Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Hope in a Jar" by philosophy

Heidi suggested we take a look at the Hope in a Jar cream by philosophy in light of what we learned about the dollar store lotions the other day.

This cream can cost between $38 and $105 for 8 ounces, so what makes it so expensive? Let's take a look at what Sephora says about this product...

What it is: A cult-favorite moisturizer that gently hydrates, exfoliates, and protects the skin.

What it is formulated to do: Philosophy Hope in a Jar is a 99.9% oil-free, deeply hydrating, lightweight wonder designed to smooth the complexion while reducing the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration. Originally created for the medical market, this expert essential delivers soft, healthy, glowing results.

What else you need to know: This beloved formula contains antioxidants that protect skin against environmental damage and provides continuous exfoliation to keep roughness at bay. An infusion of yeast-derived beta glucan supports the skin's natural defense system and improves repair capabilities.

Let's take a look at the ingredient list!

Water - the solvent

Glycerin - our humectant

Rice Bran oil - our oil.

C12-15 alkyl benzoate - an ester that feels light and offers good slip and glide, as well as fragrance fixing properties.

Glyceryl stearate - part of the emulsification system.

PEG-100 stearate - a PEG ester that comes in a waxy format. It acts as a thickener, opacifier, and emulsifier. It's probably part of the emulsification system along with glyceryl stearate.

Octyldodecanol - A fatty alcohol, but one that comes in a liquid form. It offers thickening and emolliency to our products.

Cetyl Alcohol - A fatty alcohol that offers slip and glide, as well as thickening to our products. Also acts as an emollient.

Stearyl Alcohol - A fatty alcohol that will offer thickening to our products and it acts as an emollient.

Lecithin - An emollient and emulsifier.

Tocopheryl Acetate - Vitamin E

Retinyl Palmitate - Vitamin A

Arachidyl Propionate - A semi-solid wax that melts on contact with our skin. It's non-greasy feeling.

Ethyl Linoleate - an ester of linoleic acid

Ethyl Linolenate - an ester of linolenic acid

Citric Acid - pH adjuster

Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Salvia Officinialis (Sage) Oil, Limonene & Linalool - fragrance ingredients

Diazolidinyl Urea, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben - preservatives

So what do we see in this product? We see water and glycerin as the first two ingredients - look familiar? - then rice bran oil and C12-15 alkyl benzoate as the emollients. As we go down the list we see quite a few fatty alcohols that offer thickening and emolliency to the product. We see some Vitamin A and E, and then a few interesting ingredients like the arachidyl propionate, ethyl linoleate, and ethyl linolenate, all of which are esters that offer a non-greasy feeling to the product.

This product should be a less greasy feeling product than anything made with mineral oil, so it lives up to the idea that it's lightweight - there's nothing really occlusive in it - and non-greasy.

Does it live up to its claims? Does it gently hydrate, exfoliate, and protect skin? Sure, I can see it hydrating and protecting the skin, but I'm not sure about the exfoliation. Retinoids or Vitamin A can help exfoliate the skin, but I doubt there's enough in there to cause exfoliation based on its placement in the ingredient list, but there's always a chance.

It claims to be 99.9% oil free, which works when you consider most of the ingredients are esters and fatty alcohols, which are oil free, but what about the rice bran oil? Are they claiming the rice bran oil is "An infusion of yeast-derived beta glucan supports the skin's natural defense system and improves repair capabilities..." because it's listed as rice bran oil in the ingredients. This is where I get confused! How can something be oil free yet list rice bran oil as the third ingredient?

I've never tried this product before and I'm sure it feels lovely, but is it worth $38 for 2 ounces when we compare it to other products? I don't know - value is an amorphous thing that changes from person to person. Can we make this at home? Sure, why not?


sfs said...

How did we get so hooked on hype? I recently bought my teenage daughter a bottle of Bumble Surf Spray for her hair so she could "rekindle summer with that sexy, wild, wind-styled texture you get after an ocean swim". At almost $10/oz I thought a beach condo might come with it! I knew it was just water and Epsom salts but I thought the fragrance might have been so spectacular as to be worth the price. (If anyone out there knows the scent notes to recreate Hollister's Socal fragrance...) Alas, Surf Spray hasn't much of a scent at all. It will when I make it for her at home!

Anonymous said...

