Argan Cleansing Towelettes are good and affordable for what you get—a blend of gentle moisturizing ingredients that help to remove dirt, excess oil, and makeup. They lack any actual cleansing agents, relying instead on plant oils to do the work. This is not unlike using non-fragrant plant oils to remove your eye makeup, and some may not appreciate the residue such oils leave behind. This is an ideal choice for those with dry skin, but is also an option for any skin type, as long as you use your usual cleanser afterward.
Acure Organics included a nice array of non-fragrant plant oils, such as olive, argan, and grape seed, all of which are excellent for skin.
We must mention that cleansing wipes should be just an occasional-use product, not one you use as a substitute regularly for your proper cleanser. A cleansing wipe can't work as well as a regular cleanser, especially because the rinsing step is critical to the cleansing process. Another reason to use these only occasionally is the fact that repeatedly pulling at skin to remove your makeup can cause the skin to sag—see More Info for details.
What prevents us from giving this a more enthusiastic recommendation is our concern about its preservative system—Acure Organics lists only potassium sorbate. The brand notes that this is a "food grade" preservative, which is accurate. However, potassium sorbate on its own isn't sufficient to provide protection against both bacteria and mold/yeast—existing research has demonstrated it to be effective only when combined with other preservatives like phenoxyethanol.
Otherwise, we would've loved to give Argan Cleansing Towlettes a five-star rating, as its one of the few mild, fragrance-free makeup removal wipes available at mass-market stores like Target. It is the iffy nature of the preservative system that gives us pause—we arrived at its three-star rating due to the fact that this is largely an oil-based formula, which makes it less risky for contamination than a water-based moisturizer or cleanser formula that is relying on the same preservative.
Note: Acure Organics claims their Argan Cleansing Towlettes remove "environmental toxins," which is just another way of saying "dirt and grime." They couldn't be referring to the claim of detoxing skin, as skin doesn't hold on to any types of toxins. See More Info for additional details.
Why You Shouldn't Pull or Tug Your Skin: As much as possible, it's best to avoid pulling at the skin, especially when it comes to how you remove your makeup. Stretching and pulling at the skin breaks down elastin, which is the support fiber in the body that allows the skin to "bounce" back into place. Think of elastin like the springs in a mattress and the stuffing between the springs as collagen, along with other elements of the body, such as fat, cartilage, muscle, and so on. When elastin is damaged, the skin begins to sag; just like when mattress springs get old and damaged, the mattress begins to sag (The Journal of Pathology, 2007 and Acta Dermatoven, 2008).
To help prevent sagging, stick to only occasional use of products like cleansing wipes or use such products very gently (never rub or pull). The constant tugging that can occur when wiping off makeup can eventually stretch out the elastin in your skin; just like a rubber band, eventually it will not snap back to its original shape, and can stretch to the point where it becomes brittle and weak (Age, 2009 and American Journal of Pathology, 2006).
Why Beauty Products Can't Detoxify Your Skin: Despite the claims of many a cosmetics company, you cannot "detox" your skin. In fact, brands making this claim never specify which substances their product supposedly banishes—which makes sense, as your skin isn't capable of storing any sort of toxin. An actual toxin is a poison, and we're talking REAL poisons, such as those produced by plants, animals, insects, reptiles (think snake venom or bee stings), or other organisms.
So-called toxins cannot leave your body through the pores or through your skin, whether via sweat or other means—they're filtered, broken down, and removed by the kidneys and liver. Heavy metal toxicity, for example, can't be "sweated" or otherwise drawn out of skin; this requires medical treatment to remove them from the body.
Regardless of the skin concern you're battling, "toxins" aren't to blame—and if you're serious about wanting results, stick to what the research says really works (and ignore fantasy claims about "detoxifying" cosmetic products).
Be gorgeous on-the-go! Gently remove makeup, dirt, sweat, environmental toxins, and that mustard from the corner of your mouth. No splashy rinsing necessary. Whether you're running errands, at the office, working out, too lazy to wash your face, or in the middle of a blind date with someone who is waaaay hotter than you expected, these handy little all-natural biodegradable Argan Oil towelettes refresh, cleanse, soothe, and detoxify on the spot!
Water, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Polysorbate 20 (sugar alcohol), Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Potassium Sorbate (Food Grade Preservative), Citric Acid (Food Grade), Glyceryl Caprylate (From Glycerin + Coconut), Glyceryl Undecylenate (From Glycerin + Castor Bean Oil).
Strengths: Some products are fragrance free; nearly all products (even the cleansers) contain an array of antioxidants; inexpensive; products are packaged to protect their ingredients from air and light exposure.
