03.18.2015
2
clear days ahead oil-free salicylic acid acne treatment cleanser
8 fl. oz. for $22
Expert Rating
Community Rating (1)
Expert Reviews
Last Updated:03.18.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes

This water-soluble gel cleanser is medicated with anti-acne salicylic acid, but in a cleanser this ingredient is rinsed down the drain before it can benefit your skin; plus, the pH of this cleanser is above the range salicylic acid needs to exfoliate. You’re directed to massage this cleanser over your skin for 60 seconds, but doing so is ill-advised because the formula contains a couple of problematic ingredients that you don’t want to leave on your skin for even a few seconds. Chief among them is the main cleansing agent, sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate. It can be quite drying, even for those with oily skin, and massaging this over your face for a minute only makes the potential dryness worse. Of lesser concern, but still worth mentioning, is the orange extract that lends this cleanser its citrus scent and the tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide, which can kill acne-causing bacteria but also causes acute free-radical damage and should not be applied to skin on a daily basis. All told, there are more gentle, less expensive cleansers for those with acne-prone skin to consider. Paula’s Choice CLEAR Normalizing Cleanser is one; you’ll find others from Neutrogena as well as Clean & Clear, but first check our Best List to be sure you are getting the right ones.

Pros:

  • Light gel texture rinses without a residue.

Cons:

  • Expensive.
  • Salicylic acid is wasted in a cleanser because it’s rinsed from the skin.
  • Main cleansing agent is drying and not as gentle as many others.
  • Contains fragrant orange extract.
  • Hydrogen peroxide puts skin at risk for excessive free-radical damage.
Community Reviews
Claims

clear days ahead oil-free salicylic acid acne treatment cleanser deeply cleanses and helps reduce acne-causing bacteria to promote clearer skin.

Ingredients

Active: Salicylic Acid (1.0%) Other: Water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Acrylates Crosspolymer-4, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polysorbate 20, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Panthenol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Jojoba Esters, Disodium Capryloyl Glutamate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Hydrogen Peroxide, Propylene Glycol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, O-Cymen-5-Ol

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.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.


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See all reviews for this brand

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.