Strengths: Inexpensive; Simple provides complete product ingredient lists on its Web site; good makeup removers; a few cleansers for sensitive skin; all of the sunscreens provide sufficient UVA protection.
Weaknesses: Poor selection of products for oily, acne-prone skin; no options for those with discolorations; several products that claim to be great for sensitive skin but contain ingredients that will make sensitive skin worse; mostly unexciting, dated moisturizers.
Simple is a United Kingdom–based skin-care line whose self-described claim to fame is that they're the "pre-eminent brand of skincare and toiletries products developed especially for sensitive skin." They also claim to be the United Kingdom's No. 1 skin care-brand, as measured by units sold, and given the line's wide distribution and low price point, the sales figures are probably accurate. But, although their sales claim may be accurate, Simple's claims about their products being good for sensitive skin are spurious at best because too many of the ingredients are completely inappropriate for sensitive skin.
Simple skin care states the following: “Our philosophy is: Simple says - never use perfumes, dyes or harsh irritants that can upset your skin. Simple says - settle for only the purest possible ingredients. Simple says - trust the natural goodness in all of our products especially for sensitive skin.” Although that's a good philosophy, most Simple products don’t live up to their lofty goals. There are fragrant ingredients in many of their products, they use potentially irritating preservatives in some of their products, their sun protection products use synthetic sunscreen ingredients which aren’t the best for sensitive skin, and many of their ingredients are not natural (we know their claim of natural goodness doesn’t say outright that they only use natural ingredients but many consumers will think that’s what's being implied)
Unfortunately, there are no standards in Europe or anywhere else that regulate which cosmetic products can be deemed suitable for sensitive skin and which cannot. Therefore, any company can make that claim for its products, regardless of what the products contain. It's not all bad news though, as several of Simple's products are fragrance-free, which is a key starting point for all skin types, especially sensitive skin.
As mentioned above, the price point for Simple is low; in fact, it is one of the least expensive cosmetic brands you’ll find in either the United Kingdom or the United States. We are all for consumers getting more for their money, but in most cases with Simple you're being shortchanged, and that’s not the way to save money. Most of their products are either very basic or the frills and good ingredients are but a dusting in an otherwise ordinary formula. There are few outstanding products in this line, which is similar throughout the industry.
The anti-aging products are a great example of Simple's combination of low prices and lofty claims, with nary an ingredient on the list capable of delivering any benefit over and above a Band-Aid®. Even the most state-of-the-art moisturizers and anti-aging products won't bring about a significant reduction in wrinkles or other signs of aging, but using well-formulated products (and they don't have to be expensive) helps a great deal. Overall the folks behind Simple took their name too literally.
For more information about Simple, visit http://www.simpleskincare.com
Note: As of summer 2015, going forward all Simple Skincare reviews are based on the United States formulas and prices are given in United States currency.