This fragranced body cream's main drawback is that it's packaged in a jar. That means the plant-based ingredients and their antioxidant benefit will be diminished from the moment you open it, and sticking your fingers into a water-based product isn't sanitary. Please see More Info for details on the problems jar packaging presents.
This body cream contains mostly helpful ingredients for those with dry skin, but this isn't preferred to a body moisturizer packaged in an opaque tube or bottle, which helps keep the delicate ingredients stable during use. You'll find such options on our Best Body Care Products list.
The only ingredient of concern (well, beyond the fragrance, although there isn't much of it in this product) is arnica extract. Arnica isn't recommended due to its high potential to cause irritation, especially if the skin's surface is damaged (Sources: International Federation of Aromatherapists [IFA], www.int-fed-aromatherapy.co.uk; and American Journal of Contact Dermatitis, June 1996, pages 94–99).
- Contains a mix of emollient ingredients that benefit dry skin.
- The plant oils and shea butter supply antioxidants.
- Arnica extract is a known skin irritant.
- Jar packaging won't keep the antioxidants and plant-based ingredients stable during use.
All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.
Note that fragrance in body creams may appeal to your nose, but whether natural or synthetic, it can be a problem for all skin types. It's less of a concern when present in low amounts, but ideally, fragrance-free is the best way to go.
Tropical nut oils rich in essential fatty acids blended in a rich, luxurious body cream to soften, soothe and smooth rough, dry, flaky skin.
Purified Water, Certified Organic Aloe Vera Barbadensis Juice, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Vegetable Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Polysorbate 60, Dimethicone, Extracts Of Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui) Seed, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit, Arnica Montana Flower And Anacyclus Pyrethrum Root, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui) Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Beta Carotene, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Carbomer, Caramel And Fragrance.
Alba Botanica is part of the Avalon Natural Products group, which is owned by natural product marketer Hain-Celestial. In addition to owning the Jason Natural and Zia Natural brands, Hain-Celestial also owns Avalon Organics, of which Alba Botanica is a part. Although Alba Botanica is not any thinking person's definition of an all-natural line—they use plenty of synthetic ingredients, including sunscreen actives and preservatives—they shine in comparison to the mostly disappointing products offered under the Avalon Organics name, but that's not saying a lot.
As far as the "natural" visage Alba Botanica portrays—while they do use plenty of natural ingredients, for the most part it's the non-natural ingredients that contribute to each product's texture and function; but then highlighting those ingredients isn't going to attract attention from consumers seeking natural products, is it? Because there are no established standards for use of the word "natural," any cosmetics company can take advantage of the term, as Alba Botanica does.
Despite not being an all-natural line (which isn't a bad thing), much of what they offer, while not state-of-the-art spectacular, is still worth considering. The prices are competitive with those of drugstore and health food store brands, and they offer some very good options in the categories of cleanser, scrub, sunscreens for face and body, lip balms without sunscreen, and a self-tanner.
It is also worth mentioning that Avalon Products (remember, Alba Botanica is part of this master brand) is commendable in that it uses environmentally conscious business practices, including solar-powered offices and warehouse and relying on organic farming for several of their ingredients. Their environmentalism may or may not correspond to good skin care, but it is admirable. As we have said many times before, just because an ingredient is organic doesn't make it safe or effective for skin (and there's no proof that an organic ingredient is preferred to a synthetic ingredient when it comes to skin care), but the practice of organic farming is a positive step toward creating products that reduce negative environmental impact.
Turning to what Alba Botanica needs help with, you'll see they fall short of being a comprehensive line. There are no reliable exfoliants such as AHAs or BHA products, and those struggling with blemishes or any type of skin discoloration are out of luck. Also, not every sunscreen (especially those for lips) makes the grade in terms of providing sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients, and some of the toners have truly boring, antiquated formulas. Other less impressive products include the enzyme scrubs, masks, and a few of the jar-packaged moisturizers.
Overall, these products aren't the most advanced around, but comparatively speaking they best many other products from brands with a natural angle (Lauder-owned Origins comes to mind).
For more information about Alba Botanica, call (888) 659-7730 or visit www.albabotanica.com.