BioActive 8 Berry Fruit Enzyme Mask
BioActive 8 Berry Fruit Enzyme Mask is a mixed bag—its good qualities include beneficial emollients, antioxidants, and anti-irritant ingredients, but its enzyme ingredients are unlikely to work as claimed and things will probably go awry due to the presence of Citrus medica limonum (lemon) extract, plus other problematic ingredients. Lemon extract is a problem for its potential to provoke irritation (Contact Dermatitis, 2006 and 2012). That fact aside, the jar packaging means that any beneficial ingredients present will begin to break down from the moment you open the jar. See More Info for details on jar packaging and why it should be avoided.
Andalou Naturals spotlights a few intriguing ingredients that you may be curious about, primarily manuka honey and plant enzymes as exfoliants. Manuka honey has some research (like many varieties of honey) demonstrating antibacterial and antioxidant benefit for skin, which is true of many ingredients.
Manuka honey also is sometimes rumored to have benefit in treating acne, but research doesn’t support that. Manuka honey is demonstrated to have an impact only on Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria, which isn’t the same or even similar to Propionibacterium acnes, the type of bacteria that causes acne breakouts (Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 2011).
In terms of enzymes to exfoliate the skin—specifically, the papaya-derived papain extract used here—the truth is there isn’t any research demonstrating they can work as well as AHA or BHA exfoliants that are left on the skin rather than rinsed off like this mask. Enzymes are also notoriously unstable in cosmetics formulations, especially in cleansers or jars, which means that any possible enzymatic action will likely be lost shortly after you open the lid of this jar container.
It’s also worth noting that papain extract (derived from papaya) can result in skin irritation and an allergic response for those with latex sensitivities, as papaya is a natural source of latex (Annals of Allergy, 1995).
Please disregard the claims about the fruit stem cell ingredients included in the BioActive 8 Berry Fruit Enzyme Extract (see More Info if you wish to read the considerable details explaining why). While these ingredients aren’t harmful or irritating to the skin (and can have antioxidant benefit), there is no research to support the claims of regenerating skin or functioning like your skin’s own stem cells, which would push this product from its status as a cosmetic to a drug. The notion that plant stem cells can “renew dormant cells, repair damaged cells, or regenerate healthy cells” may be true for a plant, but it isn’t for human skin.
Despite the intriguing claims and the interesting ingredients in this mask, the inclusion of such a high amount of irritating lemon extract AND the fact that it’s packaged in a jar makes this formula one to skip.
- Contains beneficial emollients for normal to dry skin.
- Includes a nice array of beneficial antioxidants and anti-irritants.
- Includes a significant amount of Citrus medica limonum (lemon) extract, a potent skin irritant.
- Jar packaging means the beneficial ingredients present will soon break down with exposure to air.
- Fruit enzymes can't exfoliate skin reliably (and are unstable).
- Plant stem cells don't renew or generate human cells of any kind.
Stem Cells in Skin Care: Stem cells are cells in animals and plants that are capable of becoming any other type of cell in that organism and of producing more of those cells. Despite the fact that stem cell research is in its infancy, many cosmetics companies claim they are successfully using plant-based or human-derived stem cells in their anti-aging products. The claims run the gamut, from reducing wrinkles to elastin repair and cell regeneration, so the temptation for consumers to try these is intense.
The truth is that stem cells in skin-care products do not work as claimed. In fact, they likely have no effect at all because stem cells must be alive to function as stem cells. Once these delicate cells are added to skin-care products, they are long dead and, therefore, useless.
Plant stem cells, such as those derived from apples, melons, flowers, and rice, cannot stimulate stem cells in human skin, but because they are from plants these ingredients likely have antioxidant
properties. Actually, it's a good thing plant stem cells can't work as stem cells in skin-care products; after all, you don't want your skin to absorb cells that can grow into apples or watermelons!
There are also claims that because a plant's stem cells allow a plant to repair itself or to survive in harsh climates, these benefits can be passed on to human skin. How a plant functions in nature is unrelated to human skin, and these claims are completely without substantiation.
Another twist on the issue is that cosmetics company's claim they have taken components (such as peptides) out of the plant stem cells and made them stable so they then can work as stem cells. This approach is not valid because stem cells must be complete to function normally. Even if you could isolate substances or extracts from these cells and make them stable, there is no published research showing they can affect stem cells in human skin.
