Yon-Ka Paris At-A-Glance
Strengths: Good self-tanner and after-sun moisturizer.
Weaknesses: Expensive; mostly irritating cleansers; almost every moisturizer, serum, mask, toner, and treatment product is loaded with irritating fragrant oils; claims are ludicrous to the max; none of the products with SPF ratings contain active sunscreen ingredients; no reliable AHA or BHA products; skin-lightening products do not contain ingredients that fade discolorations, but do contain ingredients that can make discolorations worse; terribly formulated products to treat blemishes.
Yon-Ka Paris is a French line of cosmetics with a decidedly French accent, but that is where the élan of this pricey skin-care line starts and stops. The ads for Yon-Ka Paris declare that the company has a passion for the "world of plants … that nourish and heal the body and soul and restore the beauty of skin and spirit." At these prices, that's the least you should expect. Adding to the allure is a description of the name Yon-Ka. "Yon" refers to a river with rapid, purifying water meant to symbolize the energy these products are said to provide skin; "Ka" is an ancient Egyptian term that symbolizes "the vital and eternal force that is inherent in each individual." Taken together, the name is supposed to represent constant natural regeneration. Unfortunately, when you get down to the product formulas, most of them contain enough irritating ingredients that skin will suffer from degradation rather than regeneration.
Almost every Yon-Ka moisturizer contains a litany of problematic ingredients, the dastardliest of which are citrus oils, thyme, rosemary, and lavender. Others show up, but the aforementioned are the most consistent, and it's amazing how many disparate claims are assigned to the products they're in. Apparently, all it takes are fragrant oils mixed with standard, mostly benign cosmetic ingredients (thickeners, waxes, and a few water-binding agents) to not only firm skin but also erase acne, banish discolorations, reduce wrinkles, purify, and on and on.
Yon-Ka is available in many spas, and their Web site discusses how concerned they are about being selective with distribution. The logic, however flawed, is that they take so much care in creating the products and advising those who retail them how to sell them to their clients that they couldn't possibly let just anyone sell their aromatic blends. Believe me, any aesthetician exclusively retailing Yon-Ka is someone you don't want dealing with your skin (assuming he or she will only be using Yon-Ka products). We're not challenging the credibility or skills of such an aesthetician, just their judgment in deciding to sell a skin-care line so fraught with products that cannot possibly help skin. Anyone seriously interested in taking the best possible care of their skin could care less about a spiritually aromatic spa experience, and instead should demand products that are appropriate for their skin type and condition. Yon-Ka offers none of that.
What Yon-Ka does afford is a sensory experience that may relax you; it's too bad that your skin will suffer as a result. And what about the fact that Yon-Ka's daily routines do not include a sunscreen? Sun protection isn't even discussed, and the handful of Yon-Ka products with SPF ratings do not list active ingredients, which is as reliable as shopping for food without knowing what's in the package.
Even more deplorable is the company's view of suntanning. We can't imagine trusting your skin's health to a company that sells products that encourage you to get a tan. A skin-care line that turns a blind eye to the issues of sun protection and cumulative sun damage is as unethical as it is ignorant. Yon-Ka may be at the forefront of aesthetic aromatherapy, but that's about olfactory benefit, and in no way does that translate to smart, efficacious skin care. If you need to smell something nice, light a candle or wave perfume over pulse points, just keep it away from your skin.
For more information about Yon-Ka Paris, call (800) 533-6276 or visit www.yonka.com.