Are They Dupes?: Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment VS Alpha Hydrox Retinol ResQ

by Gio

a dupe for philosophy help me retinol night treatment

Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment was voted best night treatment in the image beauty awards 2013. But at $49.00, it can be pretty pricey. Luckily, in the world of skincare, it is only a matter of time before someone will copy and tweak your formula and sell it at a much lower price. That’s exactly what Alpha Hydrox did with its Retinol ResQ treatment. Here’s how the two formulas compare:

Ingredient Analysis



Retinol is an anti-aging superstar anyone should incorporate in their skincare routine, at least after they’ve turned the big 3-0. One of the few ingredients that can really reduce fine lines and wrinkles, it can boost collagen production and firm skin. But there’s a catch. Retinol can be irritating at first, causing redness, peeling, and a slight tingling sensation.

That’s why, until your skin has gotten used to it, you should apply it only every other day or so. Then, slowly increase frequency. Both products, though, use a time-delivery technology, which reduces the risks of irritation. How? By simply releasing retinol slowly over a period of several hours rather than all at once.


Tocopheryl Acetate & Ascorbyl Palmitate

Tocopheryl Acetate is a form of Vitamin E. This vitamin is a wonderful moisturizer capable of strengthening the skin’s natural barrier and thus slow down water loss. Because of its antioxidant properties, it can help prevent the signs of aging too.

Ascorbyl Glucoside is a stable form of Vitamin C. A powerful antioxidant, it helps fight free radicals and boost collagen production. It’s therefore a strong ally in the fight against premature aging.

These antioxidants work even better when used together, as they enhance each other’s effectiveness, and provide some additional protection from UV rays (but they should never be used as a substitute for sunscreen!).



Dimethicone is a silicone widely used in skincare products for its ability to fill in fine lines and wrinkles, making them look less obvious. It also enhances the spreadability of a product, allowing an even application, and makes skin silky smooth to the touch.

Dimethicone gets a bad rep because it has been accused of suffocating skin, but that’s simply not true. Silicones have a particular molecular structure, which is made of larger molecules with wider spaces between each molecule, that allows them to create a barrier that protects skin but still allows it to perspire.

glycerin molecular structure

Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, C10 30 Cholesterol/Lanesterol Esters, & Cetyl Ricinoleate

One of the most commonly used ingredients in skincare, glycerin is a humectant that draws water from the environment into the skin, thus helping to keep it hydrated.

Cetearyl Alcohol is a fatty alcohol, ie a good type of alcohol that has emollient properties. Non-irritating, it helps to keep skin moisturized. Other emollients present in the formula are C10 30 Cholesterol/Lanesterol Esters, a blend of cholesterol and fatty acid ester from lanolin, and Cetyl Ricinoleate, a fatty acid made from castor oil. Together, these ingredients leave skin soft and smooth for hours.

Further considerations on the formula

Both Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment and Alpha Hydrox Retinol ResQ help prevent and reduce wrinkles (although I would have loved to see more antioxidants included in both formulas) and moisturize skin well. They are more suitable for normal to dry skin.

Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment Ingredients

water (aqua), caprylic/capric triglyceride, glycerin, cetearyl alcohol, c10-30 cholesterol/lanosterol esters, cetyl alcohol, dimethicone, cetyl ricinoleate, polysorbate 60, benzyl alcohol, retinol, tocopheryl acetate, ascorbyl palmitate, methyl methacrylate/glycol dimethacrylate crosspolymer, stearic acid, peg-10 soy sterol, phenoxyethanol, cyclopentasiloxane, magnesium aluminum silicate, cyclohexasiloxane, methylparaben, triethanolamine, disodium edta, bisabolol, bht, polysorbate 20, propyl gallate, ascorbic acid.

Alpha Hydrox Retinol ResQ Ingredients

Water, Capric/Caprylic Stearic Triglyceride, Emulsifying Wax, Glycerin, C10 30 Cholesterol/Lanesterol Esters, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Benzyl Alcohol, Cyclomethicone, Retinol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Acrylates Crosspolymer, Bisabolol (L-Alpha), PEG 10 Soy Sterol, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Stearic Acid, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, BHT, Disodium EDTA, Propyl Gallate, Polysorbate 20, Triethanolamine

The Bottom Line

Although not exact dupes, Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment and Alpha Hydrox Retinol ResQ are very similar. The latter will give you the same results as the pricer Philosophy product, allowing you to save quite a bit of money.

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Merin January 30, 2015 - 10:06 pm

Very Insightful!Every so often we fall for the heftier priced product thinking it will work wonders!
Looking forward to reading more of your reviews!


Gio January 31, 2015 - 2:55 pm

Merin, so true. It is so easy to believe that a highter price = better product, but often that’s not true at all.

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it, and hope to see you here often.


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