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My Signature Colors Are Blush, Bashful & Philosophy

By Amalah

A few months ago I took your advice and tossed out my microbead face scrubs and astringents in favor of the gentler Philosophy line-up. And oh. Thank you. My skin has never, ever looked better.
But now I’m getting greedy. My skin looks good, but what if it could look even better?? I currently use the Purity face wash, the exfoliating moisturizer on my t-zone, the regular moisturizer on my cheeks (I have combo skin that sounds a lot like yours, so I figured I had a good shot at this stuff working for me) and the firming eye cream. And again: skin good. Me happy.
But I’m wondering — would it hurt to add a scrub or other exfoliating treatment back in? Just occasionally? I used to use a mask every once in awhile to really deep clean everything and I kind of miss it. Plus, I’m 31 and starting to see some effects of sun damage (a nice way of saying “wrinkles”) and I feel like I need to slough off some dead skin cells or something. Am I making any sense? Should I just let my old scrubby habits die already?
A Philosophy fan (and yours),

So when I first read your question (about two months ago, am slacky), I had to laugh, because I’d recently come to the same conclusion myself: skin is good, could still be better, time to go stare pensively at the Philosophy display in search of…SOMETHING.
(Yes, I came to this conclusion after several hours of lying around in my silk dressing gown, contemplating my pores in a delicate silver hand mirror, for THIS IS WHAT I DO.)
Like you, I used to apply a mud mask about once a week, but found that as I got older my skin became much more sensitive and red afterwards, and also WHO HAS THE TIME FOR THAT CRAP. Ten whole minutes? I do not have 10 whole minutes. If I ever get 10 whole minutes to myself I am taking a damn nap. Or checking mah gossips on the Internets to see if Britney Spears is still in rehab.
Anyway, this thing called the “Microdelivery Peel” caught my eye at Sephora.** I’m usually pretty suspicious of stuff that make vagueish promises like “polishing” and “resurfacing” because…what? Am I your grandmother’s silver or a stretch of the highway? But this seemed like a kicked-up version of the Hope and a Prayer Vitamin C powder, which is another Philosophy product I own and love, but hardly have time to use as often as I should, since it’s kind of fussy with the powder and the wee scoop and the mixing. (Plus, I lost the scoop at Blogher. Bah!)
Vitamin C is awesome for “sun damage” (wink! wink!), but the Microdelivery Peel also has a little salicylic acid action for those of us with the congested or enlarged pore problems. Sold!
I’ve been using the peel about twice a week ever since (I started with once a week — always best to ease in with stuff like this) and have actually been struggling with a good way to describe what it does. So I understand why the description on the box sounds vague. But I think I finally have it:
My skin looks like it did when I was pregnant.
I’m talking second-trimester skin, after the morning sickness but before I got hugely fat and swollen in the middle of the most humid summer ever. Kind of…glowy. And even. Firm and healthy-looking. I’m not sure it’s enough of a difference to see in a before-and-after photo but it’s enough that Jason commented on it. “You look brighter,” were his exact words. Yes! I look like I’m getting more sleep and eating better, except that I am totally not getting more sleep and eating better.
The peel is two steps (vitamin C peptides or whatever that you massage on like a mask, followed by an “activating gel” that foams up) but takes less than five minutes start to finish. Plus! It doesn’t harden like most masks, meaning you can actually do stuff during those five minutes. Like talk. Or brush your teeth. There’s a separate set of instructions for use on sensitive skin, and I did have some definite redness the first time I used it. The peptide things are pretty scratchy when you rinse them off.
Now I use it twice a week, at night, after washing but before my moisturizers, and I wake up with my dry patches still soft and (I am not even kidding) WITH NO OIL SLICK ON MY T-ZONE. Praise be. Praise. Effing. Be.
Another plus, since I’m sure a lot of you are probably boggling at the total cost of all the stuff B and I are slathering on our faces, is that like all the Philosophy products, a little goes a loooong way. I bought my first starter kit last June, and only just upgraded to the full-size products about a month ago (other than the face wash, but since Jason uses it too, we go through it faster). And I’m still on the original bottle of this stuff that I bought last summer. Definitely buy the gift sets whenever possible to save some money, or just imagine me standing next to you in Sephora helping you justify the cost by telling you it will last forever, and also those jeans you just bought make your ass look FANTASTIC, you HAD to buy them, you’d be CRAZY not to.
Anyway. Thank you, B, for giving me an excuse to try this. I was going to test out a few other options (I did get a free sample of a peel from Neutrogena…and found it to be pretty useless in comparison), but hey! Why mess with perfection? I’m gonna quit while I’m ahead.
** Full disclosure: AlphaMom has graciously offered me a small budget for trying out new stuff for Smackdown purposes. So now I can possibly talk about something other than the same five products every week. This gives me heaploads of freedom to play the guinea pig for you, but I promise I will ALWAYS make the distinction between what I would actually plunk down my own money for and…stuff that sucks. Or is just unnecessary. Dig?

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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I use the Oxygen Peel and am similarly in love. My pores are like, gone. I didn’t use it one week and my skin looked like total crap again, and then I remembered why. MAKES HUGE DIFFERENCE!


I love the Microdelivery Peel! I also love the Oxygen Peel! I cannot believe they differences they make!
Since philosophy was having a gift with purchase at a local store (how can I resist) I sprung for the full size kit of this stuff! So worth it!


I want glowy skin, too! But I have ridiculously, absurd, unbelievably dry skin that’s kind of under control right now (after using a face oil, a heavy-duty moisturizer AND, and, and a face balm, like Vaseline. Yeah, I’m that dry). Would this kit be appropriate for me? Or should I scout around for something else to achieve the elusive glow-i-ness?


Cha — For dry skin I would keep the usage at once a week. The vitamin C will be wonderful for you, but the salicylic acid in the gel could be a problem.
Maybe try Philosophy’s vitamin C powder or serum first, and then move on to the peel if you don’t feel sufficiently glowy enough?


Wow. I totally could have written B’s question (and comments) word for word. I took your advice, Amalah-Oh Queen of Everything, and I’m in love with Philosophy! It’s perfect for my sensitive skin. In addition, Cha asked my only other question, and you’ve answered that one too! Thank you!! 🙂 I’m definitely going to try the vitamin C!


So! Two of your readers met this weekend and ventured to Sephora and made a purchase– Chickadee purchased the Oxygen peel and I got the microdelivery peel. I just put it on 30 minutes ago and so far so good. Pores look better… I figured I’d give it about 2 weeks before making my final decision!