Ultra Sheer Daily Defense Facial Lotion with SPF 18 is, overall, a good option for those with normal to dry skin not prone to breakouts. It includes a skin-pleasing array of emollient ingredients from plant oils, fatty acids, and skin-repairing ingredients.
The name may lead you to think this is a light, mattifying sunscreen, but without a doubt, it’s a moisturizing formula.
The synthetic sunscreen actives include octisalate, octocrylene, and avobenzone—a trio that provides broad-spectrum UV protection, albeit only an SPF 18, which is a little lower than we typically recommend for daily sun protection (see More Info for details on why SPF 20–30 is preferred). We also should note that mineral-based actives are best for sensitive skin because they have a lower potential for provoking a sensitized response. Oddly enough, despite that fact, Andalou Naturals specifically recommends this for sensitive skin.
This daytime moisturizer with sunscreen contains several antioxidants, which is great because they not only help offset the free-radical damage from UV exposure, but also help the sunscreen actives work more effectively.
The only reason this didn’t earn a BEST rating is the inclusion of fragrant citrus oil. While the amount present is relatively minor, it is potentially irritating for some, and especially problematic for those with sensitive skin.
One last note: Please totally ignore the claims made about the fruit stem cell ingredients (see More Info if you wish to read the considerable details explaining why). While these ingredients aren’t harmful or irritating to the skin (and can have antioxidant benefit), there no research to support the claims of regenerating skin or functioning like your skin’s own stem cells, which would push this product from its status as a cosmetic to a drug. The notion that plant stem cells can “renew dormant cells, repair damaged cells, or regenerate healthy cells” may be true for a plant, but it isn’t for human skin.
- Contains a nice mix of non-fragrant plant oils and fatty acids that benefit dry skin.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Includes an advanced array of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.
- The small amount of fragrant plant oils poses a slight risk of irritation.
- Has an SPF 18, whereas new research indicates SPF 20–30 is the minimum for daily use
- Plant stem cells don't renew or generate human cells of any kind.
Sunscreens Rated Under SPF 20: A growing body of current research has demonstrated that it’s better to use a sunscreen rated SPF 20 or greater to ensure adequate defense against the sun’s aging UV rays. SPF 15 is an option, but only if you’re willing to apply liberally and your skin will be seeing five hours of daylight or less. While this sunscreen will provide the SPF number on the label and has UVA-protecting ingredients, we strongly recommend not relying on it alone for the best sun protection. Applying it under a foundation, tinted moisturizer, or BB cream that offers broad-spectrum SPF 25+ will take far better care of your skin. Plus, this layering approach ensures your skin gets sufficient sun protection even if you’re not applying liberally.
Stem Cells in Skin Care: Stem cells are cells in animals and plants that are capable of becoming any other type of cell in that organism and of producing more of those cells. Despite the fact that stem cell research is in its infancy, many cosmetics companies claim they are successfully using plant-based or human-derived stem cells in their anti-aging products. The claims run the gamut, from reducing wrinkles to elastin repair and cell regeneration, so the temptation for consumers to try these is intense.
The truth is that stem cells in skin-care products do not work as claimed. In fact, they likely have no effect at all because stem cells must be alive to function as stem cells. Once these delicate cells are added to skin-care products, they are long dead and, therefore, useless.
Plant stem cells, such as those derived from apples, melons, flowers, and rice, cannot stimulate stem cells in human skin, but because they are from plants these ingredients likely have antioxidant
properties. Actually, it’s a good thing plant stem cells can’t work as stem cells in skin-care products; after all, you don’t want your skin to absorb cells that can grow into apples or watermelons!
There are also claims that because a plant’s stem cells allow a plant to repair itself or to survive in harsh climates, these benefits can be passed on to human skin. How a plant functions in nature is unrelated to human skin, and these claims are completely without substantiation.
Another twist on the issue is that cosmetics company’s claim they have taken components (such as peptides) out of the plant stem cells and made them stable so they then can work as stem cells. This approach is not valid because stem cells must be complete to function normally. Even if you could isolate substances or extracts from these cells and make them stable, there is no published research showing they can affect stem cells in human skin.
