It’s alligator skin season again-time to slather on moisturizers obsessively (or scratch away until spring). Skin care sales are booming, but for eco-savvy consumers-an ever-expanding category-new organic lotions are making the biggest impression. Between 2002 and 2003, the category made an impressive 81-per-cent jump in sales. “Generally speaking, organic skin care tends to be made with better ingredients,” explains Jeff Binder, co-founder of www.saffronrouge.ca, a Canadian online organic cosmetics store. These products contain herbs, oils and juices produced without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or genetically modified ingredients. In other words, they’re better for the environment, and they’ll leave less chemical residue on your skin. But they’re also quite a bit more expensive than your average skin care product. We tested four organic moisturizers to determine which ones are worth the premium.
Druide’s lotion felt silky and the smell wasn’t sickly sweet. It carries the Ecocert seal, meaning it’s certified organic. And besides, it’s Canadian.
expensive as they are, organic skin creams are definitely luxury items (particularly for head-to-toe use). Their clean, natural scents are refreshing, though-as is the fact that these products only claim to moisturize, not miraculously make you look 20 years younger.
What’s in store
Primavera’s purse-sized Aroma Roll-Ons contain essential oils extracted from organic plants. Available in headache-easing mint, harmonizing rose or calming lavender ($20-25).
AVALON ORGANICS PEPPERMINT HAND & BODY LOTION
$14.49 for 350 ml ($4.14/100 ml)
large, California-based company with six brands of products. Packaging designed with the naturalist crowd in mind.
Originally claimed to be 70 per cent organic, but bulk of that content nydrosols, i.e. “organic water.” After complaints from organics watchdogs, the claim is being phased out. Product is now paraben-free and the company has signed on to the Campaign for $afe Cosmetics, a toxicity watchdog.
strong, zingy mint-enough to make your eyes water. The most manly of these moisturizers. Like smearing yourself in After Eights.
Very light and watery. Absorbs almost instantly. Leaves hands bit clammy, but not greasy.
JUICE BEAUTY ABUNDANCE NUTRIENT MOISTURIZER
$56 for 59 ml ($94.92/100 ml)
California-based company targets the young, stylish yoga set with its pretty packaging and lack of emphasis on the science behind it. Used by Cameron Diaz and Madonna-and featured in a new Tim Robbins flick, Zathura.
Has come under scrutiny for using parabens, a synthetic preservative found in many mainstream products that has been linked to breast cancer. Parabens will no longer be used as of February, thanks to industry pressure. Botanical concentrates are organic, but ingredient list doesn’t specify which are certified.
Very subtle mix of cream and citrus. Lives up to its name. Leaves you smelling a little too much like candy, though.
A good, hearty moisturizer-the thickest of the bunch. Takes ages to rub in, but great for ultra-dry skin. Leaves hands quite greasy.
JURLIQUE HERBAL RECOVERY GEL
$85 for 30 ml ($283.33/100 ml)
A little company that grew: what began as a family farm in southern Australia is now a worldwide chain of retail stores. Its line of cosmetics is based on homeopathic and aromatherapy practices.
The herbs are grown on Jurlique’s own organic and biodynamic farm. (Biodynamics is a type of farming that seeks to heal the earth by restoring its energy.) Special form
of ingredient extraction claims to preserve the “life-force” of plants.
A heady mix of flowery scents (including rosehip), herbs (licorice) and citrus (grapefruit). No hints of chemical smell, but very strong nonetheless.
Very cool, refreshing and watery. Leaves skin immediately softer, with no residue. A little goes a long way-thank goodness, at this price.
DRUIDE KARITE BALANCING MOISTURIZING LOTION
$17.99 for 240 ml ($7.50/100 ml)
This 25-year-old Quebec company produces the world’s largest certified organic body-care line. Recently became first in North America to have products certified as “ecological and organic” by France’s Ecocert organization.
No synthetic ingredients, as per Ecocert standards. No petroleum by-products.
TIPl Unlike organic foods, cosmetics aren’t regulated by federal agencies-read ingredient lists closely for which elements are certified organic.
Blend of sandalwood and ylang ylang is tart and refreshing. More woodsy than fruity or flowerya welcome change. Quite strong.
Medium-weight and creamy. Leaves the skin feeling cool and protected, with a bit of a glow. No residue on hands.
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