Keeping your skin clean is one of the most important (if not the most important) steps in combating the signs of aging.
Yet it’s so easy to just get lazy when it comes to skin care… after all, the last thing you want to do is to spend 20 minutes with multiple products removing your makeup, cleansing your skin, and applying toner before bed. We get that. But it doesn’t change the fact that you’re damaging your skin in the long run if you don’t do it.
That search for smarter “short cuts” to skincare is one of the cornerstones the Philosophy brand has been built on – products that tout results with multitasking benefits. On top of loving its time-saving properties, the health-and-beauty-buying public-at-large have certainly gobbled up the Philosophy merchandise with the quirky lowercase writing and inspiring little messages. But, is the fame behind one of their most popular products, the Purity Made Simple 3-in-1 Cleanser, just a result of hype-driven sales, or is it praise well won by a quality, effective product?
Let’s take a look! Continue reading for our comprehensive review of the Philosophy brand Purity Made Simple face cleanser.
Table of Contents
According to the Philosophy website, the Philosophy brand was founded in 1996 by cosmetics guru Cristina Carlino. At that point in time, Carlino had just sold her first company, Biomedic. Biomedic touted an incredibly effective, medically-based skin care line distributed to the world’s leading plastic surgeons and dermatologists.
When creating Philosophy, it was Carlino’s goal to bridge the gap between what was offered in doctors’ offices and retail. Her dream was that women everywhere could personally access leading skin care technologies.
The Philosophy products originally launched in Barney’s New York. Soon after, the Purity Made Simple cleanser was shown on Oprah’s very first “Favorite Things” episode and the whole brand rocketed to fame and popularity.
Today, Philosophy is one of the most popular skin care lines on the market. Their packaging is funky and original. Their products add new developments into the industry, instead of adding to the existing oversaturation.
Is their popularity a result of good marketing and lucky breaks? Or is there something to them. We’re still yearning to know.
Products and Claims
To get the full scoop on these products we went straight to the source. We’ve learned that’s the best place to start researching a new product. Then, once you know the basics, it’s time to turn to the rest of the internet.
Here’s the mission of Philosophy, as described on their company website:
Philosophy is devoted to caring for your skin. We offer some of the finest, most well-respected, innovative skin care available today. And as advanced skin care experts, our revolutionary formulas address multiple skin concerns in order to help you achieve a radiant, healthy-looking complexion. Working closely with dermatologists and scientists means that Philosophy skin care offers revolutionary ingredients, breakthrough formulas and advanced technology. It is designed to not only deliver dramatic results but to enhance the integrity of your skin. Best of all, our formulas work together in harmony, for optimal benefit to you.
That all sounds great to us! We agree with the company that science and medicine should be at the heart of all of our beauty products. So, we kept reading to learn more about the cleanser we’re interested in.
Their website page devoted specifically to the 3-in-1 Cleanser describes it this way:
Our award-winning daily facial skin cleanser is formulated to gently cleanse, tone and melt away all face and eye makeup in one simple step, while lightly hydrating the skin.
Purity is natural. We come into this world with all the right instincts. We are innocent and perceive things as they should be, rather than how they are. Our conscience is clear, our hands are clean and the world at large is truly beautiful. It is at this time we feel most blessed. To begin feeling young again, we must begin with the most basic step of all, the daily ritual of cleansing.
Wow! Based on that description, these products and this company seem almost too good to be true. Are they? Join us as we dive deeper below.
