Oct 3, 2014

Philosophy | Brand Impression

Something quite exciting happened on Sunday... thanks to Luxola, I was invited to Philosophy's skincare workshop! I was thrilled because I love trying new products. There were only six spots available per slot so I was really lucky to be part of the six. My only regret was that it was such a small event I never got a chance to take some pictures.

The workshop itself was hosted in one of Philosophy's store. It was just a small workshop where we got a chance to learn and try out their products. Their skincare expert was there to teach us about the brand, recommend products specific to our skin type and promote their latest product: the Miracle worker Overnight. She even went a step further to  teach us 5 steps to practice to have a 'Miraculous Morning'.

If you're curious, it is:

1. A breathing exercise : breath in for 5 seconds, then hold breath for 5 seconds, breathe out 5 seconds, hold breath for 5 seconds and repeat.

2. Never drink coffee on an empty stomach

3. Make a positive affirmation : " I choose to have an awesome day"

4. Make a positive music playlist

5. Step out of your house with your dominant foot by checking which is the dominant nostril
(the lady swears by it, although she did admit it could be psychological )

Although I'm not discounting any of the statements above. I thought they went slightly overboard with the marketing don't you think? But definitely an A for effort right there!

It is nice to note that point 1 is actually a commonly used method to ease anxiety, and was personally taught to me years back as an exam tip. (To allow the brain to receive more oxygen for increased alertness)

On to the actual brand impression, here's what I thought of the products I tried on site :

Miracle Worker Overnight - age-resetting, anti-ageing moisturiser

First and foremost, I really dislike how most of Philosophy's moisturisers comes in a jar. As mentioned in my review on Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Ash Mask,  jar packagings are a rather unhygienic way of storing a product. At the price of SGD $85, I think they can do more.

On the actual product itself, the moisturiser was very light and fluid in consistency. I would feel safe putting it on myself knowing that I wouldn't look greasy in a few hours time. My guess is that they modelled it after their bestselling moisturiser : Hope In A Jar. There was definitely a scent to it, which was neither pleasant nor unpleasant, but I definitely detected some slight plastic hint in it. To each his own, some may even like it.

This product supposedly has an "age-resetting complex" from a rare algae in France and a "next generation Vitamin C", or so I was told. Not sure how true it is, but I'd take it with a pinch of salt.

Checking the ingredients, I like that there are fruit extracts (orange, lemon and apple) and that there is lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) commonly used in anti-ageing products to reduce appearances of wrinkles. (read more about AHA below) On the other hand, I'm not that big fan of the alcohol and fragrance added to it.


Even though I have not tested the product on myself, but just judging from the texture alone, this is pretty decent because of how lightweight it felt on the skin, rather than the usual thick night creams many have encountered.

Due to the presence of the lactic acid, your skin will most likely appear smoother from the exfoliating effect it provides, some fine lines might even lessen. This is especially so if you are new to the ingredient. However, there are many products out there with this same ingredient for a cheaper price. As for the effectiveness of the algae and vitamin C, it is hard to say. This algae is supposedly quite new, and little is known on how stable this 'new' type of vitamin C is. If you're considering on getting it, my advice would be to try it in their stores or Sephora, and if possible, get a sample.

Microdelivery peel- in- home vitamin c/ peptide peel

This was the next item she recommended to us. This was promoted as a 'complete skin makeover in just 3 minutes'. With vitamin C/ Peptide resurfacing crystals, it is said to exfoliate while delivering vitamin C and peptides into the skin. As the beauty assistants were demonstrating the products on our hands, I was quite impressed when I felt a warm sensation, as if the product was really working. I was also loving the citrus scent coming from the scrub as well. I could immediately see why so many ladies love this product so much.

Later when I actually did some research, I found that the warm sensation was actually just an acid-base reaction which we all know, gives off heat. In Step 1 was the sodium bicarbonate ( commonly known as baking soda) which is slightly alkaline in water, while step 2 was the salicylic acid, which, according to Paula's Choice, is pH 2. So don't be fooled by the warm sensation ladies!

However, out of all the products I tried there, I believe that this was the product that delivered what it promised the most: exfoliation. Not the vitamin C or the peptides, but namely the crystals which acts as exfoliating beads as well as the combination of salicylic acid and lactic acid.

The combination of the three would guarantee smoother skin per every use. Salicylic acid or BHA, is a common acne-fighting ingredient as it exfoliates into the pores and surface of the skin to fight blackheads, whiteheads and acne. (To read more about salicylic acid and products that contain them in my post: Exfoliation Is Key ( Salicylic acid) )

Lactic acid is the gentle AHA that exfoliates the outer surface of the skin, making your skin smoother. You can see why this combination of acids and crystals works well on so many others. With the additional warming sensation and the citrus smell, this is definitely a pampering treat for the skin- if you can tolerate the price tag of SGD $ 109.

