Just reading the name of this moisturizer makes our skin tingle with fear. Peppermint just screams skin-damaging irritation to us!
This lightweight, gel-like moisturizer contains some very good ingredients for normal to combination skin, but they're joined by some big time troublemakers, including the peppermint in the product's name.
Both the peppermint oil and peppermint extract in this moisturizer pose a strong risk of skin-damaging irritation, as does the arnica extract—a plant that's really only best for occasional use on bruised skin. The mint ingredients cause the skin to tingle, but that's not a sign this moisturizer is revitalizing your skin as claimed; rather, it means your skin is being irritated, and irritation hurts skin, as we explain in the More Info section.
The formula can hydrate and smooth skin and it works well under makeup, but so do lots of other lightweight moisturizer that don't come with this product's mixed bag of good and bad ingredients. You'll find them on our list of Best Moisturizers.
- Hydrates and smoothes skin without feeling slick or greasy.
- Contains some good skin-repairing and water-binding ingredients.
- Contains peppermint oil and peppermint extract, which cause skin-damaging irritation.
- Arnica extract also poses a risk of irritation, and isn't a great ingredient in a product you use daily.
Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For these reasons, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (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).
Peppermint Hydrating Face Moisturizer feels cool and revitalizing as it works to retain skin’s natural moisture. Lightweight botanical extracts add needed hydration and nourishment to dry areas. This moisturizer works to give the appearance of healthy, youthful skin.
Water (Aqua), Propylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phospholipids, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Carbomer, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Flower Extract, Parietaria Officinalis Extract, Sambucus Nigra Flower Extract, Glycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, 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!