Shortly after compiling an updated roundup of over the counter retinol creams, I came across a new product from Philosophy. With typical Philosophy hubris (these guys brought us Hope In A Jar), it is called Miracle Worker and, as is also to be expected with Philosophy, it doesn't come cheap at $70. Philosophy says that "miracles begin with a fresh perspective" and this seems to be achieved by peddling a bottle of serum with some separate pads.

I don't really get the point of the pads. The idea is to pour the solution over a pad, rub it over your skin and then toss it. I assume the pads are much the same as the ones you can buy at a drug store for a couple of bucks, so the solution had better be worth while.

The solution is, we are told, based on the next generation HPR technology. HPR is hydroxypinacolone retinoate and it is rather interesting. It is the cosmetic ester of all-transretinoic acid and, unlike retinol esters, does not require metabolic conversion to be in the preferred active form for interacting with retinoic RAR receptors to obtain benefits of vitamin A. Retinol palmitate, on the other hand, is absorbed by the skin and once it is there is converted into retinol. HPR is also meant to be less irritating that standard retinols.

However, it isn't particularly hard to come by. I found scores of creams that contain it, including M Lab's Blemish Control. Miracle Worker has added in vitamin C. In this case, it is tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate - considered a mild version of Vitamin C it remains stable in air and water for up to 18 months and it is gentler and more effective for some people who are resistant to ascorbic acid. Rapeseed sterols are also known as phytosterols and are anti-inflammatory. There is also green tea, an antioxidant.

While I'm not blown away enough by Miracle Worker to fork out $70, the most miraculous thing about it is that I don't hate it. It is hard to believe in Philosophy's skincare philosophy with Hope In A Jar, for example. On the other hand, Miracle Worker isn't too bad. There is the controversial BHT, but the first few ingredients are mostly solvents that are relatively safe.


Ethyl Trisiloxane, Methyl Perfluorobutyl Ether, Methyl Perfluoroisobutyl Ether, Ethoxydiglycol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Hexyldecanol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Tocopherol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Bisabolol, Cetylhydroxyproline Palmitamide, Stearic Acid, Laureth-4, Cyclopentasiloxane, Bht.