With a name like Purity Made Simple, you’d expect products with only a few ingredients that are clean, real, and safe. Right? Not exactly in this case.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients of the Cleanser, as shown on the Philosophy website. This product consists of:
aqua/water/eau, sodium lauroamphoacetate, sodium trideceth sulfate, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, coco-glucoside, coconut alcohol, peg-120 methyl glucose dioleate, glycerin, aniba rosaeodora (rosewood) wood oil, pelargonium graveolens flower oil, bulnesia sarmientoi wood oil, cymbopogon martini oil, rosa centifolia flower oil, amyris balsamifera bark oil, santalum album (sandalwood) oil, salvia sclarea (clary) oil, ormenis multicaulis oil, mimosa tenuiflora bark extract, daucus carota sativa (carrot) seed oil, piper nigrum (pepper) fruit oil, polysorbate 20, carbomer, triethanolamine, linalool, methylparaben, propylparaben, citric acid, isopropyl alcohol, imidazolidinyl urea, fd & c yellow no. 5 (ci 19140).
While the name of the product is “purity,” you can see it isn’t “all natural” or organic. The one thing it has going for it to live up to its name is the fact that the cleanser is water-based. It’s important to note that some of the ingredients, specifically the fragrant oils and the black pepper extract, have been known to cause reactions on very sensitive skin. Furthermore, this cleanser does contain sulfates and parabens. As you can see, this is far from a safe, clean, nature-based face wash.
One thing Purity Made Simple has going for it is how easy this face wash is to add into your daily routine. Basically, cleanse your face with this twice a day and you’re all set.
Of course, the exact system regimen includes a few more details. Here’s the full, three-step process as explained on the Philosophy website:
First, gently massage a dime size amount of Purity Made Simple onto a lightly damp face
Second, massage your face with the soapy, damp cloth for 30-60 seconds
Third, Rinse your face and pat it dry with a clean towel
Philosophy recommends repeating this process both morning and evening. The manufacturers also suggest that you follow up the cleansing with any appropriate treatments for skin challenges you face and a quality moisturiser.
Now that we’ve learned everything about the product from the company’s official channels, it’s time to dig deeper into what real customers have to say. Our experience shows that reviews mean way more than pretty websites and manufacturer claims.
The majority of reviews we found for the Purity Made Simple 3-in-1 cleanser online were very positive. Consumers loved the fact that they could skip using 3 separate products to cleanse their face, and instead use just this one. Many claimed it did the job very well by cleansing their skin, but not stripping it and leaving it feeling tight. Others maintained that it definitely helped with keeping their face free from breakouts. The scent was also noted as a big plus.
There were, however, more than a few negative reviews.
Complaints ranged from the fact that it simply did not do an effective job removing all their makeup, to the fact that it actually seemed to cause breakouts. Those with very sensitive skin or certain skin conditions (such as Rosacea) were definitely not pleased with the reactions they experienced after using this face wash. Another group of consumers (that we agree with wholeheartedly) were very displeased with the sulfates and parabens included in the ingredients.
Even after reading all of these reviews, we still felt some confusion around this product. Who do we believe? Don’t stop before exploring our final rating.
This was a tough one. We like many of the Philosophy products, the Purity Made Simple cleanser included. The idea behind both the product and the entire line makes sense and seems effective. The packaging is delightful and quirky. The price point of many Philosophy products is also great. It is definitely not the cheapest brand, but by far not the most expensive either.
And yes, since it has become so popular, it is more widely available than ever now… so it’s generally very convenient to pick up while out shopping. It can be extremely annoying to fall in love with a product that you can only have shipped to you.
We are, however, a bit disappointed – and mildly alarmed – that a product of a company founded by a cosmetician, developed by various dermatologists and scientific laboratories, still contains harsh sulfates and parabens. The research world is full of well-documented evidence of their possibly dangerous side effects. We are not thrilled with the thought of putting these ingredients on our faces, despite loving many other characteristics of the product.
The bottom line is that you need to remove your makeup completely before bed. Every night. Period. Whether Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple 3-in-1 Cleanser is the answer to your multiple-product woes, is another matter.
We can confidently say that this is a choice that you may need to discover for yourself. For us, the ingredients list makes us turn to different products. However, if you absolutely must see what all the hype is about, start with a small, travel-sized bottle. As they say, something is better than nothing and this certainly is an easy to find, easy to use way to ensure that your face is clean and taken care of properly.