Burt's Bees' Intense Hydration Nourishing Facial Water claims to provide an instant boost of hydration to skin before you apply moisturizer. While this definitely feels hydrating, it lacks an array of ingredients to truly boost you skin's moisture content. Along with that letdown, the formula contains a couple of potentially problematic plant extracts—which earns it an average rating.
So what's "facial water," exactly? Not dissimilar from recent products sold under the name "mists" or "essences," facial waters are really just toners, designed to be used after washing your face to replenish beneficial components to skin before you apply the rest of your routine. Their benefits vary—some, like this one, are all about hydrating skin that might be dry after cleansing.
Intense Hydration Nourishing Facial Water comes in a clear plastic bottle with a white cap. It has a hole in the top that you can use to dispense the water onto your fingers or a cotton pad.
Back to the moisture, main ingredient glycerin is a great ingredient for increasing the amount of water in the surface layers of skin, and sodium PCA aids in this as well. The willow bark extract included can also serve as an anti-irritant, which will soothe skin post-cleansing.
The problem is that this facial water lacks the array of skin-identical and skin-beneficial ingredients that are present in today's more sophisticated toners. The best toners offer a variety of good ingredients to get your skin ready for the rest of your routine. This will provide some hydration, but not the amount Burt's Bees claims.
The other issue is that Burt's Bees included some ingredients that can actually serve to irritate skin, including the clary sage that's supposed to give this facial water its hydrating properties. One of the components of clary sage is limonene, which is known to irritate skin (Journal of Food Science, 2011 and Chemical Research in Toxicology, 2010). In addition, Burt's Bees also added more fragrance in the form of perfume, and it's apparent as soon as you open the bottle—it lingers for a while after this is applied. See More Info for details on why using fragranced products on a daily basis isn't ideal for skin.
Because of its lackluster formula and inclusion of some potentially problematic ingredients, Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Nourishing Facial Water doesn't get our enthusiastic recommendation. For better options, see our list of Best Toners.
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: 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 for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Weaknesses: Many products have potent fragranced formulas; several formulas packaged in jars, which compromises their ingredients.
With humble beginnings in the town of Bangor, Maine, Burt's Bees is a brand focused on natural-themed, earth-friendly skincare. Unfortunately, in many cases, this also translates to less than beneficial formulas as not all of the natural ingredients used are helpful for skin.
Many of the plant extracts and oils used in these products, including orange oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil, lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, pine tar, alcohol, lime oil, and balsam peru, are problematic for skin and present a significant risk of irritation or a sensitizing reaction. Both the intriguing philosophy and inexpensive products are attractive, but it takes more than that to establish reliable products that are good for skin. It’s also important to consider the potential benefit (or potential harm) of the ingredients used.
There are some formulas to consider among the brand’s offerings, but some to be wary of—see our individual reviews on Burt’s Bees products for more details.
For more information about Burt's Bees, call 1-800-849-7112 or visit www.burtsbees.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!