The name and marketing material for this cleanser lead you to believe the cleansing benefit is coming from the RareMinerals ActiveSoil Complex, but it isn’t. First, there is no such thing as “ActiveSoil,” it is merely a marketing term to make dirt sound fancy. Second, the ingredient label lists “soil minerals,” which means there is no way to know what is rare (if anything) about the dirt in this product or to know what you’re actually putting on your face. Just because it’s a mineral doesn’t mean it contains something rare—minerals can contain sulfur, lead, chlorides—how rare does that sound?
And last, the ingredients in this product that actually are responsible for cleansing your face are standard detergent cleansing agents. That’s just fine, but this cleanser also contains several fragrant plant extracts and two forms of irritating lavender oil. These ingredients stand a good chance of causing needless irritation, and irritation is the last thing your skin needs (see More Info below for details on why irritation is bad for your skin).
- Contains gentle cleansing agents that remove makeup.
- Rinses without leaving a residue.
- Overpriced for what amounts to a standard cleanser.
- Whether or not the dirt in this product is rare is irrelevant—there is no research showing soil is helpful for skin.
- Formula contains several fragrant plant extracts and oils capable of causing irritation.
The fragrant plant extracts and two forms of lavender oil do not make this a gentle cleanser, although it does contain gentle cleansing agents. The fragrant plants and lavender cause irritation that hurts skin’s healing process and can be a problem when used around the eyes. Even small amounts of lavender oil can cause cell death and enhance oxidative damage, which takes its toll on your skin.
This gentle, purifying cleanser removes makeup, dissolves impurities and re-balances skin for a soft, smooth complexion. Powered by our 100% pure RareMinerals ActiveSoil Complex, this formula leaves skin feeling perfectly clean, instantly hydrated and renewed with a naturally luminous glow. Plus, it’s gentle enough for eye makeup removal.
Water, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Glycerin, Carbomer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Coco-Glucoside, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Benzyl Alcohol, Soil Minerals, Punica Granatum Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) fruit Extract, Litchi Chinensis Fruit Extract, Garcinia Mangostana Fruit Extract, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Passiflora Incarnata Fruit Extract, Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract, Averrhoa Carambola Fruit Extract, Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids, Sodium Cocoyl Apple Amino Acids, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Xylitylpolyglucosides, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Lavandula Hybridia (Lavandin) Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Linalool, Lauryl Glucoside, Tetrasodium EDTA
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.