This moisturizer is an underwhelming mix of thickeners and the mineral pigment mica for its brightening, shine-enhancing effect. It's an OK option for normal to dry skin, but if you're looking for anti-aging benefits or if you have an uneven skin tone, an "OK" formula like this just isn't good enough!
This fragranced moisturizer contains some antioxidant plant extracts, including ginkgo, but none of them will remain effective once the product is opened because it's packaged in a jar. See More Info to learn why jar packaging isn't the way to go when shopping for facial moisturizers.
As for the dandelion—it's a plant extract with pros and cons. On the plus side, it has antioxidant properties and there's research showing it can promote the formation of fibroblasts, which are cells that build collagen. On the other hand, there's also research showing that this plant (particularly its pollen) is a source of allergic contact dermatitis (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, volume 60, 2012, pages 205–212; and Contact Dermatitis, volume 51, September 2004, pages 101–110). We suspect that the tiny amount of pollen in this product, coupled with the extract's exposure to light and air because of the jar packaging, mean it won't be of much help or harm to your skin, but it just shouldn't be included in a skin-care formula.
What will likely be irritating is the mix of several fragrance ingredients, another reason that this moisturizer isn't one worth becoming familiar with—not when there are so many better options on our list of Best Moisturizers.
The fact that this product is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and most 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 present a hygiene issue because even if you wash your hands or use a spatula to remove the product, you're introducing bacteria, which cause further breakdown of key 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; and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
Dandelion Skin Brightening Moisturizer boasts Ginkgo Biloba and subtle light reflectors that create a radiant looking complexion. Use this antioxidant-rich, lightweight cream to give your skin a brighter and more even appearance.
Water, Hexyl Laurate, Stearic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Sorbitan Stearate, Tribehenin, Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG-100 Stearate, Polysorbate 80, Mica, Phenoxyethanol, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Carbomer, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Root Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Fragrance (Parfum), Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Salicylate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891)
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. 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, 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!
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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