thin camas

Moisturizers revisited

One of my very early postings was about face creams. At the time I was a fan of Lavera products. But my journey with has introduced me to a whole range of great new products. So I thought I would share with you what I am using on my aging face right now.

First, though, I want to remind you of what I wrote in my posting on cleansers, which holds for moisturizers too: what I look for in facial products is low toxicity (of course), a smell/texture/feel that suits me and a price that is right. Add to that a (more or less) local manufacturer and all my needs are satisfied: I am not looking for miracles.

So, my current beauty secret? My daytime moisturizer is Pure Anada's Green Tea and Grapeseed Hydra Lotion. This is a light, delicately fragranced lotion that has felt great through the warmer months and this Indian summer. Maybe mid-winter I would prefer something richer - perhaps Pure Anada's Berry and Bouquet Hyrda Cream, which I have not yet tried - but, for now, I love the Green Tea product.

It comes in a largish pump bottle. Beware, my pump is a bit wild and has several times discharged rather aggressively onto my bathroom mirror. It is, though, very well priced at $19.50 for a full 60ml/2fl oz (if you need an idea of size, I have been using this since early summer and still have some left).

You may remember Pure Anada from my recent posting on lipstick. It's a small Manitoba company that is dedicated to low toxicity. None of the ingredients in the cream scores above 1 on the Skindeep ingredients database, though the magical-sounding ingredient in this Green Tea moisturizer, Olivem 1000, is not rated. You can read a bit about it here. It is derived from olive oil so does not worry me too much, and the fact that it claims to generate liquid crystals on my stratum corneum (that's the top layer of the skin: dead cells, sadly) actually sounds rather enticing (if a little perplexing).

I was sent this lotion as a sample and was happy to hear that when it was mailed it had just been mixed up the day before. A new idea: freshly prepared cosmetics! I have had it for several months now and there does not seem to have been any product deterioration.

At night I am using a product from Olivier Soaps (remember my post on washing in the wilderness...I went to buy the shampoo and ended up getting a travel size of this cream too). It is billed as an anti-aging day cream - Femme Creme de Jour - but I find it perfect for the night.

It has a fresh, slightly medicinal smell (if you were paying attention to my sunscreen posting, you will know that this is a quality I like), imparted by oils of: neroli, rosemary, tea tree, sage, benzoin, rosewood, palmarosa and carrot seed. It goes on smoothly and feels nourishing and matte, not at all greasy (which is not true for all eco creams).
olivier moist

The cream scores 2 on the Skindeep database. This is low, but not quite as low as I would like. Looking at the ingredients, everything seems very benign apart from sodium borate. This is, in fact, the chemical name for borax and it comes with a warning from Health Canada (it is a skin irritant (especially for infants). Rather alarmingly it is also a food additive. Anyway, I checked in with Olivier and they tell me that they use only a trace amount in their formula as a preservative, so my mind is at rest for now, though it would be good if they could find a formulation that was entirely borax-free.

The 8g trial/travel size is not on the website but is available in the shops: maybe they would send you one if you asked. The big tub is 50g and sells for $54.95 (so close, yet so far, from the on-line free shipping threshold of $60). I know this is not cheap, but it does last and I figure that from time to time my face needs a treat. Others must agree as this is the company's best selling product.

Olivier soap is a family-run New Brunswick company that sells both on line and through stores. There just happens to be a franchise store in Chelsea, Quebec, down the road from me. The company is a signatory to the compact for safe cosmetics, which is always a good sign. Customer service is not too hot, but they did answer my questions eventually. Pure Anada, on the other hand, are super-responsive.

So there you have it. I can't say that my wrinkles are in decline, but my face is happy (and I even got an unsolicited compliment on my skin the other's true! I must be doing something right).

Facial cleansers and scrubs

I have never invested heavily in beauty products (yes, it does show). To reassure myself that this is the right decision, I do, though, read lots of articles that purport to tell me whether expensive creams really make a difference.

