These dual-textured exfoliating pads are steeped in a solution that's mostly water and alcohol. The amount of alcohol poses a serious problem for all skin types and is the main reason these pads aren't recommended.
The other problematic aspect of the formula is lavender oil, a source of fragrance that may smell soothing but is a problem for all skin types. See More Info to learn why lavender oil and alcohol are two ingredients no one's skin needs.
With some major formulary tweaks, these pads could have been an excellent way to exfoliate skin. They contain a pH-correct blend of AHAs (lactic and glycolic acids) and BHA (salicylic acid) with some soothing antioxidant plant extracts. The citrus and sugarcane extracts do not function like AHAs, but the citrus does pose a risk of irritation.
- Contains enough AHA in a pH-correct formula to exfoliate skin.
- Dual-textured pads provide additional exfoliation.
- Formula contains soothing, plant-derived antioxidants.
- High amount of alcohol poses a strong risk of irritation.
- Fragrant lavender oil may smell great, but is a source of irritation.
- The citrus and sugarcane extracts cannot function as exfoliants.
Lavender Oil: Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. Although it's fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation, it is a must to avoid in skin-care products (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
Alcohol in Skin Care: Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin's ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419; Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
These intensive glow pads infuse skin with potent vitamins and minerals and increase cell turnover to deliver incredible luminosity and noticeably improved skin tone and texture.
Water/Aqua/Eau, SD Alcohol 40B (Alcohol Denat.), Glycerin, Isononyl Isononanoate, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Soil Minerals, Hydrolyzed Candida Saitoana Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Fruit Extract, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Fruit Extract Saccharomyces/Xylinum/Black Tea Ferment, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract/Saccharum Officinarum, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Euglena Gracilis Extract, Ceramide 2, Salicylic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Lavandula Hybridia (Lavandin) Oil, Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Tocopherol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Lactate, Sodium PCA, Poloxamer 184, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Linalool, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil.
Makeup is what this San Francisco-based cosmetics line is primarily about, and they use the pure and natural marketing angle to entice consumers. The self-proclaimed "healthiest, purest makeup in the world" was founded in 1976 by Diane Ranger, who left the company in the early '90s, and is now run by Leslie Blodgett, who appears regularly on QVC and the company's own infomercials to support and demonstrate her products. Blodgett is largely credited with turning the line she began into a $150 million business—no small feat. The products are sold in most Sephora boutiques and Ulta stores, though the full selection of skin-care products is most often found at the Bare Escentuals freestanding stores scattered throughout the United States.
Supporting the company's portrayal as a leader in purity are the corresponding claims that the bareMinerals makeup does not contain fragrance, oil, binders, preservatives, emulsifiers, or any other harmful chemicals. Although this line does have its advantages for someone with sensitive skin, as it turns out, bismuth oxychloride, a major ingredient in the powder formulations, can cause skin irritation, while the other minerals can be drying (Source: www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Bismuth_oxychloride-9923103). Regarding bismuth oxychloride, it is interesting to note that bismuth (a metallic element) seldom occurs in nature. Instead, it is a by-product of copper and lead refining, or is manufactured synthetically. Chemically, it's similar to arsenic, a fact you won't see in any advertising for bareMinerals. However, just as cosmetic-grade mineral oil is not identical to the petroleum from which it originated, neither is bismuth oxychloride identical to bismuth. The bismuth oxychloride used in cosmetics is non-toxic, but this background offers a good example of how skewed a company's definition of "natural" can be.
Aside from the health and purity claims, loose powders are as messy as it gets in terms of your vanity (countertop, not ego) and your makeup bag. The powder just gets all over the place, and the very basic packaging does not do much to minimize the mess. Additionally, while there are softer neutral shades, and some fairly exotic shades as well, most are mildly to extremely shiny and make any amount of crepey skin look more so. The face powder does provide some amount of opaque coverage, but the shine and the thickness can be a bit much. The loose powder eyeshadows and blushes apply in a somewhat lighter way, though they still provide significant coverage. Many women ask me about mineral makeup and whether or not it really is better for skin. The answer to that question is "No."
Although most mineral makeup is innocuous, the texture, appearance, and application have difficulties that make it not comparable to today's best liquid or pressed-powder foundations. We agree with bareMinerals' stance that foundation shouldn't look or feel like a mask, nor should there be a line of demarcation where the application stops. However, their foundations are not the only ones able to achieve this, and there is no inherent benefit to this type of foundation over numerous other options.
There isn't much to say about the skin-care products, but what's worth paying attention to is noted in the At-a-Glance section.
For more information about Bare Escentuals, call 1.888.795.4747 or visit www.bareescentuals.com.