Beauty Review: philosophy, Lancome

I’ve always been skeptical about philosophy, mostly because of its sometimes-annoying penchant for cutesy product names. Their 2008 Valentine’s Day collection? Falling in Love. Lip balm? Kiss Me. And their “world-famous” (according to them, anyway) moisturizer? Hope in a Jar.

Oh wait. Actually, I kinda like that last one. Whoever thought up of that one in during the branding sessions should have been given a big bonus (which they’ve probably already long spent). Still, I’m always suspicious of beauty companies that put more effort into finding just the right name for their products rather than ensuring the quality of the products themselves. So when I was given (By my mom! For Christmas! I swear!) a nice-sized jar recently, I approached it with more than a little hesitation. (Er, also with a bit of desperation. I didn’t realize that my standard moisturizer had run out. It was Friday night. You get the picture.)

Turns out that my fears were unfounded. Hope in a Jar maybe an overly optimistic moniker, but it does the job very, very well. The texture is a bit like extremely whipped butter so that it melts instantly into the skin without leaving a hint of shine or grease. (I’m not crazy about the color, though. It evokes ivory but is more like whipped Land ‘o’ Lakes. Told you it was like buttah.) If you have very dry skin, you’ll need a richer lotion, but for normal to combo skin (or oily skin in very dry weather), this is a great option. And the price isn’t too bad, either, considering that a little goes a very long way. A bit of lactic acid in the mix gives some mild exfoliation, but not enough to worry about unless you have sensitive skin.

I can’t quite pick out the fragrance — not light but not overwhelming either. A touch of rose, a hint of lavender. It’s a nice dose of aromatherapy prior to bedtime, anyway. Price: $28 for 1 oz; $38 for 2 oz, $55 for 4 oz.

Moving on to my favorite makeup product: lippy! Lancome’s new Color Fever Shine collection is my new addiction of late. The shades sent by the Lancome rep included Provocative, Steamy and Simmering, and miraculously, almost all of them flatter me! Wheeee! Provocative is a plum-like color that’s not too deep (I don’t look like Morticia, thank goodness) and looks great next to my yellow-toned medium-brown skin. I normally prefer to wear more neutral, lighter colors during the day and play up my eyes instead, but on more casual days when I can’t be bothered with doing up the ol’ peeps, then this would be great by itself to add some color to my otherwise nondescript lips. Otherwise, it’s a great evening color.

Steamy is a reddish-pink shade that does nothing for my coloring. The contrast is too stark and reminds me of my old Barbie doll, for some reason. Not the look I’m going for. It might be better on someone with a very dark complexion. On me, it just looks cheap. Plus, because of the color’s brightness, it doesn’t flatter anyone who doesn’t have very white teeth.

Simmering rivals Provocative for my affections. Like the latter, it’s a medium-rose shade with a wee bit of burgundy thrown into the mix. Very beautiful for Asian and Hispanic complexions and olive toned skin. Can be great either for wintry evenings when you want color without the drama or for an everyday “natural” look.

The shine in the name belies the overall subtle shimmer in the colors. Provocative seemed to be a little more “sparkly” than the other two, but not enough to be distracting. You’re not going to be forcing people to pull out their shades with these lipsticks. Longevity? Keep it in your purse and touch up throughout the day. But who cares? The gorgeous silver Art Deco-like tube makes it worth pulling out at even the fanciest restaurant bathroom. Price: $25.

Okay, I know I normally do links on Tuesday, but I just couldn’t resist mentioning the Asian Cajuns. A couple of part-Chinese, part-French Cajun twins now based in Atlanta, this dynamic duo share an awesome fashion sense and a wicked writing style. They’ve inspired me to think about maybe donning multi-colored tights at work tomorrow. God help us.


  1. La Belette Rouge says:

    Just curious about how long you tried Hope in a Jar before you gave up hope. It usually takes 2-4 weeks to see much improvement with the Retinol products. Avene is the best over the counter anti-aging product I have ever tried.

  2. Randal Graves says:

    Hope in a Jar? Yikes, is this some sneaky Obama campaign? Bah.😉

  3. My Inner French Girl says:

    Dear LBR, I think I’ve been on HIAJ for about 3 weeks now. I guess I didn’t make myself clear in the review — I love HIAJ! I find the names a little too cutesy, but otherwise this is a moisturizer I would definitely recommend.I’ve put Avene next on my list. Thanks!Randal, that would be about right, eh? But I want a president who can give me more than just “hope.” I want him/her to actually give me specifics. So far, Obama’s just been mostly inspiration, very little substance.Salut,Marjorie

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