Personally, this isn't a product for me. I'm a firm believer of chemical exfoliation and I tend to stay away from any physical exfoliators. Though I know ladies who love physical exfoliants, I'm not one of them. I actually find them too abrasive and harsh for the delicate skin. I also found this product to be too overpriced for an exfoliator, even with the vitamin C peptides. No doubt, this is slightly more of a luxury item, not a must-have for your skin.

Turbo booster c powder - 99.8% topical vitamin c powder

This little bottle filled with powder was one of the few products that caught my eye on the display. The idea of mixing vitamin C into my daily water-based moisturiser sounded really great. As far as I know, there are little in the market that offers such a powdered add-on. When I asked the kind beauty assistant to test it on my hands, the powder turned the serum used milky white. And 10 minutes later, there were even some chalky residues of the powder on my skin. Oh the horror.

I also knew that many topical vitamin C were actually unstable and would break down before it could fully be effective on your skin. There are mainly three types of vitamin C: L-ascorbic acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate and Magenisum Ascorbyl Phosphate ( MAP) with the L-ascorbic acid being the most unstable and MAP being the most stable. Willing to blame that little bit of chalky error on the choice of serum used, I kindly asked the spokesman if the vitamin used was stable. She then proceeded to tell me how their vitamin C was more potent than most vitamin C products in the market and after beating around the bush a little bit, she admitted that it actually wasn't that stable.

When I went to Philosophy's website to check the ingredients, I found that it was ascorbic acid ( similiar to L- ascorbic acid). Some mentioned that because the product is in powdered form, it makes it more stable. It does sound possible but I still wished that it was made of MAP instead. As of now, there's just too much uncertainties about it's stability to make a purchase.

So until Philosophy changes the formula of this product, I would personally give this a miss. Besides, nothing can quite beat a healthy diet rich in vitamin C for good and healthy skin!

Note: To date, I have yet to find an affordable vitamin C product. However, those keen on getting your hands on such stable vitamin C products should know that brands like Estee Lauder make products with very stable Vitamin C. The products includes: Perfectionist [CP+R] Wrinkle Lifting/Firming Serum, Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum,
CyberWhite HD Advanced Spot Correcting essence serum correction,Idealist Even Skin Tone Illuminator and Idealist Pore Minimising Skin Finisher.

Conclusion : 

While some of the products at philosophy are effective and promising, namely the chemical exfoliants like micro-delivery triple-acid brightening peel, microdelivery peels and retonoid pads, I still find them to be quite overpriced. There are definitely more reasonably priced and effective alternatives on the market without having to fork that much cash. I still don't personally use Philosophy products for this reason, although I will give the samples I received a go.

I have shown the samples and the brief overview of it here : Philosophy Brand Impression part II

PS. Philosophy is hosting another skincare workshop to the public on 15 October 2014 at TANGS (singapore) from 6.30 - 8.00pm! Just thought that some ladies out there would appreciate it:



* credits: photos above taken by philosphy.com


  1. I love the philosophy made simple but I agree that they should really start to put the product in pump-bottles

  2. Wow what a very well written review of the philosophy products! I have been using the night creme and the peeling for a while now. And for the exact reasons you mentioned I am looking for substitutes. However, they work really well, I must be honest about that. And my skin can handle it well. Now I'm testing some Paula's Choice products. Will come to a decision soon on what to buy.

    Regards, Rosalie

    1. Hey there Rosalie! (My, you have a beautiful name)

      Thanks for your nice comment, and I use some of the Paula's Choice products as well! I found some of they're toners felt oily on the skin, but overall it's a really good brand. But if you're all for lactic acid products, nothing beats a natural yogurt-oatmeal-honey mask in my opinion. I mentioned the lactic acid properties of yogurt in my One Trick For A Slimmer, V-shaped face . It is definitely a mild and gentle mask that would work on any skin. Though, I'd skip the coffee as I see that you're expecting (Congrats!) .

      Alternatively, something more concentrated that is similar to the microdelivery peel I found was from a Japanese drugstore brand called HADA LABO, and I found that they're AHA+BHA Tamagohada exfoliating face wash ( For Oil control ) packs the most punch in this field. (The link is from ebay and they ship it worldwide at a reasonable price.) It's so concentrated I found that I couldn't leave this on for more than 10 seconds before I felt some irritation. Rest assured, this made my face so bright and smooth just from first time usage, and I even found that some pores shrunk! I really do recommend this product since it's so similar to the microdelievery peel in having both the AHA (in the form of glycolic acid) and BHA (salicylic acid) . It's super affordable and my go-to chemical exfoliant I reach for the most. Hope this is helpful!