Clear Complexion Moisturizer Acne Treatment Cream

Price:
$28 - 2 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Sensitive Skin Products > Blemish/Acne Treatments > BHA
Last Updated:
1/21/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
pH:
3.50
Tested On Animals:
No

With just a few changes, this BHA exfoliant for acne-prone skin would be a winner. In the pro column is a 2% concentration of salicylic acid, an effective pH of 3.5 so the active ingredient will work as claimed, and a lightweight, silky lotion base suitable for all skin types. The cons include some potentially irritating ingredients such as grapefruit and orange extract and various parts of the witch hazel plant. Without the potential irritants, this would have easily earned a better rating. Those looking for a fragrance-free alternative that is more cost effective and free of needless irritants should consider Paula's Choice CLEAR exfoliant with BHA.

Soothing, lightweight moisturizer specifically formulated with Salicylic Acid to target acne blemishes and prevent new ones from forming. Provides essential hydration without leaving an oily residue. Helps improve skin tone and texture. Leaves skin smooth, clear and healthy-looking. Oil-free.

Active: Salicylic Acid (2%), Other: Water, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Polyacrylamide, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Bark/Leaf/Twig Extract, Bisabolol, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Phospholipids, Glucose, Lactic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Ethoxydiglycol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Sorbitan Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Nylon-12, Polysorbate 60, Laureth-7, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Xanthan Gym, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance

Merle Norman opened her first cosmetics studio in Santa Monica, California, in 1931. She believed strongly that women would love her products, if only she could "get them on their faces," and the company's now-famous try-before-you-buy program was launched. To this day, women who visit any of Merle Norman's 2,000 boutiques spread across the United States, Canada, and Mexico can take advantage of the company's product samples before making a purchase.

The free samples are great, but the question is why anyone would be inclined to try Merle Norman skin-care products. Although there have been some improvements since the Cosmetics Cop Team last reviewed this brand, much of what was problematic back then is still around today, and still problematic - and that's not good news for your skin.

Across the board, the biggest issue is jar packaging. Several of the moisturizers didn't receive better than a neutral face rating because they are poorly packaged. For a company claiming to be cutting edge, they somehow missed, or chose to ignore, the research showing how state-of-the-art ingredients deteriorate when exposed to light and air. In addition, repeatedly sticking your fingers into a product isn't sanitary, and further degrades the ingredients. What good is adding a lot of antioxidants and other plant extracts or vitamins to a product if their efficacy is all but gone within a week or two of opening?

There are other weak spots to watch out for, too, especially in the Luxiva Changing Skin and Luxiva Clear Complexion lines. Merle Norman also sells a group of antiquated products that are little more than cold cream and super-greasy moisturizers. These are as far removed as you can get from what we know about what skin needs to look younger and function in a healthy manner. Using many of Merle Norman's products is like using a typewriter instead of a computer.

As far as what's to like, you'll find several well-formulated cleansers and toners, some reliable AHA and BHA products, and an impressive lip balm, and most of the SPF-rated products provide broad-spectrum protection. Ultimately, it wouldn't be wise to try to assemble a comprehensive skin-care routine from Merle Norman, but if you focus on their better products you'll do okay.

For the record, it is perfectly fine to mix Merle Norman products with those from other brands. We doubt you'll get this advice if you visit any of the Merle Norman Studios, but it's true. In fact, this applies to any skin-care brand—what counts is the individual product and how well it's formulated, not the company's predetermined ideas that their products work best if and only if they're used together.

For more information about Merle Norman, call (310) 641-3000 or visit www.merlenorman.com.

Note: We know that we've stated for quite some time that the team wouldn't be revisiting this line because of Merle Norman's complete disinterest in helping us get the information we need to review their products accurately. Over the years, my staff has been kicked out of several Merle Norman boutiques, both here in the Seattle area and in other states. As soon as we began taking notes or if we asked too many questions, we were eyed with suspicion and then asked to leave. There are two reasons we changed our mind: (1) our Beautypedia subscribers kept asking us to re-review this brand, and (2) a Merle Norman employee agreed to help us obtain the information we need, as long as she remained anonymous. We wish to extend a sincere thanks to the woman who sent us dozens upon dozens of samples and helped us compile all of the accurate information that made these reviews possible.

Please note: These product prices are in U.S. dollars, and for reasons unknown Merle Norman products are substantially more expensive in Canadian boutiques. Please be aware when shopping that these ratings are a reflection of U.S. prices only.

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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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