We're always surprised to see brands adding "new" options each year to their selection of scrubs. We add quotes to "new" because there is only so much you can do with a scrub that can make it different from the dozens of others on the market. In fact, they are all fairly standard formulas, with little distinction between them.
In terms of scrubs providing exfoliation, they are a poor substitute for an AHA or BHA exfoliant. There is extensive, research-based evidence demonstrating that AHA and BHA exfoliants are far superior in every way to physical scrubs, especially for treating concerns like sun damage, breakouts, or acne. However, some people enjoy scrubs from time to time for an extra cleansing step, so let's see how KORA Organics' offering measures up.
The good news is that Exfoliating Cream Purify and Renew for Face and Body isn't "filled" with essential oils as claimed. In terms of fragrance, this is one of the lesser offending formulas in the KORA Organics lineup, although it still includes its share of fragrant citrus extracts, but again, not as much as some other KORA products. Other than that, this scrub contains bamboo as the abrasive agent—ordinarily that wouldn't be an ideal choice due to its potential to irritate skin, but the amount is relatively low and it's buffered by rich plant oils and fatty acids, so your skin is more protected.
In terms of cost, this is absurdly overpriced—regarding both the amount that you get and the fact that it can easily be replaced by a soft washcloth; there are better alternatives at a fraction of the price.
Ultimately, this is merely an average option (and best for combination to slightly dry skin). If your goal is to treat specific skin-care concerns (like discolorations, clogged pores, and the like), a scrub isn't the way to go—we strongly recommend checking out the AHA and BHA options on our list of Best Exfoliants. If you are looking for a bit of extra cleansing, better alternatives are available in our Best Scrubs list.
KORA Organics Exfoliating Cream contains a unique blend of organically grown Oat Flour and Bamboo to gently buff away dead skin cells helping to reveal a smoother, softer complexion. KORA Organics gentle and effective exfoliant is filled with Essential Oils to nourish and cleanse the skin and is gentle enough to be used on all skin types including sensitive skin.
Matricaria Chamomilla (Chamomile) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Olivoyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Oleate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Macadamia Integrifolia (Macadamia) Seed Oil, Bambusa Arundinacea (Bamboo) Stem Extract, Stearic Acid, Avena Sativa (Oat Flour), Morinda Citrifolia (Noni Fruit) Extract, Dicaprylyl Ether, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Rosa Eglantaria (Rose Hip) Oil, D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Soybean Derived Natural Vitamin E), Xanthan Gum, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Santalum Spicatum (Sandalwood) Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin) Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Ssp Bergamia (Bergamot) Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Lecithin, Potassium Hydroxide, Lactic Acid, Sodium Chloride (Macrobiotic Sea Salt), Beta Carotene, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Aqua (Water) & Limonene.
Strengths: No jar containers, which helps preserve the beneficial antioxidants and other light- and air-sensitive natural ingredients.
Weaknesses: Products contain an overwhelming amount of fragrance; nearly all have multiple irritating ingredients; makes unsubstantiated claims about ingredients; no reliable sunscreens; average, dated formulas that are overpriced for what you get.
Our introduction to KORA Organics began with this quote from its founder, Australian Victoria’s Secret lingerie model Miranda Kerr: “All of the water used in our mists has been infused through rose quartz crystals … so that the vibration of love associated with rose quartz flows through each product.”
That’s one way Kerr describes the science behind how her products have been developed. It also succinctly summarizes why, from our perspective, celebrity status of any kind does not make anyone a skin-care expert. We can’t think of a bigger mistake than trusting your skin to a love-infused vat of problematic formulas, at least not when it comes to dealing with concerns like acne and wrinkles.
Kerr created the KORA Organics brand with the belief that only organic ingredients are suitable for skin. The KORA line makes the unsurprising (and unsubstantiated) claims common to many natural brands, which is that “natural = good” for your skin and everything else is terrible for your skin.
Let’s begin by addressing the “organic” claim. First of all, the term initially was used primarily in reference to food products, where “organic” referred only to the raw materials (i.e., the vegetable you pull out of the ground) and/or described food produced without the use of pesticides or artificially created or administered hormones—it didn’t have any bearing on skin-care products. Nowadays, as we’re sure you’re aware, it’s commonly used in marketing for cosmetics and their ingredients. BUT—and this is a big BUT—there is no legitimate, published research that demonstrates organic ingredients have any special benefit for skin. There’s literally zero research—it’s all about the emotional pull of the term “organic.”
It’s important to note that any natural ingredient must be processed to make it safe and usable as a cosmetic ingredient, and that processing modifies the ingredient significantly, leaving it about as natural as polyester!
Many natural ingredients have benefits for skin, but many natural ingredients also are irritating and skin damaging as well. The natural pleasant-scented lavender oil is a notable example, as are most citrus extracts, some of which can cause phototoxic reactions when skin is exposed to sunlight. On the other hand, some of the best ingredients in skin-care products are synthetically derived, such as retinol, salicylic acid, peptides, and others. When it comes to evaluating skin-care ingredients, the critical factor is what the published and peer-reviewed research has demonstrated to be true, especially if your goal is to take great care of your skin.
Among the key natural ingredients present in KORA Organics products, those called out most often are rosehip oil and noni juice. Kerr claims she has been applying noni juice topically for years to treat all her skin-care woes. Unfortunately, noni juice has little research demonstrating any special benefit for skin beyond an antioxidant benefit, which is found in hundreds of other plant extracts as well. Kerr claims that the noni plant contains “more than 170 vitamins and minerals alone,” but that’s inaccurate—the noni plant is a fairly simple mix of about 40 chemical compounds, none of which are unique.
Rosehip oil does contain high amounts of vitamin C, but only when freshly extracted—when rosehip oil is processed and added to the formula of a skin-care product, the majority of its vitamin C content is destroyed. Fortunately, even after the processing, rosehip oil remains a good emollient for dry skin, but it isn’t as magical as Kerr makes it out to be. Pure, stabilized vitamin C is a far better ingredient for skin, but that’s not what these products contain.
What you’re left with in this line is a collection of products that are potently fragranced—the toners could actually double as perfume in a pinch. Almost every product in the line has a formula that’s a blend of ordinary plant-based emollients, such as olive and jojoba oils, aloe, shea butter, and fatty acids (which is nice for dry skin but that’s about it), and a mix of irritating essential oils and fragrant flower extracts. Unfortunately, all of the products are quite expensive considering what you’re getting in return, which is a mostly just a headache for your skin.
If you’re interested in natural products, there are far better options than the disappointing ones from KORA Organics. Check out our reviews of Alba Botanica or Yes To for comparable or superior alternatives for far less money.
For more information about KORA Organics, visit www.koraorganics.com or call +61 2 9979 5672.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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