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Smackdown Updates V: Philosophy’s Hope in a Bottle Cage Match

By Amalah

hopeinabottle.jpgYou know, sometimes when I’m writing specific product-related entries here, I annoy myself with my complete inability to write a declarative sentence. I tend to grey-area things up with a lot of wishy-washy language, since I’m hesitant to make bold claims about something being the Best! Product! Ever!, even if I really think that.
Today, let me share a couple testimonials that probably explain WHY I get like that sometimes better than I could. If I were totally gross and immature, I’d call it 2 Girls, 1 Moisturizer. But luckily I am way above that sort of humor. Oh, wait.
This isn’t so much of a question to be posted to your website but more just a thank you for introducing me to the Philosophy range! Ever since I went off the pill my skin went nuts and nothing was working. I’d always been curious about Philosophy but there’s nowhere that sells it where I live so I knew I’d have to mail order and that kind’ve deterred me. But still your posts kept referring back to it so I bit the bullet and thought it must be good and started off with Hope in a Jar and Purity Made Simple.
The life of my skin will always be marked by this moment…and referred to as BP and AP (before and after philosophy!) I now rarely get any kind of zits and I’m loving the products…I’ve sinced branched out to Hope in a Bottle every second night and this has taken things to a whole new level yet again. I can’t believe that I can go through my period (and the week leading up to it) and my skin is not involved in an all out civil war.
So in short – you rock for gently pushing me over the line towards better skin and I can see myself sticking with this range for a long time to come. And also…mail order isn’t such a bad thing…its nice to look forward to a package arriving on my desk at work especially when it always includes bonus samples of lots of other little product samples!
Victoria, Australia

Hooray for success stories! But then, just when you thought it was safe to wander into the Philosophy aisle again…
Hi Amy!
I submitted a question last year on the necessity of eye cream, and as per your advice, I invested in a tube of Hope in a Tube, which I ADORE. Since I suffer from what Philosophy would call “congested” skin and what I call “minor but obnoxious adult acne,” I decided to get me my eye cream as part of the Philosophy set for congested skin. So, LOVE Hope in a Tube, LOVE Purity Made Simple. But the serum? Not my cuppa tea, for no particular reason other than I couldn’t quite figure out what it was supposed to be doing for me. And Hope in a Bottle? Pretty underwhelmed, to be honest.
First, the smell bothers me. But knowing that smells and their potential to bug people varies a LOT from person to person, I just wrote it off as being a mismatch.
But more importantly, it made my acne significantly WORSE. Instead of having a smattering of blackheads, whiteheads and 2-3 red pimples, I started getting whiteheads ALL OVER in large patches. Seriously, it’s like the stuff closes my pores instead of opening them. The invasion of the whiteheads was a lot more unsightly than what I had had before and the bumpy feeling on my face very annoying. After a month, I switched to a moisturizer for oily/combination skin from Payot, and my skin went back to “normal,” maybe even a little better than before my experiment with Hope in a Bottle. Given how many good reviews Hope in a Bottle gets, I’m sure it’s a wonderful product for a lot of people. But for me, it was pretty obviously The Wrong Moisturizer. So it seems possible to me that there might be other readers out there with congested skin who have a similar incompatibility with the moisturizer. And if there are, I’d like to tell them that they’re not alone, but there probably IS a moisturizer out there somewhere that will meet their needs.
Which is what I found in Payot’s Creme Purifiante. Which all just underscores what you’ve said yourself many times on the Smackdown: that everyone needs to find the moisturizer that’s right for their skin. What works for me won’t necessarily work for you, even if our skin types sound alike.
Thanks for all the advice!!
PS I forgot to mention something: not wanting to feel like I threw my money away on a failed experiment, I’ve been using my leftover Hope in a Bottle on my legs between waxings to help ward off the ingrown hairs. And lo! It works! So, closes facial pores, opens pores on legs. Who knew?

Ta-da! The other side of the skincare coin. It’s like how I always worry that I’m insulting someone personally by admitting that I hate hate hate Bare Minerals, when really, duh. We’re all different and there are a bazillion variations on “congested” skin and “combination” skin and “blackhead pore-pocked temper-tantrum” skin. All of which you could use to describe my skin.
I recently got a sample of Cosmedicine’s Medi-Matte Oil Control Lotion with SPF 20 at Sephora, and the lady behind the register couldn’t stop raving about. So great for oily skin! Shrinks up your pores! Banishes shine! All this and SPF! (Which Hope in a Bottle lacks.) I was pretty jazzed to try it, if only to have SOME OTHER MOISTURIZER to talk about here.
Well. To use Stephanie’s word…”underwhelmed” would be about right. The texture was classic moisturizer-and-SPF-in one. Thick, kind of greasy, didn’t smear on or in very easily. I spent extra time trying to blend it in, but when I went to apply my foundation I discovered dry, un-moisturized patches. (I have the same problem with Philosophy’s new Hope in a Jar with SPF, by the way, although I’ve only played with it at the store since I have PLENTY of the regular stuff at home. I just don’t think I’m a combo person.) My pores remained very visible and I saw none of the skin-clearing oompff I get from Hope in a Bottle. And the SPF left me shiny. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t break out terribly, I just…didn’t love it. And for $42 a bottle, I want the clouds to part and the angels to sing, like they did the day I discovered Hope in a Bottle.
I gave it about two weeks and then switched back. (I use Hope in a Bottle only occasionally, by the way. Once every other day or so. When my skin was really icky, I used it more, but now that it’s relatively clear and stable I mostly use Hope in a Jar.)
Oh! And since we’re on the subject of oil and shine control…I’ve been trying Philosophy’s Never Let Them See You Shine Cleanser and have to say that I like it pretty darn much. My “pregnancy glow” has been getting a TAD much lately, so I started using this in the morning instead of Purity. (I use Purity at night, since it’s better for removing makeup.) The smell and color kind of takes me back to my Noxema days, but the cleanser itself is EXTREMELY gentle and non-bracing — it’s not a scrub or packed with tons of harsh oil-stripping ingredients.
Long-time readers know I’m very leery of loading up with the oil-control stuff and prefer more balancing, “for all skin types” kind of products, but hey, even my own skin will hand me the occasional curveball. Thumbs up for Philosophy once again! Unless you hate Philosophy! Then boo!

Published July 27, 2008. Last updated July 27, 2008.
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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