Lavender Shea Body Butter
At first glance, Lavender Shea Body Butter has the hallmarks of a very good formula, with its comprehensive array of plant-based butters and non-fragrant plant oils like apricot and evening primrose. The formula also treats dry skin to antioxidants, anti-irritants, and beeswax to help seal in moisture.
All in all, this body butter has a lot of pros, but the cons keep it from earning a higher rating. Unfortunately, Andalou Naturals also includes lavender oil, which can provoke irritation (Contact Dermatitis, 2008). See More Info for extra concerns pertaining to this fragrant oil. While there is not a substantial amount present in the Lavender Shea Body Butter, only a tiny amount of lavender oil (and extract) is needed to present a risk of damage to skin cells—0.25% has been demonstrated to be a problematic amount (Cell Proliferation, 2004).
Instead, we recommend considering any of the top-rated picks from other brands in the Best Body Lotions/Creams/Balms/Butters section of Beautypedia, none of which share the drawbacks of this formula.
Lavender in Skin-Care Products: 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. Although it’s fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation, it is a must to avoid in skin-care products (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
- Includes a rich blend of plant butters, non-fragrant plant oils, and skin-repairing ingredients for dry skin.
- Antioxidants provide anti-aging benefits.
- Contains a possibly problematic amount of lavender extract and oil.
- Plant stem cells don't renew or generate human cells of any kind.
This luscious body butter blends skin-firming CoQ10 with shea and cupuacu butters to smooth and soften dry skin. Evening primrose, lavender, fruit stem cells, and anti-oxidants effectively nourish and stimulate healthy cell renewal for an all-over body treatment.
Strengths: Good options for well-formulated facial moisturizers and serums; many products contain multiple antioxidants; a few good toners; (mostly) refreshingly free of hyperbole that is common with many natural-themed brands; reasonably priced products; multiple broad-spectrum sunscreen options.
Weaknesses: A few moisturizers packaged in jars; some products contain potentially problematic amounts of fragrance ingredients; lacks research-proven treatments for acne; the body-care products tend to be overly fragrant; claims about plant stem cells are over the top as they don't renew or generate human cells of any kind.
Andalou Naturals is a rare presence in the saturated market of natural-themed cosmetics lines because the brand manages to keep the focus on their products and ingredients without resorting to the silly scary chemical and fear-mongering marketing approach common to so many other natural lines.
Just as impressive as their marketing are many of their formulas, several of which include many antioxidants and multiple skin-repairing ingredients, and aren't laden with natural fragrance ingredients, which may please your nose but can be very irritating to the skin, even if you don't see or feel the damage taking place.
Headquartered in Petaluma, California, Andalou Naturals was founded by husband and wife Mark and Stacey Egideboth of whom also created the Avalon Organics line. The duo sold Avalon Organics in 2002, and started Andalou Naturals in 2011, where its sold at health food stores and online.
Visit their site and you'll quickly find the brand is focused on the feel-good approach to skin care. Andalou Naturals brand philosophy is heavily steeped in philanthropy: Their A Force of Nature fund regularly donates to various nonprofit groups, and every order you place on their site adds $1 to this fund. How wonderful!
Andalou Naturals offers an extensive line of face-, body-, and hair-care products, themed around what they call, Fruit Stem Cell Science, which includes extracts from apple, grape, and argan. While these types of ingredients have antioxidant benefit, the idea that they work like your stem cells to turn back time isn't supported by published research of any kind.
Stem cells work only if they are alive, and in a skin-care product, they are long dead. Not to mention that even if stem cells could survive the skin-care formulation process, an apple stem cell is helpful only to an apple, your skin cells wouldn't have the first clue how to use stem cells from a plant. Stem-cell research is still in its infancy, science is just beginning to understand how stem cells work and/or how they can actually benefit our health; the cosmetics industry isn't beating the medical industry in this regard!
The company also includes what they refer to as BioActive 8 Berry Complex in many of their products. This is really a blanket name for a mix of non-fragrant berry juice extracts (acai, aronia, bearberry, bilberry, black elderberry, goji berry, rosehips berry, and sea buckthorn berry). All of these ingredients have antioxidant function on the skin, but, again, they aren't miracle ingredients by any stretch, nor is Andalou Naturals the only line using them.
We should note that Andalou Naturals, at the time of this review, doesn't list all of the ingredients in their BioActive 8 Berry Complex on their product labels. While the individual berry extracts mentioned above are listed on their website as part of their marketing messaging, they omit them on their products, which violates International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) and FDA labeling regulatory requirements. This is an important oversight, because you have the right to know all of the ingredients in your skin-care products, without having to jump through extra hoops. We hope the company rectifies this in the near future.
On a more positive note, we found that many of the skin-care products Andalou Naturals offers were good, mostly for normal to dry skin, although there also are a few winners for those with oily to combination skin. Many contain some amount of fragrance (but to their credit, the facial formulas that did contain fragrance mostly had only a minimum amount, which is not typical of natural-themed lines).
We were especially impressed that they avoided the boring or basic formulas so common among natural skin-care brands. Several of their products contain the types of beneficial ingredients that have plenty of published research to back up their claims. What a great change of pace!
The missteps were the few instances of jar packaging (which marred what would've otherwise been well-rated products) that expose delicate ingredients to air and light, as well as their body-care formulas, which tended to include higher amounts of fragrance.
For more information, call (888) 898-6955, or visit www.andalou.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.