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Eminence Organic Skin Care At-A-Glance

Strengths: All of the sunscreens provide UVA protection via zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide; one worthwhile moisturizer.

Weaknesses: The inclusion of irritating ingredients with no proven benefit for skin; lack of preservatives in every product along with jar packaging; limited choice of sunscreens; very irritating cleansers and toners; expensive products that have short shelf lives (due to the jar packaging).

Originally hailing from Hungary, Eminence Organics is now distributed from Canada, and is a huge assembly of products sold primarily in spas. As the brand's name states, its claim to fame is the use of organic ingredients. Moreover, it uses more food-based ingredients than any other line we know of, except for Lush. But are "organic" ingredients enough reason for you to consider this line? Possibly, if you're looking for lunch—but if you're looking for great skin care, you'll find dozens of options superior to this one.

The whole issue of organic cosmetics could fill a book, but to put it briefly there are still no FDA-approved standards to meet for labeling cosmetic products as organic. The same is true in Canada, except in the province of Quebec. Beyond that, another element complicating this issue is the fact that even though lots of cosmetics contain organic ingredients, it's rarely the case that the entire formula is organic. Why? There are various reasons, but mostly it's because a number of synthetic ingredients, such as preservatives, are essential components of many cosmetic formulas. And they're there for a reason: The organic ingredients are not stable and will deteriorate without them. It also helps to remember that you can't put avocados (or any other food item) on your face to "feed" your skin. To make a long story short, these factors help explain why, until acceptable standards are in place, any cosmetic can sport an organic label without having to prove the claim.

More important than getting labeling standards in place is the fact that lots of plant extracts and essential oils have irritating properties that won't help skin in the least—so what difference does it make if they're organically grown or not? Environmental impact and sustainable farming notwithstanding, peppermint is a problem for skin, whether it's grown with or without pesticides. And lest we forget, the process of extraction is anything but natural.

One of Eminence's main issues is that not one of its products contains a reliable preservative system (or any ingredients with known preserving qualities, at least against a wide spread of molds, bacteria, and fungi). This in itself is a problem, but it becomes a bigger problem because Eminence uses so many spoilage-prone food ingredients, including fruit pulp, yogurt, and pumpkin. Also, jar packaging is rampant, which means these light- and air-sensitive ingredients will degrade much faster than they would in better containers. According to correspondence we had with the company, they preserve their products with a blend of honey, lemon, and salicylic acid. Honey is not known to have any preservative qualities in the small amount present in cosmetic products. Lemon oil has some preservative ability due to its limonene content, but it must be present in at least a 4% concentration unless it is paired with other preservatives (and that amount would most definitely be irritating), and that is not the concentration used in these products. Salicylic acid is the most reliable preservative of the three, but even this is subject to formulary restrictions that Eminence doesn't consistently follow. Considering that salicylic acid is not a broad-spectrum preservative, you'd likely end up with a microbial soup (Source: Preservatives for Cosmetics, 2nd Edition, Allured, 2006).

Another questionable issue is Eminence's incorrect listing of certain ingredients. Of course, the plant and food ingredients are spelled out clearly, but the phrases "natural cream base," "glycine derivative," and "natural moisturizing factor" keep consumers in the dark about what these products really contain, and they don't meet the labeling regulations of Canada or any other country. We suspect that the wordplay has to do with Eminence's goal of making sure that their labels appear to list only natural ingredients.

There really is very little to recommend about this line; even their decent products could easily be made at home with food ingredients, oils, and a blender. We wouldn't recommend making your skincare products in your kitchen, however, because your skin deserves better support. For those who are intrigued by the concept, the homemade option would beat spending the amount of money Eminence Organics products cost.

For more information about Eminence Organic Skin Care, call (888) 747-6342 or visit www.eminenceorganics.com.

585632-IIS4 v1.0.0.401 7/2/2015 1:34:27 PM