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TheBalm

Kiwi Facial Scrub

6.00 fl. oz. for $ 18.50
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This face scrub is an OK option for normal to dry skin, and although it is gentle, its high wax content (the exfoliating beads are made of wax) makes it difficult to rinse. The mild cleansing agent this contains helps limit the amount of residue left behind, but we're concerned that ongoing use may cause a buildup on the skin that in turn may lead to clogged pores and dullness.

As for the algae being nourishing—it's not; at least not when formulated in a rinse-off product! The tiny amount of kiwi extract isn't going to benefit your skin either, although it does justify the name of this fragranced scrub.

Pros:
  • Fairly gentle, minimally abrasive formula.
  • Leaves skin feeling smooth.
Cons:
  • High wax content makes this difficult to rinse completely.
  • The algae, kiwi, and other plant-based ingredients have minimal impact on skin.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Kiwi Facial Scrub is an oil-free, gel-based scrub with gentle granules that soften and polish the skin, uncovering your underlying radiance. Added Algae nourishes and simultaneously bonds moisture to your skin.

Water, Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), Algae Extract, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Propylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Fragrance (Parfum), Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract

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 benefitthough some of them, like the foundation primer, are indeed worth checking out.

Overall, based on the formulas, theres 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 products stability. The prices are good, but theres 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 arent usually included in skin-care productstheyre 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 theyre often commingled with potentially irritating natural ingredients, and that doesnt add up to great skin careits 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!

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.

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