Jurlique International At-A-Glance
Strengths: A handful of good moisturizers whose plant extracts have established benefit for skin; no jar packaging.
Weaknesses: Expensive; only one sunscreen, which does not list active ingredients and contains potent irritants; all of the toners contain alcohol; minimal to no preservatives means the water-based products have a reduced shelf life; irritating lip balm; no products to successfully address the needs of those with acne or blackheads; most of the facial mask formulas will leave skin confused.
Australian-bred Jurlique is supposed to be all about creating beauty from beauty, based on their view that life begets life and energy comes from energy. It's this New-Age-meets-back-to-basics school of thought that forms the core of Jurlique's claims for their expanded selection of products. The husband and wife founders claim to use a unique three-step extraction process said to capture the "life-force" of the plants they use, 95% of which are grown on their own farmland. Of course, if Jurlique's claims of preserving a plant's vital energy are true, it just makes many of the problematic ingredients they include in their products that much more irritating. What they don't mention is that although they can pay the utmost attention to farming in an eco-friendly manner that's in tune with nature's cycles, it doesn't change the fact that a plant's "life energy" is damaged the moment it is pulled, plucked, or cut from the soil that nurtures it. After all a dead plant is a dead plant, the same way in which any other living thing that has its source of life support cut off will die. And that's even before the plant material is processed to go into a product. We grant you that there are nutrients and antioxidants from which you can benefit, but the life energy is long gone by the time you get it on your face.
Along with all their talk of plant potency is the company's statement that they make the "purest" products on earth. (Well, there are a lot of other product lines out there making similar claims, and given that the exact formulas aren't available to the public, it's hard to know how to challenge this assertion.) Nonetheless, despite Jurlique's commitment to organic farming and specialized extraction techniques, which is praiseworthy, it doesn't excuse their overuse of natural ingredients that are nothing more than naturally irritating to skin.
We know that several of the plants in Jurlique products will attract those seeking natural ingredients, and indeed some of those ingredients have strong evidence of their potent antioxidant or anti-irritant properties (such as turmeric, grape, green tea, evening primrose oil, and rose hips oil). The flipside is that just as many of their ingredients also have a large amount of research showing that they are either skin irritants or are seriously problematic for skin. And despite their claims to the contrary, Jurlique products absolutely do contain fragrance. What do the owners of Jurlique think lavender oil and geranium oil are for? You can attribute any miracle to these ingredients you like, but they are skin irritants (largely due to their volatile fragrance chemicals), and there is no research showing them to have any balancing benefit for skin, regardless of the farming or extraction methods employed.
Furthermore, their formulas are astonishingly similar. Product after product contains the same oils and plant combinations, yet the claims and skin type recommendations vary widely. Many of the products are sold in tiny containers, so you may very well use them up in one or two weeks, before they have a chance to become contaminated; of course, that makes your yearly expenditure on skin care rather steep.
There is only one sunscreen in the line, and it contains synthetic sunscreen agents, rather than one of the two natural inorganic options, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which is surprising considering Jurlique's "natural" angle. Setting all that aside, if you are looking for natural, and you have a sizable budget to boot, Jurlique offers enough natural products to satisfy, but the options are extremely limited if you're at all concerned about preserving the health of your skin and not inducing an irritant response without a benefit (at least a proven benefit, as opposed to the folklore, alchemy-laden claims made for most Jurlique products).
For more information about Jurlique International, call (212) 752-1912 or visit www.jurlique.com.