Weaknesses: Almost none of the products we reviewed had ingredient labels that complied with FDA or (global) International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) cosmetics regulations; several products appear to lack adequate preservatives to keep you safe from mold and bacteria; misleading to outlandish claims regarding the benefits of plant/fruit stem cells; some products contain multiple potent irritants; lack of sun protection products—unusual for a line that claims to be dedicated to anti-aging as this one is.
Joining the natural brand market, Acure Organics operates with the mission statement of using “only the purest, most effective fair trade, natural and organic ingredients available.” At first glance, there are a lot of interesting products in the line, as Acure Organics includes a great deal of antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients in their formulas. Unfortunately, on closer inspection of the brand, we found quite a few inconsistencies and some worrisome details.
First the good news: Along with the inclusion of antioxidants at nearly every turn, Acure Organics made the effort to avoid jar packaging, which is beneficial in terms of protecting the abundance of anti-aging ingredients their products contain. They are also exceptionally affordable products—an increasing rarity in the cosmetics industry.
On the other hand, Acure Organics stretches the boundaries of belief when it comes to what some ingredients are capable of—such as plant stem cells. While fruit and plant stem cells can function as antioxidants, they cannot lift skin, repair wrinkles, or affect the skin’s own growth factors when added to a skincare product. Not only are plant stem cells unable to substitute for the body’s own stem cells, but also they (like all stem cells) must be alive to function. Once these delicate cells are added to skincare products, they are long dead and, therefore, useless. Plant stem cells make for a good story, but the research simply isn’t there to support their use in skincare or the claims attributed to them.
Where Acure Organics takes a turn for the worse is in their choice to invoke consumers’ fear of chemicals and “toxins” to sell their products, rather than to rely on the formulas themselves. It’s particularly maddening because some of their products contain ingredients that have well-documented potential to irritate skin, such as essential oils that can trigger phototoxicity. Also worth mentioning is that many of the ingredients to which the brand objects are merely opinions that they present as fact.
For example, Acure Organics lathers up the tired claim that sulfates are harmful in skincare products. As there is no scientific or medical research demonstrating this to be true, the brand simply implies that sulfates should be avoided because they’re anionic surfactants and “may be contaminated” with nitrosamines, which they claim are (of course) cancer-causing agents.
Sulfates are an entire class of cleansing agents, some of which are quite mild (sodium cocoyl isethionate is a great example), some of which are not (sodium lauryl sulfate), but it’s inaccurate to lump them together as ingredients to be avoided. There is certainly no evidence proving they are cancer-causing ingredients, and no research suggesting that sulfates are “contaminated” with impurities, other than unsubstantiated Internet scare stories. The reality is far different from what’s being suggested—and it’s never a good sign when brands resort to fear to make their products seem safer.
It’s true that sulfates are anionic surfactants, but that’s true of many cleansing agents—including those that Acure Organics uses in their own cleansers, such as sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate. We point this example out because it seems to indicate that not even Acure Organics understands the reasons why they’re claiming you should avoid ingredients like sulfates.
These tactics aside, the most troubling aspect of Acure Organics is the fact that nearly every product we reviewed had incomplete ingredient lists or inaccurate ingredient names—or both. The most consistent example was their statement that almost all of their products are based on their “Organic Curoxidant Superfruit Blend,” and do not contain water or anything else to keep their formulas from separating.
A mixture of mashed-up berries, dried tea leaves, and flowers does not a cosmetic product make, and whether from an ingredient blend or not, its individual constituents are required by regulation to be listed in full on the label—which is not the case here. Trade names, like “Organic Curoxidant Superfruit Blend” or “Echinacea Stem Cell Culture,” are not permitted on ingredient labels for this very reason—this violates International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) and FDA labeling regulatory requirements.
In many cases, we were troubled to note that many Acure Organics products seem to lack adequate preservative systems. In most cases, potassium sorbate is indicated as the primary preservative, which they accurately claim is “food grade.” However, potassium sorbate on its own isn’t sufficient to provide protection against both bacteria and mold/yeast—existing research has demonstrated that potassium sorbate is effective only when combined with other preservatives like phenoxyethanol.
What seems to be missing here—a sufficient preservative system—could put your skin at risk for serious problems, including infections; not to mention that the product’s shelf life is going to be limited, unless the brand is using (but not listing) a more robust preservative blend.
If only Acure Organics had followed the approach of similar brands like Andalou Naturals, who focus on the quality of their formulas instead of on unnecessary fear tactics, we would have had a much greater degree of confidence in recommending more from this brand. For now, in many cases, you’ll find better elsewhere.
Acure Organics is sold at Target stores and can be found online at www.acureorganics.com or by phone at 1-877-902-2873.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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