Reviewed by Tara

First, a confession: I don’t use moisturizers regularly. The only thing I’m adamant about is putting sunscreen on first thing in the morning and this seems to be moisturizing as well as shielding me from the sun. Still, I’m 40, so I figure I should at least consider getting on the moisturizer train. My skin is a bit dry, but I’m not convinced this or any other moisturizer will do much, if only because I have what boils down to be dandruff of the face (ugh) due to a fairly mild case of rosacea. My doctor says only steroid creams get rid of that flaky skin for good.

Stages of Beauty, the company that makes this particular moisturizer actually offers four different moisturizers for four different age ranges: the 20s, 30s, 40s and over-50s (and a cleanser, scrub, toner, serum and neck cream for each age range). I was given the Elegance Treatment Cream to test. At first, I felt a bit disappointed that they were not letting women in their 40s in on the heavy-hitter cream they give to the 50-plus group, but the company explains on its website that the older formulation counteracts the loss in hormones, etc., so I let it slide since I’m not menopausal yet.

The outside packaging is a tin made of cardboard with a metal top. I wasn’t terribly impressed – it felt like there should be tea bags inside. I saw the ingredients printed on the cardboard, and I was pleased to note that I was unable to pronounce several of the words on it, so I was reassured I was being given more than a jar of hippie mayonnaise I could have whipped up in my kitchen. Inside the tin is a frosty glass jar that looks vaguely like two UFOs stacked on top of each other. I liked the weight of it in my hands and the coolness of the glass.

Another confession: When I pried this open, I had the tail-end of the flu. I was a bit grumpy. I took off the lid, took a deep sniff, and had a hard time smelling anything, which is good because it claims to be fragrance free. There was a very faint smell of something chemical – almost like nail polish remover – but I hardly noticed it and vowed to see if the smell became stronger when my sinuses cleared up (it didn’t, but I let my friend try a bit and she was not keen on the scent, nor the feeling of tightness she said she felt on her face after applying it – something I didn’t experience).

Overall, I liked the thickness of the cream – a bit like the consistency of cold cream, but silkier. The instructions say to be generous with the application and my skin always sucked it up fast over the 30 days I used it. Its quick disappearance was fine in the morning (even though it left my face a bit shiny, which I didn’t like), but not so great at night, since I tend to like my bedtime products to feel like they’re sticking around for a few hours.

After a month of twice-a-day application, I give this product a solid “meh.” I couldn’t see anything different. So I asked my husband if he noticed a change, and he confessed he didn’t either. “But remember,” he said, “I also didn’t notice Michael Jackson had cosmetic surgery until 2005.” As for how my face felt, I liked how the cream moisturized my skin, and I should – this company makes substantial claims about how juicy this stuff will make your skin. But I won’t be buying more because I couldn’t see a change in evenness, radiance, or wrinkles – the other areas this stuff is supposed to help. And, more importantly, not one person said anything about my skin throughout the 30 days I test-drove this cream, even after I told two of my girlfriends that I was reviewing it near the end of the trial period. To me, their silence was the loudest comment of all.

That said, it’s easy to find people who like it on the internet, and the Stages of Beauty website offers a “risk-free trial,” as well as offering the truly dedicated an opportunity to sell it themselves from home. To see for yourself, go to stagesofbeauty.com.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicarpate, Pentylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Cetyl Palmitate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Vitex Agnus Castus Extract, Vegetable Oil, Polyquaternium-67, Proline, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Synthetic Wax, Hydroxyethyl Behenamidopropyl Dimonium Chloride, C20-40 Pareth-10, Steareth-21, C13-14 Isoparaffin, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Alcohol, Carbomer, Ceteareth-20, Tocopherol, Cyclodextrin, Lecithin, Resveratrol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acetyl Tyrosine, Adenosine Triphosphate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Tetrapeptide-21, Sodium Hyaluronate, Laureth-7, Polyacrylamide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol