Strengths: Some fragrance-free products; all the sunscreens but one contain either avobenzone or titanium dioxide for sufficient UVA protection; some commendable moisturizers with sunscreen; some good, inexpensive cleansers, and scrub for dry skin.
Weaknesses: Repetitive moisturizer formulas that rarely rise above the median for excellence; jar packaging is pervasive; the at-home peel/scrub kit is mostly disappointing; a couple of irritating moisturizers; no products for those with skin discolorations; limited options for oily skin.
Health is vital. That's the opening line on Vichy's catalog, followed by "Start with your skin." Perusing the opening pages of this catalog, it's easy to see how someone could get wrapped up in this L'Oreal-owned company's belief in listening to the signals skin sends us and then choosing products to address whatever problem skin is signaling you to correct. That might include acne, blackheads, eczema, discolorations, broken capillaries, and even excess oiliness. No surprises there, and it is sound advice to adapt your skin-care routine as your skin's needs (and signals) change. The problem is that Vichy's products, though well intentioned, are incapable of addressing several common problems, including most of those listed above. About all you can expect from most Vichy moisturizers is relief from dryness. That's it. Every product's claims "talk the talk," but they cannot possibly walk the walk because what's in them is, for the most part, standard, and without any research behind it to show that it makes a difference.
A big-deal ingredient for Vichy is their Thermal Spa Water. It is said to reduce irritation, strengthen skin's natural defenses, and provide free radical–quelling activity thanks to its trace minerals and salt. There is no substantiated proof to support these claims, save for a somewhat primitive chart Vichy provides to show this water helps reduce cutaneous signs of irritation (what it was compared to, if anything, is unknown). Two other L'Oreal-owned brands, Biotherm and La Roche-Posay, have similar special waters, each claiming to be mineral-rich. Yet if these are so unique and wonderfully beneficial for everyone's skin, why don't all L'Oreal-owned lines such as Lancome, L'Oreal, Kiehl’s, SkinCeuticals, and The Body Shop, use them, too?
As expected, there are some bona fide winners among Vichy's products, but using Vichy exclusively with the expectation that their products have the answer to whatever your skin needs to have fixed is like thinking green tea is the only food your body needs.
Note: Vichy is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Vichy does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law.” Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Research Team.
For more information about Vichy, owned by L'Oreal, call (877) 378-4249 or visit www.vichy.com.