Good & Clean Toxin Release Scrub
Welcome back to the 1980s, or at least that’s the message Alba Botanica unintentionally(?) sends with this throwback scrub formula. Much like St. Ives’ classic apricot scrub (which sat on many bathroom counters in the ‘80s), Good & Clean Toxin Release Scrub contains ground walnut shells as the abrasive agent. Although walnut shells are natural, they’re also needlessly damaging to skin due to their irregular shape. In contrast, scrubs with rounded jojoba or polyethylene beads glide over skin as they polish it; walnut shells can easily tear into skin, damaging its barrier and leading to all sorts of problems you’ll be tempted to scrub away, so the vicious cycle continues.
We take issue with the “toxin release” part of this product’s name because the skin isn’t collecting or harboring toxins that need to be scrubbed away. You cannot detox with skin care; true detoxification occurs in the liver and kidneys, not on skin. What this scrub will do is irritate skin due to the numerous fragrant plant extracts and oils it contains.
The problematic ingredients are part of what Alba Botanica refers to as its Fruit Acid Detox Fusion, but fruit acids cannot detoxify skin and, as used here, they don’t exfoliate, either. This scrub, which doubles as a cleanser, is far from being the gentle option it claims, and is absolutely not preferred to numerous other scrubs.
Last, although scrubs can be useful when extra cleansing is needed, for exfoliation plus anti-acne and anti-aging benefits, AHA or BHA exfoliants are strongly preferred. See our top picks for those and our favorite scrubs on our list of Best Exfoliants.
Dulling toxins assault your skin every day, causing imperfections. Powered by ten AHA-rich botanicals, the unique Fruit Acid Detox Fusion in this gentle scrub partners with lathering cleansers and ground Walnut to scrub away dullness, force out impurities and provide deep down detoxification. Refreshed and clear, skin radiates with a clean, healthy-looking glow.
Alba Botanica At-a-Glance
Strengths: Inexpensive; several good cleansers; some good moisturizers; nice lip balms without sunscreen; most of the facial and body sunscreens provide sufficient broad-spectrum sun protection; mineral sunscreens options are available; self-tanner that includes antioxidants for added benefit.
Weaknesses: The natural ingredients in some of the products are natural irritants; jar packaging won't keep air-sensitive ingredients stable; most of the lip balms with sunscreen lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients; subpar toners and exfoliants.
Alba Botanica is part of the Avalon Natural Products group, which is owned by natural product marketer Hain-Celestial. In addition to owning the Jason Natural and Zia Natural brands, Hain-Celestial also owns Avalon Organics, of which Alba Botanica is a part. Although Alba Botanica is not any thinking person's definition of an all-natural line, they use plenty of synthetic ingredients, including sunscreen actives and preservatives, they shine in comparison to the mostly disappointing products offered under the Avalon Organics name, but that's not saying a lot.
As far as the "natural" visage Alba Botanica portrays, while they do use plenty of natural ingredients, for the most part it's the non-natural ingredients that contribute to each product's texture and function; but then highlighting those ingredients isn't going to attract attention from consumers seeking natural products, is it? Because there are no established standards for use of the word "natural," any cosmetics company can take advantage of the term, as Alba Botanica does.
Despite not being an all-natural line (which isn't a bad thing), much of what they offer, while not state-of-the-art spectacular, is still worth considering. The prices are competitive with those of drugstore and health food store brands, and they offer some very good options in the categories of cleanser, scrub, sunscreens for face and body, lip balms without sunscreen, and a self-tanner.
It is also worth mentioning that Avalon Products (remember, Alba Botanica is part of this master brand) is commendable in that it uses environmentally conscious business practices, including solar-powered offices and warehouse and relying on organic farming for several of their ingredients. Their environmentalism may or may not correspond to good skin care, but it is admirable. As we have said many times before, just because an ingredient is organic doesn't make it safe or effective for skin (and there's no proof that an organic ingredient is preferred to a synthetic ingredient when it comes to skin care), but the practice of organic farming is a positive step toward creating products that reduce negative environmental impact.
Turning to what Alba Botanica needs help with, you'll see they fall short of being a comprehensive line. There are no reliable exfoliants such as AHAs or BHA products, and those struggling with blemishes or any type of skin discoloration are out of luck. Also, not every sunscreen (especially those for lips) makes the grade in terms of providing sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients, and some of the toners have truly boring, antiquated formulas. Other less impressive products include the enzyme scrubs, masks, and a few of the jar-packaged moisturizers.
Overall, these products aren't the most advanced around, but comparatively speaking they best many other products from brands with a natural angle (Lauder-owned Origins comes to mind).
For more information about Alba Botanica, call (888) 659-7730 or visit www.albabotanica.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.