Botanical Aftersun Gel
A skin-care line like Liz Earle Naturally Active Skin Care that doesn't sell sunscreen but does offer an after sun gel claiming it "calms sun exposed skin" is just mind-numbing to us. Can anything be more irresponsible? Well, sure, but this gel is up there on the ludicrous hit list.
In terms of formulation, the product is supposed to contain 92% aloe gel. Although that may be good for sunburned skin, we can't state strongly enough that not getting sun damage in the first place is what counts most. There are great limitations as to what you can repair if you repeatedly expose your skin to the sun without protection or seeking shade.
Okay, we know we're repeating ourselves but the lack of awareness about this issue is evident on most any sunny beach or boardwalk in the world.
If you're after aloe for its soothing qualities, this gel isn't the way to do it. It's loaded with irritating fragrant ingredients along with an extremely irritating form of menthol called menthone glycerin acetal, so using this means you'll likely end up with more of a "burn" then you started out with! Pure aloe vera juice or gel from a health food would be a far better and cheaper way to go.
Also, the only thing botanical about this product is the name. The number of synthetic ingredients in the formula makes this akin to calling polyester a type of cotton.
- Contains a disturbing amount of irritating plant extracts that can cause more damage to sun-exposed skin.
Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, 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. Although it's fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation, it is a must to avoid in skin-care products. (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
Our light, rehydrating gel cools and calms sun-exposed skin by replacing lost moisture. It has been formulated with 92% aloe vera to hydrate and calm, premium high-altitude soothing lavender, refreshing cucumber, plus antioxidant natural source vitamin E.
Strengths: Reasonable prices.
Weaknesses: No sunscreens; jar packaging; products are overly fragranced and contain irritating plant extracts; no reliable products for acne; products for those with rosacea, sensitive skin, and eczema contain irritating fragrant components and perfume.
Liz Earle began her United Kingdom-based cosmetics company in 1995 with her name affixed to the label, Liz Earle Naturally Active Skin Care. Originally located on the Isle of Wright, the company their products were inspired by the natural foliage of this part of the worlds rainy, cold environs.
A prolific writer of more than 30 beauty books along with a background as a beauty journalist and broadcaster, Earle became a diehard believer in all things natural. One of her books even suggests you can beat cellulite with scrubs, creams, and massage oils. We wouldnt bet on it any more than the allure of all natural holds the answer to having beautiful skin, but even Earles products dont follow that philosophy wholeheartedly as they are not all natural in the least. In fact, you could say they are about as natural as polyester. Labeling the line naturally active is a clever play on words; it makes you think the products are natural without really saying they are.
After 15 years of being one of the biggest independent UK-based personal care companies Liz Earle was bought by Avon in 2010. That has certainly changed the face of the company! Its interesting to point out that despite Avons home consultant business model, Liz Earle stopped the home consulting side of their business shortly after joining the fold at Avon.
Business decisions aside, the products are what matter and whats inside those products matters most. We were first struck by the lines lack of sunscreens. The companys convoluted explanation for this is how the weather in the UK doesnt warrant it (though were not sure how that factors into the brands U.S. distribution) and also because synthetic sunscreens are bad for skin. None of that is true. Daylight (as in UV light, which is present whether the sun is shining or not) in any amount causes immediate and long-term skin damage. Only a few minutes of unprotected sun exposure a day causes premature aging, though you wont see these effects until years later. Numerous studies have shown how regular use of sunscreen with all types of active ingredients, including synthetic and mineral, makes skin look significantly younger, longerand reduces risk of skin cancer.
The company does say mineral sunscreen ingredients are good yet that only shows up in their Daily Eye Repair with an SPF 10 (SPF 15 is considered the minimum by medical and regulatory boards around the world) and it appears this product is only be sold in the U.K. There is no explanation why there arent other mineral-based sunscreens in the line.
Although we find the lack of sunscreens a sign of bad (or at least shortsighted) skin care, we are also highly skeptical of skin-care companies that sell bust and neck treatments. Earles Superskin Bust & Neck Treatment claims the natural ingredients it contains can plump skin around the bust. Again dont count on it, but we admit the application description will arouse something! Ironically, the description for the product explains how sun exposure ages skin, but then were going back to the lack of sun protection in the line. Now thats contradictory! Regardless skin on the neck, chest, and face benefit from the same state-of-the-art ingredients and there is not a shred of unbiased research to the contrary.
Despite the reservations mentioned above, there are some interesting formulations in Earles line with great price points. But even the better formulas suffer from too much fragrance, dubious and overblown claims, and prevalent use of irritating plant extracts. Oddly enough, the fragrance-free formulations in this product line have some of the more ordinary formulations when it comes to antioxidants or soothing emollientstwo categories of ingredients those with sensitive skin really need.
In short, Liz Earle Naturally Active Skin Care is nothing to get all that excited about, whether youre a fan of natural ingredients or simply want skin care from the U.K.
For more information about Liz Earle, visit www.lizearle.com or call 1-800-515-5911.
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.