Lavender Luminosity Facial Cleansing Milk
This cleansing lotion could have had merit for normal to dry skin because it easily removes most types of makeup without leaving a greasy residue. Unfortunately, the so-called “calming plant” ingredients are anything but calming: Research is clear that lavender and citrus oils are skin irritants that no one should be applying to their skin, especially not so close to the eyes. See More Info for details on lavender oil; as for the citrus oils, they add a refreshing scent, but fragrance isn’t skin care (and if you’ve ever had citrus juice splashed in your eye, you can imagine how it would feel using a cleanser that contains citrus oils).
Without the problematic plant oils, this would be an easy recommendation. As is, you need to know there are numerous other, more gentle cleansers to consider. You’ll find those on our list of Best Cleansers.
- Silky, lotion texture cleanses and removes makeup without leaving a greasy residue.
- Inclusion of numerous fragrant oils known to be irritating.
- The citrus oils are a distinct problem for use around the eyes.
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. It is a must to avoid in skin-care products, although it’s fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
Soothing, soap-free cleansing milk detoxifies, softens and smoothes skin. Calming plant emollients, such as lavender, flax oil and kombucha, delicately cleanse and hydrate. An even, renewed skin surface reflects light so skin has a glowing appearance.
Avalon Organics At-A-Glance
Strengths: Avalon Organics provides complete ingredient lists on their Web site; excellent lip balm; a few well-formulated moisturizers and serums.
Weaknesses: Several products contain irritating plant extracts and/or fragrant oils; moisturizers contain only a tiny amount of state-of-the-art ingredients; none of the sunscreens have UVA-protecting ingredients; there are repetitive formulas within the sub-brands (and the only differences between them won't make any difference to your skin); average to poor cleansers and toners; no AHA or BHA options; no anti-acne or skin-lightening options; jar packaging, which leaves the air-sensitive ingredients unprotected and subject to deterioration after opening.
Avalon Organics is one of many companies owned by Hain-Celestial, a company that specializes in marketing "natural" products. Along with various food and beverage brands you often see lining the shelves of health food stores, Hain-Celestial is also behind several other cosmetics lines, including Alba Botanica, Jason Natural, and Zia Natural (and just to be clear, none of these are all natural in the least).
Avalon Organics is most similar to Alba Botanica, but strangely enough, Avalon in many ways is the inferior line. Relative to the Alba Botanica line, Avalon Organics products cost more and their formulas aren't nearly as state of the art. A major thumbs down for Avalon Organics is the fact that none of their sunscreens contains sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients. In addition, many more of the Avalon Organics products contain irritating plant oils (lavender, orange), and almost all also feature a plant tea concoction that includes not only lavender but also arnica, a problematic plant if ever there was one (Sources: American Journal of Contact Dermatitis, June 1996, pages 9499; and www.naturaldatabase.com). It is these natural ingredients that sabotage many of the Avalon Organics products.
Avalon does include several helpful natural ingredients (among them willow herb, licorice, borage oil, and aloe), but their benefit is diminished when they must overcome the potential skin problems presented by the not-so-helpful plants. Moreover, several Avalon Organics products contain a blend of unidentified essential oils. These are used for fragrance, but Avalon opted to list the generic term "fragrance" as "other essential oils," which means that consumers do not know exactly what oils they're applying to their skin. This goes directly against FDA regulatory requirements: "other essential oils" is not a legitimate ingredient term.
It is indeed admirable that Avalon Organics is dedicated to organic farming and to sustainable agricultural practices that improve the environment, but such a mission doesnt translate into great skin-care: farming is one issue, but brilliantly formulated products is another. In this case you can't rely on Avalon products to take care of your skin without some careful consideration. There are a handful of recommended products to consider, especially if you prefer a ratio of ingredients that favors natural over synthetic. (Note, however, this is not an all-natural line, any more than munching on Skittles candy is like eating real fruit.) But taking "the time to honor yourself" (Avalon's statement) by using products only from their line, or being swayed by this brand's "Consciousness in Cosmetics" for the sake of your skin, would be a mistake.
For more information about Avalon Organics, call (888) 659-7730 or visit www.avalonorganics.com.
Note: Avalon uses the term "other essential oils" on their ingredient lists, which does not comply with FDA or international regulations. These regulations state that you must list by name ALL the individual ingredients you include in your product for this category of ingredients.
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.