Welcome back to the 1980s, or at least that’s the message Alba Botanica unintentionally(?) sends with this throwback scrub formula. Much like St. Ives’ classic apricot scrub (which sat on many bathroom counters in the ‘80s), Good & Clean Toxin Release Scrub contains ground walnut shells as the abrasive agent. Although walnut shells are natural, they’re also needlessly damaging to skin due to their irregular shape. In contrast, scrubs with rounded jojoba or polyethylene beads glide over skin as they polish it; walnut shells can easily tear into skin, damaging its barrier and leading to all sorts of problems you’ll be tempted to scrub away, so the vicious cycle continues.
We take issue with the “toxin release” part of this product’s name because the skin isn’t collecting or harboring toxins that need to be scrubbed away. You cannot detox with skin care; true detoxification occurs in the liver and kidneys, not on skin. What this scrub will do is irritate skin due to the numerous fragrant plant extracts and oils it contains.
The problematic ingredients are part of what Alba Botanica refers to as its Fruit Acid Detox Fusion, but fruit acids cannot detoxify skin and, as used here, they don’t exfoliate, either. This scrub, which doubles as a cleanser, is far from being the gentle option it claims, and is absolutely not preferred to numerous other scrubs.
Last, although scrubs can be useful when extra cleansing is needed, for exfoliation plus anti-acne and anti-aging benefits, AHA or BHA exfoliants are strongly preferred. See our top picks for those and our favorite scrubs on our list of Best Exfoliants.
Dulling toxins assault your skin every day, causing imperfections. Powered by ten AHA-rich botanicals, the unique Fruit Acid Detox Fusion in this gentle scrub partners with lathering cleansers and ground Walnut to scrub away dullness, force out impurities and provide deep down detoxification. Refreshed and clear, skin radiates with a clean, healthy-looking glow.
Aqua (Water), Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Lauryl Glucoside, Stearic Acid, Coco Glucoside, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Palmitic Acid, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Lactobacillus/Arundinaria Gigantea Ferment Filtrate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Luffa Cylindrica Fruit Powder, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Extract, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Citric Acid, Pumice, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Sulfate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Iron Oxide (77491).
Alba Botanica At-a-Glance
Strengths: Inexpensive; several good cleansers; some good moisturizers; nice lip balms without sunscreen; most of the facial and body sunscreens provide sufficient broad-spectrum sun protection; mineral sunscreens options are available; self-tanner that includes antioxidants for added benefit.
Weaknesses: The natural ingredients in some of the products are natural irritants; jar packaging won't keep air-sensitive ingredients stable; most of the lip balms with sunscreen lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients; subpar toners and exfoliants.
Alba Botanica is part of the Avalon Natural Products group, which is owned by natural product marketer Hain-Celestial. In addition to owning the Jason Natural and Zia Natural brands, Hain-Celestial also owns Avalon Organics, of which Alba Botanica is a part. Although Alba Botanica is not any thinking person's definition of an all-natural line—they use plenty of synthetic ingredients, including sunscreen actives and preservatives—they shine in comparison to the mostly disappointing products offered under the Avalon Organics name, but that's not saying a lot.
As far as the "natural" visage Alba Botanica portrays—while they do use plenty of natural ingredients, for the most part it's the non-natural ingredients that contribute to each product's texture and function; but then highlighting those ingredients isn't going to attract attention from consumers seeking natural products, is it? Because there are no established standards for use of the word "natural," any cosmetics company can take advantage of the term, as Alba Botanica does.
Despite not being an all-natural line (which isn't a bad thing), much of what they offer, while not state-of-the-art spectacular, is still worth considering. The prices are competitive with those of drugstore and health food store brands, and they offer some very good options in the categories of cleanser, scrub, sunscreens for face and body, lip balms without sunscreen, and a self-tanner.
It is also worth mentioning that Avalon Products (remember, Alba Botanica is part of this master brand) is commendable in that it uses environmentally conscious business practices, including solar-powered offices and warehouse and relying on organic farming for several of their ingredients. Their environmentalism may or may not correspond to good skin care, but it is admirable. As we have said many times before, just because an ingredient is organic doesn't make it safe or effective for skin (and there's no proof that an organic ingredient is preferred to a synthetic ingredient when it comes to skin care), but the practice of organic farming is a positive step toward creating products that reduce negative environmental impact.
Turning to what Alba Botanica needs help with, you'll see they fall short of being a comprehensive line. There are no reliable exfoliants such as AHAs or BHA products, and those struggling with blemishes or any type of skin discoloration are out of luck. Also, not every sunscreen (especially those for lips) makes the grade in terms of providing sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients, and some of the toners have truly boring, antiquated formulas. Other less impressive products include the enzyme scrubs, masks, and a few of the jar-packaged moisturizers.
Overall, these products aren't the most advanced around, but comparatively speaking they best many other products from brands with a natural angle (Lauder-owned Origins comes to mind).
For more information about Alba Botanica, call (888) 659-7730 or visit www.albabotanica.com.
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.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!