Thursday, January 1, 2009

Product Review:
Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser

Since this is my first review, let me tell you: I am a product junkie. I can't think of the last time I bought the same cleanser twice in a row. I've tried a gazillion brands- from high end prestige (La Mer) to drug store oldies (Cetaphil) and rarely go back twice. Why? I guess I've never found a perfect 10.

My most recent purchase in the cleanser category was Philosophy's Purity Made Simple, which caught my eye after winning the venerable Reader's Choice Award from Allure Magazine. (Allure's annual Best of Beauty list is typically one of first 2 starting places I check out before buying a new product, the other being the Cosmetic Executive Women's- or CEW- Awards.) I should mention that this is the original formula, not the clear, high-foaming newbie.

I could have tried the product for $10 by picking up the travel size, but my retail background thriftiness just wouldn't let me waste money like that! After I checked the store's return policy (I am sometimes the victim of allergic reactions) I went the bulk route and bought the giant 24 oz. bottle for $40. While this might seem pricey, I'll point out that per ounce this makes it comparable to the pricier drugstore choices, and at the low end if you compare it to it's true competitors in the prestige brands.

Purity Made Simple is an odd little cleanser. I would classify it as a foaming lotion, however, it's important not to confuse foaming for lathering. You will not get any large sudsy bubbles using this cleanser; think more of a less cushy shaving cream consistency. This is the first time I've seen this formulation, which seems to be a hybrid of the typical lathering cleanser and the more gentle milky lotion formulas.

I have dry skin, the prescription for which is typically a cream or lotion cleanser. Later, I'll get more into this, but a good clue that your cleanser is too harsh is if your skin feels tight or stretched after you cleanse. The problem is finding a happy medium. I'll admit, I use some heavy duty stuff- the maximum cover makeup that I often use as a concealer says it's waterproof, it's often cleanser proof as well. Creams do a great job taking makeup off, but leave behind an oily residue that make me feel like I still need to wash. Lotions usually rinse cleaner, but often leave makeup behind. The reviews I read of Purity made me hopeful, and so far, I've not been let down.

Purity, despite it's disguise as a lotion, is made to be used with water. After a week of using it, I found that the best way to apply it was to wet my face first and then use about a nickle sized drop. I started out using much more, but now have it down to about a third (maybe even a quarter) of what I use when using most other lotion or cream cleansers. I noticed the first time I used it that it did indeed take all of my makeup off- mascara, shadow, even the foundation hiding in the creases of my nose! I also felt soft and conditioned after rinsing- none of the tightness that I generally experience when I use a water assisted cleanser. After using Purity for a couple of weeks, I must say, I'm quite impressed.

Out of 10, I'd have to rate this about an 8.5.

After beginning a prescription retinol regimen this past spring, I have realized that Purity is a tiny bit more drying than I'd originally thought, though if I had to guess I think it's likely due to the fact that Purity doesn't leave much residue behind. After my already-dry skin adjusted to the retinol, I found I was still having issues with dryness around my nose. After switching cleansers for review purposes, I found the dryness disappeared. When I switched back to the Purity, it popped up again. I still love Purity, and will continue using it, but thought those with extremely dry skin would benefit from this info. I also feel like I should point out that this is the least drying foaming formula I've ever tried, so unless you're inclined to switch to a non-lathering lotion, milk or cream cleanser, Purity is still your best option.

-A little goes a long way
-Removes regular eye makeup, full coverage makeup, etc...
-Leaves skin soft, not dry or tight.
-No greasy residue left after rinsing.
-Ease of use: Rinse off (I hate wasting tons of tissues or dirtying a washcloth every night)

-Yeah, so it's not the cheapest thing out there.
-It occasionally left traces of eye makeup behind (though not often) and didn't even budge waterproof mascara.
-The flip top isn't bad, but a pump would be better ::EDIT:: Pumps are available on larger sizes!
-Philosophy isn't widely available in stores (I bought mine at Sephora, and of course, anything is available if you have Internet access.)

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