philosophy At-A-Glance

Strengths: Relatively inexpensive; some of the best products are fragrance-free; very good retinol products; selection of state-of-the-art moisturizers; innovative skin-lightening product.

Weaknesses: Irritating and/or drying cleansers; average to problematic scrubs; at-home peel kits far more gimmicky than helpful; several products contain lavender oil; several products include irritating essential oils; the majority of makeup items do not rise above average status.

Believe in miracles. That's the "lifestyle" branding statement philosophy makes, which is an approach that is decidedly different from their former positioning, which encompassed family values and spirituality along with a dash of department-store élan and endearingly clever quips. The miracle angle may grab your attention, but the company is also quick to point out that its history is steeped in providing products to dermatologists and plastic surgeons worldwide (so, in addition to miracles, philosophy has a serious side, too). Although its heritage may have included providing clinically oriented products to doctors, we have yet to see or hear of any medical professional retailing philosophy products. And that's a good thing because, by and large, most of philosophy products are resounding disappointments. Moreover, several products, including almost all of their sunscreens, contain one or more known skin irritants. We would be extremely suspicious of a dermatologist or plastic surgeon who recommended such products to their patients, and even more so if they actually believed some of the more farfetched claims philosophy makes.

Interestingly, when you shop this line at department stores or at the cosmetics boutique Sephora, what you'll notice is the preponderance of food- and drink-scented bath products, all in vivid colors or cutely boxed for gift-giving. It seems that somewhere along the way, the company decided to promote these nose-appeal products while downplaying their more serious-minded, simply packaged skin care. Perhaps the body lotions and bubble baths have become philosophy's bread and butter. Given the hit-or-miss nature of their facial-care products, that's not surprising. Then again, they've also heavily promoted their anti-aging-themed Miracle Worker products...

So what's to like if you're into the vibe philosophy puts out? Well, this is still a line with some well-formulated staples, including an AHA product, some retinol options, and a handful of state-of-the-art moisturizers. The products that get the most promotion at the counter are the ones you should avoid, such as the at-home peels, scrubs, pads, and anti-acne products. However, the somewhat confusing, conflicting image philosophy presents shouldn't keep you from considering their best products—but it's not a lifestyle brand in the sense that using the entire line will somehow bring you a more joyful existence, or significantly improved skin. The philosophy line is now owned Coty, a cosmetics brand primarily known for their fragrances. Their acquisition of philosophy is their first major foray into a widely-distributed skin care brand.

For more information about philosophy, call (800) 568-3151 or visit

Note: philosophy opts to use lowercase letters for every product they sell, so the listings below are simply following suit.

philosophy Makeup

Minimalism is a big theme among philosophy's dwindling, uneven range of makeup. Whereas the color options from this company used to be extensive, well-organized, and at times clever, what's lining the counter now needs help, in more ways than one. The major issue is the plethora of ordinary products that cost far too much for what they don't offer, which is innovation and, in almost every case, selection. The line shines brightest (pun intended) with its lip color offerings, though the best products in this category are counterbalanced by glosses or lip balms with needless irritants. If you're a fan of philosophy's skin-care products and are considering their makeup, you don't want to try to build a comprehensive color wardrobe with it. However, you'd be wise to explore the handful of pleasant surprises here, including an excellent bronzing lotion, foundation primer with sunscreen, and the multi-use makeup brush.

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+ Rating Product Brand Category Price Size
Poor keep the peace protective color corrector SPF 20 (Discontinued) philosophy Tinted Moisturizer w/ Sunscreen  $32.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Poor keep the peace super soothing instant relief mask for redness and sensitive skin (Discontinued) philosophy Moisturizing/Firming Masks  $40.00 4.00 fl. oz.
Poor keep the peace super soothing moisturizer for redness and sensitivity (Discontinued) philosophy Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $40.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Poor keep the peace super soothing serum for redness and sensitivity (Discontinued) philosophy Serums  $40.00 0.90 fl. oz.
Poor miracle worker anti-aging antioxidant pads (Discontinued) philosophy Serums  $58.00 60.00 pads
Average miracle worker anti-aging for blemish prone skin philosophy BHA  $60.00 1.60 fl. oz.
Best miracle worker dark spot corrector (Discontinued) philosophy Lighteners Without Hydroquinone  $64.00 1.00 fl. oz.
Poor miracle worker miraculous anti-aging concentrate philosophy Serums  $62.00 0.95 fl. oz.
Average miracle worker miraculous anti-aging moisturizer philosophy Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $60.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Best miracle worker miraculous anti-aging neck cream (Discontinued) philosophy Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $46.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Average miracle worker miraculous anti-aging retinoid eye repair philosophy Eye Moisturizers  $66.00 0.50 fl. oz.
Average miracle worker miraculous anti-aging retinoid pads and solution philosophy Serums  $74.00 60.00 applications
Average miracle worker overnight philosophy Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $68.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Best miracle worker spf50 miraculous anti-aging fluid philosophy Moisturizer with Sunscreen  $59.00 1.70 fl. oz.
Average on a clear day, oil-free acne spot treatment (Discontinued) philosophy Shine Control/Other  $18.00 0.50 fl. oz.
Poor on a clear day, oil-free acne treatment (Discontinued) philosophy BHA  $22.00 1.00 fl. oz.
Good on a clear day, oil-free foaming acne cleanser (Discontinued) philosophy Cleansers/Soaps  $25.00 6.00 fl. oz.
Poor on a clear day, oil-free moisturizer (Discontinued) philosophy Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $23.00 1.80 fl. oz.
Poor 27 wishes multi-purpose skin nurturing balm (Discontinued) philosophy Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $19.00 1.00 fl. oz.
Poor amazing grace perfumed firming body emulsion philosophy Anti-Cellulite/Firming Products  $22.00 8.00 fl. oz.
Good back to nurture replenishment philosophy Face/Body Oils  $50.00 1.00 fl. oz.
Good booster caps retinol capsules (Discontinued) philosophy Serums  $50.00 60.00 capsules
Good clear days ahead fast-acting salicylic acid acne spot treatment philosophy Exfoliants  $18.00 0.50 fl. oz.
Best clear days ahead oil-free salicylic acid acne treatment & moisturizer philosophy BHA  $39.00 2.00 fl. oz.
Poor clear days ahead oil-free salicylic acid acne treatment cleanser philosophy Blemish/Acne Treatments  $21.00 8.00 fl. oz.
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