This silky, emollient-rich moisturizer contains some good ingredients for dry skin, but many of them won't remain effective once you open this moisturizer because it's packaged in a jar. See More Info to learn why jar packaging is the wrong way to go for facial moisturizers that also contain anti-aging ingredients.
The other issue that earns this product its rating is the inclusion of lavender oil. This fragrant oil is known to have a soothing aroma that is pleasant and relaxing when inhaled, but applied to skin it can cause a host of issues due to its volatile fragrance components, some of which are pro-oxidant. We explain this further in the More Info section, but the short story is that lavender oil isn't a skin-friendly ingredient—go for a lavender-scented candle instead!
- Contains some very good non-fragrant plant oils for dry skin.
- All of the plant oils also function as antioxidants.
- Jar packaging won't keep the key plant-based ingredients stable once opened.
- Contains lavender oil, which research has shown can be problematic for skin, even in small amounts.
- Fragrance ingredients such as limonene pose additional risk of irritation.
Jar Packaging: The fact that this product is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and most 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 present a hygiene issue because even if you wash your hands or use a spatula to remove the product, you're introducing bacteria, which cause further breakdown of key 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; and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
Lavender Oil: Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. Although it's fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation, it is a must to avoid in skin-care products. (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
Olive Age Defense Face Cream contains Soy Bean Oil which keeps your skin moisturized and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines. Apricot, mango and papaya condition your skin while Vitamin E acts as a protective antioxidant.
Water, Dimethicone, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Propylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Squalane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, C12-20 Acid PEG-8 Ester, Cetyl Alcohol, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Sclerotium Gum, Algae Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Juniperus Communis Fruit Extract, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Limonene, Titanium Dioxide (ci 77891).
Today, most cosmetics companies seem to be launched for one of three distinct reasons: they come about as the extension of a high-end fashion house's brand (like Burberry, Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, or Armani); they're created by some corporation under the endorsement of a celebrity (Drew Barrymore's Flower Beauty or Kat Von D's line); or, as is the case for theBalm Cosmetics, an entrepreneur saw an "unfilled niche" in the cosmetics market and decided to get to work.
theBalm was founded in San Francisco by Marissa Shipman, who spent years trying to break into the cosmetics industry before forming her own company in 2004. As the story goes, she crafted her own products in her kitchen by consulting makeup books she bought from Amazon.com. (We hoped that one of them was Paula's Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, but given many of the formulations, we don't think so.) Eventually she was able to hire a chemist, get a lab (Bye-bye, kitchen workshop!), and secure distribution through cosmetics retailer Sephora. theBalm's products have (pardon the pun) exploded and are now sold in dozens of countries worldwide.
It's interesting to note that theBalm is quite reminiscent of the Benefit brand; the similarity of the packaging, marketing, colors, product selection, and even the place of origin - San Francisco – is blatant. Featuring recyclable cardboard packaging with retro pinup-style artwork and cutesy names, theBalm line includes both makeup and skin care products, and is reasonably priced, although it's definitely more expensive than what you'll find at the drugstore.
The company's makeup is definitely its stronger suit, with some good options, such as a couple eyeshadow palettes, the mascara, and its pressed-powder blushes. It has one true blockbuster product: Balm Shelter tinted moisturizer. This standout product performs amazingly well and is deserving of its many accolades.
Unfortunately, theBalm also has some problematic makeup, in particular, and ironically, their lip products. The inclusion of irritants in two of its lip products is disappointing, and an otherwise excellent lip gloss (with SPF, no less) is marred by a fragrance that's downright overwhelming initially and potentially irritating if used every day.
As far as skin-care, the company's collection, called TimeBalm, is surprisingly larger than you might think. It includes cleansers, toners, moisturizers, AHA exfoliants, masks, eye-area products, and a handful of ancillary items that are questionable in terms of their benefit—though some of them, like the foundation primer, are indeed worth checking out.
Overall, based on the formulas, there’s little reason to give the majority of these skin-care products a second thought, as most of them are laced with one or more problematic ingredients or, in the case of most of the moisturizers, suffer due to jar packaging, which compromises the product’s stability. The prices are good, but there’s not much value in saving money on average-to-problematic products, especially when spending just a bit more can get you far better formulas.
theBalm boasts that TimeBalm skin-care products are free of parabens, synthetic dyes, and phthalates, and many consumers seem to be seeking such products. However, parabens are not a problem, and phthalates aren’t usually included in skin-care products—they’re more often seen in nail polish and in some fragrances. Not including synthetic dyes is helpful, but it would have been even better for your skin if theBalm had avoided fragrant oils and other plant-based irritants. Lots of theBalm products contain great natural ingredients, but they’re often commingled with potentially irritating natural ingredients, and that doesn’t add up to great skin care—it’s more of a ticking time bomb than anything else.
For more information, call 510-522-3610, or visit www.thebalm.com. And yes, we're aware that "it's thebalm.com" is an expression used to indicate something that's totally cool. Coincidence? We'll let the reviews speak for themselves!