Lavender Luminosity Hydrating Toner
We know that the theme of this product is lavender, but without the lavender oil, citrus oils, and a few problematic plant extracts, this would have been an excellent toner for normal to dry skin. Instead, it is a textbook case of how natural isn’t always better for the health and appearance of your skin.
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin’s ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Hydrating toner with kombucha and vitamin C antioxidants targets areas of discoloration and brown spots to help create a more refined and even tone for improved skin luminosity. Skin is calmed, balanced and prepared for optimal moisturization.
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 doesn't 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.