time in a bottle
1.3 fl. oz. for $75
Last Updated:12.17.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

If you're old enough to remember when the Jim Croce song "Time in a Bottle" topped the charts, then you may feel a certain sense of nostalgia seeing the name for this product. The bittersweet song had nothing to do with anti-aging and, is it turns out, neither does this serum! The main reason for this is due to the amount of alcohol it contains—the very same kind that prompts dryness, irritation, and free-radical damage (see More Info for details). This serum, which comes with a tiny vial of liquid you mix into the main container prior to first use, is supposed to support healthy DNA function, but that's not what alcohol does. There's plenty of research on how alcohol and its by-product acetaldehyde damage DNA when consumed orally; it's not a stretch to think some amount of DNA damage to skin occurs via topical application of higher doses, too.

Even if this was an alcohol-free formula (and remember, fatty alcohols like cetyl or stearyl alcohol are not a problem for skin; it's the denatured type you need to watch out for), other than a good mix of antioxidants, you're not getting much for your money, and definitely not a product that can defy age or should be considered a breakthrough. Philosophy has better serums than this, or you can check out any of those on our list of Best Sensitive Serums.

  • Treats skin to an impressive mix of antioxidants.
  • Mica adds a soft glow.
  • Contains a potentially problematic amount of alcohol.
  • Overpriced given its formula.
  • Lofty claims not supported by proven ingredients.
More Info:

Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin's ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410–1,419; Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).


Time In A Bottle daily age-defying serum helps defy the appearance of all major signs of aging with a breakthrough DNA renewal complex and high-potency vitamin C8 activator.


Water, Dimethicone, Alcohol Denat., Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethylsilane, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG-8, Butylene Glycol, Polyethylene, Glycerin, Dimethiconol, Methoxy PEG-18, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Pongamia Pinnata Seed Extract, Angelica Archangelica Root Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Plankton Extract, PTFE, Bifida Ferment Lysate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Tocopherol, Polysorbate 60, Lecithin, Sclerotium Gum, Hydrolyzed Soy Flour, Retinyl Palmitate, Propylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Micrococcus Lysate, Bacillus Ferment, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Maltodextrin, Trisodium EDTA Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Sorbic Acid, Adenosine, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Parfum/Fragrance, 1,2-Hexanediol, Silica, Xanthan Gum, Ascorbic Acid, Lactic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Alcohol, Acetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, BHT, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).

Brand Overview

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 www.philosophy.com.

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.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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One of the best products I ever used

I pair this with when hope is not enough. My skin feels amazing. Its given me a soft & smooth texture. As well as fine lines & wrinkles are becoming less prominent.I have a small red patch on my cheek that I got years ago from a bad burn. Its literally vanishing. I'm taking pictures because I'm shocked with the results. The red is lighting up to the point its gone in some parts.I tested it out on a healing scar on my arm. Again its taking the redness out & blending it to my natural skin color.

Reviewed by
Ashley P
I'm anti-philosophy

I don't trust philosophy given my experience between including lavender in hope in a jar. And then the eye products that sting my eyes. Given the alcohol content in this product I wonder if the brand's owner's are alcoholic's. The definitely have a habit of creating skin are that is toxic for the health of the skin. They obviously have no plans of quitting this vicious cycle.

Reviewed by
Annette D.
Some results, but probably not worth the price

I got this as a free sample and after two days of use I did notice some positive results (skin seems smoother and brighter). There are probably better, cheaper options though as this sucker retails for $75 for just 1.3oz.

Reviewed by
Time in a bottle

I purchased time in a bottle after getting the computer test offered by philosophy in sephora about a week ago. I've been using this product for a week now and my face is very irritated, dry and greasy; i have always used natural products on my face and this product "time in a bottle" has harsh ingredients that can damage your skin. I will definitely not recommend this product! If you have beautiful skin and want to buy something to enhance it, please don't buy this!

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