Perfect for sensitive skin, this ultra-sheer SPF facial lotion provides essential moisture with proven broad spectrum protection. Fruit Stem Cells and BioActive 8 Berry Complex help defend against UV and environmental damage, while stimulating healthy cell renewal for optimum age-defying benefits.
Active Ingredients: Octisalate 5.0%, Octocrylene 5.0%, Avobenzone 2.5%; Inactive Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Juice, Vegetable Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Octyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex, Glyceryl Monolaurate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate (Licorice) Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Resveratrol, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Laminaria Digitata (Kelp) and Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Extracts, Allantoin, Epilobium Angustifolium (Willow Herb) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) and Calendula Officinalis Extracts, Hyaluronic Acid, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut), Borago Officinalis (Borage) and Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Oils, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea), Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos) and Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis Extracts, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) and Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Oils
Andalou Naturals is a rare presence in the saturated market of natural-themed cosmetics lines because the brand manages to keep the focus on their products and ingredients without resorting to the silly “scary chemical” and fear-mongering marketing approach common to so many other natural lines.
Just as impressive as their marketing are many of their formulas, several of which include many antioxidants and multiple skin-repairing ingredients, and aren’t laden with natural fragrance ingredients, which may please your nose but can be very irritating to the skin, even if you don’t see or feel the damage taking place.
Headquartered in Petaluma, California, Andalou Naturals was founded by husband and wife Mark and Stacey Egide—both of whom also created the Avalon Organics line. The duo sold Avalon Organics in 2002, and started Andalou Naturals in 2011, where it’s sold at health food stores and online.
Visit their site and you’ll quickly find the brand is focused on the “feel-good” approach to skin care. Andalou Naturals brand philosophy is heavily steeped in philanthropy: Their “A Force of Nature” fund regularly donates to various nonprofit groups, and every order you place on their site adds $1 to this fund. How wonderful!
Andalou Naturals offers an extensive line of face-, body-, and hair-care products, themed around what they call, “Fruit Stem Cell Science,” which includes extracts from apple, grape, and argan. While these types of ingredients have antioxidant benefit, the idea that they work like your stem cells to turn back time isn’t supported by published research of any kind.
Stem cells work only if they are alive, and in a skin-care product, they are long dead. Not to mention that even if stem cells could survive the skin-care formulation process, an apple stem cell is helpful only to an apple—your skin cells wouldn’t have the first clue how to use stem cells from a plant. Stem-cell research is still in its infancy—science is just beginning to understand how stem cells work and/or how they can actually benefit our health; the cosmetics industry isn’t beating the medical industry in this regard!
The company also includes what they refer to as “BioActive 8 Berry Complex” in many of their products. This is really a blanket name for a mix of non-fragrant berry juice extracts (acai, aronia, bearberry, bilberry, black elderberry, goji berry, rosehips berry, and sea buckthorn berry). All of these ingredients have antioxidant function on the skin, but, again, they aren’t miracle ingredients by any stretch, nor is Andalou Naturals the only line using them.
We should note that Andalou Naturals, at the time of this review, doesn’t list all of the ingredients in their “BioActive 8 Berry Complex” on their product labels. While the individual berry extracts mentioned above are listed on their website as part of their marketing messaging, they omit them on their products, which violates International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) and FDA labeling regulatory requirements. This is an important oversight, because you have the right to know all of the ingredients in your skin-care products, without having to jump through extra hoops. We hope the company rectifies this in the near future.
On a more positive note, we found that many of the skin-care products Andalou Naturals offers were good—mostly for normal to dry skin, although there also are a few winners for those with oily to combination skin. Many contain some amount of fragrance (but to their credit, the facial formulas that did contain fragrance mostly had only a minimum amount, which is not typical of natural-themed lines).
We were especially impressed that they avoided the boring or basic formulas so common among natural skin-care brands. Several of their products contain the types of beneficial ingredients that have plenty of published research to back up their claims. What a great change of pace!
The missteps were the few instances of jar packaging (which marred what would’ve otherwise been well-rated products) that expose delicate ingredients to air and light, as well as their body-care formulas, which tended to include higher amounts of fragrance.
For more information, call (888) 898-6955, or visit www.andalou.com.