05.01.2014
0
10
Almond Microdermabrasion Face Exfoliating Scrub
Rating
2.36 fl. oz. for $36.50
Category:Skin Care > Scrubs
Last Updated:05.01.2014
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

This is a standard, but good, facial scrub that's best for normal to oily or combination skin. Two forms of polyethylene (ground-up plastic) are the abrasive agents, and they're fairly gentle. The scrub ingredients are joined by cleansing ingredients, so this is more of a two-in-one product (cleanser + scrub) than a plain scrub—although lots of other brands offer this convenience for a lot less money. For additional details on plastic microbeads in cosmetics, see the More Info section below.

The fact that this easy-to-rinse scrub is packaged in a jar isn't a big deal because there's nothing in here that will break down with repeated exposure to light and air, save for a teeny-tiny amount of green tea and almond extracts—really too little for the skin to benefit—and this is rinsed from the skin anyway, so it won't matter. Otherwise, the packaging isn't an issue, unless you plan to use this in the shower, where this type of packaging will easily allow water inside, potentially creating a breeding ground for mold.

One more comment: Despite the name, the results and the texture of this scrub are not akin to a microdermabrasion treatment—not even remotely. In fact, scrubs are merely a cleansing adjunct, not a treatment for problem skin. For best results for such concerns as breakouts, clogged pores, and signs of aging, scrubs are not preferred to well-formulated AHA or BHA exfoliants.

More Info:

Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics: This product contains polyethylene beads, which is an ingredient that has come under controversy in the recent past. In December of 2013, research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Marine Pollution Bulletin demonstrated that although polyurethane beads are non-toxic to humans, they are not filtered during sewage treatment and are accumulating in waterways. This means the beads have the potential to negatively affect marine wildlife who mistakenly consume them (Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2013).

Additional research published in December of 2013 demonstrated that polyurethane beads have the potential to absorb pollutants while in waterways. This research was conducted to establish the potential of absorption, however, and was not conducted using samples from actual waterways (Cell, 2013).

Beautypedia does not take an ideological stance in reviewing skincare products; rather, our reviews are based upon each product's potential harm or benefit to skin contingent upon what independent peer-reviewed scientific research has demonstrated. On issues like polyethylene beads in cosmetics or animal testing, we present the facts without judgment so that you may make your own decision whether or not this product is right for you.

Pros:
  • Leaves skin feeling soft and smooth.
  • Easy to rinse.
  • Fairly gentle formula.
Cons:
  • Results are not akin to a microdermabrasion treatment, so the name is misleading.
  • Contains only a tiny amount of beneficial plant extracts, and they are rinsed off the skin.
Claims

Almond Microdermabrasion Face Exfoliating Scrub is designed to remove dead surface skin cells and leave your skin smooth.

Ingredients

Water, Polyethylene, Oxidized Polyethylene, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Jojoba Esters, Glycerin, Propanediol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Silica, Ceteareth-20, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Fragrance (Parfum)

Brand Overview

Strengths: An excellent tinted moisturizer and lip and cheek stain; good powder blushes and highlighters; mascaras and the cream concealer perform well; effective AHA exfoliants; a very good foundation primer; the eye-makeup remover.

Weaknesses: Lip products that contain irritants such as menthol; some of the brand’s eyeshadows are overly powdery and tend to flake/migrate onto other areas of the face; unnecessary fragrance in an otherwise good lip balm; mostly average to irritating cleansers, toners, eye-area products, and moisturizers; no products to treat breakouts or dark spots; several products contain fragrant plant extracts or oils that pose a risk of irritation; jar packaging.

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!

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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