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Skincare products tested and rejected

rubber gloves
October 10, 2007 Reviewed by Marta 6 Comments

It's alarming to attempt even a rough estimate of all those potions and lotions that I have tried over the years. Sometimes, I'll admit it, I've been seduced by advertising or have succumbed to a pushy sales person in Saks only to find myself with a bottle of toner that is definitely superfluous to requirements. But mostly, I have tried something out because some glossy magazine gushed that a maturing celebrity never leaves home without it. They are inevitably the most disappointing.

I still find it embarrassing that I actually fell for the La Mer hype and paid decent money for what can only be fairly described as hocus pocus. The description of the secret 'broth' based on a rare sea kelp that can only be harvested twice a year challenges you not merely to suspend disbelief but to switch off your mental faculties - especially when you get to the part about the harnessing of 'unique energy sources' such as sound and light. At least the manufacturer has the grace to admit that even they don't know how it works. Perhaps because it doesn't. At least not for me. The only result I saw was a breakout worthy of adolescence.

Personal recommendations tend to be more reliable. I had a relatively good run with Amore Pacific's eye cream after it was recommended by a gay man that I met at a dinner party. If it hadn't been for his testimony that it was the best product he'd ever used and he looked five years younger (since we'd just met I had no way of judging the authenticity of this), I would never have gotten past the part on the website that talks about 'nano delivery technology' (the faux science equivalent of sonic stimulated kelp). The basic ingredients of green tea and red ginseng seemed more reassuring and I decided to give it a go. In all fairness, it wasn't bad at doing the job of an eye cream: firming and lifting the eyelid and plumping the skin under the eye. Half way through the second pot I started to discern a fall off in results. Now, I find that this often happens, particularly with products that are based on synthetic rather than natural ingredients. And the thing about Amore Pacific is that the products are highly perfumed. About a year ago I opened a jar of moisturizer (Amore Pacific Time Response Skin Renewal Cream) and the smell was so harsh that to this day I still have never used it.

Another product that seemed to work for a while - even eliciting comments about my skin from friends, and then after several months actually made my skin dryer -  was Stryvectin. There is some evidence that synthetic or chemical ingredients are not properly absorbed by the skin. So perhaps, after a while, the superficial effects of the product either wear off or are recognized for what they are while any deeper improvement has failed to take place. I'll be doing more research into this in the coming weeks.

  • July 10, 2014

    by Wendy

    Thanks for your response, Marta. I think another important factor is trying a brand's products together to get a holistic picture. I use La Mer The Concentrate prior to applying Creme de la Mer. This has been a powerful combination for me, and keeps redness and irritation at bay.

    I am still curious to know why you chose to review very expensive products from a brand like Chantecaille, when most of their products are quite accessible. I don't happen to like the product you chose, but absolutely love many products from the brand. Just seems very biased and misleading. I encourage you to try more than one product from a brand before making such blanket statements.

  • June 7, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Wendy, the products in this article have all been tried. I some cases (La Mer would be a case in point), I went though many pots before coming to the conclusion that it wasn't working for me. I am pleased to hear that you have had good results with it. In other reviews I have looked at the ingredients to determine whether I think a product is likely to, for example, include potential irritants, or fillers and things that won't necessarily help the skin. I do make a value for money judgement. You ask me why I bother reviewing if I don't try the product. Well, because we all are confronted with a decision before we buy something and if I determine not to buy something it is after giving it considerable thought and doing research on the ingredients, why not share that process. Finally, I am more than willing to spend on good products. I am currently using an eye cream by E'shee that I paid $284 for and I will buy it again. For more information on our reviewing and 30-day minimum testing process, please see our About page: http://www.truthinaging.com/about

  • June 7, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Wendy, the products in this article have all been tried. I some cases (La Mer would be a case in point), I went though many pots before coming to the conclusion that it wasn't working for me. I am pleased to hear that you have had good results with it. In other reviews I have looked at the ingredients to determine whether I think a product is likely to, for example, include potential irritants, or fillers and things that won't necessarily help the skin. I do make a value for money judgement. You ask me why I bother reviewing if I don't try the product. Well, because we all are confronted with a decision before we buy something and if I determine not to buy something it is after giving it considerable thought and doing research on the ingredients, why not share that process. Finally, I am more than willing to spend on good products. I am currently using an eye cream by E'shee that I paid $284 for and I will buy it again. For more information on our reviewing and 30-day minimum testing process, please see our About page: http://www.truthinaging.com/about

  • June 6, 2014

    by Wendy

    I have to agree with Thomas here. Your reviews are incredibly biased, and the descriptive way you came to purchase the product is… somewhat odd and off-putting. What all natural brands are you using? I was shocked to search this entire site and only find one very expensive Chantecaille product. Their most expensive, I believe. It seemed like it was a target to be ripped to shreds. How about their more affordable and popular products?

