It took me years to find a moisturizer that actually quenched my ridiuclously thirsty skin. Jergen’s was my go to brand for the majority of my life…but then I started down my eco-conscious journey and the paraben and petroleum rich cream lost it’s lustre. So I began the quest for finding a natural moisturizer that lived up to the high expectations I had of this holy grail body cream.
First stop: Burt’s Bee’s.
When Clorox bought this company in 2007 they made this almost exclusively health store brand more readily available to the mass consumer. They haven’t sacrificed ingredients although where they obtain these ingredients has changed. Initially the company looked for more local providers, but now the company goes as far as Africa for their beeswax. The company still has a large focus on conservation efforts and humanitarian campaigns, though. As for the product, it’s hard for me to review this lotion fairly because I was greatly turned-off by the smell. Honey and beeswax aren’t my favourite smells and this sickly sweet lotion has overpowering scents of both. It was quite thick, went on easily but didn’t abosrb quickly leaving a greasy feeling for about 20 minutes after application. I also found that I needed to put it on a couple of times a day to keep the dry-skin-itchiness at bay. Maybe I needed to give it more of a fair shot to see if my body’s chemistry would adjust and allow the cream to work but, like I said, I couldn’t get over the smell. The preservative used in this cream is phenoxyethanol and although it is much less harmful to the environment and our bodies than some other preservatives this one isn’t exactly safe for injestion. I know you won’t intend to eat your hand lotion, but eating might introduce some of this chemical into your system. It has been proven to cause central nervous system depression (if larger quantities are injested) but for the most part just causes vomiting and diarrhea. So, as we all know, wash your hands before you eat! ($10-$15 at most drug stores, grocery stores and health foods stores)
Pure Natural Ingredients: 62% Naturally Derived Ingredients: 8% Synthetics: 30%
Avalon Organics is another bridging brand like Burt’s Bees that is readily available at drug stores and grocery stores. They also work towards environmental sustainability and conservation and in 2012 made the move to have NSF and USDA Organics approval of their ingredients. Their products have a minimum of 70% organic ingredients with the majority of their products containing even more than that. Synthetic fragrances, phthalates, harsh sulphates and parabens are banned from their products. The lotion I tried was their Fragrance Free Olive & Grape Seed Hand & Body Lotion although the other scents smelled lovely and I was sorely tempted to try one of them instead. At any rate, it went on smoothly and didn’t leave a residue of any kind behind, but I found in about half an hour my driest skin was looking for more and the tell tale itchiness started to creep in. The longer I used it the better the results and after using it for a few weeks I found that I only needed to apply it two or three times a day to get the relief I needed. A far cry from the once a day I required from Jergens but all in all Avalon Organics offer a nice wallet friendly alterantive. ($8-$10 at drug stores, grocery stores and health foods stores)
Organic Ingredients: 70% (but of that 70% 46% are natural ingredients and 24% are naturally derived) Synthetics: 30%
I have found it very challenging to find any information on this company as when I google search it I seem to just come up with the facebook page. Although this does offer a little bit of information there is really a lot of internet media lacking. All in all, their products are simple and are created in British Columbia Canada to be distributed throughout the world. They appear to mainly sell to chain health foods stores and salons as, according to the very limited information I was able to scrounge up, they started their body care line with hair products. They made my trial selection easy as they only have one lotion available at this time. I was very underwhelmed by this cream given it has received a fair amount of good review among the eco-beauty community. I just didn’t find it that hydrating. Yes, it is natural and simple (8 ingredients) and so someone with more sensitive skin might benefit from it more than I did. After a few weeks trialing it I wouldn’t repurchase it again. It was definitely the most similar in texture and consistency to a drug store brand but, like I said, not for me. (the little purse sized bottle I trialled was ~$4, but the 250mL bottles run $10-$12)
Natural Ingredients: 63% Naturally Derived Ingredients: Synthetics: 37%
Rocky Mountain Soap Company.
Rocky Mountain Soap Company started off as a little store in the Canadian Rocky Mountain town of Canmore Alberta. Now it has several locations across Canada and sells its products to health food stores across North America and ships worldwide. Starting off with just handmade soap, this company has now expanded its product list to include all varieties of personal care products and essential oils. I really enjoy their roll-ons, but that’s another blog.
