China Herbal Ultimate Renewal makes a dual claim: it’s said to be technologically advanced, but also attributes its skin-rejuvenating benefits to a centuries-old formula used by the wives of Chinese emperors. Who knows what those women used centuries ago or even what they really looked like? Plus, given what we now know about what skin needs to look its best and function optimally, we wouldn’t advise anyone to purchase a “centuries-old” concoction (any more than we would suggest someone use a typewriter versus a computer or give up their refrigerator). We’re not sure where the advanced part of this formula comes into play because it’s basically a very standard blend of water, several thickeners, petrolatum (they didn’t have Vaseline centuries ago), wax, and a pH adjuster. Exotic-sounding plant extracts are in the mix, but in amounts too low to do anything more than look impressive on the label to gullible consumers. A few of the plants have antioxidant properties, but the clear jar packaging will quickly eliminate any potential benefit.
Based on an herbal recipe once exclusive to the wives of Ming Dynasty emperors. Eleven select herbs, including rare Tibetan sunflower and the seeds of the ancient ginko, work synergistically to soften and smooth and soften expression lines.
Water, Isostearyl Stearoyl Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Isocetyl Stearate, Petrolatum, Glyceryl Stearate, Tea-Stearate, Ceresin, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone, Sorbitan Stearate, Polysorbate-60, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Panax Ginseng (Ginseng) Root Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Tibetan Safflower) Flower Extract, Eriobotrya Japonica (Loquat) Leaf Extract, Morus Alba (Mulberry) Leaf Extract, Ginkgo Biloba (Ginkgo) Seed Extract, Evodia Rutaecarpa Fruit Extract, Arisaema Consanguineum Root Extract, Gardenia Jasminoides Fruit Extract, Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Rubus Chingii Fruit Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance, Polysorbate 20, May Contain: Yellow 5
The goal of the Wei East skin-care line is to bring Chinese herbal remedies together with Western cosmetics science, a fusion aimed at creating products that provide the best ingredients of the present with those of the ancient past. Many of the ingredients are unique to this line. Yet, aside from the claims, the inherent problem with this concept is that there is very little proof, beyond anecdotal evidence, that any of the chosen Chinese herbs and various plant extracts have benefit for skin. Of course, that fact didn't stop Wei East from assigning all manner of benefits to such romantic-sounding ingredients as white lotus, lily, and Chinese rose.
The good news is that some of the less-exotic plant extracts in these products do have a reasonable amount of research backing up the claims they make for having a positive impact on skin. Not surprisingly, Wei East, just like hundreds of other cosmetics lines, also takes their claims far beyond reality. None of these ingredients, from China or anywhere else on earth, will restore aging skin to its youthful state.
Wei East also claims to offer a "wide range of skincare products [that] meet the unique needs of various skin types," yet there are no products to address acne or blackheads, no AHA or BHA exfoliants, and, most surprisingly, not a single sunscreen (how did they miss that quintessential skin-care need?). A skin-care line without a well-formulated sunscreen hasn't really got its feet on the ground, and must be using research from the turn of the century. Also, you can ignore Wei East's statement that their products are 100% irritant-free because several of the plants they include are irritating. They also claim that the herbal extracts in these products are picked and packed at their peak of freshness, but why would a company so concerned about the freshness and potency of natural ingredients package so many of its products in jars, exposing these substances to deteriorating light and air? What a sad oversight.
Although this is a fairly pricey line, there are some commendable products. The cleansers are all adept at their jobs and also facilitate makeup removal; there are some topical scrub options; and the excellent China Herbal Eyes Alive is recommended, although not because it banishes dark circles and puffiness as claimed. Watch out for the toners and any of the treatment products, which either contain dubious or irritating ingredients or are simply a waste of time and money.
For more information about Wei East (pronounced "way east"), call (888) 934-3278 or visit www.weieast.com.