    Your financial bias and the fact that you don't genuinely try the vast majority of the products you use makes me leery of anything else you have to say. I prefer getting reviews from people who seek out products that work well, as well as products they've used consistently for at least a month. Anyone can judge a book by its cover or price tag. I am willing to pay more for products that will help my sensitive skin and are going to deliver great results. None of your reviews could help me determine those things since you rarely try anything before determining that you dislike it because you find it overpriced or you don't like the ingredients. Why bother reviewing?

  • November 4, 2009

    by Thomas

    I do not find this 'review' to cut through any bull, I do find it to be very biased. Elsewhere the "reviewer" refers to common sense being the guide to making a determination on the product(s) reviewed. Unfortunately, common sense is not all that common and used as it was in this review process it is more similar to ignorance and personal bias -- the hallmarks of a severely misguided review.
    I am a bit amazed that the reviewer would have an issue with a or any plant that can only be harvested twice per year. I thought it was fairly well known that many plants, including sea plants, have peak times when their components are most concentrated -- or at least the components we desire to extract. Even more simply put I would not pick a red apple when it is green and expect it to have all the chemical structures of the red apple, but for some reason this 'common sense' seems to not apply to this product. I really do not need to "switch off (my) mental faculties" to understand this concept. I did however feel the author would have preferred me to do exactly this when reading the review and simply believe what her claims expressed.
    Also the broth portion of the product is held out to be part of the "hocus-pocus" of the product. Again one has to wonder what exactly is so confounding to the reviewer about this. Has the review never heard of the fermentation process? Is this process now something in the realm of "hocus-pocus" also? Again common sense would dictate that you do not squeeze grapes and believe that you have wine. Moreover, the term broth is exactly correct for what the substance is and could rightly be called. Simply consult a dictionary and your criticism fails.
    Light, energy, sound, etc. has been uses for thousand of years and is now becoming embraced, finally, by the aesthetic community. Perhaps the 'reviewer' has not heard of laser (a concentrator of light), or even de-clustered water generally achieved by the ionization of the water. Perhaps the author has not read or heard of magnets and the changes they can effect in various substances. Yes, certainly much in this field (energy) can be debated but from my EXPERIENCE, not my common sense, they have helped me invaluably. If the reviewer simply dismisses these concepts then this also dismisses thousands of years of alternative to western medicine beliefs and views. Since the number one country in western medical care also has only an average score in survival rates I think it doe not appeal to common sense to assume non western approaches are "hocus-pocus".
    I appreciate, with great sincerity, any person who strives to discover whether a product has benefits or does not. In fact, again from personal experience, I know the amount of time, money and energy it takes. However, as I have learned this is not easy to do and any bias because a product uses words, science, jars, advertising, etc that we personally do not like or believe in or understand does not merit a negative review of the product. I have used this product and when I discovered it had mineral oil as a base I wanted to hate it. I used it and it was the best cream I had ever used for the winter (at night only). I also used their approximately $3000.00 serum product which comes in a stunning suede case and crystal stand (plexi:)) equipped with three individual vials that eject themselves like something out of a James Bond movie and I saw no result at all. Much of it is silicone based and I would believe essentially temporary. Also, upon the change in the weather to a more moist climate I began to have some breakouts with the cream as the author also did. After that I use the product in winter only.
    I have used the entire system of Amore Pacifica as well, creams, serums and lotions. I thought it was one of the poorest I had ever used. My skin became very red. I did not like the consistency of the products and saw no results --- even with the serums. I do not like fragrance at all but found nothing overpowering in the product.
    I would not be inclined to use "common sense" as a basis of selecting or using a product because all to often what we think we know and even what we think we believe in as correct as it may seem to be is not what happens. I would approach any product, after making sure it was a safe as possible, and use it as suggested. Then you will need only two things, your eyes and your mirror and all the common sense in the world, hopefully, will not prejudice you to what you can ACTUALLY see.

  • October 23, 2007

    by E. Jean Carroll

    <p>Marta,</p>

    <p>Man! You just break through the bull<br />
    hockey! So much writing about skin care is---let's be frank----disposable crap.</p>

    <p>You are a fresh voice! (For instance, you will wait and use TWO jars of something before giving your balanced opinion.) And you make the science of understandable to a hick from<br />
    Indiana.</p>

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