Yesterday evening I spent nearly an hour basking in the supermodel aura of Cindy Crawford. I sat about two feet away from her. It was long enough and close enough to observe that she is utterly flawless. In a short, tight Barbarella-style dress by Roberto Cavalli, she was confident, articulate, talked about her cosmetic line Meaningful Beauty and readily admitted to doing Botox.

She was candid about some other things too. What she does – and doesn’t do – as part of her own beauty regimen and the challenges of working with Guthy Renker, the world’s largest infomercials company.

In the past, I’ve looked at Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty, the line she created with the French anti-aging specialist Dr Jean-Louis Sabagh. My take away, looking at the night cream, was that it wasn’t a standout, but it certainly was fairly good value.  Indeed, Cindy (we aren’t on first name terms, but it seems overly formal to call her Ms Crawford, especially when I think about the Barbarella dress) went out of her way yesterday to say that the very word “meaningful” meant, for her, “accessible” or, as Dr Sabagh chipped in, “quality for the mass market”.

Looking back over my notes, this mission to achieve the right quality and price ratio came up many times. With Meaningful Beauty, Cindy and Dr S, seem to be sincerely passionate about “pushing the limits of a mass market company”. Clearly, that presents some challenges. Guthy Renker has its own ideas and they seem to be driven by the bottom line. “We are double trouble for Guthy Renker”, said Dr Sabagh. I got the feeling he was rather enjoying himself.

Although the Meaningful Beauty website calls her line the “complete anti-aging set”, Cindy Crawford prefers to use the term “age maintenance” because it is “more honest than, say, age defying”. Either way, the set is an incredibly keenly priced $39.95 for full sizes of cleanser, day cream, night cream, eye cream and neck/chest cream, plus travel sizes of a masque, the Glowing Serum and Anti-wrinkle Capsules.

Some of these products are now being sold independently and will be available in Sephora and JC Penny, as well as MeaningfulBeauty.com. They have been reformulated and the prices are heading mid market. For example, The Anti-Aging Night Crème ($60) now has a couple of peptides and sea buckthorn berry.  It still includes the line’s signature melon extract, a source of potassium and vitamin A with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities.

The eye cream ($56) has aloe, witch hazel, vitamin C (in the form of MAP) and one of my favorite botanicals kigelia africana (with its gorgeous bat-pollinated flowers and bizarre monster sausage-like fruit) is an antibacterial, a “significant” (in the words of one study) anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The leaves and flowers are rich in hexadecanoic acid, a fatty acid, and the other important component is verminoside.

These formulations are not going to win any prizes for being natural or devoid of potential irritants. But that isn’t the point. And, by and large, they still pull off the mission for quality at a reasonable price.

Cindy’s personal favorite in the line is the Glowing Serum (unfortunately, the sample I was given doesn’t include the full ingredients list, but I can tell you that it contains pumpkin extract).  She does stray from Meaningful Beauty in her own regimen to use the body lotion from Dr Sabagh’s line.

One of Cindy Crawford’s beauty tips that I took away at the end of the evening, was that she uses a dry brush on her body. And both she and Dr S agreed that the most important thing is being disciplined about maintaining a regular regimen.  Or as Cindy put it: “don’t skip”.

PS: I was given a huge bag of samples and will be asking readers to help me review them over the coming weeks.

Ingredients in Lifting Eye Crème

Water, cetearyl ethylhexanoate, glycerin, aloe, corn oil, witch hazel, butylene glycol, polyacrylamide, melon extract, kigella Africana fruit extract, palmitoyl grape seed extract, soybean oil, sunflower seed oil, bisabolol, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, dipotassium glycyrrizate, tocpheryl acetate, cholesterol, lecithin, sorbitan stearate, hydrogenated vegetable oil, xanthan gum, magnesium aluminum silicate, C13-14 isoparafin, laureth-7, octoxynol-12, polysorbate 20, polysorbate-60, alcohol denat, benzoic acid, chlorphenesin, methylparaben, phenoxyethanol, fragrance, benzyl benzoate, benzyl salicylate, butyphenyl methylproponial, citronelliol, hexyl cinnimal, limonene, linolool