Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer
Farmacy’s Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer has some excellent traits for those with dry to very dry skin. But in order to get the goodness this delivers, you have to settle for jar packaging and a lingering fragrance, both of which do your skin a disservice.
The weighty, frosted glass jar is lovely, as is the wood-finished cap whose magnetized top holds the metal spatula the brand includes for more hygienic dispensing (we say “more” since you still need to take steps to sanitize the spatula between uses, or it’s not much better than dipping fingers in a jar). See More Info to learn about the other issues jar packaging presents.
In use, the soft, butter-like cream’s mix of glycerin, shea butter, and vegetable oil provides substantial moisturizer. Those with dry to very dry skin are highly likely to love how protective this feels, and how supple it leaves their skin. This is heavy-duty moisture without an uncomfortably occlusive, greasy feel.
We also like the blend of barrier-strengthening ingredients, including sugar-derived xylitylglucoside, xylitol, anhydroxyxylitol, ceramides, honey, and panthenol, among others. These nicely support the emollient ingredients, providing long-lasting hydration.
Back to the depressing part: This moisturizer’s honey-like floral-ish fragrance is potent and lingers. Farmacy maintains it’s a natural fragrance and we have no reason to dispute this, but in terms of irritation the source of a fragrance doesn’t matter; natural fragrances are just as detrimental to your skin as those that are synthetic. See More Info for details.
In the end, this is a tough one to recommend due to its problematic aspects. It’s always a shame when an otherwise impressive formula gets waylaid like this, but you’ll find plenty of problem-free options on our list of best moisturizers for dry skin.
- Soft, butter-like cream provides substantial moisture.
- Leaves dry skin feeling supple and protected from moisture loss.
- Excellent array of barrier-strengthening ingredients.
- Lingering fragrant formula poses a risk of irritating skin.
- Jar packaging compromises the effectiveness of the natural ingredients.
Jar Packaging & Natural Ingredients: Beneficial ingredients, which include all plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients, are unstable, which means they begin to break down in the presence of air. Once a jar is opened and lets air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective. Routine exposure to daylight is also problematic for these ingredients.
Jar packaging is also unsanitary because you dip your fingers into the jar with each use, contaminating the product. This stresses the preservative system, especially in water-based formulas, leading to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.
Remember: The ingredients that provide the most benefit in addressing visible signs of aging must be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging to remain effective throughout usage. Buying products in this type of packaging means that the ingredients have the best chance of remaining effective—to the benefit of your skin.
References for this information:
Molecules, July 2018, ePublication
Pharmacology Review, July 2013, pages 97–106
Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, pages 252–259
Current Drug Delivery, November 2011, pages 640–660
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, May 2011, pages 4676–4683
Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82–88
Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1–10
Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin’s barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin’s surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can’t always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it’s not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don’t need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Toxicology In Vitro, February 2018, pages 237-245
Toxicological Sciences, January 2018, pages 139-148
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
An intense moisturizer to replenish dry, distressed skin with lasting hydration to help visibly plump skin and improve the look of fine lines. For normal to dry skin.
Farmacy is the creation of entrepreneurial businessman and self-described “plant geek” Mark Veeder. Due to a chance discovery, he was able to bring together his childhood background on a farm and his experience as a marketing and public relations expert to create a skin care brand focused on farm-raised ingredients.
As the story goes, during his time as a marketing professional in New York City, Veeder still maintained a 7-acre farm 90 miles away. The chance discovery happened in 1999, when he noticed an unusual green variant of the normally-purple Echinacea Purpurea on his property. Excited by what this could mean, he sent the plant to a lab for testing. The test results showed that this version had 300 times more of the antioxidant cichoric acid than the usual strain of the plant. Veeder patented it, sold it to local nurseries, and named it GreenEnvy. Fifteen years after the initial discovery, he resolved to create a skin care company, Farmacy, with GreenEnvy as its star ingredient.
Before you get too excited: there’s little independent research backing the claims surrounding GreenEnvy’s potency (most of the research has been done on Farmacy’s behalf), though as with most plant extracts, it provides antioxidant benefits and may also prevent collagen breakdown, which is nice but hardly unique to this plant.
As for the products themselves, most have solid foundations (great, plant-based antioxidants abound) but some of them are undone by additions that make them less-than-ideal for skin. Many contain fragrant plant oils which, while natural, aren’t good for skin. Fragrance, whether natural or synthetic, puts skin at risk for irritation that can cause numerous problems. Frustratingly, many of the fragrant plants are, in fact, also brilliant antioxidants; however, plenty of natural ingredients also provide antioxidant benefits without risking skin irritation and other problems.
We like that Farmacy’s take on natural is to combine it with key lab-engineered (synthetic) ingredients. This approach is refreshingly honest and affirms the research-supported fact that just because an ingredient is synthetic doesn’t mean it’s bad for skin. The truth is there are good and bad natural ingredients as well as good and bad synthetic ingredients.
Farmacy’s other issue beyond fragrance is that several of the products are packaged in jars, which exposes their good ingredients to light and air that will eventually cause them to break down and lose effectiveness.
There is one mineral-based sunscreen that’s a standout, especially for sensitive skin, but because of the issues mentioned above, this line isn’t quite the farm-fresh merger of nature and science it’s made out to be.
To learn more about Farmacy, visit https://www.farmacybeauty.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.