaguing this line; a little more research would have gone a long way toward making better products.

For more information about Meaningful Beauty Cindy Crawford, call (800) 927-0047 or visit www.meaningfulbeauty.com.

Note: Prices for the Meaningful Beauty products are based on purchasing them individually rather than as part of a kit, which is available if you join the Meaningful Beauty club.

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