Ageless Total Facial Cleanser

by Image Skincare  Ageless
Price:
$29.99 - 6 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:
8/14/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

Ageless Total Facial Cleanser is an overall disappointing product, primarily because it perpetuates the idea that AHAs (like glycolic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) are effective as exfoliants when present in a cleanser. These types of chemical exfoliants must remain on the skin if they are to exfoliate—the short amount of time they are on the skin when present in a cleanser means that they are rinsed down the drain before your skin can reap their benefits. AHAs or BHA in a cleanser is also problematic for stability reasons, as they work best within a specific pH range that's lower than the pH of most cleansers. There's also the added risk of getting these ingredients in your eyes when they're present in a cleanser.

Even if you aren't expecting to see any exfoliating results from this formula, there are additional drawbacks. While the cleansing agents are mild, IMAGE Skincare also included menthol, which provides the tingling effect on your skin—possibly to give you the impression that the formula is exfoliating. Menthol is a potential irritant to the skin, and has a negative effect even if quickly rinsed from the skin—another reason to give this cleanser a pass.

Rather than try the Ageless Total Facial Cleanser, consider any of the better-formulated alternatives on our list of Best Cleansers (Including Cleansing Cloths), many of which cost less, too.

Want to see what a well-formulated, leave-on AHA or BHA exfoliant can do for your skin? Look to our lists of Best AHA Exfoliants or Best BHA Exfoliants to find out just how much both of these types of products can improve numerous skin types and concerns.

Pros:
  • Contains mild cleansing agents.
Cons:
  • Chemical exfoliants, such as the glycolic acid present here, are largely ineffective in cleansers because they are rinsed down the drain before the skin can reap their benefits.
  • Includes the irritant menthol.
  • Definitely pricey given the mostly ordinary formula.

A universal foaming cleanser that rinses away makeup and oil, balances the PH of your skin and eliminates the need for a toner. A gentle Glycolic Acid blend begins the exfoliating process to reveal smoother skin.

Water (Aqua), Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Glycolic Acid, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Ammonium Glycolate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Citric Acid, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Glycol Distearate, PEG-7, Glyceryl Cocoate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Dimethyl, Lauramine Oleate, Phenoxyethanol, Menthol

IMAGE Skincare, a brand operated out of West Palm Beach, Florida, focuses on the concept of “pharmaceutical grade” skin-care products (more on that in a moment). Developed by its president and CEO, Janna Robert, IMAGE Skincare is distributed in spas and dermatology offices. However, it can also be found on retail websites like Amazon (despite the company’s claim that these aren’t approved retailers).

The IMAGE Skincare approach promotes the concept that those of a certain age should use a certain line of products—a visit to their website’s product recommendation page has their five collections categorized by age range, which is a silly concept.

Here’s why that approach makes for poor skin care: Simply put, age is not a skin type—the types of ingredients skin needs to stay healthy and act younger are the same whether you’re 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 years old, or beyond. Just as a healthy diet doesn’t change as you age, the same is true for skin care. What skin needs to be healthy does not change with age.

To underscore this fact, IMAGE Skincare’s recommendations are virtually identical, no matter which age range you select. Interestingly, their age ranges are grouped into three categories: 1–18 (OK, … a 1-year-old? How bizarre is that! A baby is supposed to have a skin-care routine?); 19–35; and then...”36+.”

Someone over the age of 40 (all the way to those over 65) can have oily skin and breakouts, and teens can have dry, sun-damaged skin. Research shows that the same ingredients are needed to improve and heal the problem, regardless of age. Relating age to skin care is just silly!

IMAGE Skincare defines their “aging later” approach to mean that if you want to delay the signs of aging, you need to give skin more of what it needs to stay healthier, longer. That includes their recommendation of regular use of AHA/BHA exfoliants, formulas loaded with antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients, as well as wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day.

We absolutely agree with those points—anti-aging is about taking care of your skin, keeping it protected from environmental harms (i.e., unprotected sun exposure and pollution), and ensuring that all of your products are loaded with beneficial ingredients, no matter your age. Their list of recommendations should also include using products that are free of irritants; that is, ingredients that have documented research indicating their potential to harm skin by causing inflammation and free-radical damage.

Unfortunately, that latter point is where many of IMAGE Skincare’s products veer off the mark. For all their claims of including only what’s best for the skin, we were disappointed to find that almost all of their products contain at least one irritating fragrance extract or essential oil (some IMAGE Skincare products are overloaded with them), and the fragrance is often overwhelming, lingering on the skin and wafting from the container immediately on opening.

On a side note, the intense fragrance of many of their products makes us skeptical of their ingredient lists—they don’t list what could be causing the perfume-like, sickly sweet odor. Fragrance, whether natural or synthetic, is a problem for the skin because of the irritations it can cause.

What about their claim of offering “pharmaceutical grade” ingredients and formulas? When a brand uses the term “pharmaceutical” in describing their products, they’re trying to invoke the idea that their formulas are somehow different or “stronger” than those you can find anywhere else. This is nothing more than marketing wordplay—there are no (repeat, no) pharmaceutical-grade skin-care products because the term is not regulated by the FDA, so there is no standard or meaning to the claim. Just as the words “cosmeceutical” and “hypoallergenic” are meaningless, “pharmaceutical grade” is as well.

What matters is that the ingredients they include have published, peer-reviewed research and that your products conform to the safety guidelines and standards set forth in the FDA’s labeling regulatory requirements (or international regulatory bodies, if you’re outside the United States).

Strangely enough, it was challenging to find accurate ingredient lists for IMAGE Skincare. In some instances, the list on the packaging was incomplete and/or very different from the ingredient list found online (even from “approved” resellers allegedly using information supplied by IMAGE). We are reluctant to trust any company that can’t get this simple regulation right; think about buying food at the grocery store that didn’t have a label listing everything that was in it.

For example, IMAGE Skincare’s Prevention + Daily Matte Moisturizer Oil Free SPF 30+ claims to contain microsponge technology (absorbent polymers that help to control excess oil), and yet the product packaging doesn’t list any such ingredients. And, in the case of one of their anti-acne treatments, the combined use of the two active ingredients falls outside of FDA guidelines for anti-acne products (Source: FDA 21 CFR 333.310, 2014).

In the end, some of the products IMAGE Skincare offers are (possibly) worth looking into, but overall we were disappointed in the brand because so many of their formulas, including those of some otherwise impressive products, contained an excess of fragrance, made outlandish marketing claims, and had an abundance of ingredient misinformation wrapped in “pharmaceutical-grade” pseudoscience. We prefer science based in reality—everything else is just hype, and hype is not the way to take the best possible care of your skin… at any age!

For more information about IMAGE Skincare, call 1-800-796-SKIN (7546) or visit www.imageskincare.com.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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