What's In It Wednesday: The Tale of 2 Creams

Today's What's In It Wednesday is going to be a bit different. I am not going to dissect one product and tell you why it is horrible for your skin.

I am going to share with you my thoughts on 2 products, take a look at their ingredients, and then share my experiences with each.

Last month, I announced my Best in Beauty Award 2010 winners. I crowned the Burt's Bees Carrot Day Creme my winner. Even though I had purchased it back in September, I didn't get a chance to use it daily until November due to testing other products. I gave it 3.5 weeks of daily use and really thought I loved it. I thought it would be "the one" to replace my own facial cream that I stopped making in 2009. Wrong.

You know how this girl loves Burt's Bees. I am very faithful to the night cream, facial serum, and conditioner. I also rank their eye creams among the best ever. I thought this day cream fell into that same category, but I was wrong. Why?

Let's take a look at the ingredients:

Water, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, beeswax, glycerin, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, stearic acid, palmetic acid, daucus carota sativa (carrot) seed oil, fragrance, tocopheryl acetate, tritium vulgare (wheat) germ oil, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, glucose, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel wax, sucrose stearate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, beta-carotene, vegetable oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, sodium borate, xanthan gum 

Sunflower oil is an ingredient I love. I sometimes use it on its own and I also use to put it in many of my own products. It is rich is essential fatty acids, can give the skin a healthy, more radiant appearance, and can also help to combat acne in many people. The avocado oil in this really will nourish dry and aging skin, while the grapeseed oil is a great anti-inflammatory and all purpose oil. I can go on and on about the ingredients in this. They really are beneficial to the skin.

The best is probably anti-aging powerhouse Carrot Seed Oil. It is a stellar ingredient and it is one reason I bought this to begin with. While the ingredients in this product truly are lovely, there is beta carotene. Beta carotene is good, though, isn't it? It is a potent antioxidant and can help ward off free radicals. Unfortunately it soon had a negative, visible effect on my skin. 

It started to turn my skin a new shade. Yellow. Orange. Yellowish-orange. Seriously. 

All of you moms out there are aware of what happens when you feed your baby the pureed carrots too frequently--his skin starts to show a beta carotene glow near the nose. Too much beta carotene....

What happens over time (and which is why this took a few weeks to develop) is that your skin cannot store such high amounts of beta carotene. The beta carotene gets converted to vitamin A and the excess ends up becoming visible on the skin. The beta carotene itself is orange, which is why the actual cream has a yellowish-orange tint.

So after about 4.5 weeks of daily use, I started to look as though I had jaundice. I had to discontinue use because I could not just rub the color away. I had to use extra concealer and a bit more mineral makeup to hide the color. I stopped using this on December 14. By the 17th, my skin color was back to normal.

This cream comes in a 2 ounce jar for $15.

I may (or may not) continue my quest for my most favorite facial cream to wear under my makeup. I am 3 full weeks into a replacement--and right now I am loving it. I will give it another 2 weeks before I declare it my official favorite. I do know that I like it better than the 1st and 2nd place finishers in the beauty award competition. I never intended to put it on my face, but I was in a hurry and my other products were upstairs, so I put some of this on.

What is it and what is in it?

It may shock you, but I have been using a "hand cream" on my face. It's the winner of my hand cream category and is the Seed Fragrance Free Healthy Hand Cream. It is super affordable--$7.99 for 3.5 ounces. Considering your typical "facial cream" is 1.7-2 ounces, this is a GREAT deal. 

Hand cream, you say? Yes! What matters the most is what is IN a product, not what it is called. This hand cream has ingredients I want in a facial cream. Here are the ingredients:

Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Emulsifying Wax NF, Caprylic/Capric Acid, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Gluconolactone (and) Sodium Benzoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Tocopherol, Tapioca Starch, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract

There is aloe. I love aloe. It is soothing and healing to the skin. Again, there's sunflower and grapeseed oil. Add in some jojoba and vitamin E (tocopherol) and you have a really good, solid formula. I am also glad that there is no scent. So while this is not marketed as a facial product, there's no reason that someone like me with dry/normal.sensitive skin cannot use it!

The Chic & Green Bottom Line:

This just goes to show that even the most healthy and natural of products can have negative effects on the skin. I underestimated the potency of the beta carotene in the Burt's, assuming it would have little impact since it wasn't near the top of the ingredients list.

This also shows that it is the content of the container, rather than the name of the product that matters. Yes, the second product is a hand cream. It works well the way it was intended....yet, it also acts as a superior facial cream.


The Table of Promise said...

I am new to your site, but I love what I see. Actually one of my reader's recommended your site to me.

"This just goes to show that even the most healthy and natural of products can have negative effects on the skin. I underestimated the potency of the beta carotene in the Burt's, assuming it would have little impact since it wasn't near the top of the ingredients list."

I blog about food, and I have recently made the connection that skincare is actually food for the skin and should be treated as such, with no petroleum byproducts, parabens, yucky preservatives, etc.

I see this all the time in food. We as a culture can't possibly see the connection between something like food dyes and hyperactivity in children. Because we eat such a small amount of them right? How many times have you heard someone say "Oh a little whatever can't hurt you, there is so little bad stuff in there!" Meanwhile we take pharmaseuticals that are less than a pinch of active ingredient and they can make powerful changes in our body. I think you hit on that in your post. Sometimes with powerfully active ingredient, a small amount can do alot of damage in our body.

Kristin said...

Wow amazing find Karley. Sorry you had to turn your skin yellow/orange to learn this lesson.

The Table of Promise-As a fan of C&G I'm certain you will love this blog more and more. Excellent point when you refer to the changes that pharmaceutical make to our bodies even though the active ingredient is so small. Certainly something to think about.

Lynda said...

I've been using Rainwater Botanical's Nourishing Facial Cream for over a year and I could never use anything else -- it's that GOOD!!

Distilled Water, Organic Aloe, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax, Organic Geranium Water, Organic Rose Water, Organic Lavender Water, Wild Shea Butter, Organic Helichrysum Extract, Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil, Vegetable glycerin, Organic Plum Oil, Pomegranate Oil, Aspen Bark Extract(natural preservative), Carrot Seed Oil, Olive Squalane, Rosemary Extract, Lactic Acid, Essential Oils of Rose, Carrot, and Helichrysum, Organic MSM(organic sulfur compound)


I also use their Nourishing Serum for my neck, and when I need a lighter lotion during the summer months. Both come HIGHLY recommended!!!!

Karley said...

Thank you so much for the recommendation. Unfortunately, aspen bark is not effective at warding off microorganisms in water-based formulations. Water is the #1 ingredient in this cream, so an additional preservative is necessary to be truly safe. Aspen bark shows lots of promise as a natural preservative when used in conjunction with others or when it is not used in a water-based formula.

Karley said...

Kristin, thanks!

Table of Promise--welcome! Thank you for reading. You bring up very valid points. You need to feed your skin with healthful ingredients the way you need to nourish your body healthfully. You're right about needing to be very aware, though, of the effects ingredients may have...

AmyD said...

I had the same exact thing happen to me using that day cream, though its been many years---close to ten, probably! At the time, I thought it was just some weird thing exclusive to ME! It was with reluctance that I tried BB products again in the last few years.(I've been happy with the new things I've tried.) Sorry it happened to you, but frankly, I'm kind of relieved I'm not alone!

Karley said...


Well, I am glad we both had a similar experience. That means we're perfectly normal, LOL :)