100% Pure

Strengths: Several products contain beneficial natural ingredients that help moisturize skin and/or provide an antioxidant boost.

Weaknesses: Expensive; company does not follow regulatory guidelines for ingredient lists; several products contain irritating natural ingredients that hurt skin's ability to look and act younger; jar packaging allows the natural ingredients to break down and become ineffective from repeated exposure to air and light.

100% Pure is a line of facial and body-care products plus assorted makeup and hair-care products, all said to be made with 100% natural ingredients. Like dozens of other natural product lines the marketing pitch is that natural ingredients are better or safer than synthetics.

Yet the truth isn't so black and white; in fact, many commonly used natural ingredients, such as lavender, peppermint, menthol, alcohol, and most fragrant plant extracts, are a problem for all skin types, and many of the synthetic ingredients that are maligned by cosmetics companies and in the media are not the risks they're made out to be. The problem is that the natural ingredients listed above cause irritation, and irritation in turn damages collagen and hurts the skin's ability to repair itself. The inclusion of these and other natural but irritating ingredients is the major shortcoming of 100% Pure.

What is clear from published research is that skin benefits from a range of non-irritating ingredients, both natural and synthetic- and when combined, they often provide our skin with the best of both worlds: a superior product that reduces and prevents wrinkles, acne, rosacea, sensitive skin, and myriad other skin-care concerns.

In the case of 100% Pure, we were able to address their marketing claims, but, unfortunately, it was impossible to review the actual products themselves because the ingredient lists they provide (both online and on the products themselves) don't follow the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) regulations for cosmetic ingredient lists (Source: www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/CosmeticLabelingLabelClaims/CosmeticLabelingManual/ucm126444.htm#clgl). In fact, many of 100% Pure’s products would be considered misbranded according to current regulatory standards. So, because they do not provide the required information about ingredients, we cannot accurately review the products, which is why at this time we offer only an overview of the brand, not a review of the specific products.

Here is a prime example of how 100% Pure's products are mislabeled. Rather than list the specific cleansing agents included in their cleansers, the company simply lists "saponified coconut oil." That sounds natural, but it leaves consumers in the dark about what ingredients are really being used, and it doesn't meet the FDA's ingredient listing standard.

However, let's look a bit deeper into what "saponified coconut oil" really means: To saponify something means to convert it to soap using an alkaline ingredient such as lye and fat. Given that we know lye is drying and irritating, that's not good for your skin, no matter what other ingredients are with it.

Another problem we discovered is that many of 100% Pure's products have textures and finishes that don’t match what you would expect from the ingredients on their lists. You can't put plant extracts together without an ingredient (natural or synthetic) to hold them together, but those aren't on the labels either.

100% Pure maintains that their preservative system is 100% natural. That may be the case, but the preservative ingredients they selected for their natural blends are not known to be effective against a wide range of bacteria, mold, and fungi that can enter and multiply in cosmetic products. We know from published research that natural preservatives, such as honeysuckle, thyme, oregano, and rosemary, are not as effective as synthetic preservatives such as phenoxyethanol. Although the natural ingredients do have some preservative benefit, they simply aren’t as broad-spectrum as the synthetic alternatives (Sources: Preservatives for Cosmetics, Steinberg, David C., Allure Publishing, 2006, pages 93-98).

We must mention that a few of 100% Pure's products' ingredient lists appear to be accurate, and we evaluated these taking into account the products' texture and finish. Among the facial-care products (which were our focus), the products that do not contain problematic natural ingredients include Super Fruits Concentrated Serum, Age Protective ($35 for 1 ounce); Red Wine Resveratrol Antioxidant Serum, Age Protective ($32 for 1 ounce); Super Fruits Reparative Cream, Age Corrective ($35 for 1.6 ounces); and Anti-Bacterial Wood Pulp and Hemp Oil Blotting Sheets ($8 for 50 Sheets). With the exception of the blotting sheets, all of these products are best for normal to dry skin that doesn't tend to break out. We know that's not much information to go on, but it points out the fact that most of 100% Pure's facial products aren't worth considering until 100% Pure decides to comply with FDA regulations so you can know exactly what you're putting on your face.

Always keep in mind that marketing claims and fragrance do not equal good skin care.

For more information about 100% Pure, call (415) 814-9788 or visit www.100percentpure.com.

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