Shopaholic: Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar & Purity Made Simple

Usually when a product develops a cult following, one can’t help but be suspicious of it. This is especially the case when Oprah starts recommending it, because although I liked the big O back in her young and sassy days, this new taking-over-the-world version kinda frightens me. Like Scientology.

Hey, at least I don’t have to feel like I’m pimping or hawking this stuff, since it’s already made the “top 10” lists of countless magazines, stores, and other sources over the years. I’m merely adding my own little review to the mix.

Luckily, I first encountered the Philosophy brand back in 2000 or so, when Mimesere picked up a tub of their Hope in a Jar moisturizer on a whim. Knew nothing about the brand, just that it was really fun to play with. It was all translucent and whipped and fluffy and you couldn’t feel it seconds after putting it on. I might have accounted for half the usage of that tub over the next month, and probably should send her a thank-you gift certificate one of these days.


I managed to inherit the most bizarre combination skin from my mother (dry and extremely sensitive to most products) and my father (oily within a couple hours of washing), so finding something that would moisturize without leaving my face like the Exxon Valdez has been a long, hard journey. One fraught with peril, even, as the girls at my local Sephora can relate from the multiple times I came in to return an item with a face looking so red and blotchy that they’d give me free jumbo samples of soothing toners in frantic apology. This stuff was apparently developed for use on what I would assume is very tender post-surgical skin, so is quite gentle while doing all that it’s supposed to be doing in the hydrating and exfoliating departments.

So yeah, very addicted to it. Started out buying it in 2 oz. tubs, have now upgraded to the 4 oz. version so that I don’t run out as often, and have even been considering the ginormous 8 oz. one for my next order. Not that it needs constant application — I only use it once in the morning and once at night. Just wee dabs on the cheeks and forehead, since it spreads lightly and easily to cover everything. However, its unscented frothiness appealed to the boy for aftershave purposes a little more than a year ago, so it’s been running out faster with both of us dipping into it on a frequent basis.

It’s not cheap ($60 for the 4 oz. tub) but that thing will probably last us at least three months so it’s not overly pricey either. Given the problems I’ve had with finding something in the past, it’s a very reasonable price to pay for the security of knowing I won’t look like I stumbled face-first into a hornet’s nest after applying it.


And speaking of beauty products that both of us can use, we also have a hefty 16 oz. bottle of their facial cleanser, Purity Made Simple, as well. It’s a soap, makeup remover, and toner, the website says. While I use it for all these purposes, the boy just knows that it’s the nice-smelling soap you use sparingly and only for your face. Combined with the occasional apricot scrub, I must say that his complexion has become quite excellent in the past year.

Dear Philosophy,

I confess, your referring to yourself as a “lifestyle brand” scares me with its new age-y all-encompassing frouffy commercialism. However, the fact that your skin care products really kick ass cannot be overlooked, so I suppose I’ll have to love you regardless.


Conflicted in OC.


  1. Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!

  2. Pingback: Guinea Piggery: Dennis Gross MD Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel « Velvet Kerfuffle Fashion and Costumery

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