Fruit Stem Cells, BioActive 8 Berry Complex, and Resveratrol Q10 create a potent portfolio of antioxidants to slow cellular damage and stimulate skin firming collagen and elastin, as fruit juice enzymes gently dissolve dull, dry surface cells to reveal skins vitality and ageless beauty.
Strengths: Good options for well-formulated facial moisturizers and serums; many products contain multiple antioxidants; a few good toners; (mostly) refreshingly free of hyperbole that is common with many natural-themed brands; reasonably priced products; multiple broad-spectrum sunscreen options.
Weaknesses: A few moisturizers packaged in jars; some products contain potentially problematic amounts of fragrance ingredients; lacks research-proven treatments for acne; the body-care products tend to be overly fragrant; claims about plant stem cells are over the top as they don't renew or generate human cells of any kind.
Andalou Naturals is a rare presence in the saturated market of natural-themed cosmetics lines because the brand manages to keep the focus on their products and ingredients without resorting to the silly scary chemical and fear-mongering marketing approach common to so many other natural lines.
Just as impressive as their marketing are many of their formulas, several of which include many antioxidants and multiple skin-repairing ingredients, and aren't laden with natural fragrance ingredients, which may please your nose but can be very irritating to the skin, even if you don't see or feel the damage taking place.
Headquartered in Petaluma, California, Andalou Naturals was founded by husband and wife Mark and Stacey Egideboth of whom also created the Avalon Organics line. The duo sold Avalon Organics in 2002, and started Andalou Naturals in 2011, where its sold at health food stores and online.
Visit their site and you'll quickly find the brand is focused on the feel-good approach to skin care. Andalou Naturals brand philosophy is heavily steeped in philanthropy: Their A Force of Nature fund regularly donates to various nonprofit groups, and every order you place on their site adds $1 to this fund. How wonderful!
Andalou Naturals offers an extensive line of face-, body-, and hair-care products, themed around what they call, Fruit Stem Cell Science, which includes extracts from apple, grape, and argan. While these types of ingredients have antioxidant benefit, the idea that they work like your stem cells to turn back time isn't supported by published research of any kind.
Stem cells work only if they are alive, and in a skin-care product, they are long dead. Not to mention that even if stem cells could survive the skin-care formulation process, an apple stem cell is helpful only to an apple, your skin cells wouldn't have the first clue how to use stem cells from a plant. Stem-cell research is still in its infancy, science is just beginning to understand how stem cells work and/or how they can actually benefit our health; the cosmetics industry isn't beating the medical industry in this regard!
The company also includes what they refer to as BioActive 8 Berry Complex in many of their products. This is really a blanket name for a mix of non-fragrant berry juice extracts (acai, aronia, bearberry, bilberry, black elderberry, goji berry, rosehips berry, and sea buckthorn berry). All of these ingredients have antioxidant function on the skin, but, again, they aren't miracle ingredients by any stretch, nor is Andalou Naturals the only line using them.
We should note that Andalou Naturals, at the time of this review, doesn't list all of the ingredients in their BioActive 8 Berry Complex on their product labels. While the individual berry extracts mentioned above are listed on their website as part of their marketing messaging, they omit them on their products, which violates International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) and FDA labeling regulatory requirements. This is an important oversight, because you have the right to know all of the ingredients in your skin-care products, without having to jump through extra hoops. We hope the company rectifies this in the near future.
On a more positive note, we found that many of the skin-care products Andalou Naturals offers were good, mostly for normal to dry skin, although there also are a few winners for those with oily to combination skin. Many contain some amount of fragrance (but to their credit, the facial formulas that did contain fragrance mostly had only a minimum amount, which is not typical of natural-themed lines).
We were especially impressed that they avoided the boring or basic formulas so common among natural skin-care brands. Several of their products contain the types of beneficial ingredients that have plenty of published research to back up their claims. What a great change of pace!
The missteps were the few instances of jar packaging (which marred what would've otherwise been well-rated products) that expose delicate ingredients to air and light, as well as their body-care formulas, which tended to include higher amounts of fragrance.
For more information, call (888) 898-6955, or visit www.andalou.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.