Natura Bisse At-A-Glance
Strengths: A few cleansers and eye-makeup remover with intelligent formulations, but prices are outrageous; handful of sun-care products are recommended.
Weaknesses: Very expensive; none of the daytime moisturizers with sunscreen provide sufficient UVA protection; none of the AHA products have pH that allows exfoliation; Brilliance line will not lighten skin; several of the toners are irritating; the masks are redundant and average at best; no products to successfully combat blemishes; jar packaging; ignore the Oxygen and Cytokines products.
If there’s one thing I hope my readers have gleaned from my books, newsletters, and Web site, it is that high prices, fancy packaging, and preposterous, farfetched claims do not guarantee great products, or even very good products. Few lines I’ve reviewed over the years drive home this point better than Spain-based, family-owned Natura Bisse. The genesis of this line came about when Natura Bisse president Ricardo Fisas noticed that factory workers who handled the cosmetic raw materials collagen and elastin had very soft, smooth skin (or at least that’s how the story is told). Even if the story is true, it isn’t a big surprise given that these ingredients can indeed make skin softer, especially if you’re handling them for several hours a day (so can many other ingredients, including the old standbys mineral oil and glycerin). I wouldn’t take this observation as a sign to start my own skin-care company, but Fisas did.
He enlisted his wife and her friends to tell him and his investors what kind of products women wanted. Regrettably, being a woman doesn’t mean you automatically know what skin needs to look, feel, and function its best. Their continuing input may have led to some comfortable textures and appealing scents, but little else. And where did they get the idea that women should be severely price-gouged when shopping for skin care products? A skin-care routine using only products from this line would easily set you back hundreds of dollars. I know that isn’t what this woman wants!
The low points in this line are many; the major offenses are that none of the daytime moisturizers with sunscreen provide sufficient UVA protection, they sell products that encourage tanning, and none of the AHA products have a pH in the correct to allow for exfoliation. Other disappointments are moisturizers with cell-damaging hydrogen peroxide, several products whose alcohol content is irritating, and overpriced moisturizers with little to offer (and what occasionally is worthwhile is compromised due to jar packaging).
Women who don’t read these product reviews might be swept away by the slick packaging and Natura Bisse’s gorgeous cosmetic counter installations in upscale department stores and spas. That’s what is most depressing to me about these products: women are buying them. That means women are not only wasting their money, but also putting their skin at risk for irritation, UVA damage, and a lack of positive results. As expected, there are some products to consider from Natura Bisse, but there is nothing in this line that cannot be found elsewhere for less (and in some cases, a lot less) money.