There are a few different scents available in their body lotion but I was sad to discover that there isn’t an unscented option. Apricot was the least strong, in my opinion, so I went with that one. Overall I was really disappointed with this product. I really like their wide range of soaps and, as previously mentioned, their scented oil blends so I really wanted to like this lotion but sadly that was not the case. The formula is VERY watery and I found that it seemed to lather on my skin like the way the Kiss My Face products do. The directions on the bottle say “generously coat all your driest bits” and they weren’t kidding: you’d have to be very generous with your application to reap much of a benefit. I like how simple the ingredients list is in Rocky Mountain products. Definitely a plus. ($26 at selected health food stores and online at rockymountainsoap.ca)
Organic Ingredients: 50% Natural Ingredients: 25% Naturally Derived Ingredients: 25% Synthetic Ingredients: 0%
On the other side of the spectrum, Rocky Mountain Soap has a whole collection of body butters that come in a solid deoderant style dispenser. Odd, but effective. The formula melts on to your skin and is super hydrating. As mentioned before, there are a wide range of fragrances available all of which are either essential oils or a combination of essentials oils to mimick the scent there were after. For example, there is no essential oil that gives the fragrance of vanilla or coconut; the body butter I purchased most recently (I’ve tried other scents in the past) is their new line Vanilla Coconut which has combinations of essential oils to give it this tropical scent. If you can get over the fact that it looks like your putting deoderant all over your body I would definitely recommend this product. Except the unscented one. If you get a chance to smell it in a store be forewarned: it ain’t nice. The only other thing to mention about this product, as is usual for body butters, it is quite thick and greasy. Definitely not something you want to later on through the day, but great before bed or right out of the shower. ($14 at selected health food stores and online)
Organic Ingredients: 72% Natural Ingredients: 28% Synthetic Ingredients: 0%
Hugo Naturals got started much like Rocky Mountain Soap Company: they started with hand crafted soap in a small retail location and then grew exponentially from there. This California company has focused on keeping their products true to their roots and do not mass market, but try to keep everything fairly priced. I found their whole range of products similarly priced to that of other natural brands. I decided to trial the All Over Lotion and went with the Shea Butter & Oatmeal scent because my heath foods store was out of the unscented. The range of scents they have for this product is pretty decent and every scent smells divine! The formula was exactly the right consistency I was looking for and I feel that it was very hydrating. After a few weeks of using this one I was down to my one or two applications a day like the Jergens cream. Not too shabby! Some of their products are even gluten free and vegan and, even though they do use some synthetic ingredients they stay away from the buzz-word synthetics like sulphates and parabens and a number of chemicals either potentially harmful to humans or the environment or both. ($10-$15 at selected health foods stores or online at hugonaturals.com)
Organic Ingredients: 3% Natural Ingredients: 60% Naturally Derived Ingredients: 23% Synthetic: 14%
The original creators of LUSH worked for The Body Shop in the UK developing new formulas for their products before branching off to create their own business in 1995. In 1996 they were discovered by some American’s and were brought to North America to start the movement to becoming a global brand. Now sold all over the world this company is ‘the new body shop’ and offers many products with natural ingredients in them. Are they all natural enough for a health foods store? No, not really. But man, oh, man those bath bbombs and bath bubbles are fantastic!
Their body lotions are all very similar in their base composition with just slight changes to make the formulas thicker or thinner and to alter the scent. The company makes the labels easy to interpret by making synthetic ingredients black and natural ingredients green. Even though some of their ingredients listed in black may have started off as a plant, the owners have openly admitted that the final composition of that ingredient is so far ffrom it’s natural state they couldn’t in good conscience list it as a natural ingredient. Refreshing, no? Parabens are the preservative of choice for this company, but they stick to the methyl- and propyl-parabens which weren’t implicated in that fateful study (see previous blog). The formula was hydrating and not too greasy but I found that it left a powdery feeling behind and I had to apply it 3 or 4 times a day to keep the dry-skin-itchiness at bay. ($23 in store or online at lush.com)
Natural Ingredients: 63% Synthetic: 37%
The description on this tub is what made me buy it: for hands that spend too much time in sinks. My job requires me to wash my hands dozens and dozens of times before my shift is over and I don’t even want to think about what is in the lotion dispensers at work….cheap chemicals galore, no doubt. The smell of this hand butter took some getting used to but now I don’t mind it. I find that it goes on well and soaks in quickly without leaving a residue. Would I purchase it again? No, probably not. But only because I’ve found something I like better. One of the major downsides to this product and the majority of lush products is their packaging. I know that one of the company’s main standards is to reduce packaging at all costs, but that means that we have to have the less hygenic way of applying the lotions, facial cleansers etc because we have to scoop it out with our fingers. The package recycling incentive program is a nice touch, though. ($19 in store or online)
Natural Ingredients: 56% Naturally Derived Ingredients: 16% Synthetic Ingredients: 28%
This European cosmetics company has been producing certified natural skin care since 1921. They have focused on natural remedies for skin care while putting in work towards conservation efforts of the countries their produce in. Their website doesn’t offfer much information as to what they do to help minimize their carbon footprint, but maybe if I dug a little deeper I’d find it.
For a natural products company the certainly are heavy on the packaging. The majority of their products come in the pump bottles or tubes that are then put into cardboard boxes for individual sale. On the top inside fold of the box it says that the “packaging [is] from responsible sources” but would it not be more responsible to skip this box all together? I understand that bottles need some protection when shipped world wide, so maybe I don’t appreciate the need of this outer box, but if other international companies can do without, why can’t Weleda? The formula itself is lovely. It’s available in three scents and I chose the citrus but all of the scents were subtle but still had decent staying power. I found it to be a little greasy initially but as I used it over a few weeks I found my skin got used to the new balance. I like it as a scented lotion and I found that it was sufficiently hydrating (almost equal to the seemingly unattainable Jergens level). It’s a bit more expensive than the others but definitely worth it for the ratio of natural to naturally derived ingredients. ($18-$22 at select stores and online at weleda.com)
Natural Ingredients: 75% Naturally Derived Ingredients: 25% Synthetic Ingredients: 0%
Oh. My. Goodness. I have nothing but good things to say about this one. Like I mentioned in the LUSH section I was my hands a ton and battle with severely dry hands. This cream works wonders and it’s all natural. The smell is subtle and quite natural: kinda plant-y if you know what I mean. A little goes a long way, as I discovered the hard way as I put on my usual amount right before driving home from the store; learn from me: if you apply it right, it won’t be greasy. It is ridiculously hydrating and doesn’t leave that normal powdery residue I find to be a signature with this style of cream. I find it very comparable to The Body Shop’s Hemp Hand Cream but this one doesn’t have those nasy formaldehyde-releasing chemical emmolients among other things. Again, I’m bummed about the excess in packaging but other than that I don’t have anything negative to say about this little gem. ($22-$25 at health foods stores and online at weleda.com)
Natural Ingredients: 89% Naturally Derived Ingredients: 11% Synthetic Ingredients: 0%