This rich night cream for dry to very dry skin contains some excellent emollient ingredients. Unfortunately, it also contains some truly problematic ingredients for skin and the packaging won't keep the many good natural ingredients stable during use (see More Info for details). It also contains a lot of fragrance, which can be a big problem for everyone's skin (we explain why in the More Info section, too).
Burt's Bees maintains that the clary sage in this moisturizer increases hydration, but it does no such thing. You could massage pure clary sage on your dry skin for hours and we guarantee it won't look or feel hydrated. Clary sage contains some beneficial fatty acids (when the oil is used, which isn't the case here; it's the actual plant extract), but its main fragrance component is limonene, which is a known skin irritant (Sources: Journal of Food Science, September 2011, pages C1056–C1061; Chemical Research in Toxicology, March 2010, pages 677–688; and Journal of Occupational Health, November 2006, pages 480–486). There are numerous other plant extracts and oils that benefit skin without exposing it to potentially harmful fragrance ingredients, so there's no need to settle for less.
Beyond the clary sage, the formula also contains other fragrant ingredients, such as eugenol, which is incredibly irritating (Sources: Toxicological Sciences, October 2011, pages 501–510; Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, July 2011, Epublication; Collegium Antropologicum, March 2011, pages 83–87; Toxicology In Vitro, August 2009, pages 789–796; and Toxicologic Pathology, August 2007, pages 693–701). A far better choice for a natural moisturizer is Paula's Choice fragrance-free Earth Sourced Antioxidant-Enriched Natural Moisturizer.
- Very rich texture for dry skin.
- Contains some proven antioxidant plant oils and extracts.
- Jar packaging won't keep the natural ingredients stable once opened.
- Highly fragranced, yet fragrance isn't skin care.
- Contains plant irritants such as clary sage.
Why Jar Packaging is a Problem:
The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. 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 (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com; and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
Why Daily Use of Highly Fragrant Products is a Problem:
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Aqua (Water), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Tapioca Starch, Parfum (Fragrance)*, Propanediol, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract, Lactobacillus, Astrocaryum Tucuma Seed Butter, Garcinia Indica Seed Butter, Trichilia Emetica Seed Butter, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Candelilla/Jojoba/Rice Bran Polyglyceryl-3 Esters, Jojoba Esters, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Polymnia Sonchifolia Root Juice, Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide, Maltodextrin, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Sucrose, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium PCA, Zinc PCA, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Amyl Cinnamal, Eugenol, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool
Weaknesses: Many products have potent fragranced formulas; several formulas packaged in jars, which compromises their ingredients.
With humble beginnings in the town of Bangor, Maine, Burt's Bees is a brand focused on natural-themed, earth-friendly skincare. Unfortunately, in many cases, this also translates to less than beneficial formulas as not all of the natural ingredients used are helpful for skin.
Many of the plant extracts and oils used in these products, including orange oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil, lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, pine tar, alcohol, lime oil, and balsam peru, are problematic for skin and present a significant risk of irritation or a sensitizing reaction. Both the intriguing philosophy and inexpensive products are attractive, but it takes more than that to establish reliable products that are good for skin. It’s also important to consider the potential benefit (or potential harm) of the ingredients used.
There are some formulas to consider among the brand’s offerings, but some to be wary of—see our individual reviews on Burt’s Bees products for more details.
For more information about Burt's Bees, call 1-800-849-7112 or visit www.burtsbees.com.