OMG! I'm so happy you did a post on this cream, Susan. I happen to be in Sephora the other day looking at it and wondered how hard it would be to dup it. The sales associate mentioned it's oil-free, which I was not in the mood to challenge at the time, and that it had a full 1% of lavender essential oil in it. I took home a sample of it along with the cleanser. It's nice, not spectacular, but what I really liked about it is the way it melted on the skin, like water. I've been able to dup that effect by replacing rice bran oil with Jojoba Ester 20, which is semi-solid and truly makes my cream oil free. It's a decent dup, but I'm sure you'll come up with something better. I was wondering if you can eventually help with a dup of the Purity Made Simple cleanser. I have to admit, it's pretty good and i've had two failed attempts so far...I can't seem to get the creamy cushiony feel that's so appealing. I'm so excited and looking forward to your posts! thank you!!!!

Heidi said...

Thanks for the post!

It looks like a lovely cream for faces. I found it it's Oprah's favorite

How can we dupe this cream? Are the ingredients available to the home crafter? What would be your suggestions.

@Aesthete..I LOVE the purity made simple cleanser as well! But at this time in my life the cost is just too much for my pocketbook. Maybe Susan will have some suggestions.

@Susan..I was in whole foods the other day trying out their creams and came upon one that was just heaven. More of a hand and body cream. I rub it on my hands (that happen to have terrible winter eczema) and they felt like velvet! Looked a lot younger too :)

It was by Mode De Vie here are the ingredients: (Although I never heard of Cathyl alcohol)

Shea butter body lotion Unscented with Tamanu oil :Aloe Vera (A.barbanedis), Safflower oil (Cathamus Tinctorius), Vegetable Glycerin, Shea butter (buttyrospermum Parkii), Myristil Myristate, Sorbitan Stearate, Tamanu oil (Calophyllum Inophyllum), Cathyl alcohol, Dimethicone, Xanthan gum, Phenoxyethanol, Benzoic acid, Neem (Zadirachta Indica), Tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), Retynil Palmitate (vitamin A) Sorbic acid, Rosemary (Rosamarium Oficinate).

That's for the great blog!

Pam said...

Hi Susan,

I am wondering why do they have used several ingredients to thicken, several to emulsify, and several to preserve the product...Arachidyl Propionate sounds intreating...Anyone ever used it?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi sfs. There's nothing I hate more than hype (okay, I'm not a fan of nuclear war or hurting puppies, but I mean in the general day to day sense..). That's part of my purpose here - to break down the hype and learn what's in our products.

Hi Aesthete! I'm working on a series on duplicating to follow the formulating series, so watch for it then!

Hi Heidi! I've looked at the Purity Made Simple cleanser - yeah, I think we can duplicate it. I think the cushiony feel comes from the carbomer. As for the Mode de Vie, it seems like a nice product. It's very close to the type of products we'd make at home with all those lovely vegetable oils. I could find cathyl alcohol - I think they meant cetyl or something else!

Hi Pam. I have no idea why all those ingredients. I don't think it needs that much stabilization, so my guess is for skin feel and to take the place of the usual emollients so they can call it "oil free".

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I should have written "couldn't find cathyl alcohol". It's one of those days!

Pam said...


I am back to the natural discussion again. Do you think we could replicate this product by using the basics: water/aloe, exotic oils, extracts, humectant,occlusive and preservatives?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Pam. I don't think you can get the same skin feel with natural ingredients because just about everything will be too heavy or too greasy when you compare them to esters. You could try using some oils like fractionated coconut oil, kukui oil, evening primrose, camellia, or borage, and they'll feel light and drier but they won't have the same slip as the esters (FCO will, but the rest won't).

And I would definitely use aloe vera and hydrosols in there, as well as hydrolyzed proteins and panthenol. You could use allantoin for an occlusive, but there aren't any occlusive ingredients in this, and I think you'd really change the skin feel with something like dimethicone or cocoa butter.

But I say go for it! See what you come up with then compare it to the skin feel of this product! Let us know!

Elizabeth said...

Hi there! This recipe brought me to your blog and I confess I've become fascinated with the idea of making my own skin care products as I read through your recipes. I love Hope in a Jar but just can't justify spending the money to buy it and was looking forward to maybe trying to duplicate it using your recipe but when I looked at the ingredients on Philosophy's website they are not even close to what you have listed here, what happened?

Here is what they list:
water/aqua/eau, lauryl lactate, behenic acid, behenoxy dimethicone, glycerin, glyceryl stearate se, behenyl alcohol, pentaerythrityl tetracaprylate/tetracaprate, cyclopentasiloxane, tocopheryl acetate, benzyl alcohol, cyclohexasiloxane, retinyl palmitate, arginine, stearic acid, panthenol, beta-glucan, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, xanthan gum, triethanolamine, propylene glycol, geraniol, limonene, linalool, methylparaben, propylparaben, diazolidinyl urea

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Elizabeth. This is the ingredient list for the Hope in a Jar for dry skin. This is what they originally had on the Sephora site to which I link, which is why I used it. It's funny that these formulae are so different for regular skin and dry skin!