To date, nothing I have read has persuaded me that I should be spending more on my face. The article that sticks in my kind is by Ben Goldacre (a columnist for the Guardian newspaper in the UK ). His book on Bad Science holds that all face creams essentially do the same thing as vaseline, but some are less greasy.

So, with this reassurance, what I look for in facial products is low toxicity (of course), a smell/texture/feel that suits me and a price that is right.

When it comes to cleansers, I believe I have hit the jackpot. But I should say that unless you like lemon and fresh, citrusy smells, you will not agree with me.

On a daily basis I use Keys Soap Island Rx Foaming Wash. This is a castile-based cleanser that foams right out of the bottle (like those yukky-smelling kids' hand soaps). It smells great (I must like avocado and clary sage) and leaves your face squeaky clean. But not so squeaky clean that you feel that all your natural, age-defying oils have been removed.

It comes in a pretty large bottle (236ml or 8oz), that lasts a long time, even if you share it with your husband (as I do). Yes, a unisex beauty product!

It also scores 0 (the best score) on the Skindeep cosmetics database. Keys is a company with a deep environmental commitment (that extends to its packaging and manufacturing processes).

Last, but not least, the cleaner is supposed to work well if you have eczema, psoriasis or other difficult skin conditions, but I cannot provide a personal opinion on this.

Keys Soap products can be purchased online or through various US retailers. They are not widely available in Canada, but there are a few dealers. I purchase mine through Hornet Mountain Natural Products in BC which provides good, personalised service. The foaming cleanser costs C$18.95.

My other cleansing winner is a very lemony, slightly gritty facial scrub: Suki exfoliate foaming cleanser (with lemongrass extract and natural sugar).

The smell is fantastic (definitely good enough to eat) and this product has just the right amount of abrasiveness for me. It really does leave your face with a glowing feeling. I don't use it every day, but I really miss it if I leave home for a while without it (as I did on my recent European trip).

Like the Keys Foaming wash, this scores 0 on the Skindeep database, so perhaps you can actually eat it.

It retails for US$29.95 for a 4oz container (that does not sound like very much product, but you do not use much each time as it foams up quite well). I bought mine at online through Pink Ginger in Merrickville. Prices are a bit higher there but the service was good and the store is quite local for me. You can find it more cheaply through Saffron Rouge in Canada (or the US). Otherwise see this page for US, Canadian and International retailers.
Comments (2)

Keeping those wrinkles at bay

I am sure I am not alone in struggling to make sense of all the claims of the skincare companies. I have tried various green face care products and found that many are not as green as I would like (they still contain dyes, toxins, etc.) and that others are simply too greasy or don't last long enough.

The ingredients that are completely off-limits for me are: methyl and propylparaben, sodium lauryl sulphate (beware here, though, as the similar-sounding sodium lauryl sulphoacetate is apparently OK) and propylene glycol (essentially an anti-freeze). Do check ingredients and see what the products you choose contain. The fact that you picked them up from the `natural health' section of your grocery store or a healthfood store does not mean that they are without these toxins. (The best overall reference on skincare products is the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database.)

For a long time, now, I have been using products by the German company, Lavera. I love their Faces Wild Rose line for dry and mature skin.
lavera wild rose
This is not the top of their range (price-wise) but I think it does a great job at a good price (about $20-30). Smells nice, feels nice and lasts a long time (well beyond the use-by date which is stamped on every item). For an even lower-priced facial experience, try their Basis line, which they advertise for the whole family. It was the Basis moisturizing day cream that originally sold me on the line and I still use the foaming cleanser on a daily basis.

Lavera also sells makeup and hair care products, which I will come back to another time.

Although Lavera makes its products in Germany, the carbon issue does not seem too pressing for me. The items are light and last a long time. They can be purchased on line throughout North America (no duties for Canadians, but prices are quoted in US$) and at a growing number of stores. The Lavera website is also informative about ingredients and their toxicity.
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