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Product Reviews

Philosophy Hope in a Jar

Philosophy Hope in a Jar: ($38/$60/$105 for 2.0 oz/4.0 oz/8.0 oz)

Positives: There are high amounts of the humectant glycerin, which will serve to attract water to the skin. Its primary occlusive agents are behenic acid and its reduced derivative behenyl alcohol, which interestingly at 10%, is a prescription product used to treat cold-sores. The amount present is nowhere near that high, but this ingredient does demonstrates potential anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. This product also contains moderate to low amounts of vitamin A as retinyl palmitate, vitamin E as tocopheryl acetate, and vitamin B5. The vitamins A and E will most likely be ineffective on the skin due to the low concentrations present, but it’s better than having none. Vitamin B5 or panthenol will serve to soothe and hydrate the skin, as will the low levels of the anti-inflammatory beta-glucan and the fatty acid stearic acid.

Neutrals: There is a high amount of lauryl lactate, an ester form of lactic acid. Though the pH of this cream is at a low 3.2, the lauryl lactate cannot be converted to lactic acid, at least not in a significant amount. Here’s why. In order to convert to lactic acid, lauryl lactate has to be hydrolized by water and a strong acid catalyst, the latter of which is not present. Even if it could be hydrolized solely by water, because lactic acid is a weak acid, meaning that it doesn’t dissociate completely, the amount of lactic acid converted from lauryl lactate would not be much. Furthermore, this process of hydrolysis creates racemic lactic acid, meaning that both enantiomers of lactic acid (L and D) are present equally. Unfortunately, only the L enantiomer is biologically useful. Considering all of that, it’s probably most accurate to state that the lauryl lactate in this formulation, has virtually zero exfoliating abilities. It acts more as an emulsifier.

Negatives: There is low amounts of the essential oil lavender. Lavender oil has demonstrated to be cytotoxic and photosensitizing in vitro. Topically however, it only triggers occasionally contact dermatitis. However, given that it provides no relevent benefits for daily use and has the potential to be irritating, this ingredient is unfortunately negative.

Packaging: This is packaged in a jar, so the meager amounts vitamins and other air-sensitive ingredients will begin to deteriorate the moment it is opened. Sephora has a giant-sized version and that’s a bad thing because more of the product will degrade more quickly due to the larger overall volume and exposed surface area.

Overall: Now even if this wasn’t packaged in a jar, the vitamin E is not present in a very efficacious amount. In addition, the vitamin A, which is present in an even smaller amount, will have almost no effect on the skin because it has to be converted to 3 other chemical forms before the skin can utilize it (and the conversion rates become increasingly small), and vitamin A works best at a pH of about 5.5-6. The pH of this product is about 3.2. You do the math. I would definitely not recommend this.


If packaged in a JAR: PS = [[[PIS – [(NI1 x MHS1)]] x WIC] + [TPS x WPC]] x 100%

PS = [[[6/10 – [(1/10 x 1/3)]] x 2/3] + [1/3 x 1/3]] x 100%

PS = [[[18/30 – 1/30] x 2/3] + 1/9] x 100%

PS = [[17/30 x 2/3] + 1/9] x 100%

PS = [34/90 + 10/90] x 100%

PS = 44/90 x 100%

PS = .489 x 100%

PS = 48.9%

AS = F-

If packaged in a PUMP BOTTLE or TUBE: PS = [[[PIS – [(NI1 x MHS1)]] x WIC] + [TPS x WPC]] x 100%

PS = [[[6/10 – [(1/10 x 1/3)]] x 2/3] + [3/3 x 1/3]] x 100%

PS = [[[18/30 – 1/30] x 2/3] + 3/9] x 100%

PS = [[17/30 x 2/3] + 3/9] x 100%

PS = [34/90 + 30/90] x 100%

PS = 64/90 x 100%

PS = .711 x 100%

PS = 71.1%

AS = C-

Check the Product Review Rubric for a full explanation on how I rate products.


Water, Lauryl Lactate, Behenic Acid, Behenoxy Dimethicone, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate Se, Behenyl Alcohol, Pentaerythrityl Tetracaprylate/Tetracaprate, Clyclopentasiloxane, Tocopheryl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Retinyl Palmitate, Stearic Acid, Panthenol, Betaglucan, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Triethanolamine, Propylene Glycol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea.

About John

The Triple Helixian is an unbiased science and research-based site that attempts to clarify and elucidate questions about skin care, while aspiring to be the most thorough and complete source of information.


6 thoughts on “Philosophy Hope in a Jar

  1. They do sell this in tubes now (I believe the SPF versions). I will say that my skin reacts very well to this moisturizer. Initially I was not a fan of the scent, but quickly got over that because my skin was so soft, radiant, and glowy when using it.

    Posted by Lauren | November 26, 2011, 10:06 am
    • Hello Lauren!

      My review applies strictly to the product that I linked to Sephora. The SPF version has a different formulation, and therefore a different review. From a glance, I can say you are getting sufficient, but not excellent sunscreen protection. The inactive ingredients aren’t to die for either, but don’t stop using it! Sunscreen is very important, and I’m thrilled to here that you use sunscreen! So many don’t.

      And hey, I use products that don’t have the BEST ingredients because of one reason or another such as texture too, so don’t feel bad about that! Thanks for commenting Lauren.

      Posted by John | November 26, 2011, 10:14 am
  2. I’ve heard such great things about this product and have been wanting to use it, however, now that you break it down I see that it may not be as great as people say. I never knew the type of packaging that it comes in can effect such things.

    Posted by Ashley Sarah | November 26, 2011, 9:52 am

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