Cynics maintain that cosmetics companies sell hope in a bottle. But connoisseurs of beauty products care a great deal about exactly what kind of bottle the promise of beautiful skin or hair arrives in. The newest, most preferred containers dispense a blob of cream or lotion via a plastic pump.
Pumps are easy to operate, but their true beauty is as invisible to the naked eye as a germ. Dr. Howard Murad, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA and the developer of the skin-care line that bears his name, says: "Pumps are more hygienic. If you put your fingers in a jar, you're contaminating the product."
And since products in pump-topped bottles are less vulnerable to contamination, they contain fewer preservatives. That's a benefit, explains Dermalogica Skin Care President Jane Martin-Wurwand, because those ingredients often cause allergic reactions.
The number of products required by cosmetically motivated consumers seems to steadily increase with age. The latest miracle workers are slimy lipids containing anti-oxidant vitamins A, C and E that both hydrate and protect the skin from the environment and eye creams and moisturizers made with anti-inflammatory green tea extract.
Now that a nightly routine might involve cleansing, toning, applying moisturizer on top of an alpha hydroxy acid, then cellular serum and eye gel, at least you don't have to juggle lids. Just pump up a dose of hope.