Flicking through Essence magazine, I saw an ad for Mary Kay's TimeWise Miracle Set ($78). Ironically, for a company whose brand messaging is all about empowering women, Mary Kay does very little to empower shoppers as to knowing exactly what it is that they are buying. Eventually, I managed to track down the ingredients for one of the Miracle Set products, the Age Fighting Moisturizer, on eBay.
Mary, Mary I now know why you don't want us to see how your garden grows. Up near the top of Mary Kay TimeWise Age Fighting Moisturizer is triethanolamine. According to Cosmetic Ingredient Review, Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there is a strong evidence that Triethanolamine is a human skin, immune system and respiratory toxicant. The likelihood of this penetrating the skin is increased by the presence of propylene glycol. Disodium EDTA is also a penetration enhancer.
There are some controversial ingredients in Mary Kay's TimeWise, such as diazolidinyl urea. While it is fair to say that no available data leads us to confidently categorize diazolidinyl urea as toxic and carcinogenic, many well respected scientists and doctors still recommend avoiding it. In You Being Beautiful, Doctors Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz include it on their list of ingredients to avoid. This is because it may be contaminated by formaldehyde. It is also a skin irritant.
I'm not sure how lauramine oxide got under the wire to reside in this moisturizer. Lauramine Oxide is approved by the CIR for use in cosmetics but with restriction limiting its use to rinse-off products; The International Journal of Toxicology reports skin irritation from Lauramine Oxide and recommends limiting its use to rinse off products at a maximum of 3.7% concentration.
Most of the rest of the ingredients seem to be fairly benign (although note a couple of parabens). For example, linoleamidopropyl PG-dimonium chloride phosphate looks rather alarming, but is an anti-static agent and it seems to be without a cosmetic criminal record. Now what about the Age Fighting part? Well, that would be the eight amino acids and an alga that come last after 26 other ingredients.