This system includes two products, one of which is designed to peel (exfoliate) skin and the other designed to soothe skin post-peel. The Peeling portion is a lightweight lotion that contains approximately 3% glycolic acid. Its pH is 3.6, so exfoliation will occur, but the amount of AHA isn't all that impressive. Ideally, glycolic acid should be present in at least a 5% concentration when the goal is exfoliation (Sources: Dermatologic Surgery, February 2005, pages 149–154; and Cosmetic Dermatology, October 2001, pages 15–18). There isn't much else to say about the Peeling step except that, unlike most Sothys products, it is fragrance-free.
The Comfort Solution is a fairly good moisturizer for slightly dry skin, but the amount of truly comforting anti-irritants is disappointingly low. Even more bothersome, especially for anyone with sensitive skin, is the range of fragrance chemicals in this moisturizer. All of them can cause irritation, and that's not what you want when the goal is to soothe your skin. An AHA product from Alpha Hydrox or Neutrogena, coupled with a brilliant moisturizer or serum, would be a much better duo to consider, and such combinations are available for less than $30.
This duo combines a peeling solution with the Comfort Renewal Solution. The peeling step contains Glycolic Acid for a long lasting exfoliating action and the Comfort Renewal Solution contains ingredients that soothe and repair the skin.
Step 1: Peeling (0.5 ounce): Water, Glycerin, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ppg-15 Stearyl Ether, Glycolic Acid, Cyclopentasiloxane, Triethanolamine, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Cyclohexasiloxane, Propylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Arginine, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben, BHT, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben Propylparaben Step 2: Comfort Solution (0.5 ounce): Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Dipropylene Glycol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Sodium Palmitoyl Praline, Cyclohexasiloxane, PEG-30 Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Allantoin, Acrylamide Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, Nymphaea Alba Flower Extract, Fragrance, Isohexadecane, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Chlorphenesin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Acrylate Copolymer, Methylparaben, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Polysorbate 80, Gossypium Hirsutum (Cotton) Extract, Sorbitan Oleate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Glyceryl Oleate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Quercetin Caprylate, Isobutylparaben, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Linalool, Geraniol
We have to admit we weren't looking forward to reviewing this line. We've been aware of Sothys for some time, and over the years many women have asked us what we thought of it. We don't ever mind being asked what we think of a product line, but in this case it was the way we were asked that we found depressing. Somehow this spa-oriented line has developed an almost reverent reputation for being a superior skin-care line.
A question would go like this, "What do you think of Sothys?" We would reply, "Not much, the formulas are either out of date or contain problematic ingredients and the price tag is silly for what you get." Inevitably, the response would be, "Really? I thought it was one of the best lines around … it's French, you know?" Sigh. Yes, we do know. But …
Despite a long French-heritage, dating back to 1946, this spa-oriented brand with a vast array of products doesn't deserve a reputation for being anything other than an overpriced spa brand to avoid.
Most of Sothys skin-care formularies are so far behind the times that using them is akin to using a typewriter instead of a computer—the formulations are as ordinary and mundane as it gets. Almost all their moisturizers lack any reasonable amount of antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, or cell-communicating ingredients. Also consider that there are no effective products for those struggling with blemishes or blackheads, despite their claims. It is astounding that in a line with dozens of facial moisturizers (most with repetitive formulas), not a single one includes a sunscreen. How can this brand be so incredibly blind to the number one cause of wrinkles and skin aging? If they aren't aware of the critical importance of sun protection, then how much do you want to trust them in any other aspect of helping your skin?
Sothys makes much ado about the training it provides to aestheticians. Not having attended any of their classes, we can't speak specifically to the content of what they teach, but if their products are even vaguely representative of what they inculcate, woe to those aestheticians who rely on Sothys as their source of skin-care education.
When all is said and done, and you've gotten past the smoke and mirrors, nothing else matters if you don't have well-formulated products, sunscreens, exfoliants, acne products, options for rosacea and sensitive skin, and/or reasonable pricing. And that's where Sothys falls flat on its scrubbed, steamed, masked, and spa "purified" face.
For more information about Sothys Paris, call (305) 594-4222 or visit www.sothys-usa.com.
Note: Several names on Sothys Web site and other sites retailing this brand list one name on the product page and another on the product itself. In our reviews we list the name on the product itself.