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Prescriptives was just shades of gray

September 23, 2009 Reviewed by Marta 1 Comment
When Copley posted yesterday on Estee Lauder's decision to close down the Prescriptives brand, it got me thinking that Prescriptives must be a difficult idea to keep going in a recession. Offering foundations in 30 shades means carrying a lot of inventory, each aimed at a subset of the market. I remember when Prescriptives launched (to a fanfare that it was showing the way to a kind of one-to-one marketing) a friend saying it would never catch on. "Too much choice", he said. "It's confusing."

My own take was that, ironically for a brand that treated every one of its customers as different, Prescriptives just wasn't differentiated enough. Once you get past the 28 different tints available for Flawless Skin, it looks pretty much like everyone else's foundation. Skincare is particularly lackluster, with some good ingredients that are always buried in a mass of off-putting petrolatum, silicones, alcohols and things that make creams creams.

Take Super Line Corrector Lifting Day Cream with its two interesting ingredients, phytosphingosine and nordihydroguaiaretic acid, that fight adult acne as well as being anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Echinacea is a good choice of botanical antioxidant and phospholipids have been shown to heal radiation damaged skin.

But then its back to things like poly(methyl methacrylate), or PMMA, is widely known as a plastic component used in products such as plexiglass and other transparent glass substitutes. As a cosmetic filler for wrinkles and fine lines, there are concerns about reactive menomers. With lots of new brands moving towards hi-tech anti-aging ingredients and the growing emphasis on natural ingredients and as few fillers as possible to demonstrate value for money, this 30 year old brand is beginning to show its age.

Active ingredients in Super Line Corrector:

Octinoxate 7.50%, titanium dioxide 1.00%


Water (aqua purificata) purified, butylene glycol, petrolatum, dimethicone, cetyl alcohol, di-c12-15 alkyl fumarate, glycerin, isocetyl alcohol, pentaerythrityl tetraoctanoate, hydrogenated lecithin, hexyldecyl stearate, behenyl alcohol, sucrose, yeast extract (faex), glycine soja (soybean) seed extract, echinacea pallida (coneflower) extract, boswellia serrata extract, algae extract, betula alba (birch) extract, salvia sclarea (clary) extract, plankton extract, phospholipids, nordihydroguaiaretic acid, caffeine, tocopheryl acetate, lecithin, cholesterol, linoleic acid, bifida ferment lysate, sodium hyaluronate, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange), octyldodecyl neopentanoate, phytosphingosine, ethylhexylglycerin, potato starch modified, polysilicone-11, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, c12-16 alcohols, silica, polymethyl methacrylate, polyethylene, palmitic acid, methyldihydrojasmonate, 2,6-dimethyl-7-octen-2-ol, triethoxycaprylylsilane, aluminum stearate, phenethyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, peg-100 stearate, floralozone, xanthan gum, citric acid, sodium dehydroacetate, phenoxyethanol, mica, red 4 (ci 14700), titanium dioxide (ci 77891)
  • September 28, 2009

    by Jaysie

    I heartily agree with your comments. As an alumnus of the cosmetic & fragrance industry, and as a failed 12-step beauty product junkie, I've never purchased a Prescriptives item. Now, thinking about why this is so leads me to the conclusion that I never equated the line as an Rx for anything. It struck me as simply a big make-up line - too big to learn about - but lacking the added cache of make-up artist endorsements, flair for trendiness, designer name, or a supermodel trademark. The very name of the line implies "treatment," a perception lost on me. I'm sure lots of women will bemoan its end, but Lauder has many more brands that have better marketing. I also think more women are reading ingredient lists and are looking for simple formulas that work without a dump-truck full of chemicals.

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