Cindy Crawford’s cosmetics line Meaningful Beauty is popular for its anti-aging products. The brand claims to have served over five million customers, and sells products for both skin and hair.
But do Meaningful Beauty cosmetics contain research-backed anti-aging ingredients? Does the brand use any questionable additive ingredients? Why was the company that owns Meaningful Beauty sued in 2019? And how do real customers rate and describe the aesthetic effects of this product line?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in two of Meaningful Beauty's most popular anti-aging products, to give our take on whether or not they're likely to be effective.
The two products we'll review are Youth Activating Melon Serum and Age Recovery Night Crème.
We'll also feature unsponsored customer reviews of the brand, explain why the company that owns Meaningful Beauty was sued in 2019, and provide a cost comparison to show which retailer sells Meaningful Beauty for the best prices.
Youth Activating Melon Serum Review
The ingredients in Meaningful Beauty Youth Activating Melon Serum, which is arguably the brand's most popular anti-aging serum, are shown above.
Cucumis melo cantalupensis callus extract is the scientific name for cantaloupe extract, and appears to be the ingredient referred to on the product page when the brand claims this serum is “powered by our exclusive Melon Leaf Stem Cell Technology.”
We cannot locate one single clinical study showing that cantaloupe extract has an anti-aging effect when applied to skin, nor does Meaningful Beauty currently cite any on their product page.
This formulation does contain some research-backed active ingredients for skin health.
Pancratium maritimum (sea daffodil) extract was shown to reduce the effects of pigmentation and dark spots on the skin in a 2021 clinical trial.
Glycerin was shown to have a synergistic effect with sea daffofil extract in the above-linked clinical trial, meaning both ingredients positively impact skin when used together.
Sodium hyaluronate is an anti-aging ingredient backed by significant medical research. As we documented in our review of Miami MD, clinical trials have shown this ingredient to reduce wrinkles and improve skin hydration.
While Youth Activating Melon Serum contains some reesarch-backed ingredients, it also contains two inactive ingredients we recommend avoiding.
Fragrance has been shown in medical research to be potentially neurotoxic.
Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative found to be toxic to human cells in a clinical trial published in the Experimental Eye Research journal.
Overall, we consider Meaningful Beauty Youth Activating Melon Serum likely to be effective for reducing visible signs of aging due to the inclusion of sodium hyaluronate.
This is the only ingredient in this formulation we consider effective for anti-aging, and we do not currently recommend this product due to the inclusion of fragrance and phenoxyethanol.
Why was Meaningful Beauty's Owner Sued?
Meaningful Beauty is owned by a larger corporation called Guthy-Renker that owns and manages a variety of other beauty brands including JLo Beauty.
According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, Guthy-Renker settled a lawsuit for $8.5 million in 2019 over claims of auto-renewal payments being issued without customer consent or agreement.
Guthy-Renker also settled a class-action lawsuit in 2017 for $15 million according to Top Class Actions. This lawsuit alleged similar auto-renewal malpractice.
The lawsuits that Guthy-Renker have settled involve their management of the brands ProActiv and Wen (a hair brand).
It does not appear that any lawsuit has been filed against Guthy-Renker in regard to their operation of Meaningful Beauty, so there is no evidence to indicate that Meaningful Beauty customers should be concerned.
Real People Try Meaningful Beauty
A YouTube creator named "This is Real Life With Sheri" tested eight Meaningful Beauty products over an eight week period to see if they caused anti-aging effects, and included before-and-after images:
A YouTube creator named "MsEbonyVee" shares her anti-aging skincare routine with Meaningful Beauty products:
Age Recovery Night Crème Review
The ingredients in Meaningful Beauty Age Recovery Night Crème, which is marketed as a hydrating and anti-aging serum, are shown above.
This cream does contain some research-backed anti-aging and skin-hydrating ingredients.
Retinol is one of the most well-studied anti-aging compounds. It's a form of vitamin A that's been shown in medical research to cause a "significant facial anti-aging effect" and to upregulate gene activity for collagen production.
Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) oil was shown in a clinical trial published in the Antioxidants journal to have photoprotective properties, meaning it can minimize damage to skin from UV exposure.
Soluble collagen may have an anti-aging effect, but as we detailed in our Plexaderm reviews article, we've found significantly more research backing for hydrolyzed collagen which has a smaller molecular size and can more easily penetrate skin.
Orchid was described as an "anti-aging, and skin moisturizing agent" in a 2015 medical review.
There are more inactive ingredients in this formulation that we consider to be unhealthy than the Meaningful Beauty product we reviewed above.
Fragrance is included in this formulation, and we explained in the previous ingredient analysis section why we recommend avoiding fragranced cosmetic products.
Orange 4 and Red 40 are artificial dyes, the latter of which has been shown in clinical studies to be frequently contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals, and artificial dyes overall seem to have a high risk of toxicity according to the above-linked study.
Phenoxyethanol and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) are synthetic preservatives, the latter of which has been shown to cause tumors in animal studies.
Overall, we consider Age Recovery Night Crème likely to be effective for anti-aging and to be effective for hydrating the skin.
However, we don't currently recommend this product due to the inclusion of fragrance, artificial dye and two synthetic preservatives of note.
Of the two products reviewed, we consider Youth Activating Melon Serum to be healthier because it's free of artificial dye.
Real Customers Review Meaningful Beauty
Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.
Youth Activating Melon Serum has been reviewed over 2,500 times on Amazon at the time of updating this article, with an average review rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Mark" who gives the product a 5/5 star rating, and claims it has a hydrating effect:
"The product definitely has made my skin appear more moisturized. I can't say that wrinkles are disappearing, but I feel like it is delivering as far as keeping my skin hydrated."
The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Izzie B" who gives the product a 1/5 star rating, and claims it caused pimples:
"I figured I'd give it a try and the first 2 days were fine. The 3rd day I had a breakout. Weird, but I didn't want to believe it was this product. I took it for another 6 weeks and wow, even as a teen I NEVER had pimples/cystic acne like this!"
Meaningful Beauty currently has an average review rating of 1.67 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website.
A BBB user named "Roe Z S" gave Meaningful Beauty a one-star rating and claims that the brand overcharged:
"Meaningful beauty charges more than reflected in their ads. They send merchandise sooner than requested. They charge monthly for products that are shipped quarterly. I call your choice of doing business, bait and switch. Which is illegal"
Our Clean Skincare Picks
There are skincare products containing ingredients shown in clinical trials to be effective for reducing wrinkles and improving skin quality.
Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum is our top anti-aging serum.
It contains hyaluronic acid which was described as a "skin-rejuvenating biomedicine" in a medical review due to its ability to reduce wrinkles and signs of facial aging.
HYDRAGLOW by CLEARSTEM is our top moisturizer pick.
It features bakuchiol as an active ingredient which was described in a 2014 clinical trial as "clinically proven to have anti-aging effects."
Interested consumers can purchase Hydraglow at the secure checkout below:
Bulletproof Collagen Powder is our top skin supplement.
Collagen supplementation was shown in a medical review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology to reduce visible signs of skin aging as well as improve skin elasticity and skin hydration.
All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy or unsafe.
Where to Buy Meaningful Beauty for the Best Price
Meaningful Beauty products are sold at a variety of online retailers.
Here's a price breakdown for the two products reviewed in this article, at the time of updating this article:
Youth Activating Melon Serum
Walmart: $99.95 (free shipping, third-party seller, link)
Brand website: $98 (free shipping, link)
Amazon: $76 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)
Age Recovery Night Crème
Walmart: $79.99 (free shipping, third-party seller, link)
Brand website: $68 (plus $6.99 shipping, link)
Amazon: $68 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)
These two Meaningful Beauty products currently range from 10% to 22% cheaper on Amazon than the brand's website when factoring in shipping fees.
Pros and Cons of Meaningful Beauty
Here are the pros and cons of Meaningful Beauty in our opinion:
- Youth Activating Melon Serum should have anti-aging effect
- Age Recovery Night Crème should hydrate the skin
- Age Recovery Night Crème should have anti-aging effect
- Positive average review rating on Amazon
- Youth Activating Melon Serum contains fragrance
- Youth Activating Melon Serum contains synthetic preservatives
- Age Recovery Night Crème contains fragrance
- Age Recovery Night Crème contains synthetic preservatives
- Age Recovery Night Crème contains artificial dyes
- Company owner sued over allegations of auto-order fraud
- High threshold for free shipping from brand's website
- Products we reviewed don't appear to be clinically tested