This oil-based, thick balm is highly fragrant, plus its wax content leads to a heavy feeling on skin, even if only a small amount is applied. Although the heavy texture may not bother those with very dry skin, the fragrance (most of which comes from fragrant oils) is problematic for all skin types (see More Info for details).
Another issue is jar packaging (see More Info for an explanation). This type of packaging won't keep the plant ingredients stable during use, which means their alleged benefits are diminished.
According to published research, most of the fragrant oils in this balm are irritating when applied to skin. Lavender oil 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. It is a must to avoid in skin-care products, although it's fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
None of this is rejuvenating for skin, nor can it do much to combat "harsh external factors" (without sunscreen, this cannot protect you from the harshest external factor out there).
What about the iris this balm is named for? This plant is listed as iris florentina root, about which the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database says: "Topically, the fresh plant juice or root can cause severe skin and mucosal irritation." Ouch!
Why Highly Fragrant Products Are a Problem for Skin:
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (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).
Why Jar Packaging is a Problem:
The fact that this balm is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and 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 are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria which further deteriorate the beneficial 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; Beautypackaging.com; and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
This 100% natural balm with meltingly soft and luscious texture helps stimulate and tone the skin, combat harsh external factors and limit dehydration.
Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Oil, Lavandula Angustifoilia (Lavender) Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Iris Florentina Root Extract, Tocopherol, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Citral
Strengths: None of note.
Weaknesses: Expensive; pervasive use of volatile essential oils that have limited to no benefit for skin and are known irritants; almost all the sunscreens lack the right UVA-protecting ingredients; no product to address acne or skin discolorations; inappropriate jar packaging.
What can you say about a skin-care line where almost 85% of the products contain volatile, fragrant plant oils that have research showing they are irritating to skin? Few lines in this book received so many unhappy faces for this reason alone—yet those very oils are Decleor's claim to fame. This spa-oriented company was begun in 1975 by a massage therapist and is now owned in part by Japan-based Shiseido (whose sunscreens trounce Decleor's by leaps and bounds).
Decleor is all about aromatherapy for skin. They speak freely of the purity of the essential oils they use and the distillation processes that keep them active, but that's precisely the cause for concern. Yes, lavender, bitter orange, rose, geranium, neroli, and other "essential" oils smell wonderful, but the very ingredients that create those intoxicating scents are what is responsible for causing skin irritation, inflammation, and, in some cases, phototoxic reactions. These essential oils have active constituents but, because they are not regulated as such, any company can use whichever ones they like in any concentration. Moreover, companies don't have to indicate the quantities that were used, leaving the consumer to guess. The concept of aromatherapy has well-established benefits concerning inhalation of scents and the effects they have on one's mood and, sometimes, physiological function. But enjoying these oils via inhalation (where they really can be beneficial) is different from applying them to skin, where hypersensitivity is well-documented and topical usage is cautioned (Sources: Current Pharmaceutical Design, December 2006, pages 3393–3399; Phytotherapy Research, September 2006, pages 758–763; European Journal of Oncology Nursing, April 2006, pages 140–149; The Journal of Nursing, August 2005, pages 11–15; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
Not only are most of Decleor's products a giant step backward for your skin, they're also a real misfortune when you consider Decleor's terrible sunscreens and lack of truly state-of-the-art ingredients. In short, experiencing these products in a relaxing spa environment may make you feel refreshed or invigorated—but if your goal is establishing a sensible, effective skin-care routine, you’ll need to keep shopping.
For more information about Decleor, call (888) 414-4471 or www